I got the the following article from Sunday Stilwell at Extreme Parenthood, and it really stirred up some stuff for me. We really have so many of these “odd souls” flying around these days. So many Nat-like guys in our stores, restaurants, streets, schools. We all know this, we encounter these people every day. We become friends with people solely because we share this experience, of taking care of someone who is Not Like Everyone Else. Not “normal.”
But with so many “not normal,” doesn’t that change what normal means? I guess that technically neurotypical, Developmentally On Time people are still in the majority. But the DD guys are so very visible, God bless them. Nat is so gloriously autistic, even when he is not flapping, not talking to himself, not walking fast. There is just something in his overly-alert, anxious-to-comprehend stare. His stance is uncertain and yet starkly evident against the blur of strangers.
Maybe that’s just my perception. But I have to look at it. And so I did. There he was trudging up High Street, his jeans a little too short to be stylish, no matter what I do to fight against his dressing disabled… please forgive me, but I know many of you know what I mean… with the huge CVS bag filled with 12 rolls of toilet paper. Like an old person, somehow. Two young woman walked purposefully downhill towards him, stepping adroitly out of his way. I heard snippets of their busy lives’ conversation, their competent, to-the-point words. They were roughly Nat’s age.
But today, before the sadness of missed potential descended fully, my own wider, open self kicked it out of my head. You, Ms. Senator, are judging him. You are seeing him as inferior to them when you talk about missed potential. You are automatically assuming that normal is superior. That he is missing something, when truly he is existing on the same plane as them. Humans, humans, everywhere, each with a different set of neurons and experiences and synapses linked or not. One mind does not exist more fully, does it? We are all breathing the same air with our animal lungs, we are all evolved from apes and alive.
Yet my eyes can’t lie. There is sadness behind them anyway, and I suppose my words will not pat them away. The answer, then, is simply to go find Nat and give him a kiss.