Monday, March 21, 2011

It's how you play the game!

This post is stemming from an article I ran across online this morning. It has taken me all day to be calm enough to write in a humane fashion. I apologize for any anger you sense in my words. I will do my best to bring it down a few notches. In case you did not see the article, I am pasting it below. I do not know this person, nor do I know anyone whose comments were left.

The article itself is not what set me off, it was the comments of others who voiced their opinion, which is perfectly fine, but know I am going to voice mine as well. It takes alot for me to get irritated by what others think, and most of the time it only makes me stronger, but for some reason this hit a nerve. It takes a lot of courage to publicly share a disability and not be self conscience, regardless of what severity the disability entails. To know you have finally built enough courage up to want to be involved, there is always that someone who wants to drive you right back into that shell.

Today, all sports are about winning. And, if for some reason you don't win, you are most often saddened by what may be a lack of effort or because there is room for improvement. But, the next time around you find it in you to do a little better, right? That attitude is what I have dealt with and what every person with or without a known difference deals with every day of their life. If I woke up every morning and knew I was going to win every battle and conquer every goal, why would I put forth the effort to try harder? Because you WILL NOT win every game, accomplish every goal, or be satisfied in how you handle your tasks. For me, soccer was the sport of choice. I hated going to practice. Hated, hated, hated it. But, if I didn't go to practice, I sat my little hiney on the sidelines come gameday. The lesson there was what made me think I could play above the other girls if I didn't practice? I thought I was good enough...I didn't need practice. Well, I wasn't...and had I not been pushed, I wouldn't have tried to exceed my expectations. Later, when I picked up golf, it was a little more difficult. I pushed myself. Not only did I want it to go further than the guy next to me, but I wanted him to try to out-do me, so I could step up my game. In the end, if my coordination was right and I actually hit the ball, I was a winner. If I got the ball in the hole, I was a winner. I didn't need praise or a medal to show I did what everyone else around me was doing, without being put in a "category."

For example, the comments that were left that stated the wrestler in the clip had an unfair advantage because he was "used" to having one leg and the opponent wasn't "used" to wrestling anyone that was different. Hmmm...wouldn't that mean the opponent might feel HE had the advantage. I mean I'm only speaking from experience, but what do I know?!?! That is where the lack of education (among other things I can't type) comes in and not only is he worried about if they are categorized the same, but who has the upper hand. THAT IS WHERE WE GO WRONG! It is not about winning, it's how you play the game. Sure, Anthony may have different techniques to moving about, pinning, or holds, but that doesn't give him an advantage. In fact, he probably sees himself equal as his opponent, as his opponent also probably thinks nothing of it. It is the people who are on the sidelines yelling in as if they know the circumstance. Kids, or adults for that matter, do not find self confidence or esteem in someone always telling them to "do better." Sometimes, that is their best, and whether they win or lose, they played the game. They feel as if maybe the effort they put in was good enough, but next time they're going to kick butt. We need to teach children (and adults) that it is OKAY to lose. Life will go on. If you are always telling someone to do better, you are not allowing them to accomplish what they feel they need to at their level.

So, now that I am done ranting, the point (if I haven't already made is that ANY person, difference or not, should not be put in a category or feel as if they can't accomplish something because of what others say or if they don't always win. I say it all the time, have fun with how you function because it makes people wonder just what you are able to do....and if they sit back and watch, you may give them a dose of reality!

Love to All,


Sunday, March 13, 2011

School Days!

It has been a while since my last post. Mainly because of school, but also because I have been stumped as to what to write about. My goal is to inform, not spill. So, I sent a "tweet" out asking my followers what questions they wanted me to answer and my first responses were about school. How did you fit in? Was it difficult to adapt? And, ultimately, how was the school experience as a whole. In order for me to explain, you know I have to use real life's just better that way!

For many, school does not start on the first day of kindergarten. Like most, I attended daycare, pre-school, k-12, and now back in college as a "typical" student. When I started school, the idea of being a 'special needs' child never crossed my mind. A physical and mental challenge at times, yes. A challenge for overall social acceptance, absolutely. But, never once did I have to encounter any of the cruel and difficult hardships children with physical challenges face today. But was I a 'special needs' child? I don't know. I don't like to categorize anyone because unltimately we all are faced when challenges of different magnitudes. One of my best friends is an advocate for special needs children on all ends of the spectrum. Some easy, some difficult, some so challenging you start to question how many people, especially in education, understand kids with special needs. I admire her for her amazing work and dedication, and there are many situations I am able to relate to with these children on a social and personal level.

