By An Adopt4Life Youth
Hi, I’m Freggly—or I would be, if this was the movies or a book by Jeff Kinney. You know, not the star, but the kid that is at the bottom of the “popularity chart” page. And if I were in a movie, I wouldn’t be a person anyway. I’d be a cat—that cat that sits on your keyboard when you’re trying to work. Or the one that tries to jump on the counter, and just ends up knocking stuff off instead. I want attention, but I just don’t know how to get it the ‘normal way’ so I do whatever I can to get you to notice me. I have FASD and here’s a day in my life:
My day starts, the same old way, with the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth. I’m not sure why the world expects you to get up every day to go to school. School’s not really that great a place to be. When I was younger, I used to have a sticker chart that told me step by step what to do to get ready for the day: brush teeth, get dressed, take your pill, eat breakfast, get your lunch and go to the bus. It really helped. My mom thought that since I was now in high school, after 10 years of the chart, I would be able to get ready on my own, and it’s been a nightmare for her ever since. I haven’t touched a tooth brush in months, wear to school what I wore to bed, am not hungry enough to eat or worry about lunch. I don’t really even want to start eating until bedtime, and by then I can eat the whole fridge—I think she really misses that sticker chart!
Sometimes my brother is mortified by what I wear to school. I don’t really understand a lot of things like “sarcasm” so when people say my tinfoil crown is “cool” and bow saying “All hail to the king!”, I’m sure they all really like my outfit! Then my brother has to go and wreck it by telling me they’re making fun of me, like the kid in “Loser” who wears the big giraffe hat to school. I didn’t realize they were teasing me and sometimes it’s just easier to not know the truth. But that’s one of the problems I have. I’m never sure when people are teasing, or serious, and it sure gets me in a lot of trouble at times. I’m what they call “a literal learner” and my teachers and friends don’t always get that. They are surprised when I leave the room when someone says “No way? Get outta here? Really...?” Well, they DID say to get out of there, so I left. They just didn’t say where I should go…
Change is tough for me. I get a wee bit anxious about new situations. Okay, my mom would call that “an understatement”. If I have to get a needle for school, that will probably be a “several month” undertaking. And a trip to the dentist? So what if a cavity takes 2 hours to fill? Does the dentist have anything better to do than hang out with me? I mean, really? I only bit him that ONE time… But now, we’re friends. I now know what’s going to happen and I hug him when it doesn’t really hurt. Have you hugged YOUR dentist today?
Change isn’t the only thing that’s tough. Everything is tough. Having a shower is like the worst punishment on earth. I could have 3 baths a day (and I would) and of course, the tub HAS to be filled to almost overflowing, but that showering thing… people don’t understand that “sensitivity issues” is a real thing. You may as well be sandblasting me when you put me in that shower! It’s like the clothes I wear. I don’t need brand name—in fact I don’t WANT anything that has embroidery or logos, or buttons, or zippers… just get me slinky shirts with no labels, athletic pants with elastics, and a fuzzy hoody and I’m good all year round! I will wear that same outfit forever! My mom should really be grateful about all the money I save her on outfits when I wear the same thing every day!
There are lots of things that I wish I could tell people about me. Things they don’t understand about why I do the things I do. But honestly, sometimes I don’t even understand it. I just know I want the same things all kids want—some good friends, to have fun, to be liked for who I am. It’s sometimes hard for people to see past the odd way I dress, or act, to know that inside I’m really a great kid, with the imagination and curiosity that could write a thousand story books… if only someone would open the cover and let me tell my tale.