Friday, May 15, 2015

AlwaysAspiegirl: Acceptance. Love, and Self-care: #AutismPositivity2015

I am a huge fan of Autistic Acceptance, both by those of us who are Autistic, to those with Autistic kids, to those who don't really have that much connection to anyone with Autism (as far as they know anyway). I think that everyone should have a good dose of acceptance when they think of Autistic people, and realize that there are great struggles there, but also great beauty! Having autism is just our life. Just like you have your life, we have our life. It's not like we know what it's like to be anything else.

I love that I am not "normal"! I love that I don't fit into the mold of "normal" people around me. I love that I do my own thing and that it really doesn't bother me that I'm alone doing it. I love that I am a part of the whole of humanity that comes in all different colors, shapes, sizes and brains! I love that I have my own specific role, different from everyone else.

I love that I can't stop researching things! I am totally obsessed with learning things! Sometimes, though, I get frustrated when I run into things that either haven't been studied, or written about, because then I can't get my question answered! But I love that when I get interested in something, I look at it from every angle - contrary to what people think - and that I'm so certain when I've decided something that I can't just be tossed around by every wind.

I love that my brain has a different way of looking at things than other people! I think that it's valuable for all people to share their unique ideas in order to help other people to be able to look at things differently. I think that it's important when you accept someone with Autism, that you accept that they will and do look at things differently than you do, and that it is worth thinking about what they have to say! For me, personally, I appreciate it when people say they understand me, because often I don't feel like I am understood or heard. So it really means a lot to me to have validation. 

I love that my brain is obsessed with numbers and patterns. I may not be as affluent in those things as some people, but I notice letter and number patterns all the time and it makes me smile. It really does! I'm a hard core number geek! So, for example, when I was a kid the last 4 of our home phone number was 2382. My grandparent's house was 2358. My best friend as a little girl had 2252. When my husband and I started dating, his number was 2314, his mom was 2315. Their house number was 3569. When we got married, our home number was 3514 (there's that 14 again!). We had a few cell phone numbers in there that I don't remember, but currently we have 2314 and 2312. FUNNY! Well, it's funny to me, anyway. Numbers!

I seriously spent weeks getting circles to fit into squares, which can't be done because pi is a never ending number. But I got it to a certain point, I don't remember what that point was, but there were a lot of digits.

I loved that I worked hard and beat my 6th grade math teacher's time at multiplication - 100 to a page from 1-12. I beat his time, 100 ALL CORRECT, in 1 minute 14 seconds. Major victory, after watching an older student come down to our classroom when we were in 6th grade and try to do it, never quite managing to do it. I did get dinner for me and a friend paid for as the "prize" for winning! :)

I love that I can sense emotions in those around me. Well, I should say most of the time I love it. I feel like I just have a sense of things that other people don't seem to be aware of. Again, contrary to what people think, I have SO MUCH empathy, but sadly most of the time I don't know what to do with it. I am very bad at reading what that person may need from me when they are going through something. So though that may mean that I look like I'm not empathetic, I feel just as deeply about it as anyone else, I just don't know what is the right way to respond. But I love having this inner sense about me. At least in my own head I can sometimes justify people's behavior based on the fact that I just sensed they were out of sorts. It sure helped me in school, I just always sensed when something major was up, and I knew when my teachers perhaps needed a little pick me up.

Unfortunately, I forget to take care of myself. I don't go to bed early enough to get a good start on tomorrow. And I sleep in. And I don't exercise enough. I have some great kids, who also sleep in. So I'm lucky. Still, I wish I could actually feel content enough to go to sleep at night. It's just like I've been running on empty all day, and I need that time after bedtime to just decompress or do whatever it is that I want to do. Like, right now, I'm focused enough alone and quiet to write this post. Sometimes I just veg out and play a game or surf facebook or something. 

The best self care I can get is the kind I don't like to take. When I decided to be a mom, I decided that I was a full time mom. I barely accept anything less than 24/7 mom. My kids don't routinely go anywhere except their grandma and grandpa's house. If I go to town, the kids go to town. If I go to the doctor, the kids go to the doctor. I don't especially want to be without my kids, I enjoy being around them. We as a family have decided that I don't work, so we make the necessary adjustments to our life to make that happen. It is a sacrifice every day, but it has been so worth it. Homeschooling my son this year has been an exciting journey, because I love watching him soak things up like a sponge. I love seeing him "get it" when we learn something new.
The best kind of self care is doing things alone. I recharge by being alone, most definitely. 

On Mother's Day, my husband had to work, but we were going to go to his parents for supper that night. I hadn't been able to go to the grocery store yet that week, so I went on Sunday and I decided that I was going to leave the kids with grandma and grandpa this time. I turned up my music, I opened the windows, I did my shopping, went home windows down music up. Dropped the groceries off and only put away the cold ones. Then I went to the lake, alone. I sat in the car and read a whole magazine. I got out and took some pictures and listened to the wind (and got very cold). I talked to myself. (Yep, I talk to myself. Shush, it is the perfect way to process things, to work things out, to get out "the thing I should have said", or whatever.)

That was a GREAT day. I used to do that quite a lot. Of course, before kids I was often/always alone. Once I had my son, however, I was full time, all in, 24/7, and it was good that I was prepared for that because my little aspieboy needed that (and pretty much still does) and that's okay with me. But I still need that time alone, that time away. 

My daughter isn't nearly as needy, so much so that I've been considering possibly working a little bit this summer. I used to work for a resort. Maybe I could double that as alone time if I could get a little laundry room work. But then, at the same time, I wonder if the grandparents can handle both those crazy kiddos for that long. I'm only still thinking about this.

I know many parents who literally say if they had to spend all day every day with their kids they would go mad. So they work. That is SO not me. It isn't that my kids drive me that nuts that I wouldn't want to be with them. However, that doesn't erase my own need for that alone time! Though every minute of my alone time I'm wishing that I were with my kids anyway, even though I know that what recharges me is the alone time! 

It can be pretty complicated!

SO anyway, back to the staying up late. That is my alone time. The "perfect situation" would have me getting up early in the morning to have this alone time to start the day, and that would honestly be great too. I do feel much better if I get up before the chatters begin. However, I am not the kind of person who can collapse at the end of the day to sleep. I need that bedtime alone time too. 

So, it is what it is. Every day is a new day to try again, forgive myself, move forward, and hopefully improve on something, if only a tiny bit.

Just remember to care for yourself fellow Aspies.

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