Saturday, February 21, 2015

Glee and A True Young Marriage Success Story: Love Part 2 of 2: The Wedding Episode

*This is a follow up post to part ONE here: which was written in September 2013. To gather some context I would recommend that post. For those who do not feel like reading the short post, the basic point of Part One was that I applauded Glee for supporting young marriage (and a double minority of gay, young marriage) and I sincerely hoped the writers would follow through on the promise of a young union despite the critics. Glee, once again delivered.
(Picture: My husband and I, 13 years married, at my brothers wedding. I was the maid of honour.)

True love of any kind should be celebrated. News feeds are proof enough that tragedy, bullies, critics, hate crimes and intolerance's are plenty. The main reason I have stuck with Glee through the crazy (the inconsistency could be frustrating but I shrugged this off because LIFE is inconsistent and the fact that they made fun of it themselves was enough for me) is because it was the ONE show on television, that despite the tough, crazy or uncomfortable subject matter at times the heart of the show was based in acceptance, unconditional love, and frivolous fun. Out of my favourite shows, Glee was the one that could inspire incredible emotion. Songs have a way of touching the heart when conveying emotion, but it was the poignancy of the writers in unexpected moments that would catch my soul off guard. My spirit felt camaraderie to people I have never met. I felt united with people all over the world who were represented by the characters.

The struggle to belong, be validated in our short and precious journey of life, and be supported is a need we all feel, but minorities feel it more profoundly. Glee creators and writers had a way of filling this need through T.V. in unexpected moments to the hurting and misplaced that were willing to watch it simply for that hope...without criticism...who were willing to take what they could and leave what they couldn't. Despite what critics have said, I really believe that there are not many places anywhere online or on T.V. that gave/give hope without having to show opposing graphic violence. Plus, what other show breaks out into song with heartfelt innocence?

There have been numerous weeks throughout the years where Glee was my one glimmer of light.  I have been lucky enough to have the support of my husband but otherwise, sometimes I felt completely alone. Despite the fact that it was just a show, I felt like there were people, who if they met me, WOULD support the life decisions that we had to fight for....young marriage being one.

*Spoiler alert: I am going to quote a few profoundly written lines from the latest episode "The Wedding" in the following section.*

Kurt and Blaine are speaking with his father Burt and mother Carole about their previous engagement plans. Kurt says,"And that would have been a beautiful day too but you know it just wasn't meant to be, you know... young and foolish."
Burt:,"Hey, maybe you two guys weren't meant to be but it's like young and foolish? Come on, are any of us ever really ready for anything? You know, I wasn't ready to lose your mom."
Carole, "And because of that we haven't wasted one day since we met."
Burt, "That's right. It has been a crazy adventure ever since."
Carole, "It has. You're gonna make mistakes and that's OK. I've made so many."
Burt, "Are you saying I'm one?"
Carole, "No you are not one. You are one of the good things but you just have to take every second of every day and squeeze it as tight as you can. Just wring every last bit out of it. Finn taught me that."

As I mentioned in Part One, my husband and I knew at 17 that we were soul mates. It made no logical sense for us to wait until school was over or we were older, just for the sake of age, yet that is what people continually told us to do. Our support, which we needed desperately, was either pulled from under us, bossed and demanded from us, or hard-won. It was rare to have anyone with enough logic to see the love that we had and accept that even if it was a mistake, it was worth supporting love. Those who DID actually give support have stayed as a fixture in our lives and we deeply appreciate that accepting love.

We did not want to waste a day. We were not being harmful to ourselves or abusive, yet we were treated like criminals at times because we were (and never have been) traditional, conservative, or followed society's protocols. My eyes teared up at the above conversation because it was one I never had... and really wished for. I just wanted someone to say, "Are any of us really ready for anything? Go and fight for your love." As I mentioned in this post, "Marital success and wise life choices depend on the situation, but regardless, young love could use a little more support. Maybe if couples had more support and successful portrayals of the good and the bad, there would not be as high of a break up rate? Maybe, just maybe, those stats are a little misused? Marriages break up often, regardless of age. It depends on LIFE, on circumstances, on support, on personality, on communication and dedication. Thank you GLEE for once again fighting for the underdog. Finally, I got to see my life choices promoted in a positive way." 

