Monday, May 26, 2014

Aspergers/ Autism is A Neurological way of Being- It does NOT cause Violence

Friends and family tend to shelter me from any news about Aspies/ Autistics committing crimes or being accused of doing them because of their neurological difference. I usually find out anyway, and it's a form of deep prejudice to decide that a crime is based on a neurological wiring. It's like accusing a different race of more crimes...when really demographic, environment, and deep motivation matter more in the long run. All people are in need of help at some point, unfortunately some do not recognize this need themselves and bad things happen. 

People who have "no friends" or are "quiet" tend to get the brunt of accusations in shootings or acts of violence, even when the same acts in history have been committed by people with "many friends" and of whom were "extroverted." It's easier to blame some sort of quirk or point out the less social norms for a reason than to realize that bad things happen to good people or that sometimes something snaps, or that there is not always a clear motive. Susan Cain's book "Quiet"(link) goes a long way in stopping the myths that quiet people are the violent people. Assuming quiet people are the future violent people is another prejudice stereotype that does no one good.

Since I am Autistic/ Aspie I wanted to "normalize" Aspergers/Autism...because there are so many misunderstandings of what it means to be an Aspie/ Autistic. The fact is that sometimes we DO need more help in life in some daily activities due to sensory overload or anxiety or depression or dyspraxia or ADD (each Aspie is different in these traits), however, we give back to the world in ways that are inspiring, artistic, genius, and encouraging in many ways. It's ableist to assume otherwise.

The ways we give back to the world may not be as obvious in day to day life but study a list of renowned Autistics and you will see the varied unique ways we contribute. Like some NT's (not on the spectrum or normal people) there are some violent Aspies...but it is rare, especially considering the population of Aspies as opposed to NT's and the percentage of violence in both categories. The stats speak for themselves. We do have varied forms of meltdowns but most are not meant to harm anyone. In general, Aspies give to the world in unique, funny, refreshing and original ways. We would not be communicating on computers without Aspies. Nor would we enjoy many philosophical debates, beautifully written prose, or humorous antidotes without many Autistics. I feel this must be said because of the recent judgments and misconceptions that have been given to Autistics/Aspies. 

It is very rare for an Autistic to not be safe, innocent and pure of heart. In the news we hear the horror stories but most often, there are other factors at work that should be exposed.  Typically these horrid situations involve tumultuous upbringing and lack of support. But it's easier to blame a difference then look at all the many factors that went wrong. The very stats speak for themselves; the number of Autistic people that commit crimes in the overall population of Autistics versus the number of Nuerotypical people that commit crimes in their overall population makes the issue stunningly clear. Autism does not create violence. In any population group, there will be issues but in general, the Aspies I know are trustworthy, kind and considerate. If an Aspie, Introvert, Extrovert or Nuerotypical commits a violent act there are always other factors involved and the wiring of their personality should NEVER be blamed or feared. I do not fear Neurotypicals even though I may not always understand them and they should not fear Autistics. Introverts should not fear Extroverts and Extroverts should not fear Introverts for possible violent crimes. These are ridiculous judgements.

Please check out this post of Famous Aspies, many who had no violent tendencies and contributed positivity to our world (again there are exceptions in ANY people group and these exceptions could be blamed on many differing attributes or causes.)

My heart goes out to all the victims of the many crimes around the world, both hidden and publicized. Every day women, children and men are killed intentionally. Some we hear of, most we don't. My heart grieves for the travesty and for the families of both killer and victim. I can't justify violence in my soul or heart. To me it makes no feasible sense. I long to heal the world and I hope by doing my part that I can at least make a little haven of peace somehow in the world I help create.

All any of us can do is be responsible in looking after our own, in this world we help create. You are responsible to be the change you wish to see in the world. You can only do your part and hope to god that mercy and grace will prevail in the end. Always hope but remember that we must make our place better and that change starts within ourselves.

Wishing you peace and healing today;

NOTE: Autism can cause sensory issues or anxiety which can cause meltdowns and outbursts. If there is violence it is due to an environment or something not being addressed with the person- not the actually neurological wiring. Violent outbursts can happen but often are a result of additional issues that need to be solved. To see more on meltdowns click here:

This is by Samantha and SO good for Aspergirls. I would highly recommend for any who wish to understand women and autism to listen while doing chores or watch during downtime:

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Embrace- The Documentary Creating Global Change for Women and Body Size

To the Ladies of the world:
Please take one minute to think of one word that describes your body… the first thing that comes to mind…
You know what I thought three years ago?

