FASD: Reflections on Perspective and Empathy

by R.J. Formanek

It’s (almost) Wednesday, so it must be Wisdom Wednesday by R.J. He seems to write something at just about the right time. We are in the homestretch of the 99 Days to FASDay journey we started on June 1 with Day 1: 99 Days to FASDay: First Published Study Linking Prenatal Alcohol Use and Birth Defects.

I always leave the last week to reflections and over the last couple years to the voices of individuals with FASD. This reflection piece of R.J.’s was perfect timing for Day 91 of the 99 Days to FASDay.

Let’s talk about perspective and empathy.

Recently, I have gone on the road and have been traveling to and fro throughout much of Ontario.

A few times, lol.

It has been an interesting time, 2020, and we are all dealing with what is often a whole new reality.

Air travel, for example: with virtually minimal air traffic many have taken to the roads as a way to get around and out of the house this summer. It’s pretty packed out there. That certainly adds a new level of complexity into the equation.

When you live with the daily effects of FASD life can often seem as if we are on a different road than are many of our peers. I really prefer the gravel roads and secondary roads, life is at a pace I am comfortable with, and I have time to sit back and enjoy the trip. The view can be incredible.

But, I then need to get on the major motorways and I have to go, go, go without time to enjoy the trip. Not only are speeds faster, the time to make decisions is rapid fire as well. Dealing with many impatient and stressed people doesn’t help as I am empathetic to emotions.

The real battle is with myself.

How do I deal with this? When do I need to stop? How lost am I? Trying to be calm and in the moment can be a real challenge.

I am lucky, I have great friends who often step up and help me on my own road. Not just the superhighways, just in so many ways, day after day. They often remind me to remember who I am. That alone, in stressful times can be just what I need, in the moment.

I am so thankful for all they do, and our time together.

If you are on that superhighway of life, I ask that you understand some of us can only travel the backroads, some can travel the superhighways as well, but often it’s for short periods and well planned.

Your roads may be faster, you can get more done. That is true.

But we do well on our roads, where we may fail on yours.

You should maybe take a nice Sunday drive on our roads with us, it’s very nice. A change of perspective can grow empathy.

Anyways, it’s just a thought. I hope you have a great day.

Thank you, as always R.J., for sharing your perspective and wisdom.

Check back tomorrow for Day 92 of 99 Days to FASDay and some more voices and perspectives from individuals with FASD.

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