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Fortitude and what it means in my life

over the last couple of years,
I use the word fortitude a lot. I will tell yall why:

Back in 2017 I had subbed for my mom’s CCD class and they were learning about the virtues and the one for that week was fortitude- doing it in fear. It was my first time doing the CCD class by myself so I was nervous- nervous the kids would try to take advantage or not-take me seriously. Which it went fine.

The next day– I had been on an online dating site and got a message from someone who would now be my fiance. asking to go on a date. Again, I was nervous and scared. But again Mom reminded me of the virtue of fortitude -doing it in fear. (and yes we did go on a date, public – La Hacienda.)

So now anytime I do something outside my comfort zone and I’m nervous as heck–what word rings in my mind. Fortitude. And if it doesn’t on its own, Mom is right there to remind me of the word.

The latest thing I have had to do with fortitude is I started public speaking. Now don’t get me wrong, there have been times I have had to public speak before learning about fortitude. Even though I was nervous about it, opportunities continually pop up as if it is like God saying “HELLO THIS IS WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO.”

In the past, before learning about fortitude, I would still do the things but I didn’t know what “doing it in fear and nervous” was as far as virtues, and after the events I did, I never pursued or looked at public speaking as a career, further.


The first time I ever did any type of public speaking was in college for my Communications class- I made C’s because of nerves and read off my cards too much.

The next time was when I was asked to do what’s called “familiarity visits” with patients coming into Shriners for Halo traction- while I was in halo traction. Familiarity visits are telling the incoming patient what to expect: pain-wise, the routine during the week, how to do “pin care,” etc. That was easy because it was just like chit-chatting with peers; was I still nervous? yes! I worried I’d forget something important to mention or something, but still, I did it.

Another public speaking opportunity while in Shriners hospital during the time I was in halo traction was when the Respiratory Department Director asked the different patients to come to say a few words at the conference about how Shriners Hospital, the Halo traction, and especially the respiratory department affected us and helped us. I was nervous and with no filter, I told everyone there about my first weeks in traction and how I compared the respiratory department director to “Hitler of Respiratory” and the consequences once word had gotten back to her about me saying that! I had the entire room in giggle fits. The director and I may have had a rough start, but now we are best buds, and it’s our inside joke now.

In 2013, one summer while my godson was down from Texas, I happened to be wearing a tank top and he saw my scar sticking out from under my straps; he then proceeded to play “20 million questions” and I answered most of them until I got tired of answering and said “okay, that’s enough. go play, you’re giving nanny a headache!”

In 2015, one of my cousins at 4 years old noticed my spine sticking out during family Christmas eve and he was sitting behind me. I feel him feeling at my spine that was sticking out (The hump) and then suddenly feel him starting to punch it. His mom freaks out “_ Don’t hit jamie!” to which baby boy replied tearfully “I’m trying to push her back back in!” So that Christmas, he got the gift of learning about Scoliosis and why “cousin Jamie’s back sticks out.”

Also in 2015, I “tested the waters” of my comfort zone when LSU-Eunice hosted a talent show, where I read an original poem titled “Don’t judge by disabilities” and got a standing ovation as well as many compliments in the halls the following week. I was so proud that I had conquered my stage fright and even placed 3rd, which I don’t blame them poetry is nice, but music always wins!

Years passed and in 2021, I was a guest blogger on someone I only know online @Ami Ireland who has a blog “Undercover Superheroes” and talked about my disabilities there and it was posted in May 2021.

Now we are in 2022, and more opportunities have popped up without even really trying to get them. In March, I went to a church function and the CCD director’s granddaughter who I taught in kindergarten for VBS had finally noticed my back and how I was shorter than many adults, and she asked questions, so I explained as best I could at a 2nd-grade level and showed her pictures, she was shocked and just hugged me “Miss Jamie I had no idea. I remember you were always smiling for VBS and you spoiled our class!”

Next came when I was talking with Guns down Power up founder and director, Eric Williams. He had mentioned he was in special ed and had mental problems or something and I messaged asking if he minded talking about what disabilities/ why he was in sp-ed. I told him I had physical disabilities, and thus he asked if I minded coming to talk about my disabilities at his program. Which will take place on May 28, 2022, at Opelousas Police Department from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m.

