As humans, we generally wear masks (no, not PPE) for two reasons - to hide our authenticity from ourselves or others or to change our appearance. The first is a metaphorical mask, and the second is usually theatrical - but can also be figurative.
From an early age, most of us learn to alter our essential beings to fit society's expectations, especially when we are in public. Human babies pick up seemingly invisible cues of culturally appropriate behavior. These signals are so subtle adults don't even notice they are giving them off.
And this is when we begin masking our true selves - our quirky personality, anger, empathy, sensitivity, needs, desires, and especially our neurodivergence - because we feel weird, strange, out of place, and unsafe. And that there is something radically wrong with us.
Fun fact: people assigned female at birth are far more likely to be diagnosed with dyslexia, ASD, and even ADHD later in life - simply because they are far more likely to mask the "weirdness" and behaviors associated with those labels.
This conversation is a throwback to last week's post that mentioned forcing disabled and neurodivergent folks to fit into our preconceived notions of acceptability and utility - instead of changing the world and our attitudes so everyone will be comfortable, accepted, and respected.
Eventually, our mask begins to fit so well we can trick ourselves into believing it represents authenticity because it embodies all the feelings of safety. And then it becomes affixed permanently - reflected in the stories we tell ourselves - until we are ready to consciously, with thoughtful intention, strip it away.
This can be a painfully overwhelming journey that reveals the deeply embedded scars from past trauma inflicted upon us - by others, as well as ourselves. However, that rough, pothole-filled obstacle course eventually gets you to a place where you no longer need your disguise and are accepted (by yourself and others) as you are - fallibly, awesomely, human.
It is my pleasure to spend my days unconditionally supporting young people on their path to authenticity in an environment free of judgement, bias, and coercion - where everyone is encouraged to drop their facade and be real.
This past week, during a homeschool consultation, I spoke by phone with a teen to learn more about them - what they wanted to do, and their goals for the future, so I could build their learning plan. I think they were taken aback, at first, after discovering I was open to hearing their preferred name and that I asked their pronouns up front. I think they came into the conversation expecting another adult to tell them what to do and how to be. Once we got over introductions and I asked what are you into? They were so overwhelmed with disbelief and relief, they blurted out, "so much stuff." And then they began to list them accompanied with anecdotes. We talked for over 30 minutes. I hope in that short time this young person understood that I honor and celebrate them fully as a uniquely, brilliant individual who does not need to hide behind a mask.
Weekly Creative Meditation
The latest news continues to be the DRC-East fundraising efforts.
We are also holding several online fundraisers to benefit Deep Root Center-East. Our second one is Tastefully Simple March 19th - 28th. Click the link to the Tastefully Simple ordering page.
And we are still looking for vendors for the May 21st Craft show fundraising event, as well as musicians who would be willing to share their talents for a brief time that day. Please share this opportunity with your network. Musicians can get in touch directly. Vendors can submit this google form and then send the fee to DRC-Canton.
DRC Bling is HERE - we have t-shirts (Y-M, A-M, A-L, & A-XL) with both Canton and East logos available for $15/ea., as well as bumper stickers for $2.50/ea. Let us know if you would like to order any of these items.