I hope, if circumstances happen to others like when I was young that I give Walter's following advice to my children or anyone who is in love.
Walter: "I'm jealous. I mean you are right at the beginning of it all...You're lucky Kurt, Go be lucky and whatever happens, even if you get hurt again, just remember, the only thing worth doing is going toward love don't waste time double guessing and don't waste time behaving yourself. You gotta run, you gotta jump, you gotta grab it while it's right in front of you and whatever you do- don't let go."

My husband and I believe that we SHOULD grab life when we can. Love is something worth running towards. We have often felt like Santanna when she told Brittany that the rules do not apply, they never have, and we often make our own luck. Humanity has always been scared of that which is different. But there are a few enlightened or brave people who come around and who either change their minds over time, or dare to think outside the box to see that we are not causing harm but embracing LIFE and LOVE. Even if they do not agree, they can still CHOOSE to be supportive.

There was a conversation in The Wedding episode between Santanna and her Abuela which induced a few tears on my part. (A brief context: Abuela/ grandmother was Santanna's best support system until Santanna came out and she disowned her. Despite attempts to reconnect, her grandmother refused to attend the wedding based on her beliefs. It crushed Santanna yet she was strong enough to choose her new love Brittany over her grandmother even though it broke her heart.) In the end Sue brings Abuela to the wedding and this is the conversation:

Santanna's Abuela, "I was wrong. I'm not saying I agree with every decision you make. I still don't believe it's right for two women to get married but I do believe that family is the most important thing in the world, and I love you Santanna. I don't want to be the person in your life that causes you pain, and I don't want to miss a day that I have been dreaming of my whole life or the birth of your kids or any other important days."
Santanna: "I don't agree with everything you believe either. I just want my Abuela back. I've missed you."
Abuela: "I've missed you too."

The beauty of friendship, family and support is not in agreeing. It's being able to be present and be supportive even if there isn't agreement. It's being the people who do not want to CAUSE the pain because we all get enough involuntary pain through life. Life IS pain. Family and support do not need to dish it out because our fair share will come around. I deeply admire my mother in law, because despite the many obstacles we have had to overcome in our relationship, we both learned how to respect each other even if our stances on life are opposing in just about every area. There has been misunderstanding but instead of being the last straw, we both respectfully stepped back and re tried again with more explanations and understanding to omit subjects that would be explosive. Though some family members made big issues out of little moments or beautiful moments were ruined from their continual phone calls of judgement, my mother in law's deep love for her youngest son would always trump her stances. I saw that and it was enough for me. There has been hurt from her and from me but because of our mutual love for her son...she is the one person in the family I deeply love and respect. In our conservative community anything different is often disowned or tolerated in the hope that the person will come back to the fold of the majority consensus. One of our friends was  engaged to his best guy friend. When he bravely faced his family before Christmas, they had him come him only to be disowned Christmas morning with bible verses read to him as he walked out the door. Perhaps this is seen, from their perspective, of standing up bravely for their faith, but to me, I see weakness and an inability to be able to love differently despite the fact that faith may differ.

Burt (officiating): "I want to thank you guys for being so brave and so honest and for standing up here and showing all of us that love and marriage is so much bigger than we thought it could be and also so much simpler. Love and marriage is when two people say to one another I love you because I love you, and I know this is gonna be one heck of a ride and I don't want to do it unless I am doing it with you."

(Vows) Kurt: "Blaine I'm a man whose always lived in the shadows and every one whose has come into my life has always tried to pull me out into the sun or push me back into the darkness."
Santanna, "I have been bullied, outed and misunderstood."
Blaine, "I honestly thought that I would never find real love."
Brittany, "The world seemed so scary and confusing- it was just too fast- it made me feel dumb just because my brain worked differently."

At this point of the show, during the magnificently written vows, tears are leaking down my face. I also often felt dumb because my brain worked differently. Finding someone to love me FOR that, and having almost everyone tell him that he was making a mistake, or that I was too sickly or too odd, was completely devastating. Especially on what was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. Like the old cliche the car was waiting "just in case." In every big event of our lives thus far, I have had to continually tell myself that I AM enough. Deciding that any person is not enough based on sickness or differences is a form of prejudice.

