I’m pretty open about certain aspects of my life… I have autism; I’m self-employed; I live way below the poverty level. I don’t go shouting any of this from the rooftops, so to speak, but if it comes up, I have no problem stating the truth. And then, why shouldn’t I? Should I be ashamed of myself and my life? I’m actually quite confident about it. And so, I am open.
I’ve noticed something, though.
People speak about those who are poor or disabled like we’re… somewhere else. I’m having trouble putting a finger on it with an example right now, but if you listen, I think you’ll notice the same thing.
Once at church, I overheard a conversation about “people who use food banks.” The tone of the conversation made it sound as if those “people” were… far, far away. I wanted to shout, “I’m right here!”
Or another time someone gave a presentation about kids in New York who live in the projects. Oh, poor kids. Again, “I’m right here!”
Or yesterday at the library, the librarian saw my puzzle piece ribbon on my backpack. She said, “Why do you have a puzzle piece ribbon? Don’t you know that’s for autism?” Why, yes, I do, and in fact, I have autism. “Good for you!” she said.
I’m not criticizing these people. They haven’t done anything wrong. I’m just asking that you keep in mind… I’m right here!