grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I am here today to wish my wonderful sister a Happy Birthday. I'm going to take her out to lunch and shopping later today, on her special day. She is my best friend and I love her dearly. So I'm here today to write a love letter about my sister.

Like me, my sister has a disability. I won't go into the details, because that's her business and she's very private about her personal life, but let's just say it made school very difficult for her. I say this to express my admiration of her determination not to let her disability define her or overcome her. She is the hardest-working person I know, with incredible perseverance and a lot of native intelligence. I wish I was as hard-working as my sister is. And it paid off -- she was a straight A student, has grown to love reading, and is now in college. She is a huge success story.

She is very responsible. She is always the first to take the initiative and do any chores that need to be done, she's conscientiously clean, and she carefully keeps all important paperwork and receipts in an organized place.

She's uncomplaining. My sister is very good at adapting to her surroundings and has a very "tough it out and make it through" attitude that I can really respect. Even though I'm the older one, because of my anxiety she's often the one helping and leading me. She's much calmer than I am.

She's caring and nurturing. Hungry animals and hurt people always find a home with her. Her friends command her undying loyalty, and she is very protective -- the kind of person who will punch you in the face if you try to harm one of her friends or family members.

She's a funny tomboy. She has a great sense of humor, loves goofing off, and can always make me laugh. She's great at clowning around. And she's definitely comfortable in herself -- she wears jeans and sweatshirts and baseball caps, loves Transformers and Pokemon, is mostly friends with guys, and is perfectly fine with that. Even when people have judged her for it, my sister has never been afraid to be herself.

She's great at video games. I say that because I'm horrible at them. She's good at strategizing and figuring out puzzles and can spend hours playing around with different video games, trying to get them just right.

She is a bit of a perfectionist, and that shows in her art. My sister is an incredible artist, both virtually and on paper. She may not be the fastest to get the art technique down, but her unflagging determination always ensures that she is usually one of the best artists around. I know for a fact that I'm not the only one who admires her artwork. She has a great imagination and lots of artistic talent.

She loves horror, ghosts, and all manner of other eerie things. She wears lots of black and loves rock music. People have judged her over these things as well, but again she has never let that faze her. She is proud of her likes and interests, and is also proud of being a Christian and believing in God.

She's an interesting combination of introvert and extrovert. She can be very chatty, but she's not a big partier. She's more comfortable at home surrounded by people she knows well, and is not really into drinking or drugs.

She's a very reasonable roommate and house mate. She rarely gets angry, always says just what's on her mind, tries to accommodate, and is helpful and non-judgmental. My sister rarely judges anyone and is a friendly and accepting sort.

I have tons of fond memories of the two of us as kids. We would play dinosaurs, cheat while playing Yu-Gi-Oh, and pull the heads off our Barbies and switch them with each other's. (We were interesting little children.) We fought horribly sometimes, but always made up and supported each other even when no one else did.

She is an amazing person and I love and admire her. She is my closest friend, my greatest supporter, and my best defender. I can always come to her for advice. We spent our childhood together and have become adults together. We may fight, but at the end of the day we're very close.

Happy Birthday, sister of mine.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I went on a date today!

Not with the guy I mentioned in a previous post -- the one from American Lit class who seemed kind of like he was flirting with me? Yeah, it wasn't with him. It turns out he:

(A) Has a girlfriend

and

(B) Is a bit of an asshole, so I don't really envy her

No, this guy I met through feminist club. He's sweet, kind, and funny, with glasses and a long coat. He studied kendo (Japanese sword fighting) for several years. He studies business and environmental science. He has a learning disability but still manages to get As, and is currently interning as a Study Abroad Counselor after having spent some time himself in Thailand. He asked me out, and he also paid for our first date -- though politically liberal, he's pretty socially conservative. His Dad was a Mormon and his Mom was a Catholic.

We just went to a cafe downtown and had a casual coffee/lunch together. We wore fancy jackets and tried to look nice, but we also both just wore jeans. It was the perfect blend of "nice" and "casual."

We talked anime, because it turns out we're both really into that. (He shall henceforth be known as Cowboy Bebop Dude.) We also talked politics, religion, and family and life experiences. It was a really nicely intellectual and deep conversation. We even made future plans: to watch Cowboy Bebop together (I've never seen the whole thing) and to take swing dancing lessons in 2016.

We went to a bookshop afterward, and then we went back to his apartment briefly. It's a really nice apartment right in the middle of downtown. His roommate is a funny guy who drinks a lot and talks to his plants. We got helmets from his apartment and then he drove me home on his scooter/motorbike! I was nervous getting on, but it was so much fun!

We hugged and kissed briefly at my door, and then I went to go back inside. If I were a less awkward person, this would be the moment when I threw him a sly smile over my shoulder and walked smoothly in the door. As it is, it took me a full minute to find my keys and another two minutes to force my way in through the door. He thought it was kind of funny. He applauded when I finally managed to get in.

Just me being my usual, awkward self.

I called my Mom and dished with her over the phone after the date was all over. I also made sure to emphasize to said boy that I had a great time, we should do this again, and he should text me. I even texted him to let him know I had a good time.

So now soon I guess I'll know one way or the other if he was really into me. But either way, it was just nice -- to meet someone through normal social avenues (instead of online) and have a sweet, casual date with him.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I signed this and thought I'd give you a chance to as well:

https://www.change.org/p/fully-include-liam-in-first-grade-and-treat-him-with-dignity?utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=406424&alert_id=GEXXXmddxT_JlofdClx5pWeEpw8T1BVoTkCx98LI4UwsOazEM4vvRaCENzw5ct5WtkZv53LKCFQ

Liam is a kid with Down Syndrome, and as such has been ignored, withheld from regular classes, and shut away by his elementary school. Liam's parents took the school to court, and the judge mandated that Liam should be in proper classrooms just like everybody else. But the elementary school still won't change anything.

