Thursday, May 21, 2015

I Have Promised Myself.

*PICTURE CAPTION: I also promised myself I would sometimes (once every few weeks) wear more make up and dress up even though it takes precious stores of energy. I promised myself when I DO feel young ish, that I will make goofy faces with my kids and be ridiculous because I CAN.*

I have promised myself, like those who are sick often do, that when I am better I will sing. I will sing because I have the lung capacity to do so without gasping for air. I will sing along with the radio, no matter if I am off key nor spectacular, because it feels like a joyful explosion of energy. That moment when I used to belt out Defying Gravity while I scrubbed the cookie bowl was pure magic. When it's taken away it feels like a loss. However, I am trying to make the most of it and enjoy the sounds and nuances of music I can not always hear when I am cranking out sound. It's a different type of joy and a usage of different senses I suppose.

I have promised myself, like those who have blood disorders can only understand, that when my blood is strong enough to be allowed to walk around the block- that I will WALK. I will take each step and be thankful that my blood and my oxygen are working together to allow my muscles to stretch and grow. I will be thankful that every step is not a danger to my heart. I will feel the pavement beneath my feet. I will walk and walk until my muscles burn pleasantly. I am trying to  learn the beauty of Being and of sitting on the couch and allowing the boredom to create imaginative moments. Pinterest is a way of creating that exerts energy with a slight click of the button. I can inspire with one click and be inspired. Technology is a balm for when I have the energy to use it. I will try to remember what the feeling of easy energy was like and have more consideration for those who are permanently restricted to feel the ease of youth, energy, and function of body.

All I want is freedom. Freedom to walk when I want to and to run. I suppose my freedom is of the mind.

I have promised myself, like those who are bedridden know, that if I ever am honoured to have full capability in my body, I will DANCE. I'm awful at it due to Dyspraxia, but I miss the moments when I could swing my kids around the room without clutching my heart or having to sit and gasp for air. I want to forget my wide eyed fears and just be.

I have promised myself that I will live in gratitude. There are moments when I take a few fast breaths that I am awed at the intricacy of living; the guiding oxygen of life that flows from one moment to the strong and natural yet so easy to be taken away...the fragile existence of being me. I sat on my deck soaking up the rays thankful that I was not quite at the point to stay in a hospital bed. I burned my face simply because I could not manage to get myself inside after five hours. The sounds of the birds, the hot sun warming my consistently cold, un-oxygenated limbs, and the fresh air were simply too beautiful to leave. I sat and simply was. I watched my husband work and tried not to feel guilty. After an hour, I felt myself surrender to my Being. I felt my heart turn to the breeze and watch the birds take flight. I realized that I can be a different sort of presence in the world. Perhaps I can not energetically move but I can be captured by the unassuming grace of movement.

I have promised myself, that in moments when I get caught up in the craziness of life, that I will remember this feeling. I miss gardening, painting, and doing. I miss the physical exertion of a chore well done. I feel lucky to have excuses to stop the treadmill of life...but it's been a few months and I am finding part of the loss tough to face. When the loss of a skill or life ability drags on for more time than expected, the changes that ensue have to be faced. I am facing them. I will wash away my negative thoughts. I am trying to find new ways of contributing to my family life and world but I have to walk through grief before I can embrace the new way of Being. I will not remain in darkness. There is hope to be found.

I have promised myself that I will not be a martyr nor a victim, but I will also not illegitimate my own struggle and hardship. To embrace either would be a disservice to those who suffer and those who live well. I am worse off than some, and much better than most of the world. Comparison is the worst sort of self abuse and I will have none of it. However, I will take the knowledge. In it I am not walking alone.

"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly,  despairingly, acutely miserable racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."- Agatha Christie.

I have promised myself, that indeed, being alive is a grand thing in most cases, and in my case, most certainly, it is a specific oxygen depleted sort of beauty. When life is focused on oxygen, breathing and blood - it suddenly simplifies. My light is being restored as my body replenishes itself. Each day I wake I am healing. This fight in my life, is only one fight of many. While I survive, I make it my life because it is my only time to BE.

"This fight of my life is so hard, so hard, so hard but I'm gonna survive oh these are beautiful times. My heart's burning bad and its