I was sitting here on a day off, staring into space, thinking about at least ten ideas for blogs and social media posts over a half hour. Then when I took out a piece of paper to make a list of all those ideas, they vanished - poof into thin air - I couldn't remember a single one. Conveniently my inability to hold anything in my brain for longer than a nano-second is now the inspiration for this post.
Until June of last year, I would beat myself up when any of the six million traits related to ASD and ADHD disrupted my day, and my honest intentions of behaving "normally," not melting down internally, and not losing an entire day to time sucks.
The clues were all there my entire life - the sensitivities that overwhelm me and send me over the edge - sounds, tastes, smells (all of them), the feeling of bunched or ill-fitting clothing and socks or hair in my eyes, clipping my fingernails (OK, that is a weird one), heat or cold, disorder and visual messiness, lists of information or instructions, too many texts or emails coming in at once, anything that has a hint of suspense (I always read the end of a book first to make sure everything turns out OK), not to mention socializing and "reading" a room and feeling all of the emotions - being around people is too much, in general. Yes, the list is endless.
Masking the desire to crawl out of my skin or under a table to hide - every damn time I experience sensory overload is utterly exhausting, as is unconsciously turning on the mental "don't do weird sh*t" switch whenever I have to interact or be in public.
When I figured out (finally clued in) that I am neurodivergent during last year's Liberated Learners Conference, I no longer felt like I was the crazy weirdo who never fit in. In one neatly wrapped package, it explained everything I had struggled with for 57 years and tried to hide from the world.
Now that I know, I am much more aware of how profoundly my neurodivergence has affected my behavior and life choices. I can (mostly) embrace all the quirks as uniquely mine and avoid or find new ways to deal with the sensitivities that would normally shut me down. I can now intentionally use those traits that were once a burden - that I felt I needed to keep hidden, as hacks to capitalize on my creativity and unique talents.
And, I realized a few days ago that the switch I used to unconsciously turn on is now very deliberate - and it is no longer about masking my weird sh*t but maximizing positive and vital connections with people.
We are each unique individuals navigating through our lives - with distinctive hacks and tools that work for us - devised from experience - whether we identify as neurodivergent or not. Additionally, accommodations and accessibility aids (every one of them) should be normalized and readily available for anyone who needs or wants them. No one should have to fight and wait years to get them.
My point is that our society tends to pathologize anything that isn't "normal," turning it into something weird that needs to be fixed. I am here to say none of us is broken - only different, which can only be good.
Diversity is the thread woven into the fibers of society designed to keep us strong, resilient, and connected to one another. Because those relationships are what bring out the best in each of us.
Weekly Creative Meditation
No photo galleries from this past week. We have been on break but will be returning tomorrow.
This quote is from a while ago. I am pulling it out now because it highlights what we mean when we say "free range learning" (and we are on break, so I don't have any fresh quotes). Kids are "doing" all the "things" all the time innately while they follow their interests. This kiddo happens to be passionate about role playing. It is unnatural to separate math from science from social studies, etc. As adults we don't do that - so why should we force our kids too?
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