Confession Friday – Megan from Sunshine Wonderland

The following post written by Megan from Sunshine Wonderland is the epitome of what this series “Confession Friday” is about. I champion her for being so honest and opening herself up. This is a prime opportunity to read someones confession and relate to or understand an opposing opinion.
I am proud to have this post on my blog.

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It’s ironic that Desiree asked me to do a guest post at the same time I was pondering one of the most hidden parts about me. One that I have struggled and fought with, been embarrassed with, been chastised for…
and finally come to terms with and accepted and moved past.
I could have picked an easy confession, like how I pick my nose or how much time my son spends in front of the television
or even the fact I changed my first diaper at 30 years old.
In this world of quick information, mommy bloggers and over sharing on the Internet I feel like I have seen it all; from the deepest secrets to lighthearted stories that everyone shook their head in understanding.

In high school, my dad began running around with a group of guys that he knew through the service club circle. One of these had a son older than me with a crush.
He had a crush on me.
I remember distinctly one party at a friend of my dad’s house. The feast was dwindling, the beer still flowed…and the boy followed me around as I walked around exchanging pleasantries with whoever greeted me.

I sat down.

He sat by me.

I scooted away and he pursued.
I shrunk away and escaped to my mom’s full table, sitting close so there was no more room, embarrassed and self-conscious.

He made me uncomfortable.

Not because he had a crush on me (even though no one had asked me out at that time and I was still a shy naive girl with a wall up over her heart).
No, he made me uncomfortable because he was born with Down’s syndrome.

With a deep breath and hesitation I confess that I have struggled most of my life being comfortable around people with special needs.

In this politically correct world, where even mentioning someone with a disability, only certain terminology can be used to identify them or else it is an insult.
How can it be anything but insulting to say that I would shrink from conversing with someone with special needs?

When I was very young, I would hide, inching around the other side of my mom’s body and avoiding eye contact.
In school, I tried to stay away from the wing that held their classes, songs, shouts and hushing coming from the open windows.
I avoided even talking to that boy, the one that was the love of the football team, who helped the coaches and stood by every game at the sideline in a Letterman jacket.
Some people run from bees or panic in enclosed spaces.
I would shy away from their blunt, innocent conversation and their too-close-for-comfort friendly aggression, struggling to be on the same wavelength.
I know they are sweet, funny, nice, and have just as many interests, passions, dreams and challenges as anyone else.
I don’t understand why I struggle to find common ground.
I have been honest about it, opening myself to criticism and confounded questions from friends.
I have tried to be open about it, only to be hushed and protected against those who would be angry.
I have fought against the awkwardness, starting conversations with the one who always says things that makes my polite side run, substitute teaching a middle school class full of raunchy commentary and tantrums, speaking in front of a group full of interruptions, distractions and questions.
I have shared their space while I waited for my son’s swim class, encouraging his friendliness and easy admiration of the bright towels.

I am happy to think that many who know me would never guess I have this problem.

I am hopeful that maybe others have had this same uneasiness and also outgrown it, worked past it just like me and maybe they too, can say “I understand” and nod.

Hopefully, someone will.

I am happy with the thought that my son will never learn that lesson from me, the discomfort that I was never taught nor shown by example.

I am happy that he will never hear this confession from me.

 

Megan blogs at Sunshine Wonderland.

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I want to be honest with all of you and say, that Megan is very nervous about criticism regarding this post. She has admitted to being a “people pleaser” (aren’t we all?) and does not want to hurt or offend anyone. Thankfully, this series and blog is not afraid of outliers in opinion or feeling. We’re all human, we all have feelings that we sometimes cannot control. “Confessions Friday” is all about posts like these and there will be tons more just like this one.

In high school, I was also extremely uneasy around adults or children that have developmental disabilities. I like to challenge myself and I took on a social work job as an employment specialist with adults with developmental disabilities. I worked there for 3 years and completely overcame my uneasiness. I love my client and still keep in contact with him even today.
I am confident that you all will understand and even relate to Megan. And you most certainly will not think differently of her.

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3 responses

  1. Megan, first, thanks for sharing!

    And second, I can truly relate. The truth is, I am an impatient person. I am always in a hurry. I walk fast. I speak fast.

    So, I had a huge uneasiness so people with disabilities. I also, like Desiree, majored in Social work in college, I learned about all the isms, I work around those with disabilities. I was always friendly, but still, battled the uneasiness I had.

    In high school, I would stand in the corner and watch as the kids with special needs would get off the bus and stroll around me. At lunch, as they were being helped with their meal. Or while I worked at the grocery store, and the shoppers would bring a group in to shop.

    There is an uneasiness, but now I understand it is “the unknown.” It comes from not knowing, not understanding, not being with the societal norm. But, if we all think about it, we can relate to that. There is something that goes against the societal norm in each of us. It’s our own battle.

    It starts with a conversation, and from there a connection is born. We all have to remember that.

  2. Oh Megan, Good for you!
    It is scary admitting things so personal that you know aren’t your best traits and hoping that people are understanding rather than judgmental.

    Everyone who encounters someone so different from what they are used to is going to be uncomfortable! It is human nature! Our minds are designed to watch out for potential threats, and the best way it knows to do that is to notice “different” behavior. You are not a bad person..you are just a normal person.

    When I first got to Ghana the people and the touching, the culture, the disparity there- all made me uncomfortable. i was there to help them and I was afraid of them!

    The best thing you can do is what it sounds like you have been doing. Just never miss an opportunity to get to speak with someone with special needs. The more you understand the people you are meeting, the fear will just fade away. That was my experience.

  3. Coming up with a topic for a blog post is often hard. Doing a guest post somehow seems to ramp the difficulty. Adding a risky disclosure? The trifecta. 🙂

    When you are a writer and make a risky disclosure, it can create a sense of intimacy with us, your readers. Your post made me stop and think. Aside from jokes, I don’t think I’ve ever done a risky disclosure on my blog. I’m lacking your courage.

    I think first and foremost your feelings are your own. As such, they are not “right” or “wrong.” They are what they are. It’s up to you to deal with them as you see fit. Maybe examine them and see where they came from. Try to emphasize that which makes your life better and minimize that which doesn’t. That’s your job, not anyone else’s.

    I had a neighbor who was a young child with Down’s syndrome. She had a crush on me. For some reason she always called “water boy.” I think it was because I used to help her water her plants. Your post has motivated me to get her a gift, stop by for a visit, and tell her, “Merry Christmas.”

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