Poem, “Raised By”

I WAS RAISED BY A PAIR OF ACTIVISTS WHO DID EVERYTHING THEY COULD TO LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE I WAS ACCEPTED FOR WHO I WAS.
 
I WAS RAISED BY A MOTHER WHO WAS QUICK TO ANGER AT THE WORLD AROUND US AND SET OUT TO FIX IT.
 
I WAS RAISED BY A FATHER WHO WAS THERE WITH A SOFT WORD AND A HUG.
 
I WAS RAISED BY DOZENS OF PEOPLE WHO CAME OVER TO PLAY WITH ME.
 
I WAS RAISED BY PEOPLE WHO LOVED ME FROM AFAR, FROM ACROSS THE OCEAN AND THREE PLANE RIDES AWAY.
 
LONG I HAVE PRESENTED MYSELF KNOWING THAT THESE PEOPLE WERE MY TRIBE. LOVE TAKES MANY FORMS. MY FAVORITE IS HUMAN.
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I AM A PRODUCT OF A CERTAIN PLACE AND TIME

IT CAN BE SAID THAT I AM A PRODUCT OF A CERTAIN PLACE AND TIME. I AM ROVING THROUGH MY UNIVERSE LIKE MAJOR TOM, APPROACHING GROUND CONTROL. MY AIM IS TO FIT IN AS BEST I CAN, WITHOUT LOSING MY BEING, MY SENSE OF WHAT I AM. HOW SUCCESSFULLY I CAN ACCOMPLISH THIS DEPENDS ON MY PEOPLE AROUND ME.

THERE ARE MANY FACTORS THAT HAVE MADE ME WHO I AM. ABA THERAPY WAS SOMETHING THAT I DID NOT LIKE. A LOT OF IT WAS DUMBED DOWN TO WHAT WAS MY PRESUMED INTELLIGENCE LEVEL. WHILE I WAS THERE, I LEARNED HOW TO BE PATIENT. I LEARNED HOW TO PLAY THE GAME. FIRST I TRIED TO BE REALLY AWARE OF MY BEHAVIORS, BUT AFTER A WHILE, I STOPPED CARING. NEEDLESS TO SAY, I WAS HAPPY TO LEAVE. THIS PERIOD OF MY LIFE WILL ALWAYS BE PART OF WHO I AM.

ANOTHER FOCAL POINT IN MY LIFE WAS WHEN I WAS LITTLE, AND WE HAD ALL THESE PEOPLE WHO WOULD COME TO THE HOUSE TO PLAY WITH ME. THAT WAS A LOT OF FUN! WE WOULD LAUGH FOR HOURS OR WE WOULD CUT PAPER TOGETHER. THESE TIMES MADE ME FEEL LIKE I BELONGED. MY MEMORIES FROM THIS TIME ARE ORANGE.

THE REASON I ADVOCATE FOR AUTISTICS IS A DIRECT RESULT OF MY CHILDHOOD. IT ALSO HAS TO DO WITH THE PEOPLE AROUND ME, LIKE MY MOTHER WHO BELIEVES IN MAKING THE REASON FOR MY INCLUSION HER LIFE GOAL. MY FATHER MAKES MY LIFE TENDER. THE TEACHERS AT SCHOOL BELIEVE IN ME TOTALLY.

ALL I WANT IS FOR MY FELLOW AUTISTICS TO HAVE THE SAME OPPORTUNITY AS I DO. THIS IS WHO I AM TODAY. I KNOW THAT I’LL BECOME THE PERSON I WAS MEANT TO BE.