Monday, May 9, 2016

How To Support and Love the Autistics in Your Life, Mother's Day, and The Colour Psych of Brown.

Ha. My blog titles are long winded and kind of hilarious. I think my titles are the biggest indicator that I don't blog for money. Weirdly enough all the themes in my title are woven together for a fairly cohesive post. I think. It's all connected in my mind anyway.

I call Sam my aspie virtual twin. She writes what I wish I could or what I have written before, or thoughts that have been literally in my head in the same way they have been in hers. It's weird and awesome. Even though she is highly individual and I do not negate her own personal experiences, I see much of myself also in her writing. I know other aspies/autistics and of course we share commonalities but we are as diverse as 'normal' people. We are snowflakes. With Sam, however, I feel as though we have more common beliefs on life than most people I meet (dear Sam- I have never asked- are you an INFJ? Maybe that is it?) Regardless, Sam just wrote a post called 10 ways to assist your Autistic Loved One here: and I highly suggest, if you want to understand someone in your life who is Autistic, or you are yourself, it's worth a perusal. I am not going to repeat her information because she wrote it clearly and concisely and did justice to the ten points. I am, however, going to add a few thoughts I have had of late. 

(My other Aspie girl)

There are few places Autistics can truly be themselves in our current culture. See my previous posts on Ableism found in the Aspergers/ Autism label on the side. The importance of ONE place to belong is crucial. I am lucky in the fact that my home, my husband and my children are the place I can BELONG. Despite some challenges I would never 'get rid' of my autism. It's part of me. I am who I am with autism. Just like I am who I am with grey/ green/blue eyes. I have learned beauty and brutal from disabilities and abilities alike. I am a unique parcel of individuality. Those who love me for this are my team. I don't expect understanding elsewhere because I realize the world comes with cultural context. Our culture has not been coached on ableism nor have our civil rights come far on disability- even from the kindest of people. I don't even expect others with similar neurological wiring to feel the same because I remember the beginning of my journey. I remember some of my own ableist mindsets and even grief upon learning that I would never be 'normal' but now I embrace this with all of my being. But it took wonderful mentors, other aspie blogs and beginning to know myself to get to where I am today. 

Still, the world is not the safest place for someone with the levels of sensory overload and differing perpsectives I have. Since I was little I despised the movie and the book 'Alice in Wonderland'. It creeped me out. But as I mentioned before HERE  Lewis Carrol had wit, imagination and a penchant for crafting profound words. In the newer Tim Burton films I related to Alice. I realized it is because I often feel like Alice in our world. To me normalcy looks like Wonderland. I don't fit. I often feel a tad mad. Which is why, when one walks into our home- they come across this quote, "'Have I gone mad?' 'I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the Best people are.'"

I firmly believe in holding on to what makes you unique. I don't  want to lose my muchness. I also want to honour that in others. Let's pull out our collective and individual imaginations...the lovers, the bonkers, dreamers, bohemians, eccentrics, and all those with childlike wonder. 

Lately, I have realized  that I tend to pick chocolate browns for many themes in my home. I see connections and layers in everything. I realized that I needed to peel back the layers to discover why brown is a prominent factor in my life right now. I googled and found THIS article. Brown is the colour of security, protection and material physical wealth within balance. I am all about my home decor, my materials, and material beauty. However, I would not call myself materialistic. Yes, I see the dichotomy and I can honestly say it's my truth. I am the most self aware person I know- and I know many self aware people so that is saying a lot. I trust my process. I realized years ago that my 'stuff' is part of my security. As an autistic, 'stuff' represents something akin to music. Obviously, it will be different for each person with autism, but for myself, my stuff that I enjoy are part of the world I create for myself with sensory appeal. When I go out into the world I have to deal with everyone else's stuff. Their rules, their sensory preferences which often include painful traditions or acceptance of 'normality' that are like torture to me. Think bright fluorescent lights, abrasive birthday songs ect. (see THIS  and THIS post for more.) Thus it would make sense that brown is one of my new favourite colours. I am also equally drawn to tones of green, indigo, red and oranges, but brown is the main background I choose. The article on the colour brown basically mentioned everything I value, qualities I possess or choose to expand upon, and what I look for in my optimal home environment. Being Autistic in the world is only part of my story- but it's an important part.

