Marco Orlando

I’ve been coming to terms with my past lately and I’ve been learning to accept that it hasn’t been all bad like I had thought. I internalized a lot of hatred growing up because I had consistently felt less than human. I’ve always had a hard time trusting myself enough to know that I’m good enough as I am, instead of thinking about how I could be better. I’ve wanted to believe for so long now that a lot of what goes on in my head are normal thought patterns that everyone else has. Even so, there’s been a bit of a disconnect, and I’ve been trying to figure out why. I would like to reconcile my past and apply what I’ve learned to current events.

I wasn’t always happy with my place in the “pecking order” when I was in school. I thought I deserved a better spot than I was given. I was a lot angrier back then, and I felt like I always had something to prove. But I went about it in a lot of the wrong ways. I’ll be honest, I was a bit of a social climber and a status seeker in those days. I wanted to feel important, to feel like I mattered to people. I couldn’t handle not being liked. But now that I’m older, maybe I don’t really need the whole world to like me. Maybe I just need to more concerned with being liked by the right kind of people, the ones who are better for me mentally. Maybe I should focus more on quality instead of quantity and take the four quarters over the 100 pennies like I keep telling myself.

Growing up, I had it in my head that I needed to be this high achiever in life, that I had to be close to perfect to amount to anything. I never did like giving less than my best effort to anything worth doing in life. Even now, I don’t like making mistakes and I don’t like to be wrong about anything. But no one can ever be infallible. That’s just not possible. So in a roundabout way, maybe I’m more human than I thought I was all along. A lot of my recurring thought patterns, a lot of my anxieties and insecurities, seem to reinforce this lately. So I guess that’s reassuring.

It feels strange when people tell me everyone else thinks and feels the way I do sometimes. I kind of go back and forth on it a little bit. I mean, it’s nice to know I’m not always so alone with my own thoughts. But at the same time, it kind of minimizes my internal struggles to an extent, like it’s not such a big deal. I’ve consistently felt less than human for so long, I don’t always know how I should react when people try to humanize me. I can tell their intentions are good and that they mean well, but it takes me a while to process things in my head.

Part of being honest and transparent with my intended audience also means being vulnerable. I know I take a risk when I put myself out there like this for people to see. But I have my reasons for why I do what I do. It’s beneficial to my intended audience for me to offer my own perspective of what it’s like to have a disability and make it stand out from the narrative that is normally written about people like me. I’ve always wanted to challenge what our society thinks they know about people with disabilities and challenge their perception of who we are and what we’re capable of. The best way for me to do that is to give my thoughts and feelings a voice. Sharing my thought process with other people helps me feel understood. That’s always been important to me. It’s also important that other people with disabilities feel the same way.



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The Speaking Up For Us (SUFU) blog contains views and opinions of each individual writer. The views and opinions expressed through these channels are purely the bloggers’ own and does not reflect the opinion of SUFU as an organization or any SUFU staff member.

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