School Years

I never thought I’d go through a lot and experience a lot in 35 years (this is 2 yrs ago) of living life through my lens. You’re supposed to grow up a kid having fun, playing around, make lots of friends, become a teenager, go to school dances, learn how to drive and date, go to college, get a job, get married, have kids……basically the traditional life that everyone tells you to do and live. I mean, that is what growing up is right?! That is what we’re all supposed to do according to society. Well guess what society?! You can kiss my culo (cuban word for ass). Some of us didn’t live and don’t live this way.

So here’s what the view through my lens looks like. As you know, if you read my previous blog, I didn’t have a normal childhood or teenage hood. Life wasn’t easy and it still isn’t sometimes, but I’ve managed to live this long and I still have quiet a lot left to live, see and experience in this sweet life of mine. Just because my disability kept me from having a normal childhood, it doesn’t mean that I have let it bring me down and not live a normal adulthood. But I mean, who wants to live a normal life anyway right?!

For some reason some of my school years are a blur. Maybe because I spent most of it in and out of the hospital. The one memory that sticks out the most is when all the kids would take naps and I wasn’t able to take one because at that time I didn’t need the ventilator during the day. For the first few years I went to a special education school. The school was actually divided because on one side it had kids with special needs and the other side was for normal kids and there was only one school nurse. Eventually I was able to transition to the other side because I was capable of learning more than what special education taught.There was an elementary school right down the street from where I lived, but they had never had a student with a disability before so the nurse at the school I was attending fought for me to switch to that school. Honestly it was an easy transition for me, but an educational one for Rorimer Elementary. So here began my journey of attending regular school with regular kids and eventually schools began to have kids with disabilities.

Then came Junior high which was a totally different experience. I mean, you go from being in one classroom with the same kids to having 6 classes with breaks and a schedule. So moving from class to class wasn’t fun, but it’s what I did just like every other normal abled bodied teenage kid. If y’all think I look young now, you should’ve seen me then. Anyway, high school wasn’t so bad after getting through junior high. I mean, eventually you get used to changing classes and having to tell each teacher that you need accommodations. In high school, I had just a TA with me and not a nurse. When I mention this to my nurses now, they’re shocked. I don’t think people realize that if you have a different outlook on your disability then you can actually live a normal life. Why should a trach and vent stop anyone from leading as normal a life as possible? I think I turned out fine without needing a nurse at such a young age. I graduated high school and even went onto college……without a nurse. It’s not like I have 3 heads or anything. Like I always say, it’s better to ask than to assume or to think that what you’ve learned from a textbook is how every disabled individual lives or should live.

If you’re reading this and you’re thinking that you have to live a certain way that society says is the right way, make them feel stupid and do your thing. Live the way you want to live your life. After all, it is your life and no one else.

 

Mel

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