I Forgive You

I forgive you.

The most powerful words we have in our hearts.  They embody Love in its most defining and intimate moment.  Forgiveness is Love – the most powerful, the essential energy of life – and with three simple words, “I forgive you,” we can experience and share the absolute of Love.  Fear is the only antagonist of Love.  It is the only thought process that obstructs us from experiencing Love and prevents us from forgiving others and moving on.  We create our own thoughts, so it is our own will to exist in Love or to live in fear.

February 2, 2010, my daughter was diagnosed with autism.  My husband was in Afghanistan fighting in a war.  I was home raising a teenage stepdaughter and a six-year-old son.  I was scared.  I felt alone.  It was my job to fight for my daughter’s educational rights because our school district did not have an appropriate autism program.  I also learned that our military insurance, TRICARE, did not cover autism treatments for our military children and that made me very angry.  So I fought everybody.  I spent many years fighting.  I blamed the district that would not educate my daughter.  I blamed TRICARE for not caring for military children.  I blamed government for not working.  I blamed families for not speaking up.  I blamed society for not being aware.  As you can imagine, it was exhausting and it took all of my energy just to survive all of that fighting.  There were good moments in between, of course.  I loved my children and husband, of course.  We had good times, of course.  But I was not focused on those.  I was focused on attacking those who had done my family and my daughter an injustice. I lived in constant fear of losing.

December 31st, 2013, I received a letter in the mail from the State of Connecticut Department of Education stating that our complaint against our school district had been satisfied and after several months, it was now closed.  Another fight was over.  On January 6, 2014, (ironically on Epiphany) we went to our yearly Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting at our daughter’s autism school and without any fuss, signed an agreement for another year of excellent programming where she is making progress and she is thriving.  Another fight was over.

So there was only one thing left for me to do, Friends.

This is my gift to you.  I am sharing with you what was the most intimate act of Love I have ever committed and I pray that you will find this same Love in your heart and mind in your life, too:

I forgive you

I sent a note each to the Special Education Director and Outplacement Supervisor in our district that I have been “fighting” for over five years.  Because I had to learn that advocating for my daughter didn’t mean it had to be a war.  Oh, I will always get her what she needs, but I will do so in the name of Love, not in angry energy spent on people who make their own choices.  I choose me.  I choose Love.  Forgiving does not lay me in harm’s way to be victim, but rather it places me in a position to never fall victim again. Love is letting go

Thanks to this book, Love is Letting Go of Fear, I am free.  I am living my life with Love and I am no longer in fear.  Of anything.  Or anyone.

I have learned the greatest lesson life has to teach us:  With every action, with every word, first ask yourself, “Am I doing this for Love?”  If not, my Friends, do not waste your time.  Love yourself first, forgive yourself first.  Recognize that the person in front of you is made of the same screwy stuff as you and we’re all just trying to get a little Love around here.

Don’t be afraid anymore.

I love you.

Rachel


2013: A Year in Review. A.K.A. “Get Your Head Out of Your Ass, It Was a Great Year”

2014 stimcityWhile most of us were still hungover and tripping on the credit card receipts we racked up paying for a holiday we couldn’t really afford, media outlets around the world were already selling us the “Best and Worst of 2013” before the champagne boxed wine ran out.  (Let’s keep it real.)

I process a lot more thoughtfully than those media execs banking seven figures a year to tell us what we think, so bear with me that it’s TEN WHOLE DAYS into 2014 and that a new year is now old news.

Did you watch any of the recaps on tv or the interweb?  I caught a glimpse here and there.  We certainly had a lot in 2013 that was worth a nod.  But I don’t believe that any of these media recaps do our personal perspective any good when reflecting on our own experiences of 2013.  In general, a year itself is a piss poor snapshot of a life.  While I cannot argue that we humans have agreed to measure time in such a manner, I offer the notion that we stop defining ourselves by the results of our year and instead use year-end reflection as a way to redefine ourselves as we grow forward into a new year. Don’t get me wrong, accounting and banking statements are perfectly acceptable domains to use concrete year-end report cards.  Not so much for us emotional creatures.

