“Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is an adage that gets thrown around a lot.
Unfortunately, it very rarely is applied to people.
We, as a culture, tend to judge others predominantly on how they look.
The clothes they wear, how well they are groomed, how expensive the haircut.
We forget that things outside of our control affect a lot of those visual cues.
So, what happens when someone is made to feel horrible based on something she couldn’t possibly control?
This was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) fuckeduppface when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for leaving significant facial scarring uncovered on a plane and being confrontational when a father asked me to cover it because it was scaring his son?”
OP began with the history involved.
“I sustained very bad injuries to my face this month.”
“I’m in the stage of healing when the scar tissue has formed, but it’s still very tender ‘new skin”‘.
“I’m going to have very obvious facial scarring for the rest of my life.”
“The injury starts about an inch above my hairline, goes down over my brow so that on part, hair will not grow.”
“It continues down my cheek where it is deepest; I’ll always probably have an indentation in the fullest part of my cheek.”
“Then it continues to my jawline.”
“In some ways it’s OK.”
“I’m happy it’s just cosmetic damage.”
“My friends are super reassuring, telling me how badass and sick it’s gonna look.”
“They say I’m still as hot as ever, now a little more sexy and mysterious lol.”
“But in some ways it really sucks… I know that I’m always gonna be seen first as ‘the girl with the scar’ and it feels especially bad when people look at me differently.”
“This week, I had to fly home for a family thing; it was a plan I’d made long before my injury.”
“I wasn’t really looking forward to the pity or people making a big deal of it; I’d rather it not be acknowledged.”
“I’d also met with my dermatologist who said that I was at the stage of scar tissue formation that I no longer should be dressing the wounds; the skin was healing and instead I needed to be applying topical cream and Vaseline to keep the site clean and moist.”
“It also looks a bit ugly; the building scar tissue is very red and tender, and with the Vaseline over it, looks slick and shiny.”
“So I get on this flight; I have the window seat and I put on my headphones and drift off to sleep when the plane is still boarding.”
“I wake up to this kid, maybe 4 years old, sat next to me, throwing a tantrum. I didn’t catch the first part of it and I honestly couldn’t understand what he was yelling about…”
“His father said to me, ‘Can you cover that injury?'”
“I said that my dermatologist recommends I don’t, so no I don’t think I will.”
“He started snapping at me saying ‘there is no need to be so rude. That injury is graphic and it’s scaring my little one.”‘
“I said ‘this is my face. The only damn face I’ve got. It sucks being told I’m so ugly I can’t show my godd*mn face in public.”‘
“He started to backtrack saying ‘just until it’s healed’ and I said ‘it’ll always be with me. Maybe teach some f*cking compassion and respect instead of telling a girl half your damn age what you think about her face.”‘
“He actually got up after that and I think went to a stewardess about a seat change because a young couple came to sit next to me on a few minutes instead.”
“I’ve gotta admit I felt so low that I put on my sunglasses and had a quiet cry for a few minutes.”
“AITA for not covering my healing scar, and for being confrontational about it?”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some were perplexed by the logistics.
“And exactly how did that rude ah expect you to cover half your fucking face?!”
“Pull out your pocket Phantom of the Opera mask???” ~ littlegirlghostship
“I was wondering that too! Could you cover up this (waves hand over entire face) general area?” ~ AcrosstheSpan
Others gave scripting ideas for a dad who clearly needed help.
“Yeah, the dad could have said something to the kid like, ‘Oh, it looks like that lady got hurt. But the doctors were able to help her! And that line on her face is where the owie was, but it is gone now. Isn’t a good thing that we have doctors to help us when we get hurt? “‘
“Or something along those lines that a 4 year old could understand.”
“My nephew has never been able to walk and has used a power chair since he was three.”
“Can’t count how many times I’ve told a small child, ‘Oh, his legs don’t work good, so he has that chair to get him where he wants to go.’ And they understand what I’m saying. It’s not that hard.” ~ krankykitty
Many pointed out that kids are often better than adults.
“I have a facial scar from having cancer and the surgery to remove the tumor.”
“It’s an obvious scar and when I first had surgery and radiation it was super noticeable.”
“My niece was about 4 when I was going through this and she was upset that her aunt was hurt.”
“When I explained that I was ok and that the Dr. was fixing it she was just curious and literally moments later we were talking about something else.”
“Kids just want to know why someone is different, explain and move on. It’s the adults that are uncomfortable in those types of situations.” ~ shellshell21
“People with differences are everywhere you go.”
“I take it as an opportunity to get on my kid’s level and explain to them that not everyone’s brain works the same/the lady may have been very hurt (insert lesson on compassion and empathy)/people have disabilities and that’s why they need (insert service dog, wheel chair, etc).”
“No one should be made to feel they can’t go in public and live as normally as possible due to the reactions of others.” ~ mommak2011
Several people were concerned about the lesson being taught to the child.
“That father is teaching his son a horrible message, that looks are everything. I’m so sorry you had to go through this, OP.” ~ cyanocittaetprocyon
“Worse than that:”
“He’s teaching the kid that it’s okay to force people to curtail their freedoms to placate the fragility of others. (NTA)”
“Edit: thank you so much for the silver. I’m speechless. Thank you.” ~ SFIsTrash
“Even worse than all that:”
“He’s teaching his son that it’s acceptable to invade the privacy of, and insult total strangers for his own petty reasons. How DARE he? (NTA, and I am sorry OP had to deal with that!)” ~ KarmaaRose
“Even worse than that: he’s not teaching empathy at all.”
“If I see a person that has a disability, disfigurement or anything that makes them stand out, I empathize with their situation.”
“If I was in this father’s spot, I would immediately be thinking about how much potential trauma this person has gone through to get such a scar.”
“And now has a daily reminder of it.”
“I’d be thankful for my own health and for the health of my child.”
“This would be a teaching moment. People are different. Our bodies are fragile.”
“This is a booboo from an event that is much much worse than skinning your knee at the playground.”
“I might move on the plane because I’d be so embarrassed if my kid didn’t shut up about it.” ~ sarcazm
Commenters commended OP’s response.
“All of the above comments are right on.”
“You’re strong and brave for defending your space so articulately, OP.”
“One of the hardest things about living with any kind of disability (and an injury isn’t exactly a disability, but I’m not quite sure where else to classify it, pre-coffee).”
“(Is that it forces you to become a activist, whether or not that’s in your nature (it’s not in mine, but 15 years after my accident, I’ve gotten better at it).”
“NTA. Definitely a hero.”
“Btw: off the top of my head -“
“Tina Fey has an enormous facial scar and has never been defined as ‘that girl w the scar’ in her career.”
“She did write in her memoir that she could classify people into two groups:”
“Those who looked her in the eye, and those who looked her in the scar (again, pre-coffee, so paraphrasing).”
“My point is that it will always be part of you but it is not going to be all of you.”
“And I think your friends are right.”
“You’re going to rock it. I’m sorry that you have to live with it, but you have more than enough character to face (pun not intended) the people who can’t handle what you can.” ~ GalacticaActually
We all deserve dignity, respect and kindness.
Regardless of how we look, what we’re wearing, or the shape of our face.