I’m walking along the beach, looking for sea glass, and doing my best to ignore the grains of sand that have worked their way into my shoes. I see something in the distance, glinting in the sunlight, and I dash forward, hoping to find more glass for my collection. As I reach for my treasure, I realize that it is a fully intact bottle, not the rough and tumble fragments I’ve been searching for. Bottle in hand, I try to clean the sand off the bottle, when it disappears with a POOF.
In front of me stands what I can only describe as a Man/Moose hybrid, and when I manage to drag my eyes away from his massive antlers, I see him gazing at me, expectantly.
“Well, what will it be?”
I have no idea what he’s talking about. I figure if I don’t respond, he’ll explain himself.
“I don’t have all day here, you know.”
I’ve lost my words. It figures that a fantastically magical being would render me non-verbal. I cross my fingers that he understands ASL, and I sign DON’T-UNDERSTAND.
With a great huff and shake of his head, he says “Your wishes. You have three. Use them wisely. ” Under his breath, he adds “Ugh, mortals.”
Thanks to a childhood Special Interest in mythology, I know that genies are rarely benevolent. These tricksters never have your best interest in mind, and take joy in warping wishes. I know I will have to be careful.
One thing that I never understood about wishers in stories was why they never used their first wish to make sure their remaining ones were granted accurately. I tell this to the Moose Man and his eyebrows furrow.
“You would waste a wish like that? I know you, mortal, and you have too many problems to be wishing for precision. In fact, I’ll make you a deal. You use me to wish away the demons that plague you, I give you my word that I’ll stick to the spirit of the wishes.”
Demons? Can those antlers let him see something that I can’t? Am I infested? I feel itchy just thinking about it.
Before I make any decisions, I definitely need to know what he means by “demons.” Again I sign DON’T-UNDERSTAND.
“Your brain, it is different from those of other humans. It causes you pain from your senses, confusion from social interactions, and despair from living a world that is not meant for you. I can use your wishes to take all of that away- why would you wish for anything else?”
I am stunned. Does he not realize that by taking away the bad, he would take away the good as well? Yes, I experience sensory hell, but there is sensory heaven in my world too. The joy from my special interests outweighs the struggles I have with things like socialization and executive dysfunction. And most importantly, changing how my brain works would change who I am. Who would wish for that?
I have to think carefully about my wishes. They need to be so clear that he can’t warp them, and they have to benefit not only me but everyone in my community.
He paces and glares while I take my time, but eventually, I am happy with my choices. I turn back to him and say:
“I like who I am, and would never risk changing that. Here are my wishes, and I hope they reflect that.”
- I wish to be included in my own Advocacy. I know myself best. I know my needs and struggles, and I need to be considered an expert in the field of myself. We will never make progress unless we give precedence to the voices of personal experience.
- I wish for Accessibility. Many of the problems that I experience could be easily resolved by people willing to meet me in the middle. All people with disabilities would be able to accomplish more if more of an effort were made to see weaknesses and then find solutions to balance them out. It’s possible, and more of an effort needs to be made.
- Lastly, I wish for Acceptance. Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are, and no matter what their abilities are. I don’t want people to make pity-eyes at me, and I don’t want people to think that the way my brain works is a tragedy. I am who I am.
He looks and me solemnly, and after a few moments replies “As you wish.”
All around me, lights swirl around me, and when I’m practically surrounded, I hear another great POOF and
I wake up in my bed. Half asleep and bleary-eyed, I try to remember the Moose Man, but all I can recall is his ignorance and his massive antlers.