Monday, February 4, 2013

Unexpected Co existence

I saw a Muslim woman today walking across campus in the far distance. She was timid but held her head up high. She had the whole head dressings and the draping attire, although her face was exposed. As her clothes blew in the wind I watched students walk by her and stare as hard as they could. Was it out of ignorance? Some I can say fully were. Some people just stare at things or people that are different. I have learned not to stare. Over the course of my life I believe you look ignorant doing so. 

I found her to be so strong to attend a predominately American Cultured college as a Muslim woman and hold on to her religious beliefs. Brave. Like my daughter Grace, so brave to be herself and not care what people think. I envy this about Grace and this particular Muslim Woman.

As I slowly approached her, I had a thought. I knew at that very moment how she felt. To feel different. To feel misunderstood. To feel out of place. One look or glance her way people automatically form assumptions or a quick judgement on her. It is how I feel when Grace scripts in front of people I do not know, or when she is over stimulated and melts down in public places, or when she throws items across restaurants. 

As I came closer to her, I mustered up confidence which I lack in these types of situations. We walked parallel towards each other, my nerves set in and I inhaled to slow my heart. I smiled a smile of understanding and care. I opened my mouth and said, "Can it get any colder out here?". Her smile grew big and I saw her shoulders relax. We both laughed and just passed through. It was the smallest interaction. But it made a difference in her day and a huge difference in my life.

I never in a million years thought my experience and life with Autism would co exist with a Muslim woman passing by me on a college campus. In the course of 3 or 4 minutes my view on life is a little different and my heart is bigger.

"Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement"


  1. Curiosity question I often ask myself: Would you have reacted the same way before Grace came into your life?

    For myself, I know I was fairly worldly and open due to other experiences, but no where near as I am now. My daughter broke my biases and intolerance.