I could make a list of the Good vs. Bad of 2013 (trust me, it would be an exhaustive list and thoroughly vetted for accuracy) and systematically calculate wins versus losses, joy versus pain, achievements over embarrassments, etc., and produce a final conclusive statement as to whether 2013 was a Winner or 2013 could KISS MY ASS.  But what good does that do for me?  Is it really more motivating to tell myself 2013 was horrible and so I am going to REALLY kick ass this time in 2014?  Sounds to me like a fitness commercial on January 1st.  There is simply no credibility to that line of thought.  Do you tell the football team that is 0-11 that they sucked SO BAD SO FAR that this next game they WILL ABSOLUTELY WIN?

Um. No. It doesn’t work like that.

What you do at year-end is reflect on what you did right, what worked, what made you feel good and happy, peaceful, accomplished, and sexy in 2013 and then you DO MORE OF THAT in 2014.

If you had shit that went horribly wrong in 2013 and none of which was within your control, LET IT MOTHERFUCKING GO.  Did you catch that phrase sitting all sneaky in there? “None of which was within your control”??? THAT.  You couldn’t have done anything about it.  Done.  Move on.

Now.  What about the shit you fucked up?  I have a decently long list of that for 2013.  But it isn’t devastating in comparison to what I did right.  For all that I fucked up and felt bad about, this year the most amazing thing happened and so now I can call it all a victory.  Would you like to know my secret?

I LET IT ALL MOTHERFUCKING GO.

That’s right.  If I owed an apology, I said sorry.  If I ate the entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s, I brushed my teeth in front of the mirror and said to myself, “That’s right, Sexy Bitch, own it.” If I couldn’t advocate for others, I advocated for myself.  If I mistreated myself, I ate a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.

See???  Not so hard.

The reality of my 2013 is this:  I wasn’t the best friend, but I had the best friends around me when I needed them.  I learned I was also on the Autism Spectrum like my beautiful daughter.  This discovery took myself and my husband on a journey through every emotion and tested my own reality and self-love.  But with time, it was one of the greatest blessings in my life to learn so much more about myself and what makes me worthy.  My marriage has fallen apart, fallen back together, fallen apart – and praise God – is falling back together again.  I don’t know what the future holds for my SGM and me but the love we share is unbreakable and we are a family.  I had to learn that is all that matters at the end of the day whether we are husband and wife or not.  I helped pass legislation in Congress for military families with autism, but it didn’t turn out as planned and it took a long time for my anger to return to pride.  It was the fifth year I spent fighting for my daughter’s education, and it was painful and exhausting, but now the fight is over and there is no better gift or feeling in this world.  Our family was able to go kayaking and camping together for the first time EVER (my kids are 10 and 7).  My son is an enthusiastic and confident young man and my daughter is a bright, determined little lady who will someday redefine Autism for the entire world to see.  This year took a lot of work.  A lot of work just to learn to work on me, too.  Through all of the darkest moments this year, when I was too proud to ask, when I was overwhelmed with the unknown and the exhaustion, my friends, family and Angels showered me and my babies in light and love and generosity that cannot be measured.  So I have to say 2013 KICKED ASS and I know – I KNOW – what to take with me into 2014 and what to leave the hell behind.

I hope for each and every one of you that your 2013 has much to take forward with you, moments and memories and lessons to celebrate and build upon.  And I BEG you, what didn’t work, what didn’t feel good, and what didn’t celebrate all that makes you incredibly and spectacularly YOU in 2013 – leave it the hell in 2013.  2014 is all about repeating what works and building on that with new adventures, new risks, new love, new friendships, new YOU.

Love to you all.


900 Mass Shooting Victims; WHAT Mental Illness???

[Ed note: This is the somewhat cleaner version of my previous post for those who can't stomach so much of my potty mouth.]

I hate to add to your Case of The Mondays with this news, but since it seems to have escaped most everyone’s attention, I felt it was my absolute duty to advise you that we are all – in fact – CRAZY.

You see, our great American society is not only fat and in debt up to our eyeballs, our brother’s eyeballs, and China’s eyeballs, we are so messed up in the head we have no idea how to be human anymore.  We are KILLING OURSELVES AND EACH OTHER.

The United States is ranked 30th in the world in infant mortality.  Your baby has a better chance of seeing the light of day in TWENTY-NINE other countries.  But here it’s a total crap shoot depending upon whether the birth takes place at Boston General or a smack house. What are we doing about that?

