Not broken or special, it’s just how I’m made

Autism is overdue to add its own part to the diversity conversation, because the kind of portrayals that it currently gets in the media and our society at large are well-and-truly in need of an overhaul. The world is ripe for achieving a whole new level of acceptance of diversity, in all its many forms and those with autism need to take a seat at that table.

How do you see yourself?

How long does it take to reinvent our cells? Well, in my experience, the body renews itself in a way that feels noticable in around 6months (our bone cells in around 3 months, red blood cells every 4 months, DNA in 2 months and we turn over new brain cells in up to a year) so it takes about that long to make some serious difference - something I’ve used to my advantage many times when visualising the healthier summer ahead. The area where things have become grayer, for me, are where I’ve allowed the perception of others - even when well-intended - to undermine my own inner work. Even when its considered "harmless" or for fun, even as family jest, whether delivered by our well-meaning children or our unrealising spouse, we should take note of areas where we are being painted to ourselves in terms other than those that we would choose to paint the best-possible picture of ourselves. Being habitually depicted as small or frail (or fat, stupid, forgetful, “getting old”….the list goes on) is not at all helpful in such a game plan yet its something I’ve noticed people, especially women, succumb to as they get older; especially within the so-called "benign" family setting where anything goes. Yet when we take stock of how much time we spend with our families and anyone else who might play with us in this carefree way, that's a lot of time spent succumbing to these viewpoints.

With habitual repetition, we take on these flippant characatures of ourselves, surrendering ourselves to a comic moment even when that doesn't serve how we feel on the inside. These comedic outlines of who we are, “drawn” in haste as an in-joke between well-meaning people, can become the very bones and organs of our future self. Women, in particular, tend to have the kind of visual-creative approach to physicality that shapes their cells according to how they see themselves in their imagination; which can be such a culturally or circumstantially dictated thing, their self-image distorted by so-called "harmless" throw away critiques dressed-up as desplays of affection. Even if this is way too abstract to explain to your family, its enough that it matters to you and is a first step in reclaiming your own body to take such a step. While other people might not "get" why its so important that you get to drive the way that you interpret what is going on with your body, in YOUR terms, all you need to do is ask that they respect that and let you lead your own way in what is, primarily, your own domain. For my own part, I intend to have that family chat to lay down some lines of my own and insist that they remain uncrossed since its up to me to take responsibility for the future version of myself that is currently in production in my mind's eye; and the same goes for all of us - its a matter of survival. Its also made me think a lot more about how I speak to other people and is no bad thing for my daughter to learn about as she steps into young womanhood and the onslaught of so many cultural opinions about what she should and shouldn't look like!