Monday, February 3, 2014

Autism Answer: Open the Door, Get on the Floor... Everyone Walk Autism's Answers!

WARNING: This post is rated PG 13 for sexual content and far reaching answer finding! It is also based on true events!

When I was a teen I went through a promiscuous stage. But just before I did, before I'd even done more than kiss a boy heavily, a guy I knew sang these lyrics about me one day as I walked into class (to the tune of Walk The Dinosaur) "Open the door, get on the floor, everyone knows Tsara's a whore...". It was not my favorite moment.  Plenty of things flashed through my head. That he was right, that he was wrong, that everyone was looking at me and I should respond in a way they would see as smart and nice and funny and grown-up... but I couldn't figure out how, and so I just giggled and sat down. Immediately I assumed that all my classmates took my non-response as admitting to the accusation. And knowing high school teens, I'm sure most of them (if not all) did. A few months later I was doing more than kissing boys heavily. And for pretty much all the same types of reasons. Trying to seem smart, nice, grown-up... 

How the heck do my teenage frolics relate to autism?
Here's what that moment reminds me: When my autistic brother keeps eating butter I don't just shrug and say, "Guess he likes butter." I wonder (or my mom reminds me to wonder!) "What is it about the butter that he feels he needs? What does he GET out of eating butter? How can I help him get what he needs without eating all of the butter?" 

When I was fooling around with boys it wasn't useful to just think, "Guess Tsara likes sex." I had to ask myself why I kept finding myself afraid to say no to boys. Why flirting made me feel obligated. Why I was so afraid of not seeming "nice" that I put myself in the position of changing friend groups rather than just saying "no thank"' to men and boys when they would pull me to them. 

Also, did I start being with boys because of the label? I had not been promiscuous before the song, although he was picking up on the fact that I liked to flirt. What came first: the label or the libido? 

Because of the overflowing amounts of autism in our house growing up, my mom taught loudly the skill of believing with all of our hearts and souls in people, regardless of how they seem on the outside. She taught us to see behaviors as communication and clues. To engage with curiosity and acceptance, while offering suggestions for change. She helped us discover that the much healthier flax seed oil would give my brother the much needed oils and other benefits he was seeking from eating all of the butter.

This is a wonderful skill!! With it I was able to see myself and my choices clearly after only a short stint of being bad. I could see my flirting/fooling around habit as a symptom, a clue, and follow it to the cause! And although it took lots of years to learn how to be me comfortably, I always knew I could. 

And even more than that, I was always actively involved in the making of me

It was autism and its beautiful confusing symptoms and clues and answers and differences that opened my eyes to seeing my kindness, even when saying no. Often, especially when saying no!! 

I love seeing the world filled to bursting with mostly wonderful people doing interesting things for interesting reasons!!

So raise your coffee mugs and sing with me!! 

"Open the door, get on the floor... everyone walk Autism's Answers!"

Hugs, smiles, and love!!