Once a child is born here in the Land of the Free, he or she has a one in five chance of living in oppressive poverty.  Our government defines poverty as an annual income below $23,492 for an average family of four.  Seriously?  Let’s be honest and say any family of four making twice that much is struggling in this country.  We have an epidemic of working poor yet we ignore what that even means.  There are several other federal programs acknowledging that “poverty” (or at least the real-world threshold for needing help) is at a much higher income level.  For example, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) caps assistance at $43,568 annually for a family of four.  The school lunch program caps the same at $29,055 for free lunch and $41,348 for reduced.  So are we saying that you’re only really poor in this country if you’re hungry AND unemployed?  What are we doing about that?

And hello, America, we are diverse from sea to shining sea.  Maybe that $23K plus some Food Stamps is kickin’ in your little cabin in Alaska.  Though if you’re a family of four living in Stamford, Connecticut, where the cost of living is 63% higher than the U.S. average, you guessed it – you, your infants, and your children are out of luck.  What are we doing about that?

But hey, the good news is that if you don’t have a job or healthcare, we’ve got government programs that have your back.  They may not work so well for the people who actually need them, but there are folks out there making a sweet living riding one loophole after another while you find yourself on a waitlist for the third year.  Meanwhile, none of the agencies charged with assisting good folks like yourself actually coordinate with each other, so while you were waitlisted for Medicaid, your Section 8 Housing request was denied.  Apparently, page 5 of 7 in your application was missing.  In other words, COME BACK NEXT MONTH, ASSHOLE.  No one cares if you and your kids are homeless.  What are we going to do about that?

I just read in a local paper that our soup kitchen is completely overwhelmed.  Instead of 80 folks for lunch, they are feeding anywhere from 100 to 150 per day.  Families are lined up at 9:30 in the morning for a free meal served at 11am.  What the hell are we doing about that?

Here’s the real deal, friends.  People are CRAY CRAY.  Myself included.  Mental healthcare in this country is as much of a joke and an insult as Rosanne Barr singing the National Anthem.  People are under enormous strain in a schizophrenic economy with inflated gas prices, crappy employment, and John Boehner’s stronghold on the tanning industry.

Just WHAT are we going to do about that?

People are in tremendous pain.  No one is listening.  This cycle of drudgery and stagnation in our society is making country music sound like our happy opus.  Priorities are insanely inverted and Minecraft is not a religion, for the record.  Facebook isn’t real and you can drink a lot and still wake up with the same problems plus less cash.

But what else can you do?  Who the hell would you trust to share your scary self with?  When you are in your darkest moments, can you even form the words?  Would you risk your job?  Your marriage?  The custody of your children?

Because let’s once again ask ourselves to be brutally honest – our society is not a forgiving one when it comes to mental illness.  One whiff of crazy and people are OUT.  The stigma is permanent dog shit stuck to your shoe.

And SCREW insurance.  I mean I have been to therapy, kids.  Six visits barely gets us to my favorite color.  I don’t know too many folks who have the $175 cash per hour for the next 40 sessions that will get us to second grade and why I have an aversion to Barry Manilow.

36,000 people commit suicide in this country each year.  Please stop and read that again.  (I’ll wait.)

You have to ask yourself, how could it get so bad for so many people that they saw no other way out?

And for those who felt disenfranchised and marginalized – or simply INVISIBLE – why do think they chose a mass shooting as their last act on this earth?  Too many video games?  HELL.  NO.  Because they had a bone to pick with their neighbors, with us, with our society.  We failed them.  All of them.  Some were bullied.  Some were fired.  Some were discriminated against.  Some had fallen on tough times and been abandoned.  All suffered a mental breakdown.  All were broken.  All needed our help.  We failed them.  As a nation, we failed them.

In 1999, right here in this country, somebody thought it crass to throw perfectly good babies away in dumpsters, that the practice had been going on for far too long.  It was shocking and messy and it made enough people pissy to do something about it.  Thus, within a few short years, all 50 of these United States had adopted some form of Safe Haven law so that idiots would stop doing that.  It’s worked pretty damn well, too.  Unlike mass shootings, I don’t hear about dead babies in dumpsters as often as there used to be.  Score one for using the ol’ thinking cap.

