Now that I have convinced myself that there’s a way for me to start up the nonprofit organization of my dreams without winning the lotto or writing a surprise bestseller, I’ve started talking about the organization I want to found. I’ve been having conversations with random people all over the world, often ones who do not have an established, vested interest in autism.
They take me seriously.
This surprises me.
As I child, I can remember telling people I wanted to be an author and that I wanted to make a living writing books. People tended to steer me in other directions. I’d need a day job, they’d say, like being a secretary. I’d need a real career, they’d say, and if I wanted to write for a living I should think about becoming a journalist. Nobody ever really took me all that seriously when I said I wanted to be an author.
Don’t get me wrong. My parents fed my voracious appetite for books. They let me expend endless amounts of paper writing. They even let me use up their envelopes and stamps sending out my manuscripts, starting at the tender age of twelve. They didn’t keep me from trying. They just wanted me to be realistic. After all, I was a dreamy sort of child and realism was a foreign concept for me.
I look back to where I was and see where I am and look ahead to where I want to go. I see why people take me seriously. But I also know that the dream that’s chosen me is a big one. In many ways, it’s not realistic. But then again, it wasn’t realistic to go to graduate school while raising three children with special needs. Not only did I finish my degree, I got straight As, top marks, a 4.0.
To heck with realism. I know how to dream and I know how to work hard to realize my dreams.
Then, I take a closer look at where I am and what I’m doing: I say I want to change the world. I realize that all those random conversations do exactly that. They change the world. It’s only a little bit, sure, but every time I open someone’s mind to the idea of helping people with neurological differences take part wholly in society, regardless of the severity of their special needs, I start a chain reaction.
The more people I convince of that the closer I come to making my dream the new reality.
So, they take me seriously. Good, because I am serious. I will change the world. And that’s pretty cool!