I'm working toward becoming more comfortable and exploring my vulnerabilities. I believe that all normal people are well-meaning, but their own idiosyncrasies get in the way, just like my own weirdness gets in the way of me interacting in the world from a place where I am completely comfortable with myself. I'll give you two examples from my life.
I had this friend, and we were walking in the Upper East Side neighborhood around Hunter College. I noticed she was openly staring at people. I was sort of appalled because I was raised that that behavior is totally inappropriate, and plus I know I hate when people do this to me. I just asked her why she was doing it and I said it seemed kind of impolite. She said that she didn't see anything wrong with it and people were just really interesting. I may have argued a little more, but I eventually I let it go.
Here's the second example. I worked in a lab for a couple years where my boss (I'll refer to him as Dr. J. was trying to get me to apply for funding. Okay, no problem. I needed three letters of recommendation and he was happy to write one for me. Okay, no problem. He asked me to read it over. Okay, no problem. It's late evening in April when I sit down to read this letter in the lab. I was lucky no one was around. I get to the second to last paragraph where he has somewhat proudly proclaimed that I am visually impaired and how that's really awesome. Okay... no. That's not okay to do. I knew him less than a year. Actually only 6 months. Sorry, you don't have the privilege to do that, buddy. I should have told him to take it out. But I didn't because I was weak and apologetic and felt like I was taking space for someone smarter and better than me. So I let him violate my personhood in this way. Something only a person from a disadvantaged viewpoint may truly understand. read this for imposter syndrome. I let him take a piece of information about me and use it in a manner that was not befitting the level of the relationship that we had. In my mind, it's the same thing as letting someone push you to the ground and not doing anything about it.
It's annoying but I must learn to stop thinking like this or else I'll continue to be a victim of my own tricks. I don't think that if either person had understood things from my perspective, would they have done those things. Their behavior was not right, but my own thoughts about their behavior or retreating further into my shell of "I'm taking up too much space", was definitely not the right way to live and react to the world.
Normal people need time to understand the term "respect" because they do not understand what it feels like to have their respect stepped on in the way they do it to people who are different. It is necessary for people to start to understand your viewpoint if you are different, but it must be done from a place of comfort with yourself. You must be comfortable with who you are and your right to be heard as well as their right to have their own way of looking at the world.
Also, knowing that you cannot change them, you can only change you. Rewrite your narrative from the perspective of respecting yourself and act from a place of wholeness.
More exploring my vulnerabilities later.