Life, Autism, Disability, and More

Tag Archives: selfishness

blue skyLast week was Simon’s 12th birthday. He asked for a party at Chuck E Cheese, and he got it. Sure, his idea of a party is different than ours; all he wanted was some candles to blow out and some presents. He didn’t really want to play any of the games, and he pretty much ignored most of the guests. But he still enjoyed it. Even if, on one level, I didn’t.

Why didn’t I?

Because I knew that our families had blown him off. On one side, he didn’t even get a phone call or a card. On the other side, he got a card with a gift card in it…but it wasn’t even mailed until his birthday. To me, it’s horrible. It’s painful. How can they ignore him? How can they not even send an email when I mail them pictures of him in a little league uniform?

But here’s the thing: Simon’s sky is still blue.

What do I mean by that?

I started reading a book called “Headspace.” It’s an awesome book, if you haven’t read it yourself. At one point, the author talks about when he was in training to be a Buddhist monk. (He spent about 10 years training.) He had a problem with meditation, and one of the teachers told him a secret. Even when the sky is grey, when the clouds are dark, when a storm is brewing, there is still a blue sky above all of that. No matter what problems there are, there is still a sense of peace hovering, a blue sky we can tap into and know that everything is still good.

Simon is in the blue sky. He doesn’t know that I feel like the sky is grey, that I feel like there is a storm brewing. He doesn’t have expectations from these family members. He doesn’t get bothered. His sky is blue.

I thought about the blue sky when I read the news that broke on his birthday, too. A local town, Lake Jackson, had an issue in their school district. The teachers in the 5th grade class apparently offered “awards” to their special needs students. Awards like “Most Gullible” and “Drama King.” Horribly mean-spirited and something that should never happen.

When I read it, I thought that Simon would still have his blue sky in that situation, too. Even if we, as his parents, were upset, he wouldn’t be. He wouldn’t get the insults. He’d be happy.

But those people – the ones who wanted to give the awards, the teachers who thought it was okay – they’re the ones who would, in the end, suffer for their actions because of karma. Because they may not realize it, what’s they’re doing is teaching children that it’s okay to mock and tease people who don’t have the ability or knowledge to fight back or protect themselves. These children will someone be the caretakers of these adults. What if the adults have a stroke or get Alzheimer’s? And then these children – the ones who were taught it was okay to mock the defenseless – are now defenseless themselves? Maybe they don’t realize the impact of their actions, what it may lead to in the future.

Now, to be fair, I do feel it’s straight out wrong to mock or tease cruelly at all, these teachers don’t seem to feel that way, and perhaps the only way they can learn to be a good person is by thinking about how their actions will impact their own lives. Sad that they can’t be kind to people for the sake of kindness, but at the very least, you’d think they would be kind for their own sake.

Those teachers – they’re the storm. They’re the grey skies. They’re what bring us down, what make us worry, what upset us. But we have to remember that there are still blue skies up above them. That we can tap into that blue sky and stick with the positive. Because we can all be in the blue sky if we want to be.

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I followed a link about a cat because, well, it’s Caturday, and there’s a law that says you must.  Or so I’ve been told.

It led me to the tale of Mercury the Kitten.

Mercury, at a very, very young age, lost his two front legs in a weed whacker accident.

But now he struts around like a t-rex, happy, content, and able to do anything and everything he wants to do.  He’s one cool cat.

Then I scrolled down to the comments section because sometimes the comments are the best part of a site.  And that’s where I saw it.  A posting from “kim moore.”

Kim posted: “youre so wrong i actually rescue animals and have kids and 5 cats of my own and they r spoiled rotten i think keeping this kitty alive is selfish and its cruel what does a cat use more than its front paws ? it makes me cry to see this cat some people dont know when to pull the plug people think euthanizing an animal is is so horrible its painless and reserves a spot in life people keep pets around like this for selfish reasons……..its an adorable kitty but get over the selfishness already and no not everything or everyone should live theres a time when it turns into cruelty”  (And, yes, I purposely kept in all her misspellings and grammatical errors because, hey, if nothing else, we can pick on that.)

Keeping in mind the kitten in question is not having any problems.  The kitten in question is a happy little kitten who doesn’t seem to even really know that’s there’s something wrong with it.  The kitten doesn’t seem to think there’s anything cruel about its existence.  It plays with string.  It plays with kitties.  It runs around on its back legs.

Other responses tell her “you sound like quite a bad person” and that she’s “way beyond wrong.”  One person (named Kate, but I swear it’s not me!) even told her, “You are the cruel one.  You are the selfish one.  Everyone DOES deserve a chance at life.”

Another person pointed out that they were born with a disability.  “…it’s really too bad that someone didn’t put me down when I was a baby. Those optimistic bastards…how could they have known I’d find a full, happy life?”

The responses from other people give me hope, but then there’s an immutable fact to also keep in mind.

“Kim” said it.
She believed it.
She is not alone.

Like back in August of 2013, when there was the “letter from a pissed off mother” who suggested that a boy with autism be euthanized.

Like the fact that a number of people with autism (and those of us who love someone with autism) were outraged when Autism Speaks again presented people with autism as a burden – ““I am autism. I have no interest in right or wrong. I will plot to rob you of your children and your dreams….And if you’re happily married, I will make sure that your marriage fails. Your money will fall into my hands, and I will bankrupt you for my own self-gain,” says the video campaign.”

Like an unnamed (because I really can’t/shouldn’t name him) college professor who, when a counselor told him that he needed to make accommodation for a student who was going blind, asked, “But aren’t there special schools for those kinds of people?”

I honestly just cannot comprehend the mindset of some people.  Do they not realize that everyone is different?  That everyone has different abilities and problems?  That one day, sooner or later, they will either be dead or very possibly relying on someone to help them get through life?  Will they choose euthanasia when it comes to be their time?  When they break a leg or develop a severe allergy or other condition that makes them unable to live like a “normal” person?

While some disabilities and conditions are fatal, there should always be hope, and there should always be at least a modicum of understanding for those who are different, for those who are atypical, for those who are not identical to us.

In the case of “Kim’s” Caturday posting, I can’t help but think she got selfishness confused with compassion.  Luckily for her, while she might have the selfish part down, a lot of other people have the compassion.

Simon, chilling on the back porch, unaware that he's a "burden" or that we're "selfish" for having him...

Simon, chilling on the back porch, unaware that he’s a “burden” or that we’re “selfish” for having him…