Well…duh! Obviously, I am not ‘normal’. Whatever that means…
What I really mean is…
Am I #Neurotypical?
Yes, I have dyslexia. I did not read until I was ten. Mine is the decoding kind. I cannot hear phonetic sounds for shit. I never learned phonics. I am a pure sight-reader which does give me problems with pronouncing new words…or it did until the internet. As a result foreign languages have always been virtually impossible. And for anyone who reads my blogs often, you know that occasionally things get muddled…wrong words, misspellings that do not get caught by SpellCheck, and missed words. All of those despite my best efforts…the result of my dyslexia.
Yes, I too get sensory overload. Or is it social anxiety? I am not sure. But my nightmare is the twice a year shop in PriMark. All those people. The lines…no matter what time you go. The narrow aisles…always brushing against stuff. I tolerate Asda or Wal-Mart only marginally better because of brighter lights and wider aisles…but even then I give thanks to the internet gods for Amazon and online grocery shopping.
I have even become more conscious of my other senses…especially touch. After four decades of discomfort, I have abandoned bras almost entirely. I have trouble finding slippers especially that are right…not too fluffy/squishy but with some cushion. And I have had to stop to pick tiny pebbles or thorns out of my socks/shoes more often. Things that I would have once tolerated.
Most of this began after my ‘major depressive episode’/mental breakdown in 2009 following a miscarriage. To top the depression I also had anxiety and panic attacks. I ‘recovered’ but since have never been quite the same. And honestly, don’t want to be either.
Over the past few months I have found myself asking time and again…Are you really neurotypical? Is all of this a result of the depression and anxiety? Or was that simply your ‘mask’ falling and shattering? Or perhaps as you have come to understand and accept PanKwake’s neurodivergence you have not just freed her to be who she is, but you have given yourself permission to be who you have been all along?
I have asked Cookie Monster…and other friends…even PanKwake. I have taken online self-diagnosis tools.
But in the end, I come back to…
Yes…Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!
Just as I accept PanKwake not simply as #HappilyAutistic and #ProudlyPDA but as an individual…a human being…with strengths and challenges unlike any other person. So too am I.
Yes, I understand that sometimes ‘labels’ and ‘diagnosis’ are useful. Seven years ago, learning about PDA made all the difference…and like so many trees that is just beginning to bear fruit. I have #ActuallyAutistic adult friends for whom a late diagnosis helped them to make sense of the world and themselves…and heal. And certainly if you are dealing with schools and ‘experts’ labels are almost essential.
And I accept and respect that individual choice. What is best for them.
But me…my identity…I don’t need to know. I don’t care. I am me. No, I am not and never have been ‘normal’. In my own way, I am demand avoidant…stupid, meaningless ones anyway.
This is one of my favorite songs…
And I no longer justify
Reasons for the way that I behave
I offer no apologies
For the things that I believe and say
And I like it that way.
And that maybe the bottom line. As I discovered the rich world of the neurodivergent and #ActuallyAutistic communities, I felt once again…like an outsider. I felt that everything I said had to be prefaced with the fact that I am a parent of a #HappilyAutistic and #ProudlyPDA little human. That I was not…neurodivergent or #ActuallyAutistic. As if…my experience was not as valid for that reason.
I was wrong. I won’t keep making that mistake. While I will never seek a diagnosis…I am me. I am not ‘normal’. I don’t want to be. I don’t want my little human to be either. I respect and accept neurodiversity…
And here is the thing…
Neurodiversity embraces NTs. Neurotypicals are part of that diversity too.
And we…I…should not have to apologize for it either. They…we…I…whoever…
We ALL deserve respect, understanding, and to be accepted and loved unconditionally.
As unique individuals.
And the first step for me is to use the delete button every time I think/feel I need to add…As an NT…
Whether or not I am Aspie/PDA/neurodivergent does not matter. But neither am I neurotypical either.
I am ME. #HappilyCrazzy me.