I’m wondering why we’ve kind of just sat back and watched the news footage roll of the last NINE HUNDRED PEOPLE KILLED BY MASS SHOOTINGS IN THIS COUNTRY.  Because if you think for one minute this is a gun debate – you are wrong.  This is about mental illness and why those who have it are invisible in this country until they whack a few dozen people.

Don’t we have at least one or two smarty pants up for the challenge here?  You know, to fix this?  Snap us out of it?  Remind us how to be human again?  Make us RESPONSIBLE to each other?

This country isn’t working, if you haven’t noticed.  Like literally, it is SHUT DOWN.  WHAT are we going to do about that?

I’m going to start by being honest with myself and my family.  There are days when I am more than capable of doing more for others than I have been.  There are also days when I need to speak up and say, “I need help.”  I want to get better at both.

Then I am going to start paying better attention to the needs of my neighbors and my community.  And I will open my heart, reach out my hand and ask, “What can I do about that?”

mental


We. Are. Fucked.

I hate to interrupt your burgeoning weekend plans with this news, but in case it has escaped your attention, I felt it was my absolute duty to advise you that we are all – in fact – FUCKED.

You see, our great American society is not only fat and in debt up to our eyeballs, our brother’s eyeballs, and China’s eyeballs, we are so fucked up in the head we have no idea how to be human anymore.  We are KILLING OURSELVES AND EACH OTHER.

The United States is ranked 30th in the world in infant mortality.  Your baby has a better chance of seeing the light of day in TWENTY-NINE other countries.  But here it’s a total crap shoot depending upon whether the birth takes place at Boston General or a smack house. What are we doing about that?

Once a child is born here in the Land of the Free, he or she has a one in five chance of living in oppressive poverty.  Our government defines poverty as an annual income below $23,492 for an average family of four.  WTF.  Let’s be honest and say any family of four making twice that much is struggling in this country.  We have an epidemic of working poor in this country yet we ignore what that even means.  There are several other federal programs acknowledging that “poverty” (or at least the real-world threshold for needing help) is at a much higher income level.  For example, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) caps assistance at $43,568 annually for a family of four.  The school lunch program caps the same at $29,055 for free lunch and $41,348 for reduced.  So are we saying that you’re only really poor in this country if you’re hungry AND unemployed?  What the fuck are we doing about that?

And hello, America, we are fucking diverse from sea to shining sea.  Maybe that $23K plus some Food Stamps is kickin’ in your little cabin in Alaska.  Though if you’re a family of four living in Stamford, Connecticut, where the cost of living is 63% higher than the U.S. average, you guessed it – you, your infants, and your children are fucked.  What the fuck are we doing about that?

But hey, the good news is that if you don’t have a job or healthcare, we’ve got government programs that have your back.  They may not work so well for the people who actually need them, but there are folks out there making one sweet living riding one loophole after another while you find yourself on a waitlist for the third year.  Meanwhile, none of the agencies charged with assisting good folks like yourself actually coordinate with each other, so while you were waitlisted for Medicaid, your Section 8 Housing request was denied.  Apparently, page 5 of 7 in your application was missing.  In other words, GO FUCK YOURSELF.  No one cares if you and your kids are homeless.  What the fuck are we going to do about that?

I just read in a local paper that our soup kitchen is fucking overwhelmed.  Instead of 80 folks for lunch, they are feeding anywhere from 100 to 150 per day.  Families are lined up at 9:30 in the morning for a free meal served at 11am.  What the FUCK are we doing about that?

Here’s the real deal, friends.  People are CRAY CRAY.  Myself included.  Mental healthcare in this country is as much of a joke and an insult as Rosanne Barr singing the National Anthem.  Shit. Ain’t. Right.  People are under enormous strain in a fucked up economy with shitty gas prices, crappy employment, and John Boehner’s stronghold on the tanning industry.

What the fuck are we going to do about that?

People are in tremendous pain.  No one is listening.  This cycle of drudgery and stagnation in our society is making country music sound like our happy opus.  Priorities are insanely inverted and Minecraft is not a religion, for the record.  Facebook isn’t real and you can drink a lot and still wake up with the same problems plus less cash.

But what else can you do?  Who the hell would you trust to share your scary self with?  When you are in your darkest moments, can you even form the words?  Would you risk your job?  Your marriage?  The custody of your children?

