Butterfly #Poetry

We are at a stand off

in my truth and light,

My truth is rooting

deeper into the rocks

Into the core of the Earth

like the familiar

knives of grief

Like an epic rebirth

of my inner child

and

every

bit

of

me-

An intricate pattern

Dripping and

weaving swirls below

My deep green eyes

Dried tears have become

my war paint –

glittering like pure snow,

Becoming a tapestry of light

that my wounds have etched

to tell my story, of all I know,

The butterfly inside of me-

And you stand there staring-

Watching me grow

Watching me rise,

Rising like the woman I am,

Because I finally can-

Rising like a star from dust,

Rising to right here right now

& because I must

I rise to this very occasion,

To fly.

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Open Letter of Gratitude

The past couple of months have passed in a blur of sorts with my Christmas project and my move back to Massachusetts. A single mother of a special needs son who is also a friend of mine had shared that she couldn’t afford a Christmas tree or to really give her son a Christmas this year as a lot of her belongings were lost in a fire and my heart broke.

My mother was also a single mother and most of my readers know I have Autism Spectrum Disorder. For those who know special interests can work- there is quite an advantage to it at times. I felt inspired to act; to do something to give this young boy and his mother Christmas.

It began with dozens of phone calls to tree farms and florists all over the state of New York trying to find a place that would donate a tree. I was in tears when the local Home Depot stepped forward and donated a tree and decorations. But it didn’t stop there. I had made dozens of inquiries to companies all over New York and my email inbox started filling and my phone started ringing.

Words of kindness, donations to a GoFundMe fundraiser, and more gift offers came pouring in. I feel blessed and it wasn’t even for me! An enormous shout out to American Eagle, Miller’s Toys, The Home Depot, Mamaroneck Flowers, and Bloomingdales for what you’ve done for my friend. I cannot even express my gratitude in words.

Your kindness gives me hope back in humanity. 🎄♥️

Sincerely,

Gretchen Leary

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The Snow #Poetry

This poem was written while listening to the Prelude to Ave Maria by J.S. Bach.

The snow; it falls so softly,

Like the tender notes of Winter-

I stand watching a symphony,

of gusts of swirling glitter-

Like ice forming; a lullaby plays

& I stand in a daze// in awe

of the wonderland before me,

Among a million

crystallized sparkling butterflies

dancing until they drift to sleep

in blankets so soft and white,

to welcome the holiday’s Eve.

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Dear Keala & Hugh @KealaSettle & @RealHughJackman #Thankyou #Autism

Dear Keala ( & Hugh)

Where do I begin? The expression “thank-you” does not feel big enough to express my gratitude. While I know you did not write the song “This Is Me”, it’s begun to change my life and it is your performance of the song itself that I remember during moments when I feel like I stand out and feel alone.

It is then that I remember that I was born to stand out and I remember the way you walked while you sang that song. I recall how you danced with every ounce of confidence and oomph I’ve ever witnessed and I aspire to walk, sing, and live my life just like that.

It is a dream of mine to meet you and the cast from The Greatest Showman one day even just to thank-you in person. I channel my inner “Lettie” any time I feel like I’m stuck in the dark but need to be a powerhouse and a lighthouse instead. If I never get to meet you all, I hope you at least get to read this. I am forever thankful to all of you for reminding a woman like me with a disability that it is my differences that make me the most beautiful.

Sincerely,

Gretchen Leary

gretchenleary@yahoo.com

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Down By the River #Poetry

Those eyes of yours

told me stories,

As your strong hands

gently guided me-

down to the river,

Your fingers laced with mine,

& Autumn breathed-

a smooth crisp breeze-

& almost a shiver

to anyone listening,

& stirring the heat-

Between soft words

and a beautiful silence //

Swirling my hair in the air,

As my forehead pressed

against your chest…

And we danced.

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A Snowy Dream #shortstories #writing

One of the oddest dreams I’ve ever had.

The air was cold outside the train window and my fingers felt frozen to them as I leaned closer to see the world spinning by me. I heard others around me telling each other that the last stop had passed and we were heading into unknown territory.

Tiny snowflakes danced against the glass and I curled my toes inside my warm boots with this taste of excitement filling me and warming me. We were in Alaska finally but where we had left from I’m still unsure. After all, this is just a dream.

The trains lights flickered for a second as the doors opened to this unknown place. Frigid air and all those pretty snowflakes felt less magical in my hair and blasting against my face as I stepped down off the train. I felt slightly abandoned as I stood on the wooden platform. What was this place?