This last year I have chosen to focus on other pursuits besides forms of advocacy. It is what has been needed, but every now and then, I think it's an important reminder - to put out there- that autism makes individual people who deserve to be loved for WHOM they are and treated with respect. As I wrote HERE "Let's get this myth out of the way first...we actually do not wanted to be treated "normally". There is a difference between being treated with understanding and dignity and being treated like every other normally wired person. We are NOT wired normally so there are exceptions to our treatment. This is true in the medical world so it is going to also be true in the social world. We DO want to be treated with the SAME respect regarding our gifts and weaknesses that normal people do but this does not translate into being treated "normally." In my experience "normally" means  being forced into experiencing some sensory torture or having others be inconsiderate about the fact that eye contact feels painful."

Yesterday, on Mother's day, my husband experienced his first mother's day without his mom, which is why I felt guilt at first, when I realized it was the best mother's day I had ever experienced. When I searched my own guilt, I realized why my day was the best one. Because he lost his own mom, my husband really went all out this year for me as a mother. I received queen level treatment. Not only did he buy me the gifts pictured above including a vessel sink for upstairs I had my eye on but he kept telling my kids they only have one mother and "she's a very fantastic one. In fact kids I'd say the best in the world because she tries to understand you and helps you understand yourself, she gives you opportunities which many children do not get, perspectives and life at home. You get a mother which most only imagine and she deserves to be celebrated." This greatly touched me. He put aside his grief because of his gratitude and love for the mother of his own kids. To me, that moment, made me realize how much I am loved and accepted for who I am. Because I am my most real with my husband and children. I was sad about mom being gone but the pure love infused in my life made for some mixed emotions. I think she would want me to enjoy my children on mother's day. I know she always enjoyed hers and her grandchildren. She loved my husband despite that she held very different life perspectives from him. Her love of the gifts I gave her each Mother's day was always infused with excitement. In that, I felt additional joy in my gifts because I would always text her after with pictures of what I received and she would be genuinely in awe of my gifts. I know she would have loved this years giftings and in that I loved my alive beauty even more. If that makes sense?

A friend commentated on my Instagram that my husband's love for me is really remarkable and precious how he cares for me in so many ways. This is true. It is remarkable. I often feel like a princess with him. And some of it is because I am Autistic. At first, when we found out I had Asperger's syndrome he didn't know if he could live with someone who would have a lifelong condition. For him, he always thought some of my quirks would be grown out of. We had to find our way through that hurt and story. But now, some of his favourite aspects of me are aspie traits. It is very precious. I adore him. I always say I'm not worthy of it all and he makes sure I know I am. He thinks the world of me which can sometimes be so odd to me. Honestly, I have given it a lot of introspection in the past. My youngest showers love just like him and is also an ENFP- thus some is personality. My husband  has always been willing for me to teach him how to understand myself and himself which is a huge boon to a relationship and we both have grown together in everything with constant communication and humour. It's really weird to me because I don't have many people to whom I inspire such love and devotion. I tend to do the opposite- especially when I am real and true to all my paradoxes and myself. Yet, I show this to him and it inspires fierce protection and devotion  Especially the messy bits. It's like he was meant to be the only person in the world who adores my messy and thinks my crazy is beautiful. I feel very undeserving of it sometimes and other times I believe it's what everyone deserves. It's not perfect for sure but I think its a combination of working hard on our marriage daily and little considerations but also simply personality maybe? 

