Autism Awareness is everywhere, and we’re very new to this diagnosis. I’m still processing it all and I’m not completely convinced that I need a puzzle necklace or blue light bulbs to show support of autism.
Oh, I’m aware of autism, as I sit here I’m listening to my son screaming because he doesn’t want to take a shower. (The one he promised he’d take because he didn’t want a bath last night.) I’m quite aware of autism. Autism HATES me, “hates me forever apparently,” and hates me quite personally, why should I show support of it? I don’t want to ‘like’ autism. I want to say, “yo autism, bite me!”I don’t show support of autism, I’m running up against it every day. I love my son, he is who he is. Nothing is going to cure him and make an intrinsic part of him go away. I wish I could make things easier for him, but I accept that this is his journey. I have my own journey, which is learning enough so that I can help him make sense of this insane world and find his own way in it. And, just because I have high expectations, I expect that I will do so with humor and grace and love.
Is it wrong that I want my child to be able to embrace his weirdnesses, and yet grow-up and at the least have the choice to behave as if he’s normal? I mean, I’ve, mostly, learned how to pass myself off as normal. Almost all of the time now, I can sit with a group of grown-ups in a serious situation, and guard my reactions and emotions enough that I don’t make the strange off-comment that makes them wonder, or laugh when it’s not officially a joke. By the time the meeting is over, not one of them would guess that I’m as weird as I am. Especially in groups of very serious grown-ups, I sometimes seethe with pent up laughter as I see the absurdity that goes on.
Sometimes I’ve felt like I’m so different from everyone else, that I’m an observer of the human race. “I’ve learned to rub blue mud in my bellybutton” whenever the natives do, so they don’t notice me noticing them. These humans are touchy and don’t like to be laughed at. Hide behind this book and don’t stare directly at them. ::chuckle:: I can pass as one of them when I need a job, or go to court, or go out in public.
I’m not terribly surprised that my son isn’t ‘normal’ when I don’t feel perfectly normal, myself. I know that his brain isn’t wired like mine is. He may be like me in some ways, but he appears to be using a completely different operating system than I am. The throws out non-sequiturs that make my brain hurt. He interprets sensations differently. He loves drama and I prefer comedy.
What I haven’t figured out is how ‘lighting it up blue’ is going to help my son quit freaking out. I’m puzzled as to why a puzzle tattoo helps some people cope. I don’t want to buy a blue scarf, or put a puzzle piece on my facebook, my car, or my person. I am willing to accept that some people do want to do these things, but I’m not completely convinced that awareness of (the word or the disorder) autism is actually providing any comfort or support for those who are living with autism.
Our money is going towards insurance co-payments. Asking me for donations or charitable purchases of stuff I don’t need right now feels a bit annoying. I feel a bit like I’ve been tapped as a whole new income stream. I’m aware already, now what?
Personally, I’m busy trying to understand my son, with his own individualized version of autistic traits and behaviors, and figure out how to help myself cope in a manner that supports my well-being. It’s frustrating because there are not many people experiencing exactly what I’m experiencing.
Sure, there’s 1 in 8 who are being diagnosed as autistic, but they’re all different. There’s a whole lot of contrast out there showing me how blessed my family really is because autism is a big spectrum. Sure, I want to offer support to those who really need it, but I’d rather it wasn’t just a ‘show’ of support. Meaningful support is what I’m looking to give and receive. I’m not convinced that meaningful support can be provided by a one size fits all project.
Sigh, another conundrum for another moment because the tantrum is over, the shower is done, and he’s sorry that he yelled. Apparently, all the stress washed away for awhile, and there’s my son again and he loves me.