Monday, March 30, 2009

The Scrapbook - Photo 3

My story continues...if you haven't read part 1 and part 2, click to get connected to those entries.

Part 3:

The next photo in the scrapbook comes from my awkward middle school days. In this photo we see me as a young girl feeling unsure about my appearance. I look around the crowd and see other students, some appear more self-assured and look so beautiful; I envy those students. I also see other students just like me in the struggle they are encountering in trying to feel comfortable with themselves and their bodies at this difficult time. I feel a special bond with these students. Since I am all about my peers and what they are doing at this time in my life, I start noticing a group of students in school that I really don’t remember registering in my memory before – these are the students who are in special education, more specifically students who have cognitive disabilities. I notice them hanging out together with no one from regular education talking to them. Although I see them in the lunch room sitting across the way, there seems to be a huge canyon separating us that no one tries to pass, unfortunately including me. Because appearance and my reduced self-esteem are at the forefront of my mind, I notice these students’ clothes, their hair, the glasses, and the way they look. The stereotype becomes sealed in my mind. This is another thing that I regret – I had that horrible stereotype myself; it won’t be until almost another 25 years that I let some of it go. And unfortunately, I still struggle with it to some extent. It is from this memory that I become obsessed with the idea that Quinn will have style. I know in the big scheme of things this may seem trivial, but this is built upon difficult feelings from my middle school years – the time I felt most unsure of myself. I also hope and pray that Quinn will have a totally different experience in middle school. I hope that the canyon no longer exists. Special education and regular education students will interact and enjoy each other’s company. Doesn’t almost everyone want their child to have a different experience than they did in middle school? I certainly do, and I will do everything I can to counter those stereotypes so Quinn has the best chance she can during those awkward years.


1 comment:

  1. I love that Quinn will have style, and it doesn't seem trivial to me, at all! I may have mentioned before one of my first sad thoughts after Lucy was diagnosed. I was lying in the hospital bed, thinking back to her shower, and picturing all the beautiful baby girl clothes at home in her closet. I cried because she would never wear them. I look back now and laugh, because, seriously, wtf was I thinking? But it was that same stereotype that I feared. I am so glad that all these months later, I too, can proudly say, that Lucy has style!