You know, for a long time, I thought I had autism. A neurologist believed that was what it appeared to be. For some reason, when I thought it was autism, it seemed okay with me. It was like something that I understood. I don’t mean mean medically, but it was something I was able to accept more.
When someone asked me if my biological mom drank when she carried me, I said, ‘yes.’ I didnt even think a thing about it. They gently decided to tell me that the neurological disorders they saw in me were a lot more extensive than autism. I didn’t even know what to make of it. I wasn’t completely understanding her. I don’t think my brain was ready for what I was about to here.
After validation, it took a long time for it to sink in. I really lost my breath for awhile. I have no idea why there is such a stigma attached to having FASD.
Is it because it was a choice for me to have a life-long disability?
is it because it could have been prevented?
There are just things that seem to have something attached to it that makes it not seem okay.
I have had to do a lot of soul searching to not let it define me.
In fact, I think that it makes me a better person.
I know that does not make sense, in a lot of ways, but I have to tell you, there are things about me and others I know with FASD that I just would not trade for anything.
I am very passionate.
I am very loving.
I deeply care about people.
I am very sensitive.
I really, genuinely want to help people.
I want to work harder than anyone to work around my brain and find a way to do something that I have been told I am unable to do.
I have a deep passion for communicating in creative ways.
I did not speak at all as a baby. I was labeled failure to thrive.
Most of my childhood and adult life, I have heard that I simply do not get across exactly what I mean.
I would say I stayed mute a lot of the times and chose to because it was just too difficult to convey thoughts, feelings, and emotions in speech.
I don’t understand abstract very well. Trying to convey those things in speech is almost impossible.
I found writing, drawing, and photography very young.
I wanted to convey in the written word as much as I could.
I wrote notes to everybody if I wanted to tell them something. Even adults.
It just made it easier for me to say exactly what I meant.
I found the art of drawing was a release for me. I was able to capture a lot of what I felt in a creative art form.
When I found myself behind the lens of a camera, I wished the world could see things the way I did.
I took pictures of everything.
When I have a camera in my hand, I literally see beauty in every day life.
I see more than just ‘good’ beauty, if that makes sense.
I see beauty behind the pains of life as well.
As a journalist, I covered the hardest of stories anyone could imagine.
I covered murders and had to be up close and personal with those who were traumatized.
They let me in their homes and in their lives.
I didn’t love capturing their pain, but what I loved was capturing their love for each other in the pain.
I saw things a lot of others did not see.
The gentle touch from one person consoling another.
The wiping away of a tear.
The hug during a horrific moment.
I wouldn’t change that for anything.
There is a a fantastic things to being FASD.
We absolutely can LIVE and we absolutely can see LIVING in ways that others do not.
Actually, we are and can be very productive people that can be used in amazing ways.
I have had times when I have felt completely defeated.
Fortunately, that does not last long…lol. I don’t know if it is my short term memory problems, or the fact that I can forgive within five minutes of something major happening. it could be that I trust more than I should and that I have a more childlike spirit about me…lol.
But I wouldn’t change it.
I have had to learn to love me the way I am and be the best I can be with who I am.
Sure, someone drank when I was in their body.
Sure, it has affected my ability to read, comprehend, and retain things.
Sure, it has affected my eyes to the point where I have no depth perception and my eyes do not converge and I have to have specialists to take care of these needs.
Sure, I would prefer to eat a microwave macncheese every day of the week.
I am stronger than most.
I am more determined than most.
I am FASD…Hear me roar…lol.
I am FASD…I will soar…
I am FASD…I will not give up without a fight!