Having had the good luck and the privilege of writing a monthly blog for OCDD, I leave my heart a little behind with each topic. I have to be honest, though; now seems like a bad time to switch things up. I’m not working yet, I’m only able to handle one college class per semester, and I am in the middle of receiving OT for my anxiety.
But things have been feeling really great lately too. For example, it’s like my medications finally make my anxiety less consuming. I have a higher tolerance of situations that really used to make me upset or overwhelmed. And now that I am learning little things about reducing stress through OT, I find it’s slowly helping. This is all helping me get closer to my goal of returning to a job where I can be successfully supported and valued as an employee.
Probably the thing that’s made the most unexpected impact has been this morning ritual my mom started last year. She had been reading fiction out loud at meals but it annoyed my sister, so we switched to breakfast. She also switched up the reading list by picking from reading materials I hadn’t experienced before, topics like disability and intersectionality (Sins Invalid’s Skin, Tooth, and Bone: The Basis of Movement is Our People), disabled writers sharing their thoughts on so many wonderful, sad ways they have experienced other people’s perceptions regarding disability (Alice Wong’s Disability Visibility), and how rife our country is with a caste system that rivals India and Nazi Germany (Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson). We’re now reading a book of essays written by Stephen Hawking (Brief Answers to the Big Questions) that’s really interesting, and I’m sure pieces of it will wiggle their way into my thoughts and poems.
I mention this new tradition because I have found that there’s so much I didn’t know about disability and recognize that there’s so much that I want to find out about. I only have what I personally have experienced, and have to spend time learning from others who are able to share their stories. Maybe it seems unrealistic, but I would love to spend the next year reading only books by disabled self-advocates who share very few demographic characteristics with me. In addition, I have grown in curiosity about the world, and find myself worrying about our fragile democracy and the rise of so many white supremacists, so I want to learn more from history classes and sites around Oregon.
What all this is bringing me to is the decision to step away from this forum and focus on gaining more understanding and insight into these two areas. I am also supremely excited to share that I am starting a writing relationship with Spectrum Life Magazine in which I’ll be focusing on the non-speaking autistic experience. It was an opportunity that came about unexpectedly but quite serendipitously thanks to its editors who are committed to making space for all the ways autistic people show up. I plan to really dive into topics that probably won’t interest anyone who is not directly impacted by or working with autistic people.
So with that, I wish all the folks who have found something I shared relevant or useful a sincere thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts. I believe we all can learn from each other! Let’s stay curious, interested, and open about those lives that are different from our own while always striving for peace.