Because let’s once again ask ourselves to be brutally honest – our society is not a forgiving one when it comes to mental illness.  One whiff of crazy and people are OUT.  The stigma is permanent dog shit stuck to your shoe.

And FUCK insurance.  I mean I have been to therapy, kids.  Six visits barely gets us to my favorite color.  I don’t know too many folks who have the $175 cash per hour for the next 40 sessions that will get us to second grade and why I have an aversion to Barry Manilow.

36,000 people commit suicide in this country each year.  Please stop and read that again.  (I’ll wait.)

You have to ask yourself, how could it get so bad for so many people that they saw no other way out?

And for those who felt disenfranchised and marginalized – or simply FUCKED – why do think they chose a mass fucking shooting as their last act on this earth?  Too many video games?  FUCK.  NO.  Because they had a fucking bone to pick with their neighbors, with us, with our society.  We failed them.  All of them.  Some were bullied.  Some were fired.  Some were discriminated against.  Some had fallen on tough times and been abandoned.  All suffered a mental breakdown.  All were broken.  All needed our help.  We failed them.  As a nation, we failed them.

In 1999, right here in this country, somebody thought it crass to throw perfectly good babies away in dumpsters, that the practice had been going on for far too long.  It was shocking and messy and it made enough people pissy to do something about it.  Thus, within a few short years, all 50 of these United States had adopted some form of Safe Haven law so that idiots would stop that shit.  It’s worked pretty damn well, too.  Unlike mass fucking shootings, I don’t hear about dead babies in dumpsters as often as there used to be.  Score one for using the ol’ thinking cap.

I’m wondering why we’ve kind of just sat back and watched the news footage roll of the last NINE HUNDRED PEOPLE KILLED BY MASS SHOOTINGS IN THIS COUNTRY.  Because if you think for one minute this is a gun debate – you are wrong.  This is about mental illness and why those who have it are invisible in this country until they whack a few dozen people.

Don’t we have at least one or two smarty pants up for the challenge here?  You know, to fix this shit?  Snap us the FUCK out of it?  Remind us how to be human again?  Make us RESPONSIBLE to each other?

This country isn’t working, if you haven’t noticed.  Like literally, it is SHUT THE FUCK DOWN.  What the fuck are we going to do about that?

I’m going to start by being honest with myself and my family.  There are days when I am more than capable of doing more for others than I have been.  There are also days when I need to speak up and say, “I need help.”  I want to get better at both.

Then I am going to start paying better attention to the needs of my neighbors and my community.  And I will open my heart, reach out my hand and ask, “What can I do about that?”

 


It’s Not About the Cops and Their Paychecks, People

I mean, don’t get me wrong. Of all folks, our brave first responders should be able to get their drink on after a day like yesterday. Not having the cash to grab a 12-pack on the way home to wash down that kind of a day is just sad.

But really?

What do you think is the real problem here? Is it a government shutdown that delays some paychecks of some people who have taken hallowed oaths to do their jobs no matter what?

I’m confused.

Because for a brief moment I thought perhaps the focus today should be on why a dental hygienist from Connecticut put her toddler in the car and tried to take out The White House and half of Capitol Hill?

I thought maybe we should be talking about mental health and how there are a lot more folks not getting nearly enough or any attention to their mental healthcare needs.

I thought maybe we should start there.

I thought maybe I’d happily give up a paycheck during a government shutdown if only the genius who pulled the trigger on such shutdown was pooling those paychecks for mental healthcare.

I thought maybe those folks lying on the ground in DC while hearing shots fired yesterday would have gladly opened their wallets and handed the government a fiver if they knew it might stop the next burdened mind from going postal.

I thought maybe if our legislators who take millions from gun lobbyists turned around and opened mental healthcare clinics throughout this country we’d have something there.

I thought maybe we were the country that could get shit done in a crisis.

I thought maybe we cared more about our neighbors than this.

I think maybe not enough of us will care until the mental health crisis has us all pinned down under fire.


Autistic Mermaid Makes a Splash

Daryl Hannah, 52, talks openly about her autism.

daryl

It should be no surprise that many successful actors and actresses are on the autism spectrum if you take into account that scripting is the common means of communicative speech in autistics.