Kurt continues to address Blaine in his vows as Brittany and Santanna also give their vows.
Kurt: "And then you came along and even if someone had told me that it wasn't gonna work out and at the end of all of our struggling and all of our work it would just end in heartache..."
Blaine, "I would have said yes."
Santanna, "A thousand times yes."
Brittany, "I would have suffered it all just for the chance to be standing up here marrying you."

I would STILL say yes to my husband despite our fair share of heartache. Even if it ends bitterly because the moments I HAVE had, have been worth anything else life throws at me. I have never been loved so completely by anyone. While my parents loved me, they did not completely understand my autistic brain and open minded view points the way my husband does. He has held up a mirror and I have seen my value. I also believe I have done the same for him.

Santanna and Brittany, and Kurt and Blaine close off their vows expressing, "I'm a work in progress." (I thought this was a particularly beautifully written statement by the writers. )

My husband and I will always be a work in progress. We are fine with that and those who support us are too. A quote I came across said, "You can not change the people around you but you can change the people you choose to be around." I have learned how to choose those who celebrate and not just tolerate or condemn based on their beliefs. We try to choose wisely. Sometimes we need to kindly distance from those who do not support. A close circle of supporters does not need judgement. Enough people in the world will take up the cause of judgement, hate and opposition. True friends/family (which can be blood related or not) do not need to be one of the main oppositions.  I know I am lucky to have my husband and the few treasured friends we DO have despite some differences, LOVE regardless. Our built in family provides advice without attachment to outcome, and show up if we ask them to without their judgments accompanying them.

My husband has never pushed me when I have not been ready nor has he regarded my shadows as wrong. Instead my darkness has been viewed as part of my light. Any shadows that have bothered me he has bravely helped me fight. Together, we are stronger than apart, and our soul bond delivers. This fact, gives me hope for the greater world we ALL create it Viewer/Fan, Creator, Writer, Actor, Activist, or simply person of BEING. I believe we all are unique and deserve respect on the same level. Together, in love and acceptance, we CAN help shape the world into a better place from our own platforms of living and being. Thank you Glee for being part of my personal platform of contribution and delightful witness.

As Kurt eloquently expressed to Blaine at the end of his vows, "You don't ask me to come out of the shadows you help rip out anything that is blocking the sun, it's time for all of us to walk out into the sun together. Is that something you want to do together?"

I do.

Song Choice: "At Last" by Etta James. This song happened to be on the episode last night which is serendipitous because it is my husband's ringtone for two reasons...
1.) Even though we were married young it felt like I had waited for someone to love me like he did and really SEE me from birth. At last... he did.
2.) He is ALWAYS late because his is an ENFP (click) and chats it up to anyone in his path. When he FINALLY calls me to tell me where he is or that he will be running late, my sentiment is,"At last!" So it is with both humour and romance that when I hear the first swell of the music my heart skips a beat and I smile EVERY time (even if I am annoyed which helps diffuse the situation. Who can be mad when this song is playing?!) With my Soulmate at last my lonely days are over. With him every day has a moment where life really is like a song.

The Chain- Fleetwood Mac ( for the unsupportive links:)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dyspraxia: The Struggle of An Adult with Dyspraxia

Post Addition: I want to clarify that I celebrate ANY difference including Dyspraxia. It does not make one flawed or wrong or less. However, there are some symptoms that create definite challenges in the current culture we live in especially...and daily life in general. I wanted to shed light on some of those issues to create understanding...NOT to get sympathy nor to disabuse those who have Dyspraxia (including myself) but to provide a sense of community to those who may struggle within their beauty. *This is mostly addressing Dyspraxia in an adult. I feel with my son that Dyspraxia in children can sometimes feel like a completely different issue. He has more communication difficulties and has to depend on adults to help him. While I do suffer from speech slurs, mixing up words and stumbling over my points, I CAN communicate my needs.Writing takes multiple drafts to catch all my mistakes but I DO end up getting my point across with people who understand which really helps being Dyspraxic in my case even if I am severe in many symptoms. I also am quite adapt at looking capable which confuses people. Also, I have updated (as of 2019) our journey on the bottom of this post.*

