In less than a month, you will reach a milestone that many thought upon you’re entry into the world.
You’re going to be 30 years old.
By now, you’re most likely thinking to yourself “Yeah, as if.” while you’re hooked up to multiple machines as this random lady, who you’ll know from now on as mom, reaches for you in that plastic Tupperware container they call an incubator. But trust me, you got a long life ahead of you. A tough one. The doctors will be releasing you soon, and you will be home with these two awesome people called Mom and Dad.
They will try their very best to raise you as “normal” although they know something must be wrong. They get you checked out when they find that you have Ocular Albinism and that you’ll have a hell of a time adjusting to a normal life. Because your life will be far from normal.
You will start your life in sunny Florida, but at a young age, you’ll be uprooted and sent back to Philadelphia where your parents grew up. Not only is family up there but a team of doctors at Will’s Eye Hospital who will poke and prod you to death…well okay, not death, but it will feel like it. But in the long run, this will help you out greatly, soon enough, you’ll start vision therapy and enter preschool. And life will be awesome….until you reach kindergarten.
You’ll strive as hard as you can to succeed in your school work, only to have it tarnished by bullies who will stop at nothing to make your life a living hell. You will hate being different, and I mean hate it with an extreme passion. You will come across a few awesome teachers and friends along the way, even in that one year you land in special ed as a kindergarten flunker, you’ll find great comfort in knowing people have faith in you following your dreams. Even a dream as extreme as working in Disney World. More on that later.
Your teenage years will be just as crazy. You might not think you will fit in, and use work and volunteering as your escapes from reality. This will pay off in more ways than one, as you scare some of your very first jobs, including a practice run of theme park life at Sesame Place. You will also become semi famous for a bit as you embark on a little adventure called the Millennium Dreamer Global youth summit, a special event you are invited to go on as a token of appreciation for all the hard work you put in standing up for the little guy and working with the special needs community in your school.
Things won’t be all fun and games growimg up. You will never have that first date or that dream prom since you aren’t to many a normal girl they would want to be with. You will feel alone, depressed, and just want high school to end. You will bust your butt to make a change in your life. No way will things stay stagnant for long. And as an adult, you will refuse to settle for less.
And that’s when you find yourself going to college. But not just any college, a college you earned scholarships for, a couple hundred miles from all you have known.
Welcome to adulthood.
You will still feel that same feeling of loneliness, but not for long. You’ll find the closest friends you ever had in your life and for once, you feel like you belong.
This journey will also help open your mind to not only helping others, but helping yourself at the same time. See that gentleman in the Donkey Kong shirt? This man will forever have an impact on your life.
You will meet a much older gentleman in your travels named Bill. You might not think this matters now, but his presence will turn that hatred you have about yourself and your disability into something powerful. That something powerful is called self advocacy, and what better way to learn from a pro himself?
Things with Bill will become weird, as you suddenly find yourself in awkward situations where you gain valuable skills as a caregiver. And keep in mind, you’re still going to classes, work, and eventually, an internship working in puppetry. And you take it all with a smile.
At this internship, you’ll meet what you believe to be your first true love. You move in together in your first apartment as roomates and within a short time frame, you are engaged.
You devote your whole life to this man, unknowingly accepting, and later lying to yourself, the skeletons in his closet, which will then make you the breadwinner while he hops from temp job to temp job, which takes you on a journey back to your hometown for a bit.
You become a caregiver in a high school, the very place you hated. The students changed but the vibe was still the same. But somehow you made it work, trying your hardest to help those in need. There you go with that Mother Teresa attitude again.
But after awhile, you think back on your life and decide to take risks for the first time. You leave home and the “fiancée” for a shot at chasing your childhood dream down.
And guess what? It pays off. Your boss, none other than Mickey Mouse himself.
Aren’t you lucky?
The move to Florida will be yet another game changer in your life, as you soon realize you are worth more than what you think. You make it thruogh the ranks from working at a gift shop to being a vacation planner in the very park that has become your life, from the trips you took as a kid to the youth summit you went to as a teen.
Welcome to Epcot.
Here, you will find yourself along with the aide of a great group of friends who have accepted you for who you are. Never forget how important these friends are to you. For they amped up your confidence greatly. You have an active social life, when your budget allows it.
You will find yourself alone again relationship wise. You spend your nights with your friend from better days on the phone teaching him to selfie and waiting for the day you see each other again.
But until then, you will continue to move forward, picking up work as much as you can while battling buses. But unlike many, you hold down the fort alone. Your own place. With no support other than the occasional drop of cash from mom and dad.
You got this girl. You may not have that mansion and hot Notebook style boyfriend, but you got this. You overcame all odds and look at what you have become. You rule like a true princess. Own it for all you got, and let the adventure begin. And never stop living your dreams.