I always knew that I favored movie lines and TV personalities for picking and choosing my words in conversation.  For many years I thought that was my way of being witty and entertaining among those who may not otherwise have much interest in what I had to say.  The first time I recognized that I was mimicking a real-live person was at the age of thirteen on a trip to Disney World.  I came home with a southern accent thanks to the shuttle bus driver that picked us up from the campgrounds each day to take us into The Magic Kingdom.  Months of “y’all” later, it finally drifted away and was replaced with something new.  And while it seemed odd that I would find myself mimicking the words, phrases, gestures, and facial expressions of whomever I was spending most of my time with, I simply couldn’t help it.  It just happened.  At 16, I had grown a friendship with my brother’s wife who hailed from Massachusetts.  I admired her.  She was beautiful and smart.  We had the same creative taste.  Soon my “r”s disappeared as I found myself talking like her, making her characteristic facial expressions, and repeating her personal catch phrase “ever-loving”.  As in, “You must be out of your ever-loving mind.”

And I started to think that I was.  OUT. OF. MY. EVER. LOVING. MIND.

Until the internet came along.  You know, because if it’s on the internet it has to be true.  I read that on the internet.  I had researched and discovered that imitation or mimicry was a natural human behavior, often a subconscious form of flattery.  There was my answer!  There was nothing wrong with me, I just really liked these people!

Though as I grew older and entered into adulthood and corporate life, this pattern of imitation and scripting became increasingly frustrating as I noticed that adults don’t copy each other or speak in movie lines and I was in jeopardy of appearing like a weirdo.  Not to mention it was also becoming exhausting trying to keep up with the tangled web of adult office politics and shenanigans.  As naïve as I was to the social structure of adulthood, I knew there was no sensible structure to it at all.  I was now a professional.  Professional actor and scripting superstar.  I just had no idea what role I was playing.

The downside of communicative scripting is that it requires so much more energy to carry on an effective conversation for the person with autism.  Instead of speaking off the cuff like “typical” folks, we are listening to your words, searching for context to their meaning, then fishing around in our skull for a matching script we have memorized that will work to convey our own thoughts on the subject.  All of which has to happen in nanoseconds.  Sometimes the scripting is so subtle, even we don’t realize or recognize where it came from while we are using it.  Other times, we simply go straight for the pop culture quote and hope it’s funny and our timing is on point.  Exhausting.  There have been times I have been speaking with a friend, desperately trying to control my facial expressions and body language, and reign in my words, so that I am not caught in an obvious script or mimic of the other person.  That is tiring, too.  But if I don’t monitor myself carefully, I could end up the creepy Single White Female just because it’s so easy and subconscious to copy the person I am hanging out with.

Having Aspergers and being able to “fake it ‘til you make it” in the typical social world is worthy of an Oscar for sure.  My sister, and fellow autism mom, suggested that I become an actress when I spoke with her about my own diagnosis.  She was so shocked.  “Rachel!  My god!  You walk into a room and everyone loves you!  You’re so funny and smart!  It’s so hard to believe that you are not really that person.  Look at you!”

It hurt so deeply at first to hear such a reaction.  I should be an actress???  That’s your response??? Ouch!

But my sister taught me something very important that day and I am so grateful to her.  While the initial pain I felt was betrayal, I learned from that exchange that it was my grief for spending a lifetime acting and scripting to keep up with the world around me that hurt so badly.  I was angry that after all of this time, all the effort to engage and be a good person and a good friend was achieved with the words and actions of others.  None of which was my own.  It was all an act.

Or was it? 

If communicating with speech is the act of expressing or describing thoughts, feelings, or perceptions by the articulation of words, does it matter if my library is a virtual one?  Does that change the message or the sincerity?  Does it change the origin of such speech – my thoughts, feelings, or perceptions?

Absolutely not.  My sister sees me.  I am that woman.  I am pretty great.

So I get by with a little help from my virtual friends.  So what?  Some of them are great actors and actresses, public figures, journalists, and maybe a few are Real Housewives or cast members of Saturday Night Live.  Don’t judge.

And that’s ok.  That’s me.  That’s how I communicate.  Call it acting, scripting, or mimicking.  It doesn’t change the very authentic thoughts, feelings, and perceptions within me.  It doesn’t make me less.  Just different.  And being somewhat capable of “passing” as typical doesn’t make me any less autistic.  It just means I have worked that much harder.

