I read “Community Means a Lot of Things” at Outrunning the Storm and knew it had to be a Post of the Week. The author writes of trying to find a supportive community and role models for her son, who is autistic, and the parallels with her experience as a lesbian.
I remember how it felt to never have a character in a book, movie, t.v. show, or a song on the radio reflect who I was. I remember the feeling of looking around and simply never ever seeing myself.
It’s the same feeling I recognize in Charlie every time he tells me he is just a bad boy or asks me why no one is Autistic like he is or cries because his children may not be Autistic and he wants there to be more people like him.
Readers should really start with her earlier post, “Community and Identity,” in which she says:
I believe every time we stand up and say this is who I am we not only free ourselves, but we make a little more room for the next person to do the same.
I want this for Charlie. It’s hard not to feel like I’ve failed him seeing the way he feels these days.
But, I know pride is a process, one that is not always linear. I know I don’t get to demand he feel it.
I also know pride doesn’t come without community. Being around someone who gets you, who reflects you, just feels good.
I hope you’ll go read both posts. They’ve made me reflect on the many ways we find and build community for ourselves and our children, and the common human needs that we all have.