What an Autistic boy taught me about being a rebel

I was teaching his older brother… who… had actually told me he was struggling at school. He was so candid about his mental health… I was taken aback. Then it felt natural, to briefly share some of what I had struggled with at his age and what I understood about our lives that might resonate or land for him, and hopefully, well… that says it.

One day, his young brother came up to me, seemingly transfixed by something. It turned out to be my earrings. Call it the rebel in me masquerading as style. A persistent and growing reluctance to buying fast fashion. Mostly because I love the idea of enduring, the sense of enduring, the feeling of enduring. And if I’ve come to the end with a piece, I want to know it’s not because it’s broken… or that the season has moved on and so should I, but because I’m ready to explore a new palette. I want to know that it’s not something I can easily discard. Love has transpired in the creation of it and love has transpired in the wearing of it. This sense of interconnection matters to me. 

So I was wearing a pair of earrings made out of wood. 

This little boy reached up for them and exclaimed, “diamonds!”. I was stunned because my wood earrings were in the shape of a diamond, a “geometric figure of four equal straight lines forming two acute and two obtuse angles,” but I hadn’t actually registered that. To me diamonds are expensive and shiny rocks with a sense of exclusivity about them. His frame of the world… constrasted so starkly with mine – the reality I shared with most people about what diamonds are, and there he was, seeing the world like a rebel. 

Now that I’m older, my avoidance has intensified into a reluctance to buying anything plastic meant for the fast lane and an interest in supporting businesses and artisans that make ethical practices and sustainability a focus. It gladdens me, that there are others who take this stance far more seriously than I. They keep me honest. And this desire, reminds me… wealth matters. Wealth matters because I want to be conscious about the choices I make in the world I live in, and to have the power to make them, I have to love the notion of wealth.