My uncle is mentally retarded. This has been mentioned before. I probably should not say this on the internet, but his condition is said to be due to drug abuse while he was in my grandmother's womb. It is not his fault. One cannot even shift the blame over to my grandmother.
When I was younger, my mother would take us all over to my grandmother's house to see him. He was about fifteen, in my first memories of him. I remember seeing boxes of crayons and coloring books. My grandmother would sometimes let my sister and I take some home if he was done with them. I remember wondering what was wrong with him, but for years I never asked. I was afraid of offending him, even if he wasn't there.
He did go to school, up until high school. He graduated a few years back, and that is quite an accomplishment. I clearly remember him showing off his girlfriend to me. Yes, he is fully capable of having crushes on people and he is fully capable of having interests. He has always loved rap music.
I know what it is like to go out in public with him and feel embarrassed. I didn't understand his condition for the longest time. We'd go to Fiesta or some other store. I'm going to get another thing out of the way and say that my mother's side of the family is very poor. Probably shouldn't mention that online, either, but screw it. I know what it is like to live for weeks sharing a mattress on a floor with 3 other people. So we'd all walk in the store, poor, messy hair, my grandmother in a wheelchair and my uncle pushing her, and we'd all buy junk food. Lots of Coke, Doritos, candy, lots of it. We'd walk back to my grandmother's tiny apartment and unload, and my uncle would retreat to his room with his videogames.
Weeks, months, years, still no questions. I just grew up not knowing what was "wrong" with my uncle Randy. My mother often had her friends over at her grandmother's house and this one guy with a disfigured face didn't trust my uncle around his daughter. He also let off several hints of racism, and my half-black sister and my half-black self would spend time with his racist family because my mother was friends with his husband. They made great cheesecake though, I miss the cheesecake. Kind of.
Phew, I'm going to regret this whole whinefest. But I did it for a reason.
There are people that we interact with that have mental disorders and we openly avoid them. There are people who we know and love and befriend who are going through some bad stuff. There are people who try to live a decent life yet cannot because the majority of us find them odd.
I just want to issue an apology to a boy who will likely never ever see this. I remember high-fiving someone when he left after an awkward encounter. I remember getting pissed at him for attempting to find a damn place to fit in. That's all we want, right? For someone to want us and to smile when they see us? For someone to think about them and care for them? Someone to make them feel welcome?
If I saw this happen in a movie, I would call the girls "bitches." I'd go out on a rant. So I'm here, ranting at myself, hoping that the few people who read this will see it. I hope that this sort of sways all of our clouded perceptions of the world.
I'm not saying that this boy has a mental disorder. That is not my place, and I still feel a bit too forward about this. I only assume this because my uncle exhibited similar behavior. HOW THE HELL can I treat someone like I did when my very own beloved family member has the SAME DAMN THING?
I know it's harder for people who have not had the same experience to understand. But it honestly cannot be that freaking hard to sit down and have a damn conversation with someone who seems different, when WE are all honestly different ourselves.
We tend to laugh at socially awkward people. But I hope that we never forget that we are sooo far from perfection, too. Our social "normalness" does not make us any better than those who have difficulty picking up social cues. I know it's hard. Uncomfortable. We are still afraid of being judged by the people who honestly do not matter.
When I was in middle school I was in the same position as that one boy.
A common misconception people have about psychology is that it only deals with "comforting the crazy people." I can't remember how many times people have told me I am not strong enough to handle all of the "crazy people." They assume that I have been sheltered my entire life. Quite the opposite, dears. I live with the "crazy people." And I see that in this case, the term seems to be offensive, but I do not mean it to be. I want to go into psychology because I want to know why. I want to know the "why's" to so many things. And yes, I honestly do want to work with "broken people."
I am also going out on a limb and saying that this whole mess is why I cry so much in public. Believe me, if I could stop it I would. You think I like seeming weak and vulnerable? Like some spoiled girl who is so used to having people wait on her, to dry her tears which are probably being cried over a really small thing? No.
When I cry, it brings up all of this crap. So yes. Weak. It is pretty weak. But I am happy. Crying releases happy stuff. Which is good. I would just rather skip the tears and go straight to happiness. I overheard a conversation that seemed like it was meant for me to overhear. And one person said it was stupid to cry in public. I remember the tone of your voice, and I guess we are still friends, and I doubt you will ever read this. I know. It's pretty stupid, hm?
I... don't know if it was wise to drop all of this on the internet. I understand that most people like to keep their business to themselves. Perhaps this was unnecessary. But I felt it strengthened my point. Acceptance. One conversation. You may moan at the thought of having a potential unwanted follower. But it could mean saving someone's life. Hurt (adjective) people hurt (verb) people. Sometimes themselves. Sometimes others.
Wake the hell up. I'm trying to do it, too. And now I press "Publish Post" with a huge sense of uncertainty on how this will be received.
(EDIT) HUH. A lot of my posts have been really depressing. I don't know. I mainly write when I'm pissy. So uh... hey.