From there, I was just talking to another program founder, the founder of BullyBox A passion Project to combat bullying in schools and such, Ms. Shauna Sias and she asked me to go on her and her co-host Nina Irving Williams Podcast/Live TV Livestream thing on Weds nights (Which Mine was April 13- I attached my segment of the show on my Youtube.)

So God keeps giving me Opportunities and in the past, it was just “one and done” but lately they have been more frequent, so maybe it’s time to come out of the shadows and do this more. These opportunities could open more doors as I have lots of passions and ideas but don’t know who to talk to or how to implement them. Who knows what God has in store around the corner for me?

God is good all the time. Sometimes we got to practice fortitude- doing it in fear!

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Life Update: Summer Special Needs/Inclusion Camp Proposal Idea

 This is a future endeavor for me once I graduate with my bachelors degree. For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about special needs and disabilities, probably because It is what I know. At age 11, I started attending a Summer day-camp for special needs called Camp We Can Do. (I have previously mentioned my experiences at Camp we Can do- See older blog post titled: “Disability Journey: Camp We Can Do- My heaven on Earth!!” It was a great experience back in the day, but sadly it has become basically “a joke” and not what it once was. However, it has influenced me and was a huge part of what made me into what I am today. I decided to take the things I liked/loved about camp, the things I wanted to change, my ideas I’d often proposed to staff while as a camper, etc. and make it into my own. 

Here is my proposal: 

Intro:  Growing up, I was always self-conscious, even though I had friends in mainstream education, I still felt like an outsider and that my “normal,” friends couldn’t relate to me at times. I didn’t like sleeping away from home and I was overly self-conscious about what I wore or any risks of being mocked/bullied. The answer to my confidence issues was a Special Needs Camp in Lafayette, Louisiana. It was a day camp all summer, called Camp We Can Do.

Camp we Can Do, took children and young adults (ages 5-23) of all special needs. Every day they did some type of arts and crafts, cooking/baking in kitchen, some type of sports, morning exercises/stretches and a walk around the track, a group activity- whether it be playing out in the park area, we would go swimming on Fridays, and bowling on Tuesdays. There would be one “Big Field Trip” to places like NASA, Kemah Boardwalk, NOLA Aquarium/IMAX, etc. Sometimes we’d have small field trips like Candyland cottage sweetshop, the beach in lake Charles, Incredible Pizza/GattiTown when it was around, children’s museum, etc. They would also do at least one or two talent shows where kids could do karaoke, dancing, or whatever. We were encouraged to explore outside of our comfort zones. We were held accountable for our actions despite having disabilities/special needs.

Camp We Can Do was great back in the day, but now it isn’t what it used to be, but has inspired me and was a big part of who I am, that I want to build on the ideas from the Camp and expand into my Own.

I also collaborated with another former camper: Bailey Castille and will include her ideas as well.

               Bailey’s Ideas:

·        Camp all summer long (as soon as school lets out) and during school (after school and on weekends)

·        Frequent Field trips

·        Rotation sign ups (choices like electives)

·        Separate cooking and baking into two separate rotations

·        Life skills- Cooking, shopping, chores, laundry, etc.= independence skills

Joint Ideas:

·        Pet therapy

·        Music therapy

·        Writing therapy

·        Theatre therapy- dancing, acting, film

·        Art therapy- digital or nondigital

·        Crafting therapy

·        Gardening therapy

·        Camper group compatibility= personality questionnaires to avoid cliques and fights

·        Camper input= suggestion boxes, help with shirt design, theme, etc.

·        Girl activities (girl scouts, tea parties, dress up/fashion show, etc.) “girls’ day”/ Boy’s activities “boys’ day” = sports, boy scouts, etc.) —***Sign up/optional***

·        Reward/incentive program

·        Videos in the finale DVD slideshow

·        Snacks for children who forgot theirs

·        Camp Store= “Camp Bucks” for good behavior/reward incentive, can spend at Camp Store

·        Train older responsible campers to be future staff (Mentor Program) – Will hire future campers or let them volunteer****

·        DIY Craft Day- Choices

·        Weekly Newsletter/Mail for campers and family/ Calendar for month

Camp Field Trip Ideas:

·        Art, history, or science museums

·        Performing theatre shows

·        Avery Island

·        Sea World

·        Build-a-bear

·        Dave and Busters

·        Chuckie E. Cheese

·        Cicci’s pizza

·        Beaches

·        Aquariums

·        Campgrounds- (KOA, Cajun Campground, Poches, Cajun Palms, etc.)

