The late comic Robin Williams told his students in Dead Poets Society that “words and ideas can change the world” if only they were true to themselves, to the people they are, with their strengths, flaws and dreams. It couldn’t be any truer than the recent news that Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old Swedish climate advocate, is TIME’s Person of the Year.
It also helps and empowers me (and I feel all Spectrumites) that Greta is a fellow Spectrumite, so this is a big deal for our tribe. I know that I’ve always tried to change the world in my daily life in some small way, but I don’t think I could’ve ever thought of doing the Super-blog without the support and encouragement of my friends and family, so for that, I wish to thank you all for all you’ve done for me.
That said, I know that other Spectrumites aren’t so lucky, so I ask all of my readers to consider the low self esteem that we might have from rejection, being left out, feeling that we don’t belong, that what we do isn’t right, that we need to conform to other’s ideals. It’s a rotten feeling, honestly, to know that you aren’t good enough as you are, making addictions to “inspiration porn” a high that we feel that we need. Now, imagine the kind of support one needs to have to become Person of the Year, it needs to defy those odds, and it does in Greta’s case, as the article from TIME itself (the link is here: https://time.com/person-of-the-year-2019-greta-thunberg-choice/) states that:
Thunberg stands on the shoulders—and at the side—of hundreds of thousands of others who’ve been blockading the streets and settling the science, many of them since before she was born.
The support for her and her cause grows with the following statement:
Over the course of little more than a year, a 16-year-old from Stockholm went from a solitary protest on the cobblestones outside her country’s Parliament to leading a worldwide youth movement; from a schoolkid conjugating verbs in French class to meeting with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and receiving audiences with Presidents and the Pope; from a solo demonstrator with a hand-painted slogan (Skolstrejk för Klimatet) to inspiring millions of people across more than 150 countries to take to the streets on behalf of the planet we share.
Of course, I’ve also heard the detractors, those even in the Spectrumite Tribe, telling me how much they wished their lives were different, as Ian Burrell’s opinion article “Greta Thunberg teaches us about autism as much as climate change”, (the link is here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/23/greta-thunberg-autism) explains their fears as such:
For we live in a society that, far from respecting difference, often seems to fear or ignore those that stand apart from the crowd. Look at how people with autism and learning disabilities are routinely abused, bullied, excluded from school, swept aside in the jobs market and shunted into the worst housing in the toughest parts of town.
What “Cure-bies” (those wanting a cure) don’t realize that whom they are is actually a
good wonderful thing, it means that we see the world differently and that can do wonders for our world. Later, Burrell points out that Greta says as much in an interview in the same article, saying that:
“Being different is a gift,” “It makes me see things from outside the box. I don’t easily fall for lies, I can see through things. If I would’ve been like everyone else, I wouldn’t have started this school strike for instance.”
In her article, How Greta Thunberg’s autism helped her become Time’s Person of the Year, (the link is here: https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/468091-opinion-activist-greta-thunbergs-autism-doesnt-hold-her-back) Sam Farmer, a fellow Spectrumite, shows how autism can be thought as a good thing to have because, as he states:
Like Greta, I, too, am an Aspie who often hyperfocuses, obsessively, on what matters most to me, and with solid results. I could not have become proficient at the piano had I not locked myself in practice rooms for hours at a time over many years while studying at music camps and schools. I could have given up early on my almost lifelong struggle at building self-esteem.
Later on in the article, he explains further the brighter light on the Spectrum:
Greta’s successes, when considered within the context of her Asperger’s profile, shed light on the importance of accepting neurodiversity as a significant and meaningful aspect of our social fabric. We acknowledge diversity with respect to race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, skin color and political affiliation, among others.
You see, there are just as many bad things about autism as there are good things, quirks that should be celebrated, not shunned. Things that we see that should be explained, not shut off. Opinions that we have are ones that should be respected, but never silenced. So, we should celebrate our victories as much as discuss our problems with others who get us. The choice is ours to make, but I want to encourage you, dear reader, to celebrate your gifts, what makes you different and find your tribe; your family. Only then can you finally belong and, as you evolve, finally….
Shine On!!! Congrats, Greta!!!!