Open Letter to the World

To Whom it May Concern,

This letter is not an attack. This letter is not a confession. This is not about you. In fact, this might surprise you but the world does not revolve around you. No, this is about something much bigger than you could even imagine.

You see… I believe that each and every person has the capacity to be a bully or a friend to each person we encounter in this world. I believe that it is a choice. I believe that bullying is actually a sign of weakness and inability to cope with the way a different person deals with life. I think that bullying is nothing more than an unhealthy coping mechanism.

I truly believe that I have I the choice to accept the things I do not understand versus the extreme alternative of attacking it because the very thought that someone else would make a different choice than what we personally would make makes us uncomfortable for religious, educational, or any other reason really.

I believe that we can instead choose to say “I don’t understand you (or your choice)” and let it go at that. There will be plenty of others who may choose to bully that person instead but I firmly believe that regardless of whatever religion you have, personal or organized in nature, calls us higher than that.

We, as humans, collectively all have different beliefs and goals in this world but I believe that deep down we all want to feel a sense of peace and unity with us. I believe that many build walls around that feeling. Emotional walls that protect that pure essence because we have been hurt so deeply ourselves.

But while I truly believe that guarding our hearts is a good thing. People should have to earn our trust and our love. But no one deserves the wrath of our pasts, including ourselves.

What if we took a chance on others and put our label maker aside for this simple reason: No one wants to be labeled or judged. Not even you. What if we chose to guard our hearts in a way that still allowed us to be open to new ideas?

I can never forget the children who pulled chairs out from under me because I looked weak. I can never forget the children throwing rocks, food, and staples at me. I can never forget what that one person wrote in my yearbook. But I had the choice to do various things with those memories.

In my later years in High School, I choose to become cold and bitter. I would react instead of reflect. I said things I can’t take back. It became, what I thought at the time, the only way to handle the world.

How wrong I was. There is an incredible strength in vulnerability. It’s an art I am learning again and it takes practice to do it while still guarding my heart but it is absolutely worth it.

You may be wondering what this has to do with you. Maybe you never got to this part of this post. If you have, I want to first thank-you for reading this. But more importantly, I want to just remind you that labels do exactly what they are meant to, they don’t solve our own insecurities. I have been guilty of this myself so I am not preaching here.

All that I ask of you is for you to try to take one step back when you disagree with someone else. Try to think of the situation in reverse. What would you want from someone who didn’t understand you? We get what we give, right? Even if not in the immediate, in our lifetime.

I truly wish those people who bullied me in my childhood and adulthood well. It doesn’t hurt anyone more than it hurts myself to shut everyone out. I believe I have a purpose here on this Earth, just like everyone else. I also believe we have a short time here to fulfill that purpose and I cannot do it while hiding behind walls of my past.

We won’t ever all agree on any one topic. That’s what makes this world so amazing. Please, choose to listen or accept instead. What someone else does or thinks does not actually affect you or I, unless we allow it to and if we are going to choose to let it affect us, why not let something positive come of it?

What would happen if every person saw just how small we all are at the same time? That no one is more valuable that anyone else? Money is paper and popularity is subjective at best.

While I have a developmental disability that makes relationships difficult, I believe in some ways it allows me to see the value of friendship or peace perhaps a little more clearly. I have to work so hard to communicate sometimes. But I won’t let a disability that has become a label become who I am.

In a way, I think my generation especially has a similar “social disability”. We have been taught to be afraid of everything and where has that gotten us? Where has it gotten you?

After all, bully is just another label isn’t it?

Sincerely,
Gretchen Leary

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About Gretchen Leary

I am 30 years old, I live in the Boston area, and I am writing from the perspective of an individual with Asperger's Syndrome.
This entry was posted in ASD, Aspergers, Autism, Equality, GLBTQ and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Open Letter to the World

  1. notesoncrazy says:

    This is really beautiful. I often find myself overwhelmed by the number of To-Read posts in my feed, and I am so, so glad I sort of randomly decided this post was worth clicking on instead of ignoring.

    I am not always as articulate as I would like to be, and I am often too hypocritical to be taken seriously by anyone including myself, but if I had a stronger voice – it would be a voice that shares some of your intellectual and religious beliefs and cannot understand others – I would like to think I would use it to send this exact message you have just sent to the world, pretty much word for word.

    I wish we could all just listen to each other sometimes without fearing that we would lose ourselves in the process.

    • I wish that people could embrace differences, you know? Instead of being so afraid of them. Family members of mine would not go to my wedding because they felt that it reflected on who they were. I actually am okay with someone disagreeing with same sex marriages. Everyone is entitled. What I don’t understand is the level of discrimination that people claim is from the word of God, that comes from fear and self righteousness…

      I don’t ever remember Jesus judging anyone. In fact, the Bible warns against judging others…and yet it still happens…

      But on a much grander scale bigger than gay rights or people bullying the disabled..there seems to be such a huge consensus that if one doesn’t understand something – then they must attack it. It’s really sad to me..

      I hope one day that people could listen with their hearts and not with the intent to speak but to understand, if for nothing else, but to give them peace to let go of all of these enormous insecurities that have seeped into our world.

      Whether we are religious or not, whether we are straight or gay, whether we are neurotypical or autistic, whether we are the same race or not does not determine who we are meant to walk beside in this world – our hearts do.

      I am really challenging my own heart this year to really try to listen because I believe miracles happen everyday, and so many miss them because they weren’t paying attention to what is really important.

      I believe in world peace. I don’t expect it. I do hope for a better place to bring children into though. I wouldn’t want a child to see what so many of us have seen…

      Thank-you for reading and responding!

      • Deep thinking, thank you. And just to respond to the above, Jesus did have some harsh words for hypocrites, for people who get angry out of hand, for people who call other people names, etc. He didn’t judge the vulnerable or the hurting. It’s interesting that his toughest words were for those who were mean to others.

  2. rbhexem says:

    i beg your pardon! world does revolve me! where would the world be without me? ask yourself that!

  3. me says:

    you’re an idiot

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