Many people and even professionals look at me like I am speaking a foreign language when I bring up "Dyspraxia." Dyspraxia is a disability that mainly affects motor skills but can also bring on a bunch of other difficulties. It can overlap with Executive Functioning issues, however many people can struggle with Executive Functioning yet not have Dyspraxia. For a full list of adult symptoms this is the best website: 

Dyspraxia can often accompany Autism or Dyslexia but just like there are so many variations of different diagnosis, there are so many ways Dyspraxia can present. Many people who have Autism do NOT have Dyspraxia and many people who have Dyspraxia DO NOT have Autism. 
I can appreciate Autism and the beautiful ways it makes my brain work. I can look at Dyslexia and truly believe it helps me see the world in unique ways. I attribute my amazing capability to multitask in thought and deed plus a host of other great things to ADD and while each of these things (Autism, ADD, Dyspraxia) come with hardships, they each have Neurodiverse traits worth celebrating! (See Autism Labels on the side) Yet, I have not been able to find many positives to living with Dyspraxia besides having an understanding of others who struggle which I already had from my other differences. I do believe it DOES contribute to a differing perspective on life and I celebrate the Dyspraxic's unique wiring as well, but some of the symptoms can be challenging.

I recently checked out the Dyspraxia in Adults checklist to see if any of my symptoms have lessened. To my chagrin they have become worse. I can check off every point of the first 7 headings which is extremely depressing. I have a more severe case compared to the few I know who have Dyspraxia. Sometimes I wonder if it also can come hand in hand with Fibromyalgia? Regardless, both seem a tad extreme to have together.

When I was a child I was the last to be chosen for sports teams, gym class, recess, band class and even some artistic pursuits that required movement. I knew it was not because I was disliked but because I was horrid at any type of performance. Knowing did not take the sting out of best friends overlooking me because they wanted to be the best. I was an obstacle in their achievement and not a friend during competitive moments. As we grew, they picked me more out of friendship or maturity, but sometimes I wished I could opt out to save them the trouble. Teachers were harsh when they worked extra hard yet I showed no improvements. I was branded clumsy. I found it ironic that as a Christian Private School, competitive sports and music were the main values of students and teachers and that moral "fruits of the spirit" were judged according to outward acts and performance. Luckily, I was deemed intelligent in other educational spheres (I could write because that is how I had to adapt to communicate my thoughts) so I was not branded lazy, but they required more than they should have. Many times I would come home to crash on my bed, unable to move because my brain was completely unable to keep my body upright any longer.

I mistakenly thought that I would magically grow out of these issues. I had hoped that one day I would wake up as an adult and have that super power that most adults seemed to have: Capability. Instead of getting better, I became worse. When my kids were born I was expected to take care of more than myself. It's a wonder how I survived the early child rearing years not knowing any of the diagnostic criteria I know now. I was depressed. I never seemed to "get" the cooking and cleaning rules or movements. As time passed I found the judgment or "helpful hints" more and more frustrating. I had tried it all over and over. Practice, in my case, did not make perfect. In some circumstances, practice did help me to achieve minimal results, but it never made me exceptional nor consistent. Sometimes I could tie a shoe, other days I would kick my choice of footwear out of the way in extreme frustration and wear flip flops because ten minutes of attempts did not get me my usual results. Somehow, I made it through, and found the years after age six much easier...and homeschooling helped ease all the issues I would have had to deal with on a daily basis. My kids and I are way healthier in our home, doing what needs to be done, and not conforming to society's expectations. This came with a cost. A cost I would pay over again and do pay from time to time in other's opinions or society's expectations.

