My family refers to me as their Little Mermaid.
“She’s like a fish,” my Uncle Jeff says with his well-received chuckle.
“How long can she hold her breath?” my Mom inquires with worry and wonderment simultaneously.
My first exposure to swimming was lots of bubble blowing.
“Blow some bubbles into my hands.”
Talk about an Apraxic nightmare.
It took me lightyears to learn how to mimic this mouth movement.
Swimming is sensory motor practice at its highest level.
Hold your breath.
Blow out of your nose.
Straight legs. Light kicking.
Left arm, right arm in rhythm.
Miss Tracy’s jelly beans gave me motivation to do my best.
I learned to swim not without her love, support and encouragement.
Miss Tracy, thank you so much.
Such a beautiful sensory experience.
Under the water, I swim free.
Free from looks and stares.
Free from Autism’s hold on me.
Under the water, my senses are heightened.
Ripples tell stories.
I listen intently to their words.
Someone I can have reciprocal conversations with.
Swimming is so therapeutic as well.
It invites me in, and I never want to leave.
Noise often invades my mind.
Swimming takes me away.
For moments, my world is without noise.
My uncle says I am like The Little Mermaid.
Little does he know, she and I have much more in common than swimming.
Ariel sings “Part of Your World”.
In the song she states:
“I wanna be where the people are
I wanna see, wanna see `em dancin’
What would I give if I could live out of these waters?
What would I pay to spend a day warm on the sand?
When is it my turn?
Wouldn’t I love, love to explore that shore up above?
Out of the sea
Wish I could be
Part of that world”
Part of me wants to be part of the neurotypical world.
To speak freely and with passion.
To go out with friends.
To live more independently.
I do want all of these things.
But, the truth is —-
I don’t want to be part of your world.
I want our worlds to come together as one.
I dream of a more inclusive world.
We can build it together.
Who’s with me?