I’m Proud to Be a Light

I used to think that pain was part of a long, windy happiness, that happiness was something you could achieve if you played your cards right all night and didn’t make any bets the dealer wouldn’t make himself, and that once you had it in your blood that it would stay with you like a Lyme disease that keeps sucking from you even after it fell off. But I didn’t know then that,

when I thought about wanting more happiness to reel back in laughter from, as it tickled my sides like long, windy fingers, what I really wanted more of was the kind of respect that shows up at your door at an odd hour and asks for some advice.

When I drop the happiness narrative into oblivion like an old pair of favorite jeans that haven’t fit for years and just think for a moment about respect, I’m reminded that I have a fair, if not better than average-sized glop of it buzzing around me,

an observation I measure by recounting everyday moments that seem to exist outside of time, when someone looked up to me for doing something with the shovel of integrity, or perhaps for just doing something messy and smelly that they wouldn’t do. More importantly though, I think I’m beginning to respect myself for standing up for those smaller and more innocent autistic students I’m honored to work with.

I’m simply proud to be a light for them, the way a few in my life have been a light for me, you know who you are. Now I just have to figure out who makes me laugh like a porpoise, the way I make my students laugh.

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