Tonight is an important night to me, personally and professionally. I'm going to see Temple Grandin speak, who is one of my true heroes for so many reasons. I first read her research on autism in college, not knowing she was autistic until later, I saw her speak about therapeautic riding in a documentary while living in DC 3 years ago, I read her research on humane cattle slaughter when researching it for horse slaughter last year, and most recently, I watched the HBO movie about her life. All of these experiences came to me from different places and for different reasons, but it's almost as if she's been a constant in my life, no matter how much my own life and interests and experiences seem to change.
Tonight, I will get to hear her speak in person, and I will get to applaud her life and her ambition and her contribution. Temple Grandin has probably done more for the face of autism than any other person alive, and made more positive changes for her industry than any other person alive. She is the very essence of what this world desperately needs, and I can't help but wonder what people influenced her to continue against the current, and who else could be unleashed as she has been if they just had the support in place. I've known for several years that I have wanted to work or at least volunteer in the capacity of therapeautic riding, and this year I began that process. It's been awesome, and much of it is thanks to her.
I have been in a bad place this week, feeling sick, feeling restless, and today receiving a small but disappointing piece of news. I have been discouraged, and anxious about going tonight, and whether I would really be able to appreciate it in the midst of all my other troubles. But when I think about her, and her life, and her battles, and the battle of SO many people with autism, I'm calm. I relate to some of the difficulties of autism-- there are things inside that are dying to get out, but the tools aren't always there to release them. But every day, they find more and more ways to let people's minds and bodies free, and let someone find their inner voice. Temple has done that for other autists, she's done it for innocent livestock from which we feed our families (now with dignity) and she has done it for me. I am so eager for tonight, and for what the experience will bring.
She is my modern day Moses- freeing the people. You go, girl.