One

I sat out in the backyard as I rocked slowly back and forth. It was a beautiful day outside, even if it felt really muggy and gross. I didn't real mind the humid Maine weather that much, but it was one thing my older sister Olivia couldn't stand. The sounds of cicadas buzzing all around never once affected my sensory processing, especially when I usually couldn't stand them.

Sitting in my lap was my iPad, which I used as a journal. I also used it as a communication tool because I refused to speak normally to others. I had no problem talking to mom or Olivia when we were at home, but I did mind a lot when we were out in public though. You see, I happen to have an invisible disability that affects the wiring of my brain everyday.

Basically, things that are no big deal to you are an even bigger concern for me. I'm the one that everyone refers to as bratty or spoiled because I couldn't handle the noise in Walmart. Or the one they think is acting out of control when things don't go as I originally planned. Bottom line is, I can tell you that I'm nothing like the poster child for my disability you see each and every day.

"Alana, we're going to go check out some tents at LL Bean," mom said to me as I squealed and hurried inside.

I loved going to LL Bean, but it was really far from where we lived. The fun part about it was being able to explore the tents. No one really seemed to mind me doing it as long as I didn't cause any trouble. It was a long drive to the sporting good store when we finally made it there.

"I want you to stay close to me and not wander off," mom said to me with a stern look. "Olivia, I need you to keep an eye on her as well," she said to my sister who nodded.

The two of us walked hand in hand into the store so I wanted bolt off. Mom often worried about me getting hurt or killed by a passing car too. It was best if someone was hanging onto me and keeping me out of harm's way. I started squealing with excitement while wringing my free hand at my side.

People began staring at me for making my noises at random. I always found it hard to hold in my excitement, which led to me acting this way. I could hear them whispering to the person next to them about how I was behaving. It hurt me to think they thought I was some retard or something.

I mean, of course I'm not a retard either. No one with a disability should ever be considered as one no matter what. It's true we act differently than people are used to, but how else are we supposed to express our excitement? Not long after reaching the tents did I venture inside each of the display ones.

Olivia watched me like a hawk as I flapped my arms wildly. I sat down on the floor of a tent while I began rocking myself back and forth now. I continued making random noises with my flappy arms at my sides as well.

"Is there anything I can help you with?" a woman asked Olivia.

"No thanks. My sister likes to explore the display tents," she nodded and began to chuckle.

"Let me know if you need any assistance then," she smiled until walking back to her spot again.

It wasn't long until I ran out of the first display tent and into another. I did this countless of times while exhibiting my strange behaviors. It caused more intent staring from customers as they saw me going to and from different tents though. I didn't really seem to care what people thought of my actions, but I know mom and Olivia did everyday.

"Why don't you take a picture? I'm sure it will last longer," she said to the ones who glared at me.

It did get most of them to continue their usual business normally. I just wish Olivia wouldn't bring so much attention my way. I always thought was more embarrassing when people knew something was wrong with me. It wasn't like I could help the things I did each and everyday, but they didn't seem to realize any of that at all.

After some looking around, mom settled on a bunch of camping supplies. We were preparing for our first trip to Acadia. I couldn't be anymore excited about it as we carried everything out to the car just now. I began screaming and sobbing uncontrollably because we had to leave so soon.

I wanted a chance to explore the place, but mom said we had to get home first. There was still a lot of planning to do before our trip finally came. The three of us realized we needed to be ready for anything as well. I still became more and more excited about it every single day though.

Mom thought it was great that I had an interest in camping. I absolutely loved being outdoors and didn't care about the bugs. That's why she decided it might be fun for me to experience Acadia for the first time.

People began making rude comments about my behavior. They accused me of being bratty and spoiled instead of realizing the real reason. Not a single one of them understood my special needs at all either. It wasn't fun being called names just because of something I couldn't control. I wish I could tell them what was happening, but it was hard for me in this state.

"If that was my daughter, I would teach her a lesson in acting out," one woman remarked with a little girl about five years old at her side.

"I'd love to see you raise a child with special needs," mom retorted to her while scowling.

"Special needs? Please. That girl is just a spoiled brat who needs a swift kick in the ass right about now," the woman shook her head in disbelief. "My sister's son has Down syndrome and acts way more civilized than she does. He's only three years old too," she stood there crossing her arms.

"I think you are forgetting that not all disabilities are visible to the naked eye," mom said after calming me down.

It wasn't long until I climbed into the car to head home. We had a long journey ahead of us, but at least we were ready for our trip. I just wished it would come soon before I exploded from sheer excitement though.

The End

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