Simplicity In Life = Happiness

Ever since I was small I was paid in materials. Barbie’s, dolls, strollers, clothes, shoes, and anything else I wanted filled my room. Those materials filled my room, my life, and the void of absent parents. They made up for the excuses of “I don’t want to play ball, or cards, or aboard game, or take you to the park, or watch someone else child for you to play with” I used to feel so sorry for the kids that were “less fortunate” than I was. So sad… those poor kids are outside riding bikes that had different colored handle bars and imitation Barbie’s. Although we were FAR from rich or even comfortable, I still had. And even then all I could think of was I want more. Until I found myself one day looking around an apartment that wasn’t on the “safe side of the tracks” about 600 square feet. Trash spotted throughout the lawn a refrigerator that contained a gallon of juice and condiments, and a cabinet of oodles and noodles. A room that consisted of two mattresses and two box-springs side by side. A sink full of dishes, a broken kitchen table, no washer and dryer back at the laundry mat. Riding off of a quarter tank of gas in a dodge neon, walking to a store on the corner in cold temperatures. With a guy with old sweat pants, beat up tims, no haircut, and a faux fur coat on and I love him. I found myself being content underneath the guy I never imagined I could love so much, in a situation I said I would never put myself in. And to my knowledge I found myself…. Happier than I had ever been. I didn’t care about not going out to eat at San José, chilis, Ruby Tuesday or any restaurant other than McDonald’s dollar menu. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t in Raleigh with the rush hour traffic flashing lights and two story malls. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t wearing expensive clothes I could simply be in my pajamas and be accepted and those were the ones I knew that accepted me at my worst, and my best. Instead of spending my Fridays in restaurants, and shopping centers. They were spent listening to loud music, with few friends and family, gathering around a table playing cards, talking and laughing. Cable and internet or a phone didn’t matter. I saw myself watching franklin with his little girl curled up between us in her pajama’s, I didn’t have to worry about her not having on fine clothing that you were afraid if they got a drop of juice on them. She could enjoy her dora popsicle on the back of an old Buick with ice cream dripping down her face and hands and those were picture perfect moments she could do this in peace. I found simplicity in life… I could finally love life as is, with few expectations. I could finally stop and smell the roses without someone telling me how they should smell, how they should look. I could be myself. I felt free finding simplicity in life. Now I know why those kids riding those bikes with different colored handle bars, imitation Barbie’s, kicking rocks were smiling. They were happy with the small things in life in essence they were sad for me.



The doctors said it was okay to kill me. They said it might be the best choice. After all, who would choose to care for a physically deformed, mentally impaired child forever?

Before I had a body, before I had a voice, before I had a chance at life, my gently forming spine had a visible gap.  I was carrying the weight of a disorder; spina bifida. The doctors had run tests and performed an ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis. They knew I would never be whole physically and could possibly have mental impairments as well.  Specialists discussed options with my parents, ultimately advising them to terminate the pregnancy. Fortunately, my family never saw me as an “option,” but viewed me as a gift, a gift that was waiting to burst into the world, like a balloon soaring in the sky.

I imagine the heaviness they felt knowing their lives…

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He Dances To The Beat Of Autism

He’s super C O O L. Watch what you say because he will repeat it.He’s EXTREMELY funny. He doesn’t like strangers sometimes. He makes noises that causes people to stare. When he’s super excited he waves his arms and jumps up and down. Loud noises scare him. His favorite characters is Power Rangers(For now that is). He’s 12 years old and no he still doesn’t color inside the lines. When he cries there is no calming him down until he’s done.Tempers flare somedays and sometimes are worse than others. If you saw him out and perhaps was blessed with his presence long enough, you would notice he’s just a little different. Most of you would probably stare and I’m still wondering if thats just the ignorant side of humans or the normal side of humans. Quavez, thats his name and Autism is the beat he dances to. I know those of you reading this is thinking “awww, thats so sad, or I feel so sorry for his family or him”. Save your pity. save your sympathy. Autism isn’t the end of the world and its certainly not the WORST that someone can be diagnosed with. In fact he doesn’t even realize that he has it. He runs, plays, laughs, and smile just like you and me. He was diagnosed at 5 years old after being misdiagnosed with ADHD. It’s safe to say that even when no one else saw him as being a little different, I did. I noticed there was something just not right when Quavez was around two he didn’t talk like most kids his age. He simply pointed. His tempers were unusual, he took the “terrible two’s” to a whole new level. It went from “terrible two’s to terrible three’s and four’s”. But this was different this was far more than him misbehaving. It would happen out of the blue anywhere and at any moment. At any given time he would be crying, screaming, kicking and no one knew why. I was young myself but had encountered children with special needs. I was always compassionate towards them. I just couldn’t put a name with his actions but I knew ADHD wasn’t it.I checked out a book called “the real boy” where this womans son had been diagnosed with Autism at age three. That was it…Autism. It had to be, Autism. But again who would listen to a “teenager” what would I know about that? Because in my familys mind “that didnt happen to us and he would be just fine, just learn a little slower than others”. Well you can only live in denial until they hit SCHOOL! I remember one day crying to my mom when he was diagnosed. “why him?, why not some other kid, He will be picked on by other kids,I said” and for me that hurt the most as I had once defended many special needs children being tortured by Ignorant children that parents just had simply not taught them not to stare, and pick at someone a little different. Aren’t we all different anyway? So why was it so terrible to be Autistic, or to have down syndrome, or Cerebal palsy?  One summer I came from my usual stay in Maryland, I went to see Quavez and he asked me to spell my name. I did (thinking this would be no more than the usual lines) but slowly I saw a K.I.E.R.R.A form by crayon on a blank sheet of paper. It wasn’t perfect and a few words were backwards. But I swear that was the BEST picture I had ever seen. I was on the phone screaming OMG OMG HE WROTE MY NAME!!! I even got teary eyed because they couldnt understand that yes, he was 7years old and it should be something simple for most children. But he wasn’t most children and to know that I left a little boy that couldn’t do that just 2months ago to a little boy that could spell my name without me helping him was a very big deal. In fact every milestone they accomplish is a very big deal. Quavez has taught me that it’s not about the big things you can accomplish in life, its about the small things. Embrace life and don’t feel sorry for somone simply because they have a special need because they don’t need your pity or sympathy. There isn’t anything wrong with them at all they have feelings and emotions to. They have a need to be loved and cared for to. So the next time you’re out and you hear a hi out of the blue that maybe said 1,000 times say Hi back.or the next time you assume a child is just “acting out for no reason” think, “they might can’t help it. I don’t know the situation so who am I to judge?” Don’t just stand and stare or make assumptions ask a question. Become educated and more involved.


“the photos are dated wrong this was summer 2011”