I just nearly finished the book, “Life, Animated” –“nearly” because I just couldn’t bring myself to read what was nearly certain to be the upbeat tone alluding to the main character’s continued success in life.
After a life in which his parents provided the best (and expensive) schools and therapists – “Team Owen” his Pulitzer winning writer father dubbed it.
After a life in which the parents did everything in their power to prevent him from becoming – horrors! – a “lonely 50 year old”.
After the last line is where I stopped reading. I am a fifty year old who is alone, who is unemployable, who will never marry or have kids. Whose parents are long deceased and who relies on the kindness of others. Who fell through the cracks and receives no public services. Who spends most of her time alone, whose life is mostly digital. Who cannot stand more than an hour or so in public, who loves animals but not people, and who Disney did not save. Who gets stared at in public because of her strange behavior, who would be bullied, or at least in fights, if she spent enough time out with others. Who had been in jail and many hospitals, group homes and nearly homeless.A train wreck, who is only in the past year showing some improvement thanks to the wonderful program and my therapist at Autistry Studios.
And I realize I am sick to death of these feel – good autistic success stories. I am a failure by definition, especially compared to the subjects of books like, “Life Animated”.
I say it’s past time for a story of someone who DIDN’T succeed, who is an adult and still like a child. Who is most often irritable and even surly. Who doesn’t suffer fools gladly and lets it be known, has decomps often, sometimes throwing things and storming out. Who, more often than not, simply refuses to try, doesn’t participate and tells you she doesn’t like anything about it. Who would much rather be alone and does so.
And is happy anyway! At least, when not reading schmaltz like “Life Animated”.
Here’s to the failures who have no heroes and no sidekicks, who live in reality, not fantasy, and who love themselves anyway!
And who, incidentally, never liked Disney and had the most epic decomp at Disneyland because of the crowds and the overwroughtness of it all, never to return. Who reads mostly non fiction and has no fantasy life.
Who would rather look at the beautiful images of NASA and Hubble any day!