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So you Love someone who is Neurodivergent…How do you do it Well?

I too long wobbled along the tight rope between the will of my parents (which, let’s face it, is really very neuro-normative in nature) and my natural instincts. Before having children, the only victim of my deference was myself. Now, however, the stakes are higher. When faced with a choice to honor the will of my parents versus my own, I’ve historically chosen their will. As a parent, the choice to honor my will extends to my children. In other words, my will is to offer my children grace and mercy–to love them without condition. In contrast, the will of my parents is to have grandchildren that behave like little angels, to have interactions with their child (me) and grandchildren without opposition. Yet when a child is neurodivergent, behaviors often erupt, which closely resemble defiance or rebellion. When alone with my children, I mollify these behaviors through empathic response, but when my parents are around, I feel external pressure to hide these behaviors, or quash them, for the sake of my parents’ comfort. As you can see, the result is betrayal; first, of myself; next, of my kids.

Whirlwind

I feel as though I am caught up within the vortex of a whirlwind these days. Last week, I labored to prepare my kids for the start of our remote learning school year, and this week, we’ve begun. Yet, just after the first morning’s classes, my youngest discovered a boil on her gum, so she had to have an emergency tooth extraction this morning. What a way to begin an already strange and uncertain year!

Deodorant: An Autism Masking Story

Such neurotypical world bleeds in black and white, but we neurodivergent humans are considered a spectrum for good cause. There is middle ground. We can learn to make use of offensive hygienic commodities by finding those least offensive to our tastes, but our neurotypical friends and family should meet us halfway by advocating for us, instead of against us–forcing us to suppress our legitimate concerns and discomfort for the sake of their own.

Survive It, People

Wanna know how I Survived the Shit?! I finally, after a million years, recognized that it came from someone else to begin with! Don’t get me wrong–I am a firm believer in taking personal responsibility for my own actions–but personal responsibility does not require accepting responsibility for things others do to me.

Meltdowns

There are parts of my personality and existence for which I’ve felt inordinate shame. These are things I’ve long repressed, pretending they were never actually part of my lived experience.Receiving my autism diagnosis has forced me to confront and scrutinize these. Today, I need to talk about meltdowns.

Abhorrent Academics

In undergrad, after I settled on English Lit as my major, my university experience greatly improved. Prior to this, I’d declared business as my major and my academic performance was shoddy, at best, in this course of study. Yet in Literature and Humanities classes, I outperformed all my peers and while I rarely contributed to class discussions, my teachers treated me like a genius after reading my written work.

Intellectual Inconsistency

For starters, I did a poor job of preparing for the test. I owned a practice assessment book, but I just could not engage with the strategically abstract nature of the content. Needless to say, I didn’t spend all that much time preparing. To read the practice manual was, for me, like reading a foreign language. It exhausted me and triggered tension headaches.