Thursday, March 24, 2011

I like cats.

Want to make me cry when I'm at college? Ask me about how much I miss my cats.

I have four - Mittens, Gimli, Tony and Murphy - and all of them have special meanings to me. Murphy, my youngest, is especially important since I found him during a rough time in my college career when I was struggling with OCD. He saved me, and I saved him (he was a tiny unweaned kitten when I found him). So that's why I drew him in my arms for this post.

My cats throughout my lifetime have taught me all sorts of things. When I was born, I had two older cat-siblings, Arthur Malone and Hillary Rose, and when my grandmother moved in with us she brought with her Gremlin, her passive-aggressive orange blob. Art and Grem both passed away from cancer when I was in elementary school, but Hill lived until I was nearly sixteen. I also adopted a kitten named Mitchell when I was ten, and his death three years later from kidney failure was the first major loss of my life. Growing up surrounded by these cats meant I learned responsibility and how to take care of others - combined with having a younger brother, I became a great nurturer. The cats have also been friends to talk to, shoulders to cry on, and sick day companions, and when I look into their eyes and we blink at each other or I get a headbutt, my heart absolutely swells with joy.

My cats have taught me how to love.

And here's the thing - if your child is on the spectrum, seriously consider getting them a pet. Animals are loyal, trustworthy friends for them. They give them something to talk about and share with others. They teach responsibility and respect and love. If you ask me, adopt from a shelter, where the best pets always are. I used to volunteer at a shelter in high school - RBARI - and all those wonderful animals deserve someone special. I know all of you are special, so go and give someone a forever home!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Keeping My Balance

It's something I'm not too good at doing, especially in fancy shoes. But on Saturday, I was wearing fancy shoes and walking in them and everything.

For the very first time, I went to my campus formal. I'm a senior.

See, at the campus formal, it's dark and crowded and there are lots of people bumping into you all the time. And when you don't know too many people on campus, that makes it even more awkward to deal with. And on top of that, I hate dressing up and looking all fancy. It just doesn't work well for me. Being flat-footed doesn't help too much on the shoe front, either.

But this year was different. It was my last year here, so I figured I should go at least once. My roommate (who's been wonderful in helping with my Asperger's over the years) and another friend of ours, who also happens to be an Aspergirl, all ended up going together. And in going together, that made it so much easier for me. I wore a dress (it was green and on the longer side). I wore dress shoes. I didn't wear makeup, but that's only because it makes my face itch. I even had a glass of wine - just one, because I don't drink much, but I had one. It was just plain huge for me to successfully go.

I only stayed about an hour because I had gotten up at 7:30 that morning to go to Antietam on a field trip. But it was still a success for me - something that took a lot of courage to do. And I am so, so glad that I went in the end, even though I was nervous to walk into those doors.

And since I know you read this, Mom, I'll close with an actual photo of me in a dress for you so you can be pleasantly surprised by me.