I just had an interesting experience today, but I think to best explain I will need to follow the chain of events a little.
I’m a gamer and a storyteller. I always have been. I love the way video games have become a new storytelling medium. I love making things and seeing people enjoy my creations. Being creative was rarely encouraged by most people, though, when I was growing up, despite my mom doing her best to be encouraging of it. I could go on about that part of my life for pages, but I’ll do that another time. Short is that I learned to repress my creativity and that it was only acceptable in certain careers that I was too dumb or disabled to be allowed to do.
I want to make the world a better place. I’ve struggles for years in how best to do that. After the messeI’ve had with girlfriends and other people labeled as disabled, once I finally stopped denying the fact that I am highly intelligent (I am not saying that arrogantly, and it’s more of a curse than a blessing), I had thought the best way to make a difference was by going after a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. I’d toyed with the ideas of Joinery/Construction, a BBA, and even computer programming; Joinery was discouraged because of how expensive materials are and people think I’m too clumsy. A BBA was fascinating, but the cutthroat nature of business people just feels wrong to me. Computer programming of any kind was discouraged because of lots of reasons – too much competitiom in the industry, not enough jobs, not enouh pay, it’s not a respectable career…. Etc. So I thought a Ph.D. in Psycholigy was good, and people seemed to find that idea something they could at least respect a little. Moving to Vancouver put that 10-year plan into a full stop, though.
These days I’ve been fighting depression, anxiety attacks, and their resulting lethargy for months now. Somehow, the Arts Institute of Vancouver got my contact info; I don’t remember how, though I know I did give it to them willingly on a whim when I saw they had game development courses. I was sure I’d never be accepted and was sure no one would be happy if I was. After the Arts Institute called me a few times, about once a month, I asked them to remove me from their call list, thinking I’d never hear from them again. Apparently, I was wrong, as almost 2 months ago, I got a call from Ali, one of their admissions officers. I was about to dismiss it when something inside me said, “Why not go see? What do you have to lose? Just go ahead and do it, you know you want to. Do it for you, to hell with other people’s approuval.” So I did.
Despite how hard it was, I actually mannaged enough “bravery” and energy to get off my butt and, surprise surprise, was accepted into the Arts Institute of Vancouver. I was able to get unofficially accepted into the Visual and Game Programming diploma program. And you know what? It’s not only the right thing for me, it’s just simply what I want. I plan to live to 120 years old at least, lots of time yet to figure out how to change the world. Who knows? Maybe somehow, somewhere, I might find a way to use my programming skills and previous knowledge of psychology and leaening disabilities to help people. It’s just been a matter of clearing my old loans at TRU out of default and waiting for the official acceptance.
Today the official acceptance letter arrived (I really wanna frame it) and I got a call from Ali to come in and finish the paperwork. They need me in before 2pm and yet, despite the urge in me to not be late on this, something in me held me back a bit longer than I think I would have otherwise. I was feeling lethargic and mildly depressed, so ended up dawdling longer than I probably should have. I already have my own ideas as to why I felt this way, but this entry won’t be for going into that. I finally told myself I was being too lazy and needed to get this done, so went and caught the bus.
As I was on he bus, an East Indian man wearing headphones and carrying a box of pizza started talking to the lady bus driver right beside where I was sitting. He started what sounded like a polite conversation, but I immediately picked up on the signals that he was trying to convince her that it was ok for him to eat his pizza on the bus, because she could just go ahead and be ok with it. It was a pathetically weak argument, especially when taking into account the reasons why the transit company has the rule of no eating on the bus. Something inside me urged me to join into the conversation and politely ask if he understood why the “no eating” policy even existed. Turns out he did not, so I very politely and mildly enthusiastically explained the safety reasoning and cleaning reasoning behind it. It was clear he was not pleased at having simple and irrefutable logic shut down jis desire to just eat his pizza anywhere he wanted, and he got off at rhe next stop.
The driver and I had a chucke about it and started talking, having a very enjoyable conversation about jerk passengers and jerk drivers, both being in full agreement. There came a few moments where I had trouble hearing her, though, so I moved closer and (out of respect for her personal space) politely informed her I was doing so because my Auditory Processing Dissorder (APD) made it difficult tomake out her words from the distance I was at. She was unfamilliar with APD, which is understandable; it’s not a hugely common disorder. I explained it simply and clearly, as I’ve learned to do over the years. She understood easily, but that’s where things became interesting. A lady sitting where I had been just before I got up to chat with the East Indian fellow overheard my explination but apparently missed hearing me say before the explination what the disorder was called… And she asked me if I’d ever heard of Auditory Processing Disorder. It was a bit difficult to keep from chuckling.
It turns out that the lady’s daughter has Auditory Processing Disorder, and is even recieving treatments to help improve. I honestly had no idea that any treatments even existed; there weren’t any known to exist in Kamloops, and I had been told that the few that were experimental were expensive and not covered by basic or PWD medical. We got to chatting and she told me that her daughter’s treatment was expensive indeed, and part of the treatment was, as she described it, an incredibly ugly and boring video game.
My first though immediately was, “I can make it better.”
There are no such things as coincidences. The bad events in our lives are not just random events in a shitty world or merely punishments for wrongdoings we assume we deserve. The bad happens to teach us how strong we really are, and nudge us towards the place and time in our lives we need to be to reach our truly greatest potential, and to change the world for the better, in our own way rather than in the ways that others dictate is “acceptable.” Just because it seems like the world may seem against you, listen to that still small voice of defiance inside you, and find the voices of encouragement that echo that decent. Rise up and say to those who would quash your strenghts, “Not today. Today is my day.”
Ali, when you read this, I want to say thank you for being that echoing voice of defiance I needed right at the moment I needed it. I am in your debt.