WHO I AM AND NOT WHAT I AM
by: Julie R.
At this stage in my life, my heart and mind respond to pointing and staring very differently than during my childhood and adolescence. The difference is both within me and beyond me. Within me there is the personal growth, self awareness and self acceptance that has enabled me to be more comfortable with who I am and not what I am - my body does not define me nor do the myths that it may conjure up as is often reflected in the comments and ridicule by those who just see me. The initial feelings of being less than, distorted and unlikeable...are deep and very real. These moments of hurt or even the anticipation of being "seen" negatively can be inhibiting, it was for me. Beyond me is the liberating fact that curiosity is something that we all have and without it there is no learning. It is what we do with that curiosity. Do you want to know more about this person who looks so different? Or does it conjure up some sort of humor which turns into hurtful comments.
I watch my 7 year old niece, Taya, becoming more aware of how she is different as children around her are growing taller, running faster and free of the pain and fatigue she feels. She is very much involved in living life fully, her mind and spirit are growing steadily and faster than her body. I do not want the actions of pointing and staring to inhibit her and stop her in her tracks or to keep her from wanting to be involved in new experiences. I hope we are headed for better times.