My son recently mentioned that one of his favorite songs is “Cool Kids” by Echosmith. He was singing the song while I was driving him home from Karate class one evening. The lyrics struck my core. Little Ray identified with the words of the song and I suddenly feel his pain.
I feel Ray’s struggle to “fit in” among his peers, in society, and in life. He didn’t seem particularly sad about the reasons he likes the song. Then again, I didn’t ask why. I already know he’s the odd one out.
Ray may have a few friends that talk to him or play with him. Sometimes his classmates invite him to birthday parties. But kids don’t ask him for playdates or sleepovers often. My son is what people call “weird.”
We all want to fit in and be likeable. Yet society has already labeled the norm. There are rules on how to behave, or what the public considers as proper and decent in appearance and upbringing.
For Ray, these rules aren’t always easy. His Autism is mostly strange to kids and even some adults. I think ASD makes Ray unique. It gives him a quirky personality, and nothing is ever boring when it comes to my son.
Oddly, I relate to Ray’s experiences. It’s a constant battle to please everyone, although we just can’t please everybody.
Hopefully, the criticisms, put-downs, and letdowns do not deter Ray from overcoming life’s challenges. I hope he takes each discouraging experience and changes them into a strengthening lesson of life.
Or, maybe I do because I need to.
Think positively. A sad or negative situation may feel like it happens almost all the time. But sometimes a happy event is waiting to surprise us. Just as Alexander Graham Bell said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
It sounds so simple to leave a dismal incident behind and pursue brighter opportunities. Though it’s harder to take the initiative and open the door.
In my case, I definitely need to think positively when it comes to writing. The determination to write something good, something memorable, something moving, and something worth buying is my present struggle in life. Some people will like my stories and some will hate it. I’ll just learn from the critics, and turn the negatives around to make my other stories better.
Nothing in life is easy and I understand this hard reality. I remember telling one of my beta readers the reason I started the Dia-Matic Keys project. Simply, I’m challenging myself to see if I can finish it. I want to show my kids that having aspirations are worthwhile.
This is my unique way of leaving advice on how to get through life’s trials and tribulations to my children. So don’t be afraid to dream. Life is scary, yet it’s also an adventure. I hope my kids will enjoy the fictional stories and learn something from them. As a writer, I wish that others would too.
In Ray’s case, some kids don’t like him. They don’t know my son. But some kids like Ray once they get to know him better. Those few friends help him feel good about himself. Ray needs these little triumphs to boost his self-esteem and live his life the best way he can.
So in the end, “weird” could turn to “cool.”
Have you dealt with life’s struggles? Was “fitting in” difficult? Or, have you empathized with the “weird kid” and helped him or her feel like they belong?