I wish everyone reading this a very happy holiday season in this most bizarre year. It’s a time of reckoning and taking stock of how we lived during the last twelve months. But it’s also a time to think about others and what you would wish for them in 2021. 

I wish everyone lasting peace in their hearts however that may look. Perhaps you are angry about the election results, or afraid of what those with opposing political views might be planning to pursue to promote their political agenda. To you, I wish a little perspective on what your so-called opponents are seeking. Do their goals come from a place of fear of others or from a place of love? Do they seek to bring prosperity to a bunch of people who are hurting, or limit those who look different, act different, or have other religious views? I believe we have more in common as humans sharing space on this planet than any competition of wills between populations that have struggled the same but at different times in history. 

Now we are rounding the corner of a year that will be remembered by all of us in so many ways. Many families lost loved ones to the coronavirus; millions more are dealing with financial problems or job loss. So many small businesses are gone for good, and the world has grown smaller, leaving large numbers of us isolated and lonely. I wish you not only strength in your daily lives, but a strong community and support system. We cannot function in solitary life, but must find ways to support each other. This means a lot to me as a disabled person because so much of my day relies on other people helping me along. I recognize the intricacy of my abilities versus the amount of time it takes me to finish a task, go somewhere, or attend a class. I think there’s a lot of overlap between how disabled people often live and the place where so many of us now find ourselves: disconnected, poor, and written off by the government. We are turning to mutual support and assistance to feed our bodies and souls. In a way, we’ve grown to value connections again: in our families, with our classmates and coworkers, and through our friendships. Our siblings may like us less, or we’ve found new ways to make that relationship evolve past squabbles. What is central to this is new connections with the people who matter to our hearts.

Finally, I want to wish my fellow autistics justice for what non-disabled people take for granted: a natural right to be themselves in the world; to be able to communicate, work, play, and flirt; to go to school with non-disabled kids without having to prove their worth; to be educated and taught in a manner that makes sense to their learning style; to have the opportunity to live as independently as possible; and to be appreciated for all the gifts they bring to the world.

I’d like to finish with a toast for the last hour of December 31st

Bring this year to a sleepy close

Let us roar back like the river in spring

Fill us with love for our most distant foe

Lead with wine for our tongues and salt for our bread

Set the table for all who remain 

Fire us with love

only love.

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