I started going to daycare at 6 weeks old. Granted, I only went the two days my Grandma worked (at the daycare I attended). I then went on to another pre-school, and eventually Elementary school. While I don't remember being hesitant about the younger grades, I refused to go to middle school. It terrified me to think I was going to this new huge the kids were going to eat me or something. I cried for a week straight before school started, BEGGING my Mom to home-school me. Why? I dont know. It's not like I would've listened to her, nor did I really want it. I was perfectly comfortable with the kids and staff and I found no logical reason I needed to move up grade levels...nor did I want to have new faces staring at me. Ultimately, the fact was I didn't like CHANGE. Period. I tend worry about everything before there is ever reason to worry, but it's my nature to give myself ulcers! If you know me, you are smiling right now because you know I am not lying. :)

Well, turns out it wasn't so bad. Everyone else moved up to the 3rd grade with me. Funny how that works! It also helped (and hurt in my later years) that I had family friends as Teachers, Principals, and Superintendent's throughout my entire schooling career. The question was raised not too long ago regarding how I 'fit in' at school and if I was given any 'special' treatment. The short answers would be, like everyone else, and no. The reason was because I, nor my family, allowed me to be treated any different. In fact, even when I tried to pull the 'wamp-wamp' card, it was almost always discarded immediately. While I may not have liked it at the time, that was the best lesson I was ever taught. I can do anything everyone else can, sometimes the same, sometimes different, and somtimes better. But, in order to understand that, I had to fail on my own and do it again...ON MY OWN! If my Grandpa had it his way, he would have went to school with me and did everything for all times. And, at times, it would have been great, but then I wouldn't get to be as bossy as I am today! Special needs children are the same. If you always try to help, they cannot be challenged on their own. One of my favorite little girls has Down Syndrome, and she also happens to be one of the smartest 5 year olds I know. She's independent and that is the most important trait a person who is faced with challenges can be blessed with.

One good thing was when I had band or P.E. and the kids wouldn't hit me with the dodge ball or steal the ball away from me on the court in fear they would 'hurt' me. That usually lasted about 2 weeks until everyone realized I wasn't sparing any ass-kicking on them. Band on the other hand, I pretty much sat and listened. I could play hot cross buns. That's about the extent of my instrumental

Junior high and High school brought on a whole new world. I'm not really sure how else to explain it. I would like to fast forward through this part and finish this post with my college career, but that would leave out the reason I am back in college and back under my parents roof (which I love!) 25. Like most teenagers, I went into Junior high...boy crazy. Well, kind of. I had one boyfriend from Junior high...through high school...until I moved to GA in 2007. (I don't think I need to name But, anyway, Yes, that's a long time (I lost count). Yes, I missed out on the whole "dating" thing (which explains the reason I am against it now). And yes, I didn't move to Austin after graduation to attend the best Accounting school in The U.S., University of Texas, as I had planned on doing since I was little. But, that's beside the point, and had I persued that life, I would not have had the experiences that led me to who I am now. Other than the boy, I was a pretty good teen. I got a car when I was 14, hardship on my 15th birthday, and carted everyone around...and around. I was never exempt from any class, sport, or experiment. I still had to suit up (or out, I cant remember the term), type tedious reports for Ms. Brandon, blow up chemicals, and disect cats and pigs in my favorite Coach Little's biology and anatomy class.

In 2009, I went back to college to re-start and finish my finance degree. As I have stated in a past post, that has been my life since and until I graduate. I was devoted to taking care of other people and things for so many years, I feel like this is my time to do what is best for me. Selfish or not, independence and determination is all I have ever known and regardless if it is from having one arm, or simply my personality, I will not back down until my goal is completed. Thanks to my parents, I am able to successfully do so, with their support and trust in me and my fear of getting my butt

Whether you are special needs, handicap, armless, toothless, all, or none of the above, you are faced with the same hardships of growing up. Everyone has a voice, everyone has an opinion, so when 2,000 kids come together it can get nasty. And sadly, now days it does. My advice for the kids and Moms I am friends with, or working with, who have or is going through some of these experiences, is to embrace it whether they are good or bad. Trust me, it isn't always going to be peachy keen, and sometimes you think there is nobody who understands, but it usually is more comical than not, and there are more children that are faced with challeneges than you realize. Most of all, it passes and you move on a stronger person.

So, get out there, dig in, and enjoy life!

Love to All,