This is my first time making a blog and first time writing one, too. Since yesterday was my birthday, I had wanted to write a special “birthday” post, but procrastination took over and I just decided to be righteously lazy. It’s not my birthday today, though!
Twenty-two years ago, a woman of the name “Lois” and a southern gentleman of the name “Bob” were married and had one kid. On January twenty-third, Lois gave birth to a second son. They named him after popular western star, Alex Trebek. Wait, that’s wrong; pardon me. Well, either way, they named him Alexander; Alec for short.
Now, as all new parents know, though with a first son already, Lois and Bob were astutely aware that hospitals have terrible return/refund policies and absolutely no deals on warranties. Six years after the procurement of their second child, the 68th Academy Awards were hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. And Alec had his first epileptic seizure.
The discovery that I had LKS (Landau Kleffner Syndrome), an autistic epileptic syndrome that affects the brain’s ability to process language, was bit of a shock for my mother. The events of the evening I had my first seizure, concluded in exactly the way a wise young child might see fit for it to: by quickly returning to sleep as soon as the panic induced by the event was no more. With great gratitude to the loving support of my parents, and the powerful ally of modern medicine, I was able to live a relatively normal life. Although at many times difficult, my life was never threatened by the presence of LKS, nor did my family “fall from honor,” or any such nonsense of the kind.
When I celebrate my birthday, I prefer it to be quiet and quite private; an affair of nuclear family and one or maybe two-at-max close friends. A fair score of years past, I would never have been permitted to observe such an essential celebration. During earlier ages of America, in the 1700’s, I would have been one of thousands of others from all ages and walks of life locked in a prison — a prison shared by murderers and criminals, in the hopes that my unhealthy mental state would have been “educated” out of my system. In medieval times, I would have been put to death or locked up somewhere beneath a monastery out of society’s superstitious fear I was the vessel of demons.
In Ancient Greece, my family would have stricken my existence from their memories and cast me out into the streets to wander as a no-name beggar; ignored and cast away from the minds of my fellow man. As long as I didn’t draw any attention to myself, I would have been allowed to simply fade into obscurity and at some point in my childhood, die like a stray cat. Such were the customs in those ages, when it came to the treatment of the mentally-ill.
Even in 1996, just as medicine was developing to help the mentally handicapped, quite a few doctors wished to label me as clinically retarded, thanks to my brain’s inability to process spoken word. As all can see by the blog post, that’s quite far from what I am, isn’t it?
I don’t wish to draw attention solely to all of the horrible things I may have been put through had I been born in another era than this one. There were a high number of places all around the world in each of those ages striving to find their own understandings of the human condition. But in progress, there are always mistakes that cannot be taken back; trauma undone to the children and adults who suffered such depreciation. From all mistakes, wisdom can be drawn.
When I celebrate my birthdays — that’s our main subject, remember? I often look for a moment of solitary silence to respectfully salute every individual of similar condition who would never have gotten to enjoy a wonderful evening in the company of beloved family and cherished comrades. It gives me a sobering strength to draw upon every time I fall into a slump or difficult situation, that falling into despair and failing to appreciate every small or large thing available to me today, would be akin to the total desecration of everyone’s progress and the loving support of my parents. That, is an insult I would never dream of being responsible for; because there is always tomorrow to look forward to.
Thanks to all who decide to read my first blog post! I’m eager to know what everyone thinks of it, and even more eager to receive any feedback on how I could have written this article better.