(Origianlly drafted a 5:45 pm on Sat April 21, 2018)
It’s been many months since I’ve written for my blog. I’ve had many moments when my heart has been stirred to write but I just haven’t taken the time. Life gets hectic with the daily grind, holidays, and getting back into the swing of Ayden’s final season of little league baseball. But in the crazy there are moments of quiet. Today’s quiet has thrown my heart into a tailspin….
Several weeks ago on a lazy Saturday morning Ayden and I were snuggled up in bed and we giggled as we watched a video of Verne Troyer (a.k.a. Mini Me) unpack his miniature Tesla and take it for a spin. I sipped coffee and we watched and giggled at the silliness of the video. Fast forward to this morning, another lazy Saturday morning tucked in bed sipping the coffee Ayden had made for me. This time my Saturday morning with Verne caused my heart to skip a beat as I read that Verne had taken his own life. As the news sank into my head I had one of those moments like you see on tv. The scene where every moment of the past that is relative to this current situation comes flashing through your brain like a slide show presentation set on fast forward.
It’s been many hours since I learned the news of Verne’s heartbreaking passing. In those hours my soul has been in complete turmoil. His passing is a stark reminder of how difficult the life of a little person can be. How tough life for Ayden can and will be. It pains my soul knowing the things that Verne, Ayden and all Little People are forced to endure.
I’ve slowed down that mental slideshow and would like to share a portion of it with you one slide at a time….
In January a school principal in NJ taking a photograph of the student teacher with dwarfism and distributing it via text message with the caption “LOL”.
Two days ago this senior prank list was making the rounds at a high school in Texas. When the senior class student with dwarfism reached out to the principal for support there was no help at all.
Last summer America’s Got Talent television show featured a group called the Quiddlers. This group’s act is nothing more than a group of average height people making a mockery of people with dwarfism all in the name of entertainment. And a panel of celebrities found it to be extremely humorous.
The sad reality is dwarfism is the only difference/disability that society still deems perfectly acceptable to make fun of. Here is an article that shares a very graphic description of what life is like for people with dwarfism and why mental health issues and suicide are so prevalent in the LP community.
I am an advocate and fiercely love our little people community. I freely use my voice to seek to open hearts and minds. I am so thankful for the cocoon we live in. Our Bothell town has become a safe zone thanks to the caring hearts in our community. But.. if we venture even a few steps beyond the boundary of our community, the safe zone vanishes. Ayden is treated differently in communities outside of ours. Middle school has been a brutal transition for Ayden. Inclusion and acceptance as we’ve known it is a thing of the past. School wide inclusion and acceptance has been replaced by typical middle school behaviors that are far from kind and not very accepting. Ayden’s middle school is outside the boundary in the next town over from us. Ayden has been resilient but middle school has taken its toll on him.
Verne’s suicide is a stark reminder that we still have much work to do. It has always been my goal to work feverishly to help Ayden develop confidence in himself so that he may take on this world that can be very unkind to those who are different. Today my heart is shaken. Verne had found success, he was well loved and respected in society, and yet, life became too much for him.
Although today my heart is in turmoil I will not succumb to the fear of Ayden’s future. I will remain hopeful that positive change will continue and inclusion and acceptance will become the norm. I’m resolute in my advocacy and I cling to hope. In a nation divided by a social cataclysm, it seems like an insurmountable task to gap the great divide. Daily I see the struggles of the LP community and daily it pains my heart. How do we right this ship that is on such a destructive course? I wish I had answers.
Some may call me a snowflake. I’ve been accused of being overly sensitive. People can can say what they want. They won’t silence my voice. I’m a grandma who loves fiercely and will continue to advocate to my last breath in an effort to create a world where Ayden and other little people won’t ever have to feel that their only option is to take their own life. Please stand with me. Please be the voice of kindness. Please please please talk to your kids about differences, inclusion and acceptance. Let’s continue the dialogue. I’ll help you have the conversation. I’ll bring friends… Let’s talk.
Rest well Verne Troyer. You gave us joy. Joy I wish you could have found for yourself.