For many years, this has been one of my favorite pictures. It’s my feet and my best friends feet. It’s been both our profile photos and at least my cover photo before and will be incorporated into my memoir. It’s simple and there’s nothing fancy about it. The framing isn’t great and the colours aren’t ideal. But I love it.
I love it because it tells a story.
It tells a story of two best friends – both who have walked many places. Some easy, some difficult, but we’ve both walked a road.
It tells the story of two teenagers who met online over half their lifetime ago and their friendship blossomed into a real life friendship. Our lives are different in many ways, but the same in many ways.
We walk in our shoes. And sometimes, we walk in each other shoes, or at least we did when we lived together.
Our shoes have seen a lot. Our shoes tell a story.
One of Autistic acceptance.
One of mental health.
One of being neurodiverse.
These are our shoes.
And this is our story.
Today, we are encouraged to light it up blue. Today, we are told that being autistic is a burden. Today, we are surrounded by puzzle pieces and told we are merely missing pieces. That we are a puzzle to be solved. Today, we are told our hard our lives are.
We are told that people higher functioning are the “lucky ones” and people lower functioning are denied agency. Even though I may be both be so-called high and low functioning on the same day – I can make a phone call to my doctor, but I can’t use the stove without serious risk of injury. I can take care of my cat just fine, but taking care of myself is another story.
It’s time to shut up about walking in the caregivers shoes.
It’s time to care about our shoes, for a change.