Growing Up With FASD

I was born with fetal alcohol syndrome. I was also born mostly deaf as one of the side effects. I went through many years of speech therapy and had many ear surgeries that went terribly wrong. I had to deal with many health problems while growing up. Despite of that, that wasn’t the hard part – being born with FASD, that is.

It’s growing up with FASD. It’s trying to make friends. It’s following orders. It’s the little tasks in everyday life. A simple phone call can put me upside down. Will the receiver be able to understand me when I talk? Will I understand them? Will I comprehend the tasks they want me to do?

It’s nerve-wracking when you can’t seem to function at the job interviews. It’s nerve-wracking when you’re told to do multiple tasks when the first one already leaves you anxious and confused. I’m always anxious. I’m anxious to do laundry in a public space, and I fall apart when the machines don’t work simply because my brain can’t function how to deal with the situation. What do you mean I have to call a number? What do I even say? They don’t even understand me!

“But you look normal to me.”

Not all disabilities is physical. When you can’t put into words what you’re feeling. It’s not laziness. It’s hard to explain to somebody who doesn’t have FASD when you’re the one who has it because it basically just leaves two very confused people even more confused than before. How am I supposed to explain this? I will try, is all.

I graduated Cosmetology with straight A’s. I was always on time and did all my work ahead of time. Yes, I graduated a month earlier than I’m supposed to. Did you know at least 90% of my classmates quit let alone don’t even graduate? Sure, people look at me weird when I’m always asking questions and still somehow managed to be confused ALL THE TIME. It doesn’t get easier.

I’m discipline. I wake up to run. I do what I can to start my goals if I managed to start them at all, even if I am not always on point. The thing is, I don’t know how to expand beyond that. I can’t begin to comprehend how to get to be B from A. I’m already confused with A in the first place, so it is a bit ignorant to tell somebody with FASD to get proof on the disability when other person is, duh, the one with the disability. It’s like telling somebody with ADHD to just “chill out.” It doesn’t solve anything.

The best way I can explain what it’s like growing up with FASD is that I feel abandoned every single day of my life. I can’t seem to catch up, and it is frustrating when somebody who is 10 steps ahead of you tells you to sprint, so to speak.

I mean, I have asthma, but that’s another story.

It wont get better. It wont get easier. I can’t stress that enough. I will never understand, and I certainly will never catch up but I can improve and learn more. I can adjust. I guess what I am trying to say is that the people around you may not seem to have disabilities that are seen in the naked eye, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have them. It is scary because that is when we don’t get the proper help we desperately need. I don’t want hand outs. I just want and need HELP.

Statics show that many people with FASD don’t live beyond 35 years old. Well, I will be 35 this Sunday. I guess you can say that is a celebration in itself.

Fire Hero 5k

22792314_541740799504440_2772251966349911713_o I attended my second 5k last weekend. This event was supposed to happen back in September if it weren’t for Hurricane Irma. Either way, I am fortunate to run for such a good cause. I just never thought I would be 2nd overall for my age group. To think this 34 asthma stricken woman with very low blood pressure without having any sort of sports background would even achieve that.22769769_541859999492520_1192546124197918169_o

To think when I was in high school, it took me over 16 minutes to run a mile. Now I can at least run 2 miles in 16 minutes. While I haven’t beaten my pr, I’m still happy with the results from the race. The perks of arriving early? I didn’t have to wait in line to get my food.

The moral of this story? Don’t let anybody define you. Ever.

Great Gay 5k

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I ran about 2 and a half miles under 19 minutes with easier pace and rode 9 miles on bike level 11 in 30 minutes before my first 5k ever. I took it easy because I mainly worked out just to loosen up my muscles.

I did better than I expected since I never ran on sand before. I was the 7th woman at the finish line. I could’ve run faster, but I was more concentrating on keeping my rhythm and finishing the race. Period. Since this was my first 5k ever and that I never ran on sand before, it is not bad for a 34-year-old asthma stricken woman.