You know what I thought with surprising delight today?
LIFE GIVING (So it's two words but you catch my point:) Do you know how I got to that conclusion and through that transition? By being a whole heck of a lot heavier than I currently am and by struggling for years with my body image. Being what the world teaches is NOT ideal taught me something valuable; I am the same person regardless of weight and my body SERVES me. I am also the same soul regardless of health, although I prefer to have health, but when I don't have it- I STILL matter. I have to honour my body by being healthy but health is subjective to the person. For instance gluten is poison to me (low grade celiac) but may be your body’s fuel. I feel better because my body is no longer being poisoned and I went off all FODMAP/SIBO triggers and a LARGE part of feeling better was investing in Naturopathy, but even if I would have stayed at the same weight and been on this lifestyle change, I would be celebrating because I am no longer making hospital visits. THAT is the difference. I changed my goals from beauty to health…and sometimes health CAN be obtained in MANY weight categories and in MANY beautiful different shapes. Luckily, I had a health issue that could be changed, but many do not, and health is not the ultimate either, LOVE IS.

We all have different rules for our bodies to feel the best they can be…I thought this future documentary idea was SO interesting. Please check it out. Share it, help GAIN perspective…because sometimes gaining is the most contented thing to do (and this is coming from someone who is losing.) I am the same person at any given weight or look. I was beautiful before and I am beautiful now because I believe my essence is beautiful. I believe all women are beautiful. If I don't believe it about myself- what am I believing about other women? What matters is if my body is the vessel that I love through. I hope more women get that message so we can pass it onto our daughters…check out this three minute preview here (Warning: a few tastefully done nude images):

The beauty in our foods, our wines, our fruits, our chocolate, our words, our children, our round bellies that carried our children or that transport us from one place to the next, our hips that spread and became more to let life out or our bodies that expanded while we LIVED...why do we not see this purity of creating? Why does this cause embarrassment or shame and why do we as women cause these double standards with the men? Why do we shrivel and accept by the way we live everyday?

 However you are; skinny, robust, curvy, loud, shy or inward or outward...WHATEVER YOU ARE, YOU ARE WORTHY because you EXIST. That alone makes you beautiful.

My friend Hillary Rain* summed it up beautifully:
"I love thinking about our flesh as living art that changes and matures and shapeshifts, softens, strengthens...You could write a book on this, truly! Honouring the body by choosing wise foods, wise words, wise places to spend your energy, wise's all about reframing and pursing life."

Love your vessel today. Don't pursue beauty (although beauty can be part of life in delightful ways that are contrary to current cultural belief.) PURSUE LIFE. Love, LOVE, LOVE...including yourself and your vessel in this life!

Let's create change together.

Posts like this covering controversial Women's Issues:

Love never felt so good!

*Links to Hillary pertain to a time period in her life when she was on a different path. Sometimes her links do not work due to a Hiatus. She is on a completely opposite journey that I am on currently. I do not endorse some of the beliefs held from anyone I cite. However, I will forever be grateful to Hillary for some key awakenings in my life when our paths met. And we may meet up again. She is a beautiful soul regardless of stances. I hold to this for anyone I cite.*

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Stay at Home Parent and the Working Parent- BOTH are Privileges and BOTH are Sacrifices

It tends to be the same old story...the stay at home mother induces guilt in the working mother, or the working mother induces guilt in the stay at home mother. One accuses the other or feels threatened or jealous and both sides start to defend. Staying at home or being at work are BOTH privileges and sacrifices. It all depends on the circumstances. For one mom at home who can't find a good job with some benefits and safety, being at work seems like the privilege. For another mom who is at work but wants to be home, being at HOME seems like the privilege. Each ONE is a privilege in differing ways. Being an at home parent or a working parent are both sacrifices.

In the world of mothers specifically (although it happens with some fathers too) I have often heard the working moms complain about how much more they have to do and talk about "those moms" who "get to stay home." I have been a working mom briefly and I get that idea to a point, yet not completely. It is circumstantial. Single parenting is DEFINITELY tougher than double parenting but working parenting? It depends on who is taking care of the child during, it depends on the job, it depends who pulls their weight at home after work and it depends on the perspective of the parent. Some women/men NEED to work outside the home because it gives them purpose and worth. They don't just want to, they HAVE to, to be the best version of themselves. They deserve applause for listening to their soul and honouring themselves to be the best for those around them. I have also heard stay at home moms complain about the "go getter" working moms. It shouldn't matter whether working makes them feel better or if working is needed for a time period or forever because their wage is worth more than the husband's or whatever. It is circumstantial. The same concept goes for the working at home parent. Some mothers/fathers want to be home with all their might, and they serve the world and their families this way the best because they are the best versions of themselves being at home. Work outside the home comes with sacrifices just like work inside the home comes with sacrifices.

