Sunday, July 29, 2012

YOU GOTTA HAVE FRIENDS

I have always felt I was on the outside looking in.  That true acceptance by others was and is just beyond my reach.  No matter what I do I'll never be good enough.  No matter how hard I try I'll never fit in.

I attended a public school for the physically disabled for thirteen years.  Because every child there had a disability, you would have expected that the children supported each other. that they would have had compassion for one another because they understood what it was like to be disabled.  And, that acceptance would be unconditional.  Not true. 

I startle very easily.  Any loud noise can cause me to jump.  Children would intentionally drop books on the floor just to see me jump and laugh hysterically.as though it was the funniest thing they had ever seen.  There were adults who delighted in making me jump too.  . 

I was not boy crazy as a teen.  I was wrapped up in the celebrities i saw on T.V.  I was made fun of, called names and laughed at by the other white girls in school. Had it not been for a compassionate  bus driver, who stood up for me when he witnessed me being made fun of, and the friendship of several African American girls, who accepted me for the person I was, high school would have been a very lonely time for me.

I have a friend I have known almost all of my life.  We share the same disability.  We were very close when we were young.  My friend was afforded the opportunity to attend a regular school long before mainstreaming was the. norm.   As we got older, my friend began to distance them self from me, choosing their able-bodied friends over me. My friend's actions let me know they were embarrassed by me.  I was the one who was disabled and my friend was  not.  It hurt.  Why wasn't I good enough?  As a result, we didn't speak for many years.

My friend has faced many life challenges over the years and has shown tremendous strength and courage. in dealing with them.  We have reconnected and talk when we can. 

My advice to any young person who is being made fun of or bullied  is stand up for yourself.   Find someone who accepts and supports you for the person you are.  We are all unique and special.  No one has the right to make another person feel inferior or that they don't matter. 

To anyone who bully's or looks down on someone because they are different, my advice is this.  I'm a firm believer in Karma.  How you behave toward other people will come back to you in either positive or negative ways.  Treat people with respect and dignity  and I have no doubt good things will come your way.