I’m proud to run for gay rights. To think I wouldn’t be able to marry my better half pre 1960’s. Nobody deserves that kind of discrimination. Love is never wrong.21766507_530180100660510_4817495172267318428_n

My better half gave me a present for my 5k achievement. This is my very first Nike pair. Ever. Thank goodness for Ross prices. I cry. The look on my husband’s face when I finished the race – pure pride. He was very proud of me that day. He kept saying to me, “Don’t be intimidated. You’re going to do very well. I just know it.” When I finished the race, he said he knew I was pulling back. >_<
22041891_529924087352778_409361659268819686_o If it weren’t for this 5k, I wouldn’t have known how beautiful the beach is over there. I would love to go back someday.

I’m still alive.

yikes18I’m still alive. Barely. I moved back to South Florida from Atlanta last year. It has been a rather uncomfortable, unstable ride since I came back from the States. I don’t think I will ever feel like home here, but I tell myself that it is only temporary – just think of it as a vacation that is a completely huge let down. Either way, I have my very first 5k coming up that I am excited about. Yes, I am still running.

I’m still alive. I think. If you can call it living, honestly.

34 Reasons to Be Grateful For

Since I will be turning 34 in less than two weeks, I may as well share 34 reasons to be thankful for. While I am bummed that I wont be eating cake in Taiwan (Western cake tend to be way too sweet for me, anyway), I still have so many reasons to smile. Case in point?

1. My funky retro shoes picked out by my husband – he gets me.

2. I’m still making cute cards for loved ones. While they may be simple, I am still happy with how they turned out. Continue reading “34 Reasons to Be Grateful For”

Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year!

I created this card for my husband. While I’m saddened that I cannot celebrate Chinese New Year with his family in Taiwan, I’m fortunate to be able to have a home on the beautiful island and that is something to smile about. To those who celebrate the holiday, I wish you a fruitful, successful, happy life. Happy Lunar New Year! I still don’t know what my husband and I will be doing this weekend, but it will involve food. Till next time…

A to Z Love List

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A is for amazing tofu. Most of my meals are tofu related – stinky tofu, miso soup, mao po tofu (with beef instead of pork), dao hui (Taiwanese dessert – pictured), fried tofu, steamed tofu, boiled tofu, the list goes on. I like the texture and how it tastes delicious when it’s sweet, sour, spicy or salty. I can have tofu 3 to 5 times a week and not be sick of it due to the variety of ways how to cook it. Continue reading “A to Z Love List”

Fish Out of Water

sadsadToday is a rather sad day. I’m not going to mention why, but some people who are reading this already know why. To think I came back to the States for this and due to this, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry – maybe both. Before I stepped on San Francisco’s soil, I was adventurous. I was eager to learn. I was happy. I felt like I was like everybody else. I commute like everybody else. I can relate like everybody else. I had the same mind-set, I had the same goals and we were all together – somehow I didn’t feel so alone. I was  content. Sure, I was an outsider, but I honestly felt more of an insider over there than where I am now. Sure, I made a fool out of myself with my poor Mandarin Chinese tones, but I was slowly improving. Since I arrived at the airport in San Francisco, the ringing my ears begin and since then I’ve been having this unbearable migraine that simply wont go away.

Sure, I’m a Pisces. I will be 34 years old next month, but I’m merely a fish out of water. I tell myself not to be selfish for I came here for somebody else’s happiness. I just have to continue to hold my breath, and hope for the best. Even if I turn blue. (Seriously, though, did it have to be in South Florida?) I left for a reason and now here I am back to square one…it’s enough to make a woman go mad!

I tried to pump myself up before the move. I really did. I even lied to myself, but months has passed on by, I begin to lose interest. In general. In life. I’m no longer adventurous. I just want to stay home. I no longer want to eat out. I just want to eat mediocre sandwiches. I don’t want to think about the future let alone the present because honestly, I don’t feel like I have one.

After all, I’m almost-34-year-old fish out of water who is merely holding her breath in an environment that wasn’t meant for her. I feel more of an alien here than in Shanghai. It’s one thing to be out-of-place in another country, but when you’re an outsider in your own…its a whole another story. I keep telling myself it’s temporary. I will breathe again.

I will breathe again. Maybe the noise in my head will stop ringing, but it wont be today. Now excuse me…I am going to eat another mediocre sandwich on this rather sad day.

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