I love working inside the home, but it was very tough the early years. My husband can testify as he was home for four months while I did school, that it was the toughest four months of his working career. He often remarked that he did not know how I did I stayed home all day, got to all the appointments, kept house, kept kids healthy and stable and emotionally cared for, kept up with people who needed me, traded with other at home moms and took charge of all financial accounts ect. He worked construction and in all his years of construction, staying at home full time was the toughest job he had ever done. He thought he knew what a stay at home parent was like by being home on weekends and evenings and helping with various activities but it's not the same. I often hear that working moms do BOTH jobs equally...While some may ALMOST do that to some extent, it is actually impossible due to time restraints. Working parents couldn't possibly accomplish all the nuances of staying at home parents and do BOTH excellently because that investment all day is also made into their job. Something has to give. That is not bad and it is not good. It's neutral because it simply is the paradox of time and place. It's life. I could never accomplish what they do at their jobs and do what I do all day at home either. Something would have to give on my end too. When did we start expecting parents to be super heroes and be EVERYTHING to their children?

I admire working parents for what they do, but I would not say I am more privileged then them. I chose. I made an active CHOICE and my husband and I made sacrifices to get here. My gifts are better used at home and I have no illusions that I would do better working outside the home. In a sense this is a privilege because I am NOT a single parent, but that again is circumstantial. I have to invest long hours into making my marriage healthy, so while to some in circumstances where the spouse turned out to be skum, I can understand I may look privileged and we ALL are in some way to some extent, but it goes the other way too. Keeping and choosing the love of my life came with both sacrifices and privilege...the privilege of CHOICE that each human being should have and unfortunately some do not. My husband and I saw my gifts, saw his gifts, looked at our children's personalities and made a conscious decision to make ONE income work for us. In today's North American world that is virtually unheard of, if one wants the mortgage, the school bills, the dream career, or the "living the dream life." We had to sacrifice to be in this "privileged" circumstance. We made a ton of sacrifices because this is what we wanted. We cut our dreams and focused on what we could have. We cut our budget to second hand stuff. We downsized what we could and I found ways to trade needs with other stay at home moms to cut costs. We cut vacations to day trips and home vacations at our house. I am always brainstorming ways to make our money stretch and enable me to be at home, homeschooling my kids. We also assessed our budget with a professional and found that me working would be LESS financially stable for us at a forty hour minimum wage job than me staying at home and getting government child tax at our wage amount, and saving on school bills, and saving on all the other minor details that would have cost for me to work. It was a sacrifice and a TON of work but this is what we wanted. We made it work for us. Many working parents do the same whether they are working inside the home or out of it. They chose whether they realize it or not.

I don't appreciate working mothers/fathers who say that staying at home mothers are privileged anymore than I appreciate staying at home mothers/fathers who claim it is God's desire for the working moms to be at home. BOTH working and home working are privileges and BOTH working and home working are sacrifices. In each category there will be struggle. In each category their will be beauty. Children will turn out in any category depending on environment, personality and general love. What is important for the mothers or fathers who stay home or who work, is to go with their gifts, believe in their gifts and not envy the other choice. Some say it is not a choice to work or not a choice to stay home, but in North America there is typically a choice factor. There are many ways to think creatively and live the life wanted whether it is moving to a cheaper location, finding a cheaper method to school, finding family to support and living with them for awhile, quitting school, quitting the dream job, going out into the world to get a job wanted, making a network, going back to school, leaving family, or moving to an upscale location for better opportunities. It may be opposing choices but made with the same thought and heart.

While I agree that in the lowest of the low tax bracket there may not be a lot of choice (this is coming from someone who lives below the poverty line- I don't even mean my tax bracket as there ARE ways to make it work even though it IS hard...there will always be someone worse off or better off than you) they still have their dignity to a degree to make a choice to find a way of living that honours their soul or aid that can help. (Obviously I am excluding desperate human conditions, mental differences that do not allow this sort of choice, and homelessness.) All parents have to make a choice about what makes them the best human being to take care of another human being...and make the sacrifices it takes to follow that choice. It's not about who is more privileged. It's about who has listened to their heart and bravely followed it into working outside the home or inside. It's about changing when the soul asks to sacrifice for the change. It's about taking in personality for both the parent and child along with needs. Parenting is tough choices and tough work. Parenting is also about being an advocate for self and for the other people involved in the family. It's about asking yourself, your spouse (or partner or ...) and your children what their needs are and discerning those from the wants. It's about allowing mess in some areas for beauty in others. There is no perfect parenting style and in general there is none that is more privileged. It all depends on the person involved and the community that one makes within that.

Parenting is sacrifice and privilege all rolled into one, regardless of what type of vocation is involved to keep the family fed, warm and loved. Since Mother's day is coming up I want to honour Mothers specifically for making their choices, whatever they are, and finding ways to honour their soul AND their children's. Mothering is tough work and takes resolve and dedication.  It's about showing up. Mothers: thanks for taking on both the privilege and the sacrifice of motherhood. Don't let any person change the resolve you have for your one precious life. It is your precious choice and it comes down to YOU sticking with what honours your soul the most with compassion and grace. As my sister in law wrote; "May each mother find grace." What a beautiful thought going into this weekend: Grace in any vocation while being a mother in all things.