·        Candyland Cottage

·        Children’s Museums

·        Libraries

·        USS KIDD

·        Blue Bayou/ Dixie Landin

·        Kart Ranch

·        NASA

·        KEMAH Boardwalk

·        EPIC Fun Center

·        Surge Entertainment Center

·        Jump Zone

·        Sky Zone

·        NOLA Aquarium/Zoo/Butterfly House/IMAX

o   =====Life Skill trip ideas:

o   Restaurants/bakeries/etc.- (Targils –Cooking classes? Deanos—Pizza cooking demo? Old tyme grocery—po’boy making demo? Etc.)

o   Grocery shopping

o   Shopping= malls, recreational

o   Laundromats

o   The Arc

o   IMPAC

o   UL Life Tour

o   UL/ LSU/ LSUE/ SLCC/etc. Campus tours

o   APARTMENT TOURS

o   GOODWILL

o   DREAMS Foundation

·        Horseback riding

·        Boating/fishing/crabbing

·        4wheeler/ATV riding

·        Pool

·        Bowling

·        Movie Theaters

·        ***Farther trips: St Louis, Mississippi, Arkansas, Disney World, etc.***

School Time Ideas:

·        Fall Bonfire

·        Fall Harvest Fair/carnival

·        Participate in community= parades, downtown markets, etc.

·        Dances (older than 10+) = Mock homecomings, Halloween, Christmas, Valentines, Mardi gras balls, (Mock debutant balls type things), Proms

·        Parties (any age) = Halloween, Christmas, new year’s, valentines, Mardi gras, easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, birthdays**

·        Movie day= campers vote on movie to watch either owned or go to theatre.

·        Skating Rink Night or Midnight Bowling

·        Dress up tea party/ Etiquette for girls’ women, or fashion show/makeover—***sign up—optional***

·        Sports Fitness Day or scouts or 4wheelers-mudridding or fishing or something- guys day—****sign up —optional***

·        Jean day $1

·        Bingo

·        Bible Study

·        Talent Shows

·        Art or cooking/baking or crafting day (can even be woodworking crafts) or gardening

Last Day of Camp/Fun Day ideas:

·        Balloon artist

·        Magician

·        Carnival/fair games

·        Face painting

·        Petting zoo

·        Fun jump

·        Water balloons/sprinklers

·        Ice cream/snow cones

·        BBQ

·        Bonfire with smores?

·        Talent show time

·        Party?

Other ideas:

·        Cool down area for meltdowns

·        Staff to be tested Emotionally and background checks- No drugs/alcohol, no violence charges, no sex crimes

·        Not a daycare- must be potty trained or have an aid/caregiver

·        Have talks involving themes of:

o   Equality

o   Kindness

o   Respect

o   Confidence

o   Self-esteem

o   Anti-bullying

o   Friendship

o   Etc.

·        Include “mainstreamed” (non-special needs) children/young adults?

·        Sleep away camp vs. Day camp? (Maybe make it optional)

·        Bonfires with smores if sleep away camp

What the Camp Offers:

·        Art

·        Crafting (including woodworking, working with recycled materials, etc.)

·        (possibly) Sewing= sewing, crocheting, embroidery, etc.

·        Photo/Film (how to handle cameras, etc.)

·        Cooking

·        Baking

·        Sports and fitness

·        Survival/Scouts

·        Bowling (weekly)

·        Swimming (weekly)

·        Horseback Riding?

·        Boating/Canoeing?

·        Fishing/Crabbing?

·        Creative writing= short stories, poetry, whatever.

·        Dance

·        Fashion (design, sewing, etc.)?