My kids also view me in a really rare lens. I am the weirdest mother. I don't make them meals and I show them all my flaws- they are my friends. I am very Lorelie ish (Gilmore Girls) and have been since they were young so I think it just makes them accept me. While I also make sure my gifts benefit them and someone else makes up for my lack IS remarkable and I love that my friend noticed. My favourite part of Mother's Day are the home made cards. This year I received these:

I love the witchy theme. These kids crack me up. I know my youngest has sincerely thought I was a Witch since babyhood. He's called me a 'good witch' since he could speak. The bottom pics are his and there is a girl riding on a broom. The middle left is my eldest son's... He says it's not me but a random witch and her cauldron. Ok😂. And my daughter's card is the top two pics "Mom you're fun, funny, loving, helpful, kind, adorkable, sweet, witch like, a great movie lover, great writer, a great infj, good with people, smart, cute, caring and so much more. Happy Mother's Day mom- you're the best mom a girl could ask for."

I have mixed emotions on most mother's days. I have had loss as a mother with miscarriage years ago and now the loss of my husband's mom which have shown the other side of the day. Yet, I have learned one fact of inner peace that a person like myself with deep empathy and sensory understanding needed to learn. I will have (and have HAD) horrid moments and my share of darkness. In those moments I embrace the pain and move through it. I have before and will again. But that doesn't mean that just because other's are in pain, when my beauty moments arrive, that I should ignore them. It means that when I have light I will also embrace the joy. I can still be empathetic and give my thoughts briefly to those who are without. I will be without one day again in differing ways. But part of life is also celebrating the beauty. I am a person who can literally feel other's pain and understand varied perspectives. I have had to learn how to celebrate joy. My son is also autistic but his INTJ persona is different than my INFJ and he has had to learn the opposite lesson. To be more empathetic and give more thought to other's processes. My writing reflects myself learning boundaries and implementing my aha moments and do not necessarily reflect the constant understanding of perspectives I actually have.

I found the above pin on Pinterest and it was like a shinning beacon. I felt in my mid twenties that I was outgrowing so much. My beliefs, the ones of faith, God, money, empathy, boundaries, self... so many began to be questioned. And in my thirties while there are deep struggles too, on most days I know deep down I am enough. That carries me through. I think survivors of tough situations go one of two ways (and all it takes is perusing my labels of depression to know I have had some tougher situations) and the ones who are able to be self reflective and grow and change to look inward with questions are enriched even in the dark. Perhaps we are even comfortable with our own darkness? We OWN our stories. But first comes self care and love and boundaries. I don't hide the magic but neither the darker parts. Maybe that is the key? To embrace the happy because the darkness will come and need to be embraced too. Simply moment by moment. Each phase is worth acknowledging- each manifestation deserves support, and verbal affirmation. I suppose I am more Yin Yang in my approach to life... But whatever stage you are in, darkness struggle or light joy, your BEING matters because you exist- your story is YOUR story. It will be unique and also similar but it matters in your own thread of legitimacy. You matter. Each emotion you have is important to acknowledge and accept to move onward in health. The dark and light. And this, is how I believe, the support to love yourself comes in to play and the support for other's in your life. Even if Autistics do have differing needs, the foundation of support comes down to acceptance and it starts in accepting self. Then you are ready to read the articles written from Autistics on how to approach our unique brain needs and wiring...the madness, the magic, the differences, the struggles and the beauty.

Two posts that I also specifically mention Wonderland are:
Also see the Wonderland label for more posts along the quirky lines of self.
Song choice: Just like Fire- Pink


Anonymous said...

lovely post! And yes INFJ :) Idealist (I even put that in my book!) x Remind me to look at your blog more. Life has been busy!

Kmarie A. said...

Thanks Sam - Ok THAT Is what it is! We are both INFJ Autistics...that makes sense and I totally thought that could be it! You should check out this post sometime of mine and see what you would relate to- I would be curious:

I can't wait to buy your book!:) Yes I understand life has been crazy for you! xo

S said...

Belated Happy Mothers' Day. I am glad that you celebrated this day with happiness. I called my mother to wish her on this day. Being a mother is very difficult yet so precious at the same time. I owe almost everything to my mother. The credit for my personal values and my compassion has to be entirely given/credited to my mother-no one else but she, my mother showed me the ideals that I need to have...otherwise, and honestly, I would have been blind. I may have grown up and changed a lot, but all my values, my idealistic nature- I owe it to her only.
Whenever I am confused, I just have to remember one thing-the way my mother brought us (me and my brother )up- with compassion -that single thing-that compassion is what I need to have, both for myself and my existence. I cannot see or think clearly if I find that compassion ( or love ) missing in my life. And to have compassion-that is the single most important path/way of life/lesson that my mother taught both of us, that became our life force and life guide.
I believe that your children will also look up to your guidance and values if they ever feel lost-you are the light that will lead them to their individual path.
Thanks for sharing this post.

