Those who read the blog I posted will know that I’ve been in sort of a blogging hiatus for the past few months. In earlier blogs, I have referenced a book that my mother has been nagging me to write for years. A few months ago I finally committed to writing that book and that has consumed a lot of the time I’d usually devote to writing blogs. I present to you guys another and probably the last sample from the book for a while. I will be devoting quite a bit of time to writing but don’t you worry, there will still be a fourth anniversary blog post in the beginning of next month. I will hopefully try to add more content to this blog that isn’t book related; I’m sure you’re all dying to know my thoughts on watching people in wheelchairs getting carried out of the Senator’s office during a sit in. There’s much to write about and so little time to do it these days. Without further adieu, I present to you the next sample of what I hope will be a masterpiece of epic proportions.
Wap Kon Jorge:
“`You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm”
In Haiti, there was a saying often uttered by many Haitian parents who were fed up with their child’s shit; Wap Kon Jorge which literally translates into “You’re gonna know George”. Eventually the line turned in to a running gag among many Haitian American teens and young adults who would reply with “Who’s George?” The line itself originates from a category four hurricane which pretty much leveled Haiti leaving many dead and, over 150,000 homeless. It was the worst storm the island had ever seen, so much so that many who immigrated to the US afterwards would utter the phrase “Wap Kon Jorge” which can often be interpreted as “Keep playing”, “You’ve got another thing coming”, “the worse has yet to come”, “you’re gonna know wrath”, and “what goes around comes around”. For my mother it was going to mean all of those and we were still about eight years off from the arrival of Hurricane George on the shores of Haiti. There was however a brand new storm that was about to level our house and neither parent would be ready for what was to come.
Age two had come and my mother’s sisters already had kids who ranged from two to ten years older than me. She watched all of them grow and, played a big part in raising them; She was able to watch all of them in every stage of development over the years which gave her an idea of what to expect with my brother and I. My brother, Freymers Beaubrun was born 11 months after me; what people often refer to Irish Twins or as I’d like to call it, Dad waited until Mom was cleared by the doctor for sexual activity and instantly went into heat like a horny jackrabbit. We both developed like normal babies but, at some point my mother started to notice that a few things were off. Some of them were as simple as me not engaging other people and being in my own world. Over time there were other signs that were cause for concern. My mother had enough nieces and nephews to know that most kids babble at about 1.5 years, speak simple words and sentences at two and, are talking your ears of at three; I exhibited none of these at their age, I was as silent as a rock with the exception of crying.
The other big telltale sign of something being up was that I was not eating solid foods. I could drink from a bottle with no problem but, I was not eating anything; if it looked foreign to me then, I didn’t eat it. This greatly alarmed my mother who would spend the next year visiting doctors trying to figure out what was up. Until then, my mother would blend food up into liquid form and, put it into a bottle so that I would continue to get essential nutrients since I wouldn’t put my mouth anywhere near a spoon.
For the next couple of years, my mother would be back and forth between doctors trying to figure out what was going on. Most people seemed to brush it off as typical behavior for someone my age and yet, the problems persisted. My mother couldn’t get me to eat a single piece of solid food and, I still wasn’t talking. I wasn’t like other children and she knew that, even though doctors would continue to brush it off. One of the most important lessons I ever learned from my mother was to always trust your gut; my mother followed her own advice religiously. My mother always knew that there was something wrong; she couldn’t put her finger on it but, she knew that there was something very wrong and she was about to dive headfirst in to an ocean she knew nothing about. As a matter of fact; God threw her overboard years ago, she just didn’t realize how badly lost at sea she was until one fateful day in the year 1991.
Eventually I was seen by a child psychologist who would hand down the Autism diagnosis. Autism was still relatively new and had only been known by name for a little over thirty years. Not much was known about Autism back then. The only mainstream representation of Autism that existed at the time was the movie Rain Man with Tom Cruise and, Dustin Hoffman. While accurate enough for its time, it would create a wave of stereotypes of what people with Autism were and could be as well as their limitations. Doctors unfortunately to this day cannot think beyond data, patterns and, other variables they like to believe were within their control.
Many doctors over the years would use their “expertise” to tell my mother what I was and wasn’t capable of. Many would tell my mother that I would never be able to talk; another told my mother that I would never be like other children; another even went as far as telling her that I would never be okay. Despite the high levels of stress that came with raising me, my mother’s gut said otherwise; my mother saw things in me that others couldn’t see because they were bound by data. She wasn’t ready to settle for what doctors threw at her; it was time to take action. My mother made the decision to start early intervention; a brutal process that would be used to rewrite a lot of bad habits, introduce new ones and, reinforce the good ones I already had.
I was just beginning to enter the shallow end but, the people I would cross paths with pull me right in with no life jacket. My mother didn’t know much of George in those early years, within a few short weeks she was about to get a meet and greet to remember; a one on one session with wrath. We were only at the edge of the storm but, the storm was about to gain its strength in a way no one imagined. During the next three years, my mother was finally going to know George.