Howdy! (dusting cobwebs from corners of page) Wow…it’s been a long, long time since I’ve been in this area of Awesome Outcast. Too long. But there’s been much going on. Most of it has been good. Excellent, actually.
RJ has made tremendous leaps and bounds with his art skills and, more importantly, as a person. It fills me with great pride each and every time a fellow vendor approaches me to comment on how mature he’s become since they’ve known him. We also hear this from people we’ve met over the past year at events, and from friends. I don’t see it…I live with him. Lol. I suppose that’s how it goes with all kids, hey?
The main reason I don’t have time (or make time) for updating the website and blogging is the ever-exhausting battle with and for RJ’s benefits. It is a daily battle. In the last year, we’ve been audited six…SIX…times to reprove his disabilities. Three of those times were by chance. Social Security does random “audits”, and we were lucky enough (ha-ha) to be chosen for them. Three times. (big sigh). The other three times were due to the rollover of his benefits. And – for the first time in nearly 22 years – I went postal on a caseworker. Am I proud of that? Heck no. Poor woman was just doing her job. But, one can only take so much before getting a bit crabby.
A Little Bit About the Latest Battle
Our latest battle is due to the rollover change. As you know from our Facebook page, RJ absolutely adores Easter Seals camp. He has been going there since….at least since he was seven. He talks about it year-round.
Because of the rollover, it’s quite possible he will no longer receive respite benefits. Camp is considered respite. Respite is now considered a luxury – not a necessity. Or at least so I’ve been told.
In the last month, I’ve been told he will continue to get funding. Then he won’t. Then maybe he will. He was able to go for his last session of this year, but everything is still up in the air. As of this writing, I have absolutely no clue as to what his future benefits are. The not knowing can be just as exhausting as fighting for the benefits.
The Future of Awesome Outcast
Quite honestly, because of the ongoing battles for RJ’s benefits – I have considered…geez, I can’t even say it…I’ve considered stopping RJ’s love of crafting and doing events. Then I slapped myself upside the head and came to my senses. To stop RJ from doing what he loves – artwork and craft fairs, etc. – would be destructive for him. He would no longer be working on his personal skills or his social skills. He has thrived since doing both the creation and the shows. To stop him now would be disabling him. And that would be unacceptable. So, we’ll keep going.
My hope is that others with disabilities will join us. That was one of the original goals for Awesome Outcast. So, we’ll keep reaching towards that goal also. It may take us another year to find a place where people can meet and create artwork together. I’ll keep fighting for it. I personally think it’s a battle well worth it. Don’t you? Our disabled loved ones should be offered a fun way for inclusion. We’ll do it – we’ll get there. I just need the same patience with myself that I have for my son.
Anyways, folks, I’ll do my best to get this blog up and running. There are many happy and fun stories to share. Let me know if you’d like anything special in the blog, and I’ll do my best to accommodate.
For now – I hope that all is well in your worlds. W