The toughest part for me was feeding myself. Most people are expected to make simple meals in adulthood. Even toast was (is) a problem for me and all the decisions that go into purchasing, choosing and prepping food was too much. Over the years I have suffered multiple burns, cuts, dangerous fires, accidentally caused food poisoning and contamination, have had laughable accidents, and broken many appliances, dishes and even have BENT (yes bent!) a knife. I can not understand pressure, too much or too little, and often I forgot to wear oven mitts even if they were plainly in sight. I grated my fingers many times. Not just grazed but took off chunks. One time a knife flopped out of my hands and just missed my kid. In the end, it was safer to stop attempting any sort of meal prep. As, I have mentioned in other posts, I was lucky enough that my husband finally (after years of struggle) took over all meals and grocery shopping. The kids and I eat Greek yugort and granola for breakfast every day to keep it manageable. With the help of our therapist, my husband's work schedule is different so that he could have an hour to cook lunch and be home early to cook supper. We are lucky enough to be in a position of work right now to do this but it came with it's own sacrifices and hard work (yet being perceived as lazy or not working hard.) He also helps a lot more than most fathers at home (plus home renos!) because all three of our children have special needs in differing areas - most unseen and not understood by our community- so thus we have had to learn how to live on a lesser wage because his time keeps myself, the kids and himself healthy and sane. We end up giving back more to society by seeming like we do less because we are healthy and whole.

 Luckily, my husband has ADD so he can sort of understand our brains because he is also Neurodiverse. He gets sensory overload because he has it minimally, so he can at least empathize more than most. He is creative and also thinks outside the box. He enjoys cooking on most days. He blasts his podcasts and gets creative. I felt guilty for a long time in regards to the cooking but since I do all the clean up after him, counsel our family, creatively think outside the box and organize the budget/ pay bills and many other difficult tasks that I can still somewhat manage- we have found our balance. It took a lot to get us to this point...especially in a conservative town that values traditional gender roles and the biblical version of the Proverbs 31 woman. To say we have run into sneers, jealousy, bitterness at our personal choices/ arrangement, and annoyance would be an understatement.

 It was embarrassing to go to the in laws for supper and not be able to offer meal prep help or even sometimes clean up. It had nothing to do with being unwilling to help out but everything to do with being unwilling to hurt myself, others or dishes. What do you do when people define help as purely physical? How do you contribute to a family function when there is that miscommunication? And what happens when you also suffer from social anxiety so thus do not even seem to contribute with wit or glamour? It's easy when I feel comfortable enough with dear friends or family or when I am in my own home where I know the pitfalls and can control my environment. My awkwardness and blunt mixed up phrases bring comfortable laughter or respectful camaraderie with those who truly love. In places where I was often misunderstood, I would typically find myself playing with the kids when they were under toddler age or conveniently caught up in a conversation when it came to help out physically to avoid mishaps. That fact shows how much I LOATHE physical performance because being Autistic, I do not love empty social chit chat either (I do LOVE deep philosophical conversations!) but I would take that over many physical activities.

I am thankful for those who tried to help. Unfortunately, the help never put me too far ahead and I think that fact bothered many. People like to see fruits of their labour when they offer help. The only part of the kitchen I can master, from time to time in my life, is baking. Baking seems different from cooking and if my husband or someone else is around to take the goods out of the oven, I do not need the use of knives.  I have broken two sets of beaters and both times it was loud and scary. Some years I do better at baking and some years I completely lose the skill only to regain it at a future date. I can't predict when I will succeed and when I will fail. To outsiders this is confusing and looks like I am making up excuses but the literature on Dyspraxia explains the fact that some days (even years) we can suddenly perform a skill for awhile until we can not. There are some skills that never will happen, even with practice (cooking and driving outside my limits are mine) and they vary from person to person. With Dyspraxia I have had to find unusual ways of doing normal tasks in order to be safe. 

We do not own any poisonous chemicals because of toxicity and health, but also because I easily mixed up unassociated bottles even while telling my brain what was needed. I have to go out of my way each day to make sure the stairs have nothing on them, that the rugs are completely secured, that my knives in the dishwasher are pointing down in the ONE container they are supposed to be in. Knives are NEVER thrown in the sink because it is a guarantee they will find my hand.

I can not clean up broken dishes. I have to call my husband or daughter. Because each time I do, I misjudge the pressure or distance of the object and slice open myself. Many people would think the daily habits I have to get through the day are due to OCD but they are just vigilant behaviours to keep me or those around me uninjured and alive.

