Jun 16, 2016

Step into My Shoes // Autism, Authors, and Non-Profits

I pride myself in being a bit of an atypical blogger. I'm not your cookie cutter Lilly Pulitzer wearing, Pink obsessed, high heels gal or all black and white or navy and coffee shop aesthetics. - NOT THAT any of that is bad. I'm guilty of liking these things as well, but that's not what I focus on as a blogger. Also I have discovered that the above is what the majority of my readers like reading and are interested in. -  Part of this is because of my age. I'm 15, a rising junior in high school. I don't have the time nor resources (money in particular) to achieve that chic lifestyle everyone covets. Instead, I have a different story to tell. A story past my about page. A story that brought me to this point in my life. Where I'm sitting. Surrounded by succulents, cacti, bromeliads, tulips and cucumber melon scented candles. At a white desk (handmade by my dad). With a Camelbak filled with lemon water. Around 3 PM on a Sunday. Writing this post for you all to read at whatever point you are in your lives. 

Let's take this back to the beginning... or at least earlier on in my lifetime.

I have an older brother named Isaac. Isaac's your average 17 year old boy y'know aside from the fact that he has pretty severe autism. Please don't take this as a complaint, it isn't. Isaac is probably more average and normal than I am, honestly. But, I could sit here and type about Isaac's autism forever, so I'll just save some of this for another post... or you can read this one

In 2003, my little brother, Jonathan was born. Not gonna lie, I wanted a little sister, but God put Jonathan into my life and I am so thankful. Without Jonathan, I would be a significant amount more serious than I am now. Jonathan has added that element of humor to my life that without it... I have no idea what I'd do or who I'd be. I shudder at the thought.

Skip ahead to 2006, and my little sister was born. The amount of prayer that went into this child is pretty insane. I desperately wanted a sister, and my prayers were answered. I thank God (most days - because she is a little Sassy MCsass Pants) for Tirzah. 

Not quite sure why I included all of that about my siblings in here... maybe just to give you some background on me and maybe better understand my situation? I don't know... Let's roll with it. 

As you can now see, I'm not the oldest sibling. But because of my sibling situation with Isaac's autism, I've had to step up. Jonathan and Tirzah needed someone to a) translate mom & dad's parenting b) rant to c) blame things on while I'm at school d) I don't know whatever else younger siblings need older siblings for.... Again, please don't take any of this as complaints, I love my life. 

Skip ahead to 2013. My momma decided we were going to visit all 47 of the South Carolina State Parks. I complained and complained my butt off at the time, because I was a 12 year old going on 13 and if you remember this letter to my  12 year old self... my attitude was one I most definitely regret. Anyways, big idea. State parks. All 47. It was slightly overwhelming. Not only because of the number but because of a sort of program my mom wanted to be the first to family to complete. The program was called the Ultimate Outsiders and determined doesn't even begin to describe my mom.

We did it. We finished the program. The experiences I had at the South Carolina State Parks changed me for the better. My attitude was becoming an out of control problem. I was mean and rude to those who were the closest to me, and refused to listen to any perspectives that contradicted my own. After spending hours on the road and on the trails with my family, I realized how lucky I was. How truly blessed I was. Not only did my attitude change for the better as a result, but I discovered a piece of myself I didn't know existed. A passion for photography.

The Ultimate Outsiders program inspired my mom to write a book. She told the tales of our many adventures. She self-published and put the book on shelves and Amazon for many to read and enjoy. Honest truth - The book was published May 2015 and I have yet to read it on my own. I'm honestly not certain why I haven't... I know my mom's writing though and have heard bits and pieces and would definitely recomend.

In 2014 we started a Facebook page. As I've said, Isaac has autism and there isn't much he can do. We took the opportunity to make Isaac an example of what kids with autism can do. Isaac reached "fame" by telling people around the world "good morning". This April, we launched our non profit organization, I Can 4 Isaac. Our current project is providing beach wheelchairs for the South Carolina State Parks including Myrtle Beach, Edisto, and Hunting Island as well as trail chairs for the more inland parks so that the state will be better equipped to accommodate all guests of all mobilities.

It is now Summer 2016.

I, a nearly 16 year old am seriously struggling. I have so many things that I hold important and am having difficulties balancing all and spending adequate time with each. I want to hang out with friends, explore new places and photograph as I go, volunteer at a ton of events and organizations, be an active blogger with new and relevant posts, as well as being the social and creative director for I Can 4 Isaac. I have a lot on my plate. I have a lot I want to accomplish and need to accomplish and I am struggling at finding the inspiration and drive to accomplish all that I want and need to. I have enough ideas to last a life time. In the past few months where all activity on my blog has been very much stop and very little go, I have filled three notebooks with ideas for posts as well as creative projects for I Can 4 Isaac. It's crazy. Many find themselves stuck with writer's block and cannot find anything to write about whereas right now I'm the opposite. I have SO much that I can write about, but I have no drive to get past the first couple paragraphs. You should see how many drafts I have started but cannot finish. It's insane.

It's going to be interesting to see how I can manage everything... or even if I can. We'll just have to wait and see.... Here's to finally getting another post up, no matter how random it seemed. My goal was to give you a bit of perspective so that I can quiet a few of the direct messages I've received telling me about missing my blog posts. I'm truly having difficulties with balancing life! It's nothing I can't handle, and I'll find my new pace and y'all can follow along with me.

'Till then,


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