Thursday, November 13, 2014

Reflections

A couple of days ago I logged onto Facebook and saw I had received a message from someone who has known me since I was 13 years old. She was my best friend for a very long time. Some of my best memories have her in it.

Anyhow the message said:
"I'm watching the Gilmore girls and Lorelai reminds me so much you. The best personality."
(and whatever your opinion on the show or character , it doesn't matter...)

I smiled so big my face hurt. The compliment was so appreciated. I'm not used to people thinking of me randomly, especially people who are not a constant in my life... so it was really awesome.

But, that feeling didn't last long because almost immediately I felt shame.

Shame because I don't think I've been that person lately and in the words of one of my favorite songs "I wouldn't like me if I met me".

Ever since the word autism has entered my life I have been so passionate about it, about promoting acceptance. At the start of my journey I got a lot of things wrong though. So much wrong. I go back through my emails and I just shake my head.

But, I'll give myself credit, I was on the right track. I was trying, although at times I didn't get the language quite right and sometimes I even missed the boat completely!

I'm human and that happens.


"I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better"
Maya Angelou


I've often told people that this has also been a journey for me. Sometimes it is painful to admit that I've screwed up. I'm autistic like my son, so aren't I supposed to know these things automatically? Well no.. there's this thing called internalized ableism...I have that.
"The expert at anything was once a beginner."

I think I've forgotten my roots.
I forget how far I've come and how much I've learned
And am still learning

Lately it feels like all I've been doing is screaming at people.
Lately I feel extremely angry.
Lately I have had lack of patience.
And most important of all:
Lately I have not been helping anyone.

Believe me there is plenty of stuff out there that is for angry making. That anger is very justifiable and never something I would police on other people. (and I suggest no one else do it either)

Ever since I was very young I have been a justice seeker, which causes me to be a very passionate individual. Sometimes that passion is so strong and the need is so compelling that I get consumed by it.

But, I want people to listen to me because I have this undying need to help others. However, I recognize that I've built up a wall and made myself inaccessible to other people. I've got to start tearing down this wall.

This isn't about tone or being popular. I've never been popular in autism parenting circles and I'm certain that isn't likely to change. (unless there is some huge overnight paradigm shift, then maybe). I am also a huge believer in every voice counts and to listen for content over everything else.

I used to be able to over look certain phrases or words and even attitudes in order to reach people and help their children. But, I have become intolerant. I'm not talking about the type of intolerance many claim autistic adults have surrounding civil rights, bigotry, abuse, murder and being real people.  I'm talking about intolerance of those who are trying and want to learn... but aren't quite getting it. You know , much like myself in the beginning of my journey.

I've shut them out.

I've turned them away

And I am calling myself out on it.

I want to do better, be better and help more people.

My friend Beth, who blogs at Love Explosions, wrote something similar to what I've written here about her own downfalls and evolution... she writes:


So that’s me owning my history.  And me apologizing for berating those parents who simply have not been given the opportunity to parent with the support of a community that advocates love and acceptance.
This is me committing to giving parents (those that are receptive) the road map to community and the space needed to evolve.

And to this I agree.  I commit to this as well.

I've always said "Sometimes I am just planting seeds"... Seeds are good, seeds grow into plants and those plants blossom, eventually producing more seeds.

It can take a long time for this process to take place, but when and if it does, it is a beautiful thing.



“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” 
Robert Louis Stevenson

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