All at once I hear a cheerful voice coming closer and a tap on my shoulder. “This way silly” she said with an odd expression on her face as though I should know where to go; as though I had made this trek a million times. I curled my toes again to warm them and stuffed my hands in my gloves and we boarded the bus to take us to whatever place it was I was surely going to recognize.

I was wrong. As the bus, which felt far less welcoming than the warm train had, drove down snow covered streets, I could see clusters of wolves and of bears wandering the streets. Children laughing excitedly and pointed and my friends shrugged when I asked if this was safe. “Just keep your distance silly”, my strange friends would say as I watched a particularly large wolf wander down a snowy lane filled with softly lit homes as casually as a stray cat might. Needless to say, I did not want to get off the bus.

“Here’s our stop folks”, said the driver and I hesitantly put one shaky foot in front of the other and then firmly on icy gravel. I stayed in the middle of the crowd as we walked. No creature approached our pack of frozen people. Their packs seemed happy to keep their distance as well.

I laughed nervously as I wound my fingers around the fabric in my pockets as I considered how strange we must appear to them as well. My silly red hat especially. I kept my head down and focused on my breaths and the power of being in a seemingly endless sea of wanderers as we approached the house I surely must know in memory. Silly me.

I was the last to walk to the door but it was latched and locked. I peered inside and there were people cheerily putting away their coats as I frantically banged on the glass panes. The wooden frame of the door rattled as my panic heightened when I saw a black form slowly approaching. I swallowed my scream and banged harder as I saw the face of a black wolf and his front paws come into view as he attempted to climb the railing.

I threw my hat at him as though that might help. I saw an acquaintance watching now from the door with a quizzical expression on her face. I yelled “Please go away” repeatedly attempting to shove the beast from me with all of my strength. I could see his orange fire-like eyes glittering in the soft light and the tiny snowflakes until I heard him whisper “Please, do not be afraid. I need you to listen.”

Startled beyond measure I almost slipped backwards and he took that liberty to climb up onto the icy porch and sit beside me. His eyes looked off into the distance as I scrambled frantically to sit up. It was the moment he turned again to look at me that I recognized a softness in his eyes that my own fear had blinded me from. He almost looked kind of wolf could ever look kind.

I nodded at him to show him that I was listening as I wrapped my long coat around me tighter. “Come with me”, said the wolf, “It’s time to go home.” I stood up and dusted the snowflakes from my knees and glanced back at the people merrily toasting to some celebration occasionally glancing at me as if all was well and I was where I belonged.

I turned to my new friend, this beast of a beautiful black wolf, in the sparkling snow falling around us with a sense of newfound curiosity that every new adventure requires. “Okay Wolf, take me Home. Is Home a nice place? I’ve never been there before” and off we went; The night was quiet around us as we travelled down snowy roads. All I could hear was my own heartbeat which sounded like drums. This was to be an unforgettable journey; and so it was.

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Perseverance #Autism

There are times when I wonder if those around me see my struggle. Some days I wish they could. Other days, I’m praying that they can’t. There are days I am so proud to be different and there are days when I would give anything not to be on the Autism spectrum.

But there is something that ties all of that together: Regardless of where my mind is that that day or whether or not someone noticed my disability. Regardless of whether or not I made some huge social faux pas that I wonder if I’ll be reminded of for the next five decades in gentle jest by the friends- the message behind these two concepts that ties them together to me is that I didn’t give up or lose hope either way.

Sometimes I wonder if my dream of traveling the world to read to preschoolers all around the world and being a motivational speaker is just an epic day dream. But then things, big things, like my talks, tv interviews, or recent trip to the Philippines to do just that happen and I recognize that anything is possible.

My dreams may not unfold as I wish they would but they will unfold as they are meant to and as they serve others best. I have such faith that the creator of the universe is watching over me every day and knows my heart to serve and hears my prayers and will pave the way.

My dream to speak to students at schools of all levels about bullying and my dream to be a motivational speaker who reaches tens of thousands or millions of people might not look the way I see it in my mind, but I know that my passion is to serve others and that sharing my story can be a part of that dream. Not because my story is so unique but because it is a reminder that no matter who we think we are or how small we might think we are – we all play such a beautiful role in healing in others. When we take our blinders off and start loving ourselves and, by doing so, beginning to love others the way we are meant to…everything changes.

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