There are moments I am occupied with something I love, like decorating, and am generally really good at, but if I have had an overwhelming day in any other regard (sleep depravity, social appointments, menstruation, being hungry ect.) suddenly my skills can seem obsolete. My husband heard me mumbling with frustration because I was decorating a mirror and the greenery I was putting around it fell down six times before I got it right. It would have taken him ONE try but typically, if it's something I enjoy, I prefer to work at it till I get it myself. It does bother me though that a simple task can be so frustrating and my body is uncooperative. Unfortunately, there are days where I reach my limit and give up completely. Sometimes giving up is the bravest decision and it takes strength to know our limits and listen to our body.

My son has Autism but he does not have Dyspraxia (he has other additional diagnosis.) He is capable of riding a bike or moving the dishes without breaking one. I look at his ten year old self or my daughter's eleven year old capabilities and sometimes I feel inferior in the physical realm. My youngest is Dyspraxic like me and I understand the frustration of working with someone who can not grasp simple tasks. Yet I know his frustration is double at himself more than anyone could feel towards him. It is continually frustrating to not be able to perform daily activities. Most Dyspraxic adults are highly individual. We like our independence. We crave being able to do what we want to do. It can be absolutely humiliating to ask for help day after day with tasks that can seem so simple. It's also annoying when people hear about our struggles and decide to stay away because they are afraid we will misuse their help.

We will mostly underutilize help because sometimes "help" makes our issues worse. We compromise certain movements or do them in unusual ways which sometimes can require privacy. Help means putting all these issues into the spotlight. My grandmother sometimes comes to randomly help me with my house. While I appreciate the gesture, this also requires ME to clean alongside her normally. In the end, I become more exhausted than doing it in my own unusual way. It also means the next day I will probably have more executive functioning fails than usual. I don't mind if she takes my keys while I am gone for the day and scrubs up my sink to her liking (if that makes her happy) but I do not want her to expect me to keep it up to that standard or for her to measure my cleanliness by my abilities.

This fact also plays into hygiene. Since I have been a teenager the Dentist always tell me that I am either over brushing or under brushing. They show me every time how to apply the right pressure, and I go home and have no idea if I am applying the needed movement for perfect teeth. Showering and shaving can be dangerous. I have a certain routine I must perform to keep injuries to a minimum and often I still end up with lots of cuts and bruises on my legs. I am always full of bruises from daily life.

Each time I go to physiotherapy, my therapist has to point her hands to the direction she wants me to go because it will take me too long to figure out right from left. She also has mentioned multiple times that I am TOO flexible and double jointed but one would never know because my muscles are so weak I can barely perform any actions. This double jointed flexibility causes me to over reach or underestimate a movement. I do not drive beyond my home streets unless it is an emergency and by the end of it I will be a nervous wreck from having to be hyper aware of all the movements that go into driving a car that other people simply go on autopilot for. I am constantly bumping into people, spilling things, and have never been able to ride a bike, throw a ball to someone accurately, or dance. I LOVE the concept of dancing. I used to long to be able to move like a dancer. I will dance in my living room but often it ends in tears from either bruises or awkwardness. The only time I can dance is when my husband takes me in his arms, allows me to step on his toes, and leads me around buffering me from any couch edges or inconvenient walls. Walls look so far away to me but yet are right there... I have walked into our walls many times.

I could give many more examples of daily living fails. If you want to understand someone with severe Dyspraxia, mindfully be aware of each task you do in your day and think of how it must feel to consistently mess it up or have to be aware EVERY day of possible injury. My eldest two children and my husband surpass me in most daily movement activities. They have to make up for my lack of balance, muscle control or ability. This fact can be a little devastating sometimes.

 I will try to achieve what I can. I contribute to the health of our family in many emotional and intellectual ways that it balances out but my ways are more unseen. It is sometimes a vulnerable position to be unseen yet be enough an of an anomaly to draw attention. In an achievement world, it is hard to not be able to show most achievements. In my world daily activities ARE achievements. I get giddy when I actually throw a ball into the net or when I suddenly am able to do a dance move. Those moments are very rare for me and when they happen I am delighted. I can not get disability even though I would not be able to work due to Dyspraxia (and other differences I have and anxieties) because it is not recognized as the extreme disability it can be.

