This I Believe

Owen - Sandpoint, Idaho
Entered on July 18, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65

Disabilities are powerful opportunities.

I could not have said this 30 years ago. In my twenties I was still struggling against what I later discovered to be Asperger’s Syndrome, dyslexia and ADHD.

We all are gifted with something that limits our spirit. This gift can be a challenging problem where there is no escape or effective compensation for. Or it can be having everything we should want that causes us to have no incentive to evolve.

I grew up wishing to be admired by my classmates. I strived to dress and act cool, yet attempted to maintain an air of not caring.

I did everything in my power to be accepted. The harder I worked the tenser and more disappointed I became. As a kid I could not understand why it was so hard to be just normal and liked. Gradually I found myself getting in more fights for just being alive. I would be standing at the bus stop waiting for the bus and the next thing I knew I was in a fight. To my amazement, I often won. But that was not a good thing; it only provoked them to try again. I did get smart and realized it was better to lose.

The satisfaction of being more accepted in high school began to wear off. By the end of college I found myself more social, yet I had became tense and depressed.

I literally went on a quest after graduation to “find myself.” I ended up in Boulder, Colorado living in a house with a group of guys. A fellow from Florida came out to stay with us to do his Rolfing training. I thought why would this guy give up a good law practice to touch bodies, I wouldn’t do it. Just as any good attorney could, Breck argued a good case for me getting Rolfed.

My body letting go from being Rolfed was the beginning of the unraveling. The relaxing of my body began to open up new possibilities to being something more than who I was striving to be. This journey of surrendering to what I was hiding was not an easy journey, but it rewards grew year by year.

In graduate school I was struggling with a speed reading course when the instructor asked if I could to the cross-crawl, move my opposite arm and leg simultaneously. I could not. I released then I was dyslexic. Years latter listening to NPR I realized much of my social and emotional struggle was from having Asperger’s Syndrome.

Now at 53 I can say that the tension and despair my disabilities created were the motivators I needed to change. Attempting to be someone I could not be was never going to work. I had no choice but to change if I want happiness. I believe I was blessed with these disabilities not only for their incentives to evolve, but also because under their limitations were amazing abilities. I never would have imagined 30 years ago.