Well, I haven’t updated this blog in a while because I haven’t made time for it, and I’m not going to make any excuses about that.
Today, though, today was phenomenal. I told my mom that I would volunteer at an Autism Awareness Walk. It involved waking up quite early on a day I usually reserve for hiking and/or cooking something nice and COMPLICATED!
But I woke up early enough. I got out and helped out in any way I could and it felt amazing. The walk was organized by a group called POAC (Parents Of Autistic Children).
I loved it. Showed up around 9 am with my mom and dad. Met the people who ran the show, Gary and Shannon. Shannon was the Vice-Prez, but she was totally in charge as far as I could tell. As we were unloading food stuff from the rented U-Haul, I jokingly said, “Hey, I’ll take the huge cooler!”
It was big enough for me to crawl into and fully loaded. Prrrrrrooooolly around 100 lbs. Shannon was like, “Well, I’m gonna help you with it!”
And my mom was all, “Oh, I think Frank (my pops) and Gary should get that!”
Shannon and I carried the huge cooler to exactly where it needed to go. And she didn’t doubt for a second that I had the strength to carry it. That’s all I needed. The rest of the day was CAKE.
I am stronger than I look, muh’fuggers. GRR/1\\\!
Side note- I thrive on that. I loved working at Princeton, where they were like “oh, hey, go and build an adapter to make this 40-pin square IDE connector interface with a 32-pin round connector. I know you have absolutely NO experience with electrical engineering, but go ahead ad DO IT!”
Or when I was volunteering in Pisco, Perú, and they were like, “Go on ahead and climb onto that wobbly bamboo scaffolding with that jackhammer and knock down that brick shit house! You go girl!”
So I fawkin DID ITTTTTTTT, Mannnnnnnnnn.
My point is.. tell me I can do something… anything, really… and I will go and try my darndest. And I might just succeed. Most likely will, actually. Right now, though, I don’t have a whole lotta people telling me I CAN. The few glorious individuals in my life who are pushing me are ringing out loud and clear, though. Love yas.
Side note- I just sat in some peanut butter and it’s a little bit sad.
So I spent most of the day overseeing the butt of this giant inflatable alligator, as young children (autistic and non) pushed their way through the bouncy obstacles within. One kid, who I loved, kept relaxing on one of the alligator’s taste buds. After I first asked him, “Are you just chillin?” He kept announcing “I just wanna CHILL!” as he reclined on one of the alligator’s air-filled taste buds.
It was a great day. Nice weather up until it started raining when it was time to shut down anyway. I let way too many kids rush into the ass of the alligator while listening to various parents tell me how absolutely amazing my mother is. I watched her carry three huge bags of trash through the rain while all the rest of us were huddled beneath the safety of the pavilion or long gone. Mama rawks.
I felt great when I was looking at a T-shirt designed for the sibling of someone with autism and said “Oh, I don’t have a sister. And definitely not an autistic sister.” Then an incredible sweet 13-year-old volunteer told me that “Anyone could be your sister.”
And then all the baloney noize in my head stopped spinning around, and I just looked this 13-year-old boy in the eye.
Annnnnnnd, *SIDE NOTE*- after hanging out with actual 13-year-old kids today, I realized that when I say “Aw man, I went to an all-ages show last night and it was fulla 13-year-old kids,” they were probably actually 18-22 year-old kids. I’m OLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLD
Anyway, I looked at this kid and realized that he gets it. Anyone can be my brother or sister. You all are, actually. And he reminded me. Real bright kid.
This same kid, by the way, ran out to his mom’s car to get me a pack of gum after I asked for a slice. Really gives me hope for the future. Wonderful pack of children. Parents are certainly doing something right.
Generally, today made me remember how much I absolutely love working with kids.
Recently, I’ve been feeling very down on myself. A lot of people I graduated college with have earned their Ph.D’s in the past couple of months (and I’m incredibly proud to be their colleagues). I used to stand in front of the mirror, pinching every inch of fat I could find on my body and squeezing my pores. Nowadays, I look in the mirror and ask myself why I’m not a Doctor yet. They’re equally destructive. Hating myself will not benefit anyone.
Today helped me to move beyond that and realize that I’ve chosen a different path. On that path I’ve made some significant connections, some with autistic children who continue to melt my heart with every knowing glance. Or ANYONE who is just hurting or misguided and needs someone a little bit stronger to guide them, because I’ve been in those dark places and I know how lonely it can feel. You’re never alone, guys. That’s not even possible. I’m right there.
I may not have any impressive letters following my name, (which I’m already proud of), but I have learned how to heal and inspire others. And there is something telling me that I am exactly where I need to be right now.
You’re all my brothers and sisters. Ya-yah- hippy-dippy, but it’s TRUE! Sometimes, I just need someone 15 years younger than me to remind me of it. All I am is a single thread in this intricate tapestry. All I can do is be as strong as possible and hold on to you.
I know I have some friends going through hard times right now, and sometimes I get exhausted and want to throw up my arms and walk away out of frustration. Only human. But I want you to believe that I will always be there, reaching out, and reaching out, and reaching out.. until you are beyond my grasp. Because I love you and I am convinced that this is what I’m here to do.
I guess this is what happens when I don’t update my blog in a long time. Everything is mashed into one.
Oh yeah, listen to this, please: http://soundcloud.com/dangervillage1/millionyoung-love-is-all-around
Freelance writer. Trail runner. Relentless savage.