First, if you haven't read the article on how raising awareness became my passion you should. It can be read here http://lifeontheothersideofthewall.blogspot.com/2010/04/autism-awareness-month-and-how.html.
That was one year ago and last year I knew what I wanted, but had no direction. It isn't so much to want to raise awareness and to want to help, but one must have the platform to do so. I didn't have a platform nor did I have direction. All I knew was what I wanted, but had no idea how to do so.
My drive home from New York City last year was a very sad drive. Being in New York City at Autism Speaks made me feel as if I accomplished something, or rather a part of something. Leaving there, one year ago, I felt like I was coming back home to nothingness. My passion was set, but what to do about it? What could I do in Missouri when I discovered my passion in an office in Manhattan?
Through some odd twists of fate I did some consultant work at Touch Point Autism Services, and at the time I thought this would be a one and done gig. As you've read though through my previous blog entries, hopefully, you know that I am now full time at Touch Point.
When I started full time I did not know how much of an impact I could have. It's impossible for me to see what could be so when I started I was just hoping that I could raise awareness and understanding.
Last year when I left Manhattan I was thinking big. I may have been blinded by the big city because I was back to my "go big or go home" mentality. The past couple weeks have changed me in a big way and through this change I have realized that big starts in one's own backyard.
I'm writing this today in Joplin, Missouri and tonight I have another presentation. I have seen more of Missouri on this extended road trip then I think I have while living in this state for 17 years. Before I only saw what was on I-70, and I-44 and when one just stays on the interstate I believe one can lose the sense of community and humanity that exists outside the interstate.
What I am getting at is, for one thing, I love this traveling, but secondly the people I have encountered at my presentations are people that if I had just "gone big" I may not have been able to make a difference. Don't get me wrong, I still want large opportunities, but I also want to go to as many small towns as possible because there is need there. Autism isn't just located in the metro areas of the world, it is everywhere and the response I get, even at a presentation of just 16 people, is of the utmost thanks.
I wish I could comprehend the magnitude of a comment such as, "Thank you, I now understand my son a little bit more." or, "Thank you so much, seeing you and hearing you speak gives me hope." Perhaps if I did fully understand it I would be unable to get such results, but regardless I know what I am doing is important.
One year ago I could never have thought this would be reality. When I wrote the chapter, "The Fourth Wall" in my book I envisioned that I would get to travel around and talk about that concept. I dreamt of sleeping in hotel rooms and driving many miles, but it was only a dream and I quickly thought back to reality and the fact that something like that could never happen to me. Boy, was I wrong!
I don't want to keep saying I am having the time of my life, but from where I was to where I am now I feel like I must. Traveling and being on the road is my dream. This isn't relocation theory, but it's close. I feel alive, and I get to raise awareness and understanding at the same time so whatever I was dreaming, or envisioning when I drove back from Autism Speaks I think my dreams came up short as this is the time of my life.