·        Gardening and horticulture

·        Religion/Theology/VBS/bible study

·        Morning exercises/stretches and walk track

·        Weekly talent shows

·        Learning life skills, confidence and how to love yourself, making friendships, etc. ***

Rules:

·        No profanity (goes for everyone- staff included)

·        Respect all property of the camp (“you destroy it, you pay for it.”)

·        Wear camp shirts on all outings, as well as name tags, and stay with your group/staff

·        Pay ahead of time for trips (will not accept “day of payments”)

·        Treat each other and staff with kindness and respect:

o   Be helpful

o   Be kind

o   Tell if you have a problem (do not handle it yourself)

o   No stealing

o   No fighting

o   No arguing/back talk/disrespect to the staff

o   Tell a staff before you just walk off

o   Follow all directions/instructions

o   Label all your belongings- if not labeled and gets lost or stolen, not responsible.

o   Only time electronics/phones/etc. are allowed: Morning before camp starts, after lunch (quiet time), and Snack time, and Nighttime before bed (if sleep away camp)

Skills/ Life skills taught and offered (whatever able and under supervision):

·        Grocery shopping/ Recreational shopping

·        Sweeping/dusting/vacuuming

·        Making beds

·        Library- getting library card, checking out books, etc.

·        Teach how to take public transportation

·        Social skills?

·        Outdoor work- cutting grass, spraying, weeding, etc.

·        Washing dishes/load dishwasher/putting dishes away

·        Loading laundry washer/dryer, folding, and saving clothes

·        Setting a table

·        Cooking/baking

·        Putting leftovers away in fridge/freezer

·        Reading/writing

·        Writing letters

·        Making routines (to do lists, etc.)

·        How to fundraise/marketing

·        Counting and managing money (budgeting, rolling coins, etc.)

Sayings/ Mottos:

·        Try before saying “I can’t” = “Yes I can!”

·        Life puts pressure, pressure makes you tough= Diamond tough!

·        You are only as limited as you see yourself= don’t put yourself in a box of limitations

·        Life has obstacles, but they can be overcome= just find a different path!

·        Everyone has a different path and journey- don’t try to be like everyone else= being you is Beautiful= Be You tiful!

·        You are a diamond, don’t let the world dim your sparkle and shine

·        You are a star, don’t dim your light

·        You must train hard to be victorious= it is hard, but well worth it!

·        Life is a journey

·        You are from Louisiana. You are proud Cajuns or LSU tigers. In Louisiana, we don’t back down from a challenge, we grab hold of that challenge, wrestle with it until we eventually conquer it!

Fundraising Ideas:

·        Dances/parties

·        Sell plate lunches

·        Garage/yard sales

·        Benefit days (Fundraisers)

·        Go Fund Me/PayPal/etc.

·        Bake sales/Lemonade sales

·        Sales by “campers” (Interact and sale their cooked/baked/created/ or grown items)

·        Community day- set up booths and talk about and ask for donations (have campers help)

Each Camper gets (with admission):

·        Cap/hat

·        Shirt

·        Rubber/jelly bracelet

·        Backpack

·        Tumblr

·        Nametag

·        $5 in “Camp Bucks”

Guest Speaker/Guest ideas:

·        First responders (Police, firemen, ambulance, etc.)

·        Dentists

·        Eric Williams “Guns down,” chess spokesperson

·        Out of state people: Ali McManus, Madelyn Hubbs, Katie Ladlie, Mia Williams, etc.

·        UL Life/ Disability office

·        Librarians to come read to them

·        Famous locals: Drew Brees, Dev. Henderson, Sean Payton, Coach O, Lauren Daigle, Hunter Hayes, John Morgan (Ragin Cajun comedian), etc.

·        Local artists and musicians- Jaxon Meche (music), Eric Gautreaux, Lindy and Matt/One trick pony (Music), Whitney Marks (art), Emily Ortego (Music)

·        Roni Dubroc – about the Baton Rouge thing?

·        Local cooks/bakers/etc. to offer class

·        Girls’ and boys’ clubs?

·        Scouts of America?

Camp Name Ideas:

·        Camp Able

·        Camp Ability

·        Camp Potential

·        Camp Expectation

·        Camp Destination Expectation

·        Camp Equality

·        Camp Inspirations

·        Camp Victory/Victorious

·        Camp Glorious Journey

·        Camp Cajun Crew

·        Camp Conquer!

