My name is Lavender. I am a person who is autistic and blind. I have two of the most amazing dads who adopted me when I was 22. Growing up, lots of people had the impression that I was lucky, because I had three siblings who were also blind in my birth family. But it was very challenging. They had their own struggles, and the shame that they got from the members of the family who could see, was heaped upon me. My three blind siblings and I had the training that we needed in order to be as independent as possible. They learned how to cook and travel by using a white cane, memorizing routes and landmarks. I however, had a lot of struggles because I process things differently. My birth family and the instructors who worked in the blindness field had difficulty understanding my behaviors and processing differences due to autism. They knew that I was autistic, but they did not understand how much autism takes more precedence in my life than any challenges relating to blindness. Because I am able to have a back-and-forth conversation with people, my challenges manifested as someone who just doesn’t try. The truth is, I always tried.
Even though I had trouble in school and struggle in my daily living tasks, I’ve always had a deep understanding that the world had everything backwards. It is easy to overlook neurological struggles when you have a physical disability such as blindness that trumps it. I always knew that the challenges due to autism were overlooked; that ironically they were the more dynamic. I would feel so lonely even in a room full of blind peers at the summer camps I went to. I remember in elementary school, I had this soul knowledge that we as a society, are programmed to look at the tip of the iceberg when striving for success, but what about acknowledging what our underlying struggles tell us? What if we could reverse engineer how we listen to one another?
I started singing before I could talk, and I didn’t talk until I was four. My biggest dream is to have a singing career. Through music, I want to speak to people who feel different among a crowd who is already different. I want to speak to those who have been made to feel invalid for the internal fragmentation that occurs, that causes loneliness in a huge crowd. Lots of people promote difference, but I want to help people who feel different among different.