I have spoken to you guys before about not knowing for years that my son was autistic. Or my daughter. Or me for that matter. Of course when I say these things, people think it’s crazy-talk. I mean, how could I possibly not know that my children (and I) were autistic?!
EVERYBODY knows what autism is EVERYBODY knows what autism looks like EVERYBODY knows how autistic people act! I guess they’ll fill the rest of us in later, so we’ll know, too!
But I won’t hold my breath. Anyway, I know I’ve mentioned it before, but in case you’re just joining me and you’re new to my blog…
We didn’t know we were autistic because autism is our normal (excuse my use of the word ‘normal’ – in my mind it’s far from a compliment, but I’m making a point).
We were born autistic. We’ve either grown up, or are being raised autistic. Autism has colored our entire world since day one and we had no idea. Autism is not something that we picked up along the way. It didn’t happen to us. It’s the way we are, and the way we always will be. It’s comfortable, and it’s ‘known.’
One of my contacts at VBPD told me that they would be putting a video on their site that I just had to watch. So, of course I watched it, and she was absolutely right. I needed to watch that video. I felt very strongly about what I saw; what I heard. J and I sat transfixed in front of my computer screen and listened to a fresh, young mind speak with so much love and such strong conviction that it gave me chills. Maybe it was the subject matter. Maybe it was the fact that her words reached me when so few do. Maybe it was the fact that she was speaking in such a positive, heartfelt manner about something that many view as a negative. And maybe it’s because I know exactly what that feels like. Most likely it is all of those things and more. I do hope you’ll check the video out because you need to watch it, too.
The young woman speaking, Faith Jegede, was… wonderful. I mean I truly felt wonder as I listened to her:
- I wondered who this remarkable young woman was!
- I wondered at her open mind!
- I wondered at her understanding and accepting that her brothers had many things to teach her!
- I wondered why I hadn’t heard of her before!
- I wondered, I wondered, I wondered!
In the video, Faith tells us many excellent things. She kept my attention for the entire five and a half minutes which is a feat in itself, so you know it’s gotta’ be good (winking). One thing she said grabbed me, held me captive, and resonated:
“I cannot remember the first moment I encountered autism, but I cannot recall a day without it.”
Ms. Jegede does not go into great detail about what she means, and she didn’t have to. If I’m not mistaken, it’s the very same feeling I have. I don’t remember autism actually entering our lives, because it didn’t. I remember the word, the diagnosis, and the information that followed. But I have no recollection of autism actually entering our lives, because autism had always been in our lives,
we just hadn’t named it yet.
I watched Faith’s video… TWICE, and now it’s your turn: What I’ve Learned from My Autistic Brothers
But first, there is something I would like to say…
Thank you, Faith, for your strength and compassion. And for your open-mindedness. And for sharing your beliefs and standing by them even as they go against the grain. And most importantly, your undeniable and unconditional love for your brothers – and the understanding that you can learn from them as they can learn from you.
I had not heard of Ms. Jegede until today, I haven’t even checked out her blog yet - but you can be absolutely sure that I will - but I was so touched (yes, ME, touched… I know, right?!) by her words, that I had to share her voice with you as soon as possible. I promised you a positive blog when I first started and Ms. Jegede is helping me stick to my word.
And because I love music. And because I swear you can always find lyrics to fit every occasion, I will leave you with the ridiculously famous words of George Michael who, in his infinite wisdom told us (and he was totally right by the way)…
Ya’ Gotta’ Have Faith