·        Camp United Hearts

·        Camp Pure Unity

·        Camp Utopia

People to Talk to for input, etc.:

·        Dreams foundation

·        IMPAC

·        Beacon Club (ULL)

·        UL Life program and office of disabilities

·        Dr. Beasley (UL)

·        Lion’s camp

·        ARC

·        Autism Societies

·        Families helping Families

·        LRS?

·        Bambi Polotzola

·        Laci Polotzola

·        Robyn Blackwell

·        State office of disabilities

·        Derrick McBride- One-piece Missing Foundation (Autism)

·        Boys and Girls Clubs

·        United Way

·        Church Camps

·        Dr. Donna wadsworth

Things need to do:

·        Present proposal

·        Community day- go out in community to present my proposal idea, give info about why this would be a great thing, etc. maybe have some special needs kids help…?

·        Find sponsors

·        Find a location

·        Get funding

·        Look at liability insurance, health care, health department assistance (red cross)

·        Look at buses and transportations services

·        Vocational ed. department or vocational tech schools support or assistance Rural health and rural education programs and grants**

·        Figure out budget and admission cost

·        Figure out if going to provide lunch or go to a school (like camp did)

·        Find and hire staff (including health care- nurses, lifeguards, etc.)

·        Figure out lesson plans for weeks/ activities

Things Needed:

·        Game tables (foosball, air hockey, pinball)

·        Art and craft supplies (Crayons, Markers, Paints, Construction Paper, Cardstocks, glitter/glitter glues, hot glue/hot glue sticks, cricut materials, paint brushes, scissors (kid safety scissors and regular scissors), chalk, pom poms, pipe cleaners, color pencils, pencils, pens, paper, jewelry beading and thread, friendship bracelet thread, duct tape/washi tapes, etc.

·        Games (Board Games), sports equipment (balls, bats, gloves, racquets, etc.), jump ropes, bubbles, water balloons, sprinklers, squirt guns, puzzles, etc.

·        Pool toys, goggles, sunscreens, pool noodles, inflations, kickboards, floaties, etc.

·        Snacks (drinks, chips, snack cakes, sandwich fixings, burger/hot dog fixings, brownie mix, cake mixes, jellos, puddings, etc. kitchen stuff, popcorn, stuff for smores, BBQ, ice cream sundae fixings, stuff for homemade ice creams, stuff for homemade snow cones/slushies/popsicles, stuff for popcorn machine (kernels, salt, butter, oil, etc.), etc.)

·        Books to put in our “corner library”

·        Movies/DVDs for “Movie library”

·        Fireworks (especially sparklers and “poppers”/” snappers”)

·        Wood for bonfires, firepit

·        BBQ Pit

·        Hygiene stuff- deodorants, soap, toothpastes/toothbrushes, Listerine, floss, shampoo/conditioners, Kleenex, sanitizers, etc.

·        First aid stuff- Neosporin’s, medications (Advil, Tylenol, Motrin, cough syrup, chloreseptic,) vapor rub, nose sprays, Band-Aids, ice packs, alcohol, peroxides, thermometers, heating pad, massagers, essential oils, etc.

·        Mosquito and bug sprays

·        Gardening supplies (seeds, bulbs, plants, soil, gardening tools and gloves, etc.)

·        Disposable cameras

·        Musical instruments (tambourines, guitars, ukeles, pianos/keyboards, triangles, maracas, dancing ribbons, etc.)

Campers are responsible for bringing:

·        Snacks (will be provided if forgotten)

·        Pillows/blanket for “quiet time” after Lunch (if going to lay down, if not bring book or some type of entertainment to keep quiet)

·        Jackets (in case it is cold inside building), change of clothes for swimming days (towels, sunscreen, clothes, etc.), change of clothes if not fully potty trained, etc.

·        Money (when= pay for trips)

·        Any medication the camper is responsible for taking

CAMP Groups:

·        Green– the youngest group (needs most attention/supervision)- not based just on age, but also how much supervision they require, emotional outbursts, etc.