So this parent started a petition asking people to sign so Liam can receive a regular education just like any other kid.

I strongly support the integration of disabled children into regular classrooms. My sister has learning disabilities. When she was young, nobody thought she would ever be capable of anything intellectually. They wanted to put her in special ed day classes. My parents forced her school district to integrate her into regular classrooms with special accommodations. She is now at university in the process of obtaining a four-year degree. Never underestimate what one child can do if they put their mind to it.

Please support learning disabled integration into schools and sign this petition.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I signed this petition. Please sign if you agree:

https://www.change.org/p/kentucky-state-senate-require-video-with-audio-in-all-classrooms-for-special-needs-students?utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=384808&alert_id=OvDFMynfGC_EtEU3hWNLLKntalB7%2F%2F%2FQXKua9QOswHgYx1UW1JhFjs%3D

This mother of a learning disabled child found that her daughter was being physically abused at school, and subjected to the general school curriculum, which she didn't understand. As a sibling of someone with a learning disorder, I find this appalling and unforgivable. Unfortunately, it happens all too often -- teachers don't know how to handle troubled students and are not willing to put in the time and care necessary to help them. Not all teachers are like this, but many are, and I've had personal experience with that. We just cannot trust these people to simply do what they are required to do.

Therefore, I support this mother's petition to put cameras in special education classrooms in Kentucky. It's high time this became a nation-wide policy.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
We found out our dog had cancer.

He was a very sweet yellow lab named Wellington. He wasn't very old -- only about ten or so. We found out he had to be put down.

My sister spent lots of time with him and took pictures of them together. Because of her stutter and learning disabilities, she'd had trouble making friends at school, and he had been her closest buddy. He was very quiet, slow, and sleepy, like he was in an enormous amount of pain.

The next day, he was taken to the vet to be put down. We cremated the body and put the ashes into little gold heart necklaces.

It took our family a long time to move on from that. (We eventually gained another dog, and took in a starving stray cat who kept following us home.) I remember, in the aftermath, feeling very strangely. I kept waiting for rain to pour from the sky, for the world to end.

But it didn't. Things just carried on as normal, and it left me numb.

The same thing happened when my grandfather passed away. He was sitting in his armchair one afternoon and he just stopped breathing. His heart just quit on him. Death was almost instantaneous.

This loss was very sudden -- we hadn't been expecting him to pass away. Everyone seemed terribly upset, and yet again I didn't know how to feel. The numbness had returned -- the feeling that the world was normal, and it was hard to process that this terrible thing had happened.

My grandfather was buried in a quiet green graveyard which carried its own pond. The land was peaceful and pretty; ducks flew over the area. He was buried next to a little blonde girl who had died when she was three years old. Death doesn't discriminate. I was sitting in the back row at his funeral -- there were only two rows, it was a rather small one -- and I watched people come up in turns and talk about my grandfather, wearing black.

His sister was nearly inconsolable. She was crying and had to be supported as she came up to talk about her brother. He was her older brother and he had always protected her and looked out for her. She kept saying how much she would miss him, and suddenly it hit me that this person was dead. Death -- death hit me. I began crying, sobbing very loudly, for the first time.

I processed death that one time, and then I never cried again.

I was sad, but didn't cry, when my Nana passed away. Her death was expected. She died slowly and painfully in a hospital bed. We went to visit her sometimes, and I made sure to let her know how much I loved her.

"I know, darlin'," she said, tired and distant. She was ready to go by the time she passed.

If I could describe death, I would describe it as heavy. Death is exhausting -- at least for the bereaved, if not for the person who is dead. I'm not much of a cryer, so death is hard for me. I'm too stoical to express much of the distressed emotion that so many other women do. This is not a positive -- expressing emotion is our first step in getting rid of it.

But I can't do that. I try to cry, and no tears will come. There's only the heaviness -- the inexpressible, indescribable heaviness.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I signed this petition and I think you should, too.

Jocelynn is a teenage girl with autism in New Jersey. With dreams of going to college, she has made her way into an accelerated math program, and has somehow managed to get a B+ in the class despite her school not offering her any assistance in the form of accommodations. This is well within the standard accepted for a student to be able to continue on to algebra.

But Jocelynn's school, for unexplained reasons, will not let her continue on to algebra. They say she does not meet "criteria", even though Jocelynn DOES fit the public criteria to attend an algebra class. If Jocelynn does not take algebra, her chances of getting into a good college are vastly diminished and her dream will be crushed.

This may all sound too horrific to be true, but I can assure you discrimination like this IS possible. My sister also grew up with learning disabilities, and she has a similar story wherein she made it into an advanced math class and the school and teacher refused to offer her any assistance. Stories like this are all too common. No one wants to deal with learning disabilities, especially teachers who are high and mighty enough to teach an advanced curriculum, and no one expects special ed students to succeed or excel.

Please take a stand and speak out against discrimination. Sign Jocelynn's petition and ask her school district to accept her hard-earned B+ and let her take algebra:

https://www.change.org/p/don-t-deny-our-autistic-daughter-a-chance-to-succeed-in-school/sign?utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=341875&alert_id=QlPiHgKMVx_Z653bqyuZQEculdV2gKvu6e%2B%2Fv5%2BJ5MNL2wcCTBMn88%3D

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grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
Hopeless Dreamer

March 2016

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