This week I was met with a dilemma. To do what is seen as right and expected of me or to do what my inner voice was calling me to do. For a reasonably intelligent woman I can be remarkably stupid at times. This is how the story goes.
For the last seven weeks I have dragged my butt to an ASD parenting group. Our psychologist said she was reluctant about sending me but maybe, just maybe there might be some therapies that I can implement in some way. She had also said that my positive outlook and the information I had shared with her was extremely refreshing. She even asked me to think about re-writing a booklet that she has to give to teens that have just been diagnosed with Aspergers. I felt very honoured and also humbled by this lovely lady and her heart to find the best way forward for my little *CAL.
*CAL is going to a social development group that is helping her, so I thought that this might be something that would be helpful for me. I will try anything as I believe there are lessons everywhere when we are open to learning. I also thought that I might make a few friends with people walking a similar path, sharing a similar journey.
The first two weeks at the ASD parenting group I kept quiet, I did what every female Aspie does. I sussed them out. I only spoke when I needed to and I made myself fit just enough to pass as NT. By the time we are in our mid twenties most Aspie girls have figured this out. We learn to act and wear a mask, we learn to look social and connected eventhough we still feel lost, alone and incredibly vulnerable.
The third week things changed, I had already spoken with the therapist and the psychologist that are running this course. I had spoken to them because the social activities were not great for me and I was having to escape to the loo to desensitize. The third week I told the class, I let them all know… “I’m not just here as a parent to ASD, I am Autistic. I live the life of a person on the spectrum. I am an adult with Aspergers.”
Things didn’t change much, I still had to listen to the negative stories and hold my tongue each time the words cure, fix, change came about. Also the… Why can’t she/he just…? When will she/he stop…? I am so fed-up of Autism, why did it…?
See this is where I feel that I fail.
I have so much empathy, patience, compassion and love for parents who are truly struggling to find the best ways to help their babies. But when I have to listen week in and week out to how someone like me should not have been born. Or if there was a home I could go and live in and come out at weekends. Why is it so hard for me to just sit still? Why can’t I just be who everyone else wants me to be? Or WHY can’t I just dry myself with a bath towel like a normal person? Why can’t I just enjoy going shopping and stop with all the whining?
I know that these things are not aimed at me, but it’s so hard to not feel that they are. I haven’t been quiet, I have voiced the whys in the kindest and most respectful way I could. Maybe some of them heard, I hope so. There is always a maybe and there is always hope.
This week as I drove to my group all the way there I prayed.
Please God help me be loving, help me be kind, help me be patient. Father, I really don’t want to go I would so much rather be home doing my DIY. But maybe there is a reason why I am there and maybe this week I will understand this reason. Please shield me and help me to be strong. Protect me from absorbing the negative words and help me to keep knowing that my Mom loved me unconditionally, she didn’t feel that way about me. Help me to have the heart to see past the words and feel the pain that these parents carry. Give me the words to bring comfort to them and give me the wisdom to know when not to speak.
I parked up on the road about a 3 minute walk from the building.
I took a deep breath and looked at the clock. I was already late and I didn’t know what room I needed to go to. Panic rose up inside of me. Then I spotted about ten feet away from my car a pile of wood. I needed a nice piece of wood for some new coat hooks for *AJ’s bedroom. “No Lisa, you are trying to de-clutter not collect more.”
This is how my brain will puzzle
I get out of my car, put my folder and coffee on the roof while I put on my coat and grab my handbag. From this angle I could see that there were also packs of wood standing up the lamppost.
Could it be that someone had thrown out brand new packs of hardwood flooring?
Yes, they have!
I looked through the packs, there were seven packs of hardwood flooring. All of them sealed and new, enough to re-floor my reception area. I freeze and go off into my own world of thoughts.
What should I do? Is this God telling me to go home and do my DIY like I prayed about? But I am already late and I have to go to this group it might help me, I might learn something. But I really hate going to this group, it is so draining for me. I always switch off after the first two hours because I emotionally shutdown. But maybe it will be different this week, maybe someone might be friendly and actually interested in hearing about what it’s like to be over sensitive to sensory experiences. Maybe they might want to know about what it is like to see all the details and miss the bigger picture. Maybe? But look at this wood, it’s so pretty and it’s all here ready to be collected by the council and taken to the dump. I don’t know what to do? I feel confused now, what should I do?
I look back at my car and again at the time and then once more at the wood.
Ok, you drove all this way to go to this ASD parenting class, do what you are meant to do. If it is still here when you get back then put it in the car and take it home. You are running late it will take at least fifteen more minutes to get this into the car. Do you really want to walk in and have everyone look at you because you are late and disturbing the group?
The class was horrible.
I switched off after the first hour and sent fb messages to my friends so I could stay positive. When I got back to my car the wood was gone. I looked it up at my local DIY store £45 per pack. £315 worth of high quality flooring that I walked away from because I can’t break the stupid rules.
My lesson…What I learned
I am more than Autism, I’m an encyclopaedia of my own Aspie traits. I don’t need lessons on how to parent my Aspie kids, I love them more than life itself I will always find what is best for them. What I do need is… I need to be accepted and respected for who I am and so does every person on the spectrum. We might be odd and quirky, we might be a little different but to us we are fine just the way we are. It’s when we are expected to fit into a world that tells us we are wrong that the problems start. I said to my friend the other day, “If I was a shepherd and I spent my days out in a field talking to and looking after my sheep, I wouldn’t have to try to fit I’d fit just fine. It’s people pressure and the push to conform into a mould that is not mine that causes me pain.”
Next time God leaves me a pile of wood; I’ll listen with my heart and not loop in my head.
I’m sick of always doing what is expected of me and missing out on what is actually beneficial for me. I would have been so much happier fitting a new floor instead of looking at the floor sitting with a group of people who want people like me fixed. It’s time for me to shine and I can only do that if I am being me to the full.