·        Blue group– Second youngest group (still needs lot of supervision but not as much as green group)

·        Red– Second oldest group- getting ready for the older group, somewhat responsible and have good emotional control (Pink/purple: “Red group” age but need more help/supervision)

·        Yellow group– oldest group -somewhat responsible, “adults” of the campers (Orange: the “yellow group” age but need more help/supervision)

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Thoughts of the day

Thoughts of the day…I love all my friends no matter their race, nationality, religion, political beliefs, etc. if you are my friend.(Except if you are racists, ableists- have negative thoughts about disabled people, etc.) We may not always see eye to eye on everything, heck we might even debate some things, but if we are true friends and mature adults, we can still remain true friends through all that- And as long as we respect each others views and don’t try to force our views down each others throats. .) I will always care about my friends even the ones I am not close with anymore. They are still in my memories and my heart, and If anything happens to ANY of my friends, you can bet, I will be there for them and their family. If someone hurts them or worse, I will seek vengeance for them. Hell hath no fury like a “Momma hen” type friend. I hit, kick, claw, and will beat people with a bat to defend my friends and family and singing “Someone gonna get their ass kicked today” LMAO. #UnitedWeStand #DividedWeFall

Some of my best friends are different race or nationality than me and they are some of the best friends I could ever ask for. They love and support me and my dreams no matter what. If anyone was to be racists to them, I’d be so angry and defend them, especially if I was right there and witnessed it- I’d probably get in the offender’s face and tell them off or worse- hit,kick, claw, punch, slap, maybe even beat to a pulp with a baseball bat- But I’d do that for all my friends and family, I am very protective of my loved ones and hate to see them hurt; whether it be physically, mentally, or emotionally.

Its 2020, and the world is still in chaos with discrimination and racism, hatred and anger, so much division. We need to come together and make the world a better place for future generations, because right now as much as I want to be a mother, I do not want to bring a child into all this violence, crime, and hatred in the world; Children cant even have childhoods anymore and are forced to grow up too fast in this world. 😦 We must do better for our children and our children’s children and generations to come!

Image may contain: one or more people and phone, text that says 'cricket 37% ALL COPS AREN'T BAD, ALL FRICANAMERICANS AREN'T TUGS, ALL WHITES ARENOT RACIST. IF WE COME TOGETHER AND UNITE AS ONE, WE CAN BE AN UNSTOPPABLE FORCE. unlock'
AntiBullying, Bullying, Decency, Decent Humans, disabilities, disabled, Handicaps, Humanity, Kyphosis, Life, medical, Physical Disabilities, Scoliosis, society, Uncategorized

Scoliosis Journey: First Realization I was different and Bullying Experiences

I had to accept/learn that I was “different,” from a very early age; I want to say I was probably about 5 years old when I had the first incident in public. As a small child, I was always “stuck up my mom’s butt,” and went everywhere she went; this included grocery shopping. One day we were at the grocery store, but my legs or maybe it was my back, I just remember I was hurting or too tired to go walk the aisles with her, so I asked if I could go to the movie section to find a movie to rent; to which she agreed. The movie section was right near the entrance of the store and was the first thing anyone saw upon entering the store.  I had my back to the entrance while browsing titles to find a movie when a mother and her young daughter walked in; her daughter was probably two years my junior (younger than me), if that much age difference. Upon their entering the store, I heard the young girl say (really loudly, I might add), “Mommy! Mommy! Look that monster mannequin! It’s scary.”

Being the curious five-year-old that I was, I also wanted to see what had the little girl’s attention; I turned around to see her pointing, but her finger was in my direction. I looked around near me to see if there were any posters or anything nearby; not a thing, just me.  I would like to point out that before this incident, I never realized that I was different; I thought all kids went to the doctor as frequently, that all kids had aches and pains, everything I had or did, I thought all kids did the same. In embarrassment, the mother quickly ushered her child out of that embarrassing, awkward situation and into the store with her daughter whining “but mom, I wanted to rent a movie!” I was left alone in the movie section, alone and confused; the mother hadn’t even bothered to apologize for her daughter’s misunderstanding of my difference. I stared at my reflection in the glass case that held the movies and for the first time, I saw what others saw, my back sticking out; “I guess I kind of do look like a monster.”