I’m glad that Daryl Hannah can now talk openly about her autism.  It saddens me that it took her decades before she was able to share.  Hopefully, more stories like Hannah’s will contribute to advancing the dialogue about women and autism.  Successful women and autism, too.

How ironic that one of Hannah’s most notable performances was that of a mermaid – a mystical creature of the ocean who found chaos and discomfort within the unavoidably intriguing pull of being on land.  It can be momentarily intoxicating connecting with others, being heard, or making a Splash“.  We are wired to want to exist in reality rather than just observe it.  We want the high of friendship and intimacy without the social hangover autism hands us.

Like Daryl Hannah, we all want to share ourselves and our talents with others.  We all want the opportunity to shine without marketing strategies and press junkets to explain ourselves.

I’m autistic.  Some days I win the Oscar.  Most days I just wish for a cast and crew that love me for the scripting wizard I am and appreciate my character.  The truth is, we all work off of a script one way or another.  That doesn’t invalidate the sentiment.  If I make you laugh, I’m happy.  So what if I borrowed a few lines from Hollywood to see your smile?

You can read more about Daryl Hannah here.


The Grocery Store: Take Another Look, Asshole

This is my daughter.  She is autistic. And let me tell you, she is F-ABULOUS.

bw6

This morning, I read THIS post by Matt Walsh and WHOA – it was delightful to say the least.  Because one human being took the time to school another human being (we’ll call him “Asshole”) on the gross stupidity of making a comment like: “Man, some people need to learn how to control their f**king kids.”  In a grocery store.  Like, as if, the grocery store wasn’t torturous enough for kids and grownups with kids, Asshole had to share his clairvoyant perspective on the situation.

Way to go, Matt Walsh.  Your children are blessed to have you.

So I will take the liberty of adding this dimension to Mr. Walsh’s encounter.  Our dimension.  Our encounters with Asshole at the grocery store.  You see, every day my baby girl steps outside our door into a world that doesn’t quite understand her yet.  Where stares and whispers and outright insults assault her everywhere she goes.  Like in a grocery store when she is simply overwhelmed by the lights, noise, crowded aisles, or having to wait in the deli line for a slice of heavenly cheese.  Who knows what any child in a grocery store is flailing and wailing about?  You don’t, Asshole.  You just DON’T.

And so my daughter walks this world a target for Asshole and those like him.  She is target for gross misinterpretations and judgments of not only my parenting ability, but her intelligence.  Because commentary like above can not only be that bad, it can be so much worse.  So much more hateful.

My daughter can hear you, Asshole.  She understands every crinkle of your nose, every look of pity and she knows that your condescending tone of voice is more about your insecurity and discomfort than it is about her communication barriers or tantrums in the grocery store.  So whether you are claiming to judge me or my parenting style, you are really judging a seven-year-old child.  And that really makes you an asshole, Asshole.  And anyone like you who judges by first glance alone and dares to assume why a child is having trouble in a grocery store, or a park, or a mall, is not far from the kind of asshole that uses the R-word.

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And seriously.  The F-word is so much more appropriate.  Does this child look anything other than F-ABULOUS?

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My daughter may have challenges that are unique to your own, Asshole, but she isn’t complaining.  She is overcoming.  She hears the conversation and she is saying I AM WORTHY.  Behind her and so many others you don’t take the time to see, Asshole, are parents who love these children and are sticking by their guns in those grocery store aisles because every day is a battle.  A battle to teach and love and have patience.  A battle to overcome you, Asshole, and your judgy stares.

It is people like Matt Walsh that are changing the world every day with their WHOA – NO YOU DIDN’T courage to stand up to you, Asshole.

Each day WE step outside our door and into the world, WE are asking you to embrace US.  WE are expecting greatness of heart from YOU.  WE are expecting nothing less than what we all yearn for on this earth.  Love and acceptance.

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Even FOR you and FROM you, Asshole.

That mother in the grocery store was FABULOUS.  Mr. Walsh was FABULOUS.

You, Asshole, have some growing and changing to do my friend.  And then maybe others with call you Fabulous, too.  And then we can all hang and be fabulous together.  Like it should be in this world.  A whole lot of FABULOUSNESS.

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This is my daughter.

She is autistic.

Go ahead and drop the F-bomb, y’all.  Because she is F-ABULOUS.

What will YOU be?

 

 

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