Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Autism Answer: Lucky and Intentional

I have been both lucky and intentional when it comes to creating and choosing my environment. It helps me have a happy, comfortable, engaging, and supportive life. 

However, the better I've gotten at insisting on this wonderful life I live, the farther away I've gotten from how hard it can be to do this.

Every now and then I find myself in a place with people who challenge that. A place with people where I am uncomfortable with myself, my skin is pin prickly with stress and worry about making a mistake or being a fool or not handling my people properly. In these moments and in these places I remember how challenging it can be. How hard it once was for me. How many people are still in that place where they have yet to find their own voice, their own value, their own ability to belong somewhere, however uniquely. I am reminded that it is not up to the place or people I am with to make me feel better, but that I can use these times to discover my own remaining issues. Sometimes my issues are simply that I disagree strongly with the place or people I find myself with and it is up to me to comfortably say no. Sometimes it is part of myself that I'm avoiding dealing with. Sometimes its a mix of many things. Always it reminds me that being overwhelmed with worry and stress and uncomfortable ME-ness creates an almost impossible situation to handle well.

And then I remember how long my road to not living that way more often has been. And then I remember that for many people, people who are more challenged or who have less support in their lives to begin with, this way of living seems inevitably forever. There are folks who not only live longer in a state of uncomfortable fear, worry, stress, anger, and overwhelm, but they don't always believe they have the ability or even the worthiness to change that.

I admit, I believe we can all become more "comfortable in our skin" as my mom famously says. But I also believe that for many, it is a longer road. And I even suspect that for some, being MORE comfortable in their skin is doable but consistently comfortable in their skin, less so. Either way, it can only happen if we believe in it, work toward it, and support those of our friends that are at the beginning of that journey when we ourselves are enjoying the fruits of our labor.

And it is for this reason that I truly appreciate those places and people I find myself almost painfully uncomfortable with. It brings back the feeling of the challenge. I know it can be hard, I say so often, but when I feel it I remember. I remember the all-consuming nature of it, I remember there's more to it than, "Perk up, don't let the judgments of others decide your beliefs about yourself, look on the bright side, love yourself...." yadda, yadda. Even though those are true and right. They mean more to us once we've gotten there, don't they?

I have been both lucky and intentional when it comes to creating and choosing my environment. It helps me have a happy, comfortable, engaging, and supportive life.

And when I hurt I am reminded of the reasons and ways I want to be patient and supportive while helping others find something similar. Their version of a happy, comfortable, engaging, and supportive life.

And, luckily, living my life out loud and sharing my thoughts and experiences with those close to me is one fun way to do that.

We learn together, we tell our version of things, we create environments we can thrive in.

And in my experinence, the whole dance goes really well with coffee!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)