Dyspraxia sometimes feels like the bane of my existence. About twice a year I break down over all of the fails and daily challenges. I sob and beg the powers that be to take Dyspraxia away from me. It seems dramatic but an unseen disability is just as traumatic as a seen one. Especially a disability that can take independence away or that has at least a few moments each day that are hard to cope with. I may have a list of "Cant's" but I also have a list of spiritual enlightenments and aha moments many people will not master in their lifetime. Each difference comes with some good and bad.

One positive fact of living with severe dyspraxia is not defining myself by achievements. Because if I did, that would mean on most days I am worthless. I do not believe I am worthless, however, I have had moments when my self esteem is incredibly low because my eleven year old knew what to do and how to perform a task better than I did. In the privacy of our home it can sting a little but out in public it looks neglectful. I have had to learn that it is ok to look like what I am not. I have had to believe confidently in my worth and my actions despite how I may come across. I have had to fight for myself, my moments and my safety.

My biggest fear, when the kids were little, was that someone would find out how hard life was for me and would deem me as an unfit parent. I never really talked about my struggles in these areas. Now that the kids are older and I have the power of my therapist, best friend, husband and small community I have built for myself, I know that my kids would not be taken away without a fight of support. I know people see I AM capable. In fact, often people see me as more capable than I actually feel I am. Because I am hyper vigilant they think I am the best babysitter safety wise (probably I am in some cases but it is EXHAUSTING) or a very put together person because of my confidence and ability to mask for short periods (or at least get through things with different strategies.) I do believe in myself strongly and my gifts but that does not negate the struggles.

This story is the one people misunderstand the most. It is the part of my life I am most wary about sharing. The only reason I am putting it out there is because it hurts. Some days it completely lays me bare with grief at some of my limits. (Honestly, if I was rich most of it wouldn't be a problem. I would come across awkward but I would have a personal driver and chef without worrying about burdening those I love.) I know that perhaps someone else will be hurting too...and maybe they can find this post and know they are not alone. I don't have answers for living with Dyspraxia but I do know that it is important to leave the tasks that can not be done to others, and find alternative ways of doing things that work the best for you personally. It's important to find a way to live outside the box of society yet still contribute in some way! Most of all, I hope that anyone who suffers from severe disability can look at themselves, despite the suffering and see worth. Even if it is not severe Dyspraxia or disability your struggle is STILL legitimate. In anything, there are good days and bad days. Celebrate the good, get through the bad any way you possibly can and give yourself grace. It's easy to feel alone in these invisible struggles (thus my song choice), but you are not alone. I need to remind myself of that fact often, and perhaps this can also be a reminder to you.

*2019 UPDATE: I have learned a lot more hacks since writing this post. A few years of Physiotherapy has especially aided my abilities along with going on the treadmill every day and lifting three pound weights (any larger and I hurt myself without a personal trainer but I am slowly hoping to increase.) I am more co ordinated than I used to be due to this dedication. However, my biggest areas of struggle are still driving and cooking. The other struggles vary from year to year and often coincide with my physical health which I am pretty stringent about. I am constantly on new food for health phases, vitamin regimes and movement.

My children are older too now and can help in the areas that I am still not the best the issues seem way less. I feel more capable even though I still have many of the same struggles, but I have found more work arounds! I know I am valuable, give much to the world around me, and am especially gifted in certain areas. If you are struggling with this I strongly urge you to consider Physiotherapy as it was a game changer for me...and it was free here in Canada.

My son is also finding more abilities as he ages, although it still takes him a few hours to accomplish what should take twenty minutes (example would be cleaning or dishes or chores.) Both of us still try to do tasks we struggle at accomplishing...unless they are severe danger areas like driving and cooking. We both still break dishes occasionally, have multiple injuries and find ourselves in messes often, but it's easier now. Actor Daniel Radcliff has Dyspraxia. He has spoken up about it before. You can actually see the evidence when he dances with Hermione in Harry Potter...he dances like my son and I:) I also think Cory Monteith’s character Finn from Glee could be an undiagnosed Dyspraxic. He had an awkward way of moving and it took him a lot to learn dances. Yet, he was endearing, talented at the drums ect... There are many ways we can still live a beautiful life.

ALSO: Since writing about this I have come to see some beauty here too and wrote about it here:

Post Edit 2:) A friend sent me this post on Dyspraxia and I thought it was beautiful too: