Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Thank You to Lisa

Seeing my words in print, it is a wonderful justice. Remembering what was done to me makes me wish things were different. The distance of time doesn't make it any easier. Speaking to it is in some ways more punishing to me. It revisits all of the emotion of it. My writing is not without cost. Deciding to write is hard. Where to begin?

I am not the person I was when this all started. Love is what changed me--love of self. To be has always been my goal. People assume personhood is automatic. It is not. Personhood is derived from interaction. In my autistic home I was a person because there I could interact in prayer with God.

Outside my autistc home people were foreign objects to me not interactions. Lisa Cooper was my first interaction, my first human exchange. We played the only play for me at the time. Giggles for tickles is what I called it. I would assume the giggle position and she would tickle me. Then I would let her in and she would giggle with me. Then I would brace for it again. Lisa I let touch me. Everyone else I labeled as an object when touching me. Even my parents got stiff hugs. Lisa I let hug me as a person. I would wiggle into her arms. She loved me I know. She was my first real friend and love.

Others have helped me too, but Lisa and Stacey White are the only two that did it from a place of love. It was true of Becky too for a time, but it changed for her. For someone who is lacking, understanding others motivations I get an A in. My having an ear to others thoughts makes it easy, and painful too. My mom never lies in thought to me. She sometimes gets real angry with me. That I am autistic is not an excuse for bad behavior with my parents. I have to learn they say. Only learn equates to being able to do something not just understand it. One is not the same as the other. I have already said that doing is hard for me. Impulses intervene -- to smell, to touch, to break. My impulses get me in trouble all the time. My impulses rule me sometimes,like a need they are.

Lisa realized what my system was doing. She never blamed me, just tried to help me. She knew giddy meant I was overloaded. She was the only person I would stay in the world for. When she did work, it was fun as work. To stay in the world was a big thing for me then. With Lisa I would fight to stay. Anyone else, I would hide from them in my world. With her I would look right in her eyes. Anyone else, I looked through and showed lifeless eyes. She only saw my eyes, but she knew I was there with her. It is the saddest I have ever been to lose her.

You think you can come and go from our lives without a thought to its affect on us. Respect does not come easily for the autist. It is derived from trust. Trust is earned not readily offered. When they took Lisa away my heart was broken. Workers always coming and going caused me to trust no one. Only Linda stayed in those first few years of school. You can't tell that at outset, who will stay and who will go. It took a long time before I trusted Linda. I fought a lot as a child. Everyone was my enemy.

Seeing is not just a matter of visual stimulation. Internal sight, insight, involves processing as well. It is sad to say but we are equally dependent on our bodies to evaluate it. It is a sense all its own. Where you see yourself constantly being physically abandoned it is difficult to interpret others as trying to help you. When you see yourself, how you are as bad, it becomes a battle against the world rather than to join it. Treatment undertaken from a position of love is the best path to the world. It is Lisa's path and I'm glad I got to walk it for at least a little while. Thank you Lisa.

1 comment:

  1. You are welcome Michael! You are so special to me and taught me more than I could ever teach you. We did have fun didn't we? I remember the way you looked at me. Sometimes from across the room I would see you looking at me. I knew we had a connection. I enjoyed teaching you and playing with you and I do miss you too! I was so sad when you moved to a new school. You are a very smart and intuitive person and I am so happy to know you! You helped me to be a good teacher. Thank you for writing this for me. It is so nice to know your feelings and for me to know that you know, the relationship we shared was from love. Love, Lisa