I first met Tryn Miller online a year ago when I ran a series about Down syndrome and friendship. Tryn, who has Down syndrome, and her friend Anna, wrote about their relationship (For Tryn’s, click here and for Anna’s click here). When I started thinking about the question of whether or not Down syndrome should be “cured,” I reached out to Tryn again because I knew her perspective would offer another valuable contribution to our conversation. Thanks, Tryn, for sharing your life with us again:
My name is Tryn Miller, and I would like to tell you about growing up with Down syndrome. I was born on August 11, 1979. My mother says I was diagnosed with Down syndrome in the hospital. I had to have many treatments traveling to various places in my life as a baby for cell therapy injections, due to the extra chromosome in my body. I went to Germany to see a German doctor for the cell therapy injections.
Growing up with this syndrome had and still does have challenges. I didn’t live a normal life. Having Down syndrome has its good times and bad times. I always have felt I was never going to fit in with people I had made friends with. When I was young and growing up I was the one who got bullied. I still get bullied and made fun of just because I look different than other people having Down syndrome!
I was discriminated by a teacher in middle school because I don’t learn fast enough and made up rumors about me that I was a mean person. The start of friendships were very hard to make back then, because they would call me ugly made fun of my weight, and every hateful words those people could think of! They would scream and yell at me as if I had done something that person didn’t like. As soon as I was in 7th grade, there was this kid who made fun of my weight, and told me that I was fat as a garbage truck. I was really hurt by this person, and in my strong retaliation, I ran after this person who was verbally attacking me. I was never the type to cause violence, so I ran after that person trying to scare him away, but alas that didn’t happen! So, I would say I do see having Down syndrome in a negative way, but yet, I do see having an extra chromosome in a positive way. There are many ways I can think of!
In my life there are many challenges I face every day, from being bullied, to be made fun of, to having a lot of disabilities that normal people just don’t understand. I really wish people would understand how it feels like! I wonder if Down syndrome could be switched around so those people who affect adults who have Down syndrome would know what it feels like being different than everyone else! If I were to take away Down syndrome—I wouldn’t, but if I had no choice to take it away— I would fit in with people. I wouldn’t have so many disabilities to live with, and I would live the life of a normal person as I have always wanted in my life.
If I were to change having Down syndrome, I wouldn’t! I am proud of who I am and that makes me a strong person and says who I am. I may be different, but everyone is different in their own unique way. If I didn’t have this extra chromosome, I wouldn’t be me! I am thankful to have Down syndrome because I just want to make a difference in this world, I feel like I am!
I was called into this world to make a difference in people’s lives! I am loving my life at the moment. I have accumulated many friends. I live independently, have three volunteer jobs. I am in college pursuing a digital media career and a certificate in specialization which is something I am working towards receiving. I am making a difference in people’s lives because of my heart, and personality that basically just sums it up