By: Alex Bends
The universe is an inconceivably massive being that breathes stars and planets into existence, then swallows them whole into the depths of black holes. I think about space a lot. I used to wonder if anyone out there felt as alone and as useless as I did.
My name is Alex, and I live life with several disabilities. I’m autistic, bipolar, I have a fused spine and Crohn’s disease- along with a lot of other things. I was always the weird kid and no one really liked me. My entire life I let people tell me I was broken, and for a while I believed it. But when I found Community of Hope, everything changed. Suddenly, there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
The friends that I’ve made there are by far the best part about it. When I walked in to the first meeting, Haden was the first person to greet me. I have trouble talking to people, but he made it easy. Bryan is always so nice and friendly, and we play video games together. Anna and Rachel are positive, happy people who I look forward to seeing at meetings. I finally have people to talk to now, and that means more to me than anything else in this project. I’m not the loser anymore!
When we all move in to the community, I’m planning on throwing parties and getting everyone out of their houses and socializing more. I used to hate being around lots of people, and to some degree, I still do. But I find it so much easier to talk to other people like me, and that’s a huge reason why we all need Community of Hope. We all need friends.
An important part is the accessibility of the neighborhood. Everything will be wheelchair accessible- which is good for so many people. We’re also going to have people there to help. I need help cleaning and sometimes with cooking, and it would be amazing to have a friend come over to have dinner with. I can eat good quality food and maintain a healthier lifestyle, and that makes me super, super happy.
Another huge reason I need the community is that we won’t be able to get the quality of life Community of Hope is promising anywhere nearby. We don’t want to live in sterile hospitals. We don’t want to live in buildings where everything we do is monitored and controlled. We want freedom. We want to be normal. We want love lives, some of us want to start families, and we want to have a legacy we can pass down for generations. We are human, and we deserve to be treated as such.
Now that we’re finally starting to get into the planning stages, it all feels so surreal! I’m going to have a place to call home, with all of my friends who accept me and love me nearby. I’m going to live life to the fullest.
And now I know I don’t have to wonder if someone’s out there, if someone understands me. Now I have a whole community of people who do.
Alex is 23 years old and is a member of Circle of Friends, and is excited to one day live in Community of Hope!