With an empty feeling left in my stomach, I no longer had the desire to rent a movie. I wandered off to a nearby bench, propped my legs up to my chest, and laid my head on my legs.  Later, I felt Mom nudge me to look up; my face was splotched red, I had been crying. I asked her all these questions: “Mom, why do I look weird?” “Why does my back stick out?” “Why do I look like a monster?” “Why can’t I look like the other kids?” “Why did God make me this way?” On and on, the questions that had never once crossed my mind before came; it was like someone had opened a floodgate. Mom’s reply “because God loves you,” which later became “because God has a special plan for you,” because one of her neighbor’s special needs children had replied “because God loves you” with “I wish God would go love someone else.” Mom didn’t want me resenting God for what I was born with. It was also after this incident, my world was completely altered and I became slightly more self-conscious.

Sometimes, I would sit in my room playing on my brother’s keyboard, despite not knowing how to play a keyboard; I’d just play random keys, but I’d make up words and sing something like this,

 “God, make my back straight,

I want to run and play,

With kids who won’t run away,

Because they are scared of me.

Fix my back,

I want to make friends,

I don’t want to sit alone here,

Crying and feeling

‘Poor pitiful me.’

God, please fix me.”

I may have not written all the correct words that I had said since I was only 5 years old, but I don’t remember how it truly was written, but that was the gist of what I was trying to say.

Another incident, but it turned out great in the end, happened when I was in 1st grade. My class was right across from my former Kindergarten class. There was a small girl who had my former kindergarten teacher, who at the beginning of the school year, was also scared of me because of not understanding my disability. It was so bad, that she cried anytime I came around by her. I couldn’t go visit my former kindergarten teacher, except during their nap times, so that the girl wouldn’t cry. Eventually, though, she warmed up to me, got to know me, and we soon became friends. In 1st grade, I want to say around springtime, despite being told numerous times, “don’t’ go in the back of the school,” I did anyway with the little girl who was now my friend, and we both ended up with poison ivy.  As we blossomed into teens, we both hung out at the local skating rink, and as my self-esteemed lowered and lowered through the years, this girl would try everything to help me feel beautiful and like a “normal” teenager: trying to teach me how to dance sexual/flirty, trying to teach me to flirt, she would help me with my makeup, anything to try to get me to ‘loosen up’ and not feel so “different.”

I also had to deal with teasing as I got into the 5th and 6th grades, especially boys. For some reason at that age, boys think its “funny” to call people out on their disabilities/downfalls, whether it be glasses, short, super tall, etc.; Mine was my Scoliosis. I got called “weirdo, freak, humpback of Notre Dame,” probably a few other names, but those were the most

Popular, especially Humpback of Notre Dame,” by one boy in my class in particular.  It was around this age, that I started getting “fiery” and “feisty” and had anger management problems. I’d chase this boy and try to hit or kick him, to try to make him stop. These emotions escalated into Jr. High when I became a total witch (but replace the ‘W’ with a ‘B’), but I felt I couldn’t be soft and innocent anymore or they’d “walk all over me,” I had to be hard, and not show any sensitivity or softness, but I took that to the extremes, a bit. One thing is for sure, I never want to go back to being that person I was in Jr. High! 

I don’t mind if they (kids) are curious or scared, but if they would stop staring and making me feel awkward and “different,” and just ask what’s on their mind, I would understand and then maybe just like with the girl who became my friend, they would make a new friend in me too. That’s all I want, is for the staring and whispers behind my back, to stop. They might not want to be my friend, and that’s okay, but if they just want to know, then just ask; don’t stare at me like I’m at some sort of Freak side-street show; because when you stare, that’s how I feel, especially when whispers accompany the staring. Now, I want to address parents; instead of telling your kids not to ask questions, encourage them to do so. More than likely the person will feel relieved and somewhat happy they asked, instead of being constantly stared at and whispered about. I know parents don’t want their kids to accidentally offend people, but usually, people who have disabilities are hard to offend unless you say something extremely mean to their face, but usually, if it’s a curious little kid, they won’t get offended. Just try it that is all I am asking.