So here goes.
I’m 23 years old, a law graduate, half Cypriot and half Sri Lankan, I grew up in Cyprus but for the last 5 years I’ve been living in England. I’m the daughter of wonderful, supportive parents and sister to the loveliest boy, Chris. It was never the plan to live away from home, mainly because I couldn’t imagine not being around my family. The thing you need to understand is that Cypriot families are all up in each other’s space; all the time. We see each other and speak to each other, all the time. You can never feel alone because your family is there, all the time. Key phrase is – all the time.
I remember the day I left like it happened this morning. Mum and I – and by that I mean Mum – were packing for days. I think I said “We can get that from Lancaster – Yes they’ll have it” a trillion times. We loaded the car and had to drop off Chris at school. I didn’t realise I was leaving until the moment I had to say goodbye to him. He trotted into class with his backpack and fell into his routine.
While we were talking to his teachers and answering the usual questions – “Are you excited”, “What are you studying”, “Do you know any other Cypriots there”, “When will you be back” – Chris was oblivious to the chatter and that I was leaving home. I remember hugging him – which he doesn’t do for more than 2 seconds – and my heart racing, my hands clenching around him, tears streaming down my face and a lump in my throat the size of a basketball.
He hugged me back. I think he realised I needed it and in that moment I almost thought of not going to the airport. He said my name and I almost cancelled the flight; he said that he loves me in that unique way that he does and I thought of quitting Uni.
I didn’t always know I wanted to be a lawyer. For most of my childhood I wanted to be an actress, a singer, a performer. My family knew I had a weakness for making an entrance, singing on tables and generally making myself the centre of attention. And it was great until I grew up. It’s a scary thing the first time you think of the future, consequences and need to make rational, mature decisions because someone becomes more important to you than yourself.
The driving force behind my incessant desire to eventually become a Human Rights lawyer is – you guessed it- Chris. I guess what I’m trying to say is that he made me who I am today, he made me pull myself together and get into University, he made me strong; or maybe a better way of putting it is that my love for him made me want to try and make the world a better place for him. Big dreams for a small girl – I know and the first step to curing such insanity is acceptance.
Enough rambling. This blog will be dedicated to all the people out there who live with autism – you’re not alone, you’re blessed. To all the people that are facing autism – you’re stronger than you think. To the people that think autistic children are different – you’re wrong.
This is the diary of a boy.