I am about to share a story I have written. It’s a message about “acceptance.”
October is Autism Awareness Month in Canada.
It is also the month for Sensory Awareness, and during the first week (dates vary) is Mental Health Awareness Week. Well, what does all this have in common? For some people, and some families, all three of these campaigns make a difference.
I wrote this story because “Awareness” is still needed, but “Acceptance” is needed even more. And I intend to have it published with my own art, since creating art was part of the process that led me to be inspired with this book idea/message.
I have called it “A Sea Turtle’s Plea,” because the main character is a sea turtle who is autistic and has SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder/Dysfunction).
The subtitle, “Dive into Diversity,” is geared to teaching young people about Neurodiversity, which is a term that applies to differently wired brains and ways of thinking. Diversity, in general, within a group can lead to different contributions toward a goal, which can lead to greater chance for success/survival of the group and other groups affected. In this sense, the contributions of the Neurodivergent should be considered and respected for the benefit of all. I do envision the story being shared in schools within a unit of teaching plans on Neurodiversity and/or bullying awareness (Bullying other children with differences happens much earlier these days). Because of the pairing with the artistic illustrations in the book, teachers might use art for cross-curricular lessons for younger children, while other children might benefit from gaining increased awareness through additional community living and social studies lessons.
For more on my reasons for creating and sharing this story, see my prior blog posts, starting with this post (World Autism Awareness Day 2018)
If you enjoy this story in any way, please message me your contribution of encouragement, which is something that could be much more plentiful in this world.
Love to you all!
(the story follows..)
A SEA TURTLE’S PLEA
(DIVE INTO DIVERSITY):
© C. Michelle Vyn
What is this?
A crack is forming. It’s loud, and I’m shaky.
This is my beginning, now I see.
But the light is too bright for me. [Scared]
I breathe in air,
And stretch, pushing through this cage that surrounds me,
And tumble into something scratchy.
It’s everywhere. I can’t get free. [Overwhelmed]
Look! I’m not the only one.
The others rush to meet the approaching sea.
Waves welcome them within, leaving me
Wondering about this mystery. [Confused]
I make my way into the sea, far behind.
When at last I catch up, I’m defined
As “different,” say the unkind. [Rejected]
They laugh at how gritty sand hurts me.
When I swim in circles, they point, and they poke.
They eat crunchy food that makes me choke.
And, I’m the last to laugh at a joke. [Sensory & Social issues]
Many years later, I’m my only friend.
I’ve always felt lonely, kept outside the crowd,
By those who closed their circle, so proud.
Never to trust again, I vowed. [Depression]
One day, an old wanderer stops by,
Who says to have hope, and to myself be true.
Others need time to accept what’s new.
It depends on their point of view. [Encouragement]
At that, he continues on his way,
While I struggle with my feelings, too intense.
If they knew how differently I sense…
Instead, they only took offense. [Blame]
Never mind. I’m enjoying myself,
Healed from feeling fragmented… and forgiving.
Control is mine where I am living.
Wait. I am gifted to be giving! [Accepting Self / Gifts]
It can’t be right to stand alone.
It might be unfair, but they are unaware.
If I withdraw and refuse to share,
How can I say I truly care? [Purpose / Meaning]
So, I make renewed attempts to connect,
But only on my terms, and when it feels right.
There are times when they’re only polite,
But sometimes they think I’m quite bright. [Confident, Patient]
Now, this might be the best life ever gets.
Or, maybe, that nice turtle sees the real me.
He’s not like the others, that I see.
In fact, he looks confident, free. [Hopeful]
We dive in, talking and listening,
Discovering what we share in mind and heart.
Yet this friendship is only the start
Of something we both want a part. [True Friendship]
We pledge to partner with the goal
Of helping others to connect with someone.
And we agree it will not be done
Until true acceptance is won. [Pledge]
We all need each other to succeed.
United as one, now that’s evolution!
What’s missing? Your own contribution?
Acceptance is the solution. [True Acceptance, not mere tolerance]
I’m not missing any pieces.
Nor am I a puzzle, as some might say.
I’m one colourful piece of the big picture,
Fitting in a different way. [Understanding]