Throughout her childhood, whenever Alexa’s parents talked about her younger sisters trying something new, she would ask, “Why not me?” It was hard to accept, but Alexa’s mother never really had a good answer. So, as Alexa pushed the boundaries, they felt their way through the challenges of creating as typical a life as possible.
As they got older, and the topic of getting jobs and moving out became a conversation with her sisters, Alexa once again asked, “Why not me?” After all, she was the big sister. Her parents agreed; they shared the same expectation of work and a life outside the family home for all their children. For Alexa, as always, it would take extra help and some trial and error.
With help from her family and paid services, Alexa found employment and an apartment that she shared with her grandmother. Later, when her grandmother moved out, Alexa and her family advertised and interviewed a new roommate without disabilities and closer to Alexa’s age.
Sharing her home with a peer that has an active social life, including online dating has had Alexa asking herself, “Why not me?” She’s had a boyfriend, but being around her roommate made her realize that she was missing something.
“In real life, it is hard,” she says, sipping her iced tea at a local coffee shop and teasing her mom about being a “drama queen” over the topic of dating. “I’m a little bit picky. The guy has to be cute, but also nice and kind.”
She says that it was her idea to try online dating. Her mom found a site that’s for people with disabilities that they both felt comfortable with. “It’s like email,” Alexa explains. “Most of them live on the other side of the country.”
When asked how she deals with her mother’s concerns, Alexa says, “My mom was more like the worry wort. So, basically, I decided I wasn’t going to tell her everything about it.”
“Just like her sisters,” her mother says. “Nobody tells me anything.” Alexa beams and laughs at the compliment.
She is proud of her independence. “I’m more mature now. I take it serious. I do want a love life. It makes me feel lonely [not to have one]. I want a guy who will understand no sex and no kids. I need a guy to respect that and not take advantage of me—online or offline. I’ve always felt that way.”
When asked where she gets this wisdom from, she says, “Myself.”
Her mother perks up. “Maybe your family had something to do with the way you turned out?”
“No. I don’t think so.”
The laughter and banter continue. Alexa says she’s not as involved with the dating site as she was at first. “If I check messages, it’s only on the weekends.”
Her patience is as strong as her perseverance. As she reflects on dating and finding someone to be in her life, she recalls a movie she’d seen, The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. “Leo waited a long time for her. I just decided to wait for a time the way he’s waiting.”
When it comes to finding that special someone, Alexa makes it clear that she’s no different than anyone else.