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[personal profile] krystale
(Date in journal very approximate.)

Today was my first day at the Inclusion Center of Brattleboro,VT.
I hear it's usually quieter, which will suit me better. Today there was a youth group visiting from another church. The Inclusion Center has no religious affiliations or associations, but we do receive the blessing of donated space from two local churches.
All together we filmed the visual track from the Inclusion Center's remake of the Wizard of Oz.

Personal-historically, church basements and groups therein have had reoccurrences. I don't know why church basements make me teary, but there's a link. Long term followers of my blogging may recall some of Vistas' meetings, UU events and holiday church dinners.

Some initial parameters: these people had reason to assume I was disabled; additionally, I was in that space for the purposes of NOT having to hide my struggles

Everyone was nice. I wandered in, unsure and early. I wandered back out. A young man followed and asked if I needed help finding something, his voice kind but he didn't get too close which I appreciated.
"I'm here for the Inclusion Center. First time so I don't know."
I met the church's pastor who took my hand and led me to a table. It was strange. I didn't like it. Yet also I did like it. It's difficult to explain, but, for me, it oversimplifies fairly well. I often have a discomfort with touch that is a result of it being uncommon in my life. Even when I want contact, I have to KNOW I want contact before I can FEEL enjoyment of it. I have to warm into it.
Eventually it was sorted out. Since I was early, I'd been brought to the main facilitator, also co-founder I believe, who was chatting with and seated with some of the visiting youth group.

I could narrate it all down to a detail.

But what really struck me was the difference within the groups in how the treated or responded to me.

Everyone was kind.

The youth group and it's facilitators seemed to accommodate my differences. I understand and appreciate their intentions. They were delicate with me. Some acted as if I knew almost nothing. I was told some things I know very well in slow, clear, concise sentences, which were repeated. Given the spectrum of disabilities represented even in this low attendance day, this approach to me wasn't meant to belittle, but rather to make sure I was reached. I understand this. I did, however, have to remind myself of all of this and remind myself not to feel un-intelligent. Eventually they accommodated my shyness to the point they acted as if I was invisible mostly. Not in a mean way at all. I didn't really blame them, because I do look like a deer in the headlights when I'm not hiding my social reactions. I do LOOK like I want to not be noticed. I even was thankful for it to a degree because it was a crowded room with very little personal space.

Over the day, almost everyone in the actual Inclusion Center group approached me, all slowly, carefully, with a totally different feel.
"Who are you?" was playful, as if I was a new found treasure. When I spoke, they responded with relevant questions that often had a varied view than mine.
I had tiny full on discussions with almost everyone. One or two folks I need to learn some more skills to understand better. (I look forward to this. With so many differences there is absolutely no way they can't teach me stuff I currently can't even conceive of.)
What can you do? This was the main feel I got from other members of the Inclusion Center. I feel like I belong after just this one day.


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