Kmarie A. said...

Thanks. It was a beautiful day. You sound like a wonderful daughter and your mother a wonderful, intentional person. Compassion is a beautiful lesson.
That is a very kind sentiment to say but I hope you are right. I hope they know I will support their own individual paths and choices:)

Ashe said...

Happy Mother's Day! =)

I have nothing else to add without turning this reply into a novella, but I will say it was another enjoyable post.

Kmarie A. said...

Ashe: Thanks:) and to you too! When are you due for your second again?:) Ohhhh I love novella's! Next time if you have the time feel free as I love hearing your stories!:)

Ashe said...

Evil minion #2 should join our supervillain team around September. And then we shall proceed to take over the world! One dirty diaper at at time...

Most of mine were just ramblings. In example, pits me (INTJ) and my mother (ISFJ) as total opposites who could never understand each other, but we probably know the other's ins and outs better than any other person on the planet, and meet that healthy relationship chart in the process. Given your positive disposition, I'd wager you and your son have a bright future. =)

Kmarie A. said...

Oh yes I do believe that total opposites can get along...each person is SO different...I think it just helps to have a guideline of understanding to how the world works...I know a person who uses the personality studies for "evil" in the sense that they use it as why a relationship wouldn't work for this and this reason...and I always say then don't use it as the whole point is to BETTER relationships. If you are using it - it is supposed to be a building block for understanding and whole least that is my philosophy...and if someone is a worse match- explaining why so it can at least get bearable:) So I agree with you...and yea a bright future indeed- my bestie is an INTJ:) so I think its a pretty good friendship match but only with communication (probably like all relationships:)

Aw a september baby! I always wanted an Autumn addition!:) yay:)

Ashe said...

I like to use the profiles as warning labels. "Warning, this person does not come with a mute button or volume control!" Heehee. But at the same time, as a dabbling writer, it makes for some great templates when creating new characters. Good and bad. =)

I've been having fun joking that I'll have a fellow quiet earth sign to hide in my room with and keep my company while the fire and air signs of the family go wild in the rest of the house. Unless it's very late or very early, it should be a Virgo. Not that any of that zodiac stuff is a guarantee, but it's good fun.

Anonymous said...

ESFJ 6w7 here. Being an autistic extroverted Guardian leaves me feeling out of place with both neurotypicals and fellow autistics. As much as I feel out of place, though, I want to help others like me. I want desperately to step out and reach to those others, but I somehow never feel secure enough to do so. (Type 6 problems :p)

My Tip:
I love special fancy events and, as much as I hate looking rude for not eating the food, I hate gagging and vomiting even more. I know how hard the chefs (or you) worked, but I cannot eat the food. It will just come back up anyway.

(TL;DR: Autistic people VERY RARELY make up their sensory issues to inconvenience others. Sensory issues generate real sensations.)

Kmarie A. said...

Ashe: bahaha that is how my bestie uses the profiles too. for me it really is my INFJ wanting to understand everyone and harmonize or set boundaries. Lol. Lol I am a I may drive your Virgo a little batty:)

Anonymous: I get that in a way...being an INFJ is unusual for an Autistic...reading people, being intuitive and highly empathetic are gifts autistics can have but sometimes it is not as much as a strength as it would be for an INFJ...and then being AUTISTIC for an INFJ doesn't enable me to fit in much with the INFJs because of my strong analytical, logical side...I have those two sides constantly in me, balancing me out, making me a paradox...and both are so opposing in some ways that they make me an odd fit in either category. I have only found Sam to be an INFJ autistic and have yet to find more... I know many type sixes:)
Yep sensory issues can throw one for a loop!:)