“Hello, my name is Kay Hicks, and I hate labels! I’ve had to deal with labels my whole life. When I applied for SSI*, I was labeled as mentally retarded just because I don’t do things or learn things as fast as some.”
*Social Security Income
“I heard some definitions of what it means to be retarded, and I don’t see how it fits me. As my daughter put it, what I don’t have in book sense, I make up fairly well in common sense. Maybe I am just a different kind of normal. But what the heck is normal? I still can’t figure that out.”
“I love the photo of the labels floating away, the visualization of: All the labels are gone! Get away from me! No. More. Labels! I got a kick out of that.”
“When I was 17, my mother said, ‘You’re so stupid, I pity the man who marries you.’ I’m 59, and that still hurts. Can you imagine that? Forty years later? Parents, you should be very careful what you say to your children. Your children are listening, and they’ll believe you.”
“I’m much happier today because of Bubba. We’ve been married 20 years and we’re true partners. He helps me, I help him. The key to marriage is communication, and sometimes that’s knowing when it ain’t worth starting a debate.
Sometimes I see he’s working on the car, and it’s not going the way it ought to. I don’t even ask the man if he wants a cup of coffee because I know he might be grumpy in that situation. If he looks thirsty, I get the drink, set it down on the porch, say his name, and turn right around. We enjoy our time together, just watching TV or working on his car.”
“At Circle of Friends, you can be yourself. Everybody knows your name, just like on Cheers. I’ve spent my whole life feeling I’m from another planet, but there I actually fit in. It’s a big help to me. I’ve learned not to talk like I’m screaming across the room when I’m making a point. I was used to people not listening to me, so I thought I had to be loud to get their attention. At Circle of Friends, I’m learning I don’t need to do that.
I love living in Burney. Everybody is nice, and I discovered you can catch more breaks here. People are more generally willing to help you.”