Monthly Archives: June 2013

My Letter to Alex Spourdalakis

Dear Alex,

We never met but I wish I had met you.

I heard about you on the news and I heard you were in the hospital a lot. I spent a LOT of time in hospitals when I was younger and it was really scary. Hospitals smell of a really bad combination of sick and healthy and the lights are really bright. I remember being scared and unhappy that I couldn’t just be at home playing with my stuffed animals.

I was really sick but my mom and dad loved me so they brought me to the hospital and I got better. I was still Autistic when I got out, but I felt better. When I was a kid I couldn’t eat a lot of milk or I’d get really sick and I’d get mad at people because I felt bad so they should feel bad. Things were really rough when I was a kid and I want you to know that I understand.

I understand feeling trapped in your own body and finding comfort in your head. We were alike.
I haven’t always been able to talk to people and I know that it took a lot of work and I wanted to stop. I wanted people to understand me and I’m lucky that my mother loved me a lot. She still does love me and I know I’m very lucky to have the relationship I do with my mom.

I thought about you the other week and I tried to see how you were doing.
I tried to google you and I didn’t find anything.
No really, I tried and scrounged the web and looked in some dark spots of the internet but I couldn’t find you.
The internet was too quiet.
and I had to stop looking because I was in a scary part of the internet.

That part of the internet was filled with people who hate people like me, people with Autism. They think we are medical errors and don’t realize we are people. I have dreams and hopes and I have a cat named Zap but he lives at my mom’s place so he can go outside to chase chipmunks. He never hurts them but he likes to play with them. I’m not something that went wrong and needs to be cured. I just need to learn how to behave in some situations and how to do some things on my own without help.

I don’t know if you liked dinosaurs or if you wanted to be a firefighter. I wish I knew those things.

I know your mother killed you.
She killed you because she thought you were suffering and in pain all the time.
She didn’t understand that you were not broken, you have Autism.
Autism means you are special and different.
I have friends with Autism and they are nice people.

I’m sorry that you mom didn’t understand how special you were.
She tried to give you too many pills and then she hurt you when that didn’t work.
She hurt you a lot.
I don’t know how scare you must have been.
I’m sorry you were scared.

The world is a big scary place and I wish you could have seen more of it because it is also a beautiful place. There are places filled with mountains up to the clouds and beaches were all you see is the ocean all around you.
I wish I would have met you.

Alex, you were a wonderful person and I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet you. You lived outside Chicago so maybe we did meet at one point. Maybe I passed you on the street and we were both having ice cream.
Did you like ice cream?

I need to go now because I am going to hang out with my friends today and see my mom. You would have liked my mom. She knows who you are and we are all sad that we didn’t get to meet you. I wish I could talk more, but I can’t get a letter back from you so I’m just going to hope you get this message.

I hope you are having fun in heaven. If you see my Grandfather you should tell him I say “Hi” because I miss him. You should have him tell you some of the stories he told me. He has great stories and I know he loves to tell them to people.

I hope you know you were loved by people.
I love you Alex and I wish I had met you.

Your Friend,
~Brigid Ann Sinclair Rankowski

Review You

List 1 personal goal for the upcoming year. (Optional)

Shit.

Normally I can BS my way around this question, but it’s seriously making me think. It’s very difficult to simplify my goals because they are so grand. Dreams should be big so even if you can’t reach them, you at least get somewhere. I’ve always dreamed big ever since I was a kid.

I was raised to believe I could do almost anything. Being an Astronaut was out of the question due to my height, as I was informed by my father at age 8 and thus forever crushing my space camp dreams. So when you raise a creative child with the belief that they are limitless in their possibilities, it tends to stay with them into adulthood. I firmly believe I can do anything I set my mind to and reach any goal if it’s truly what I want.

There’s the problem.
I have goals, I’m not sure what I want.

My goals are scattered on the backs of random pieces of paper like treasure maps.

Three paces past the square rock.

If someone else is trying to read my map, they won’t understand any of it.

Spit towards the wind and hop three times that way.

Although appearing disjointed and unrelated, there are things connecting the goals.

Spin around until you fall towards your next move.

It’s not always obvious….

Grapevine twice towards the water.

But I know where I’m going.

X marks the spot.

Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

***********

It was during a martial art’s class when we were asked the question so familiar to kids.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Sitting on the matted floor, I raised my hand high.

“I want to be happy,” I said.

My friends and instructor laughed.

The other students talked about being doctors and lawyers and bakers. They dreamed of stability and had already planned out the person they wanted to be. Their job was going to define who they were. They would be Doctors or Lawyers or Bakers. If someone where to ask them what they do for a living, they would give their job title.

People ask me what I do and I tell them I play with fire or I say a I’m a professional pirate in a vaudeville troupe. My titles are not important and I’m unable to fit in a neat little description. Some of my goals for this week involve laundry, mermaids, and hair dye.

And sleep, I always forget that one.

List 1 personal goal for the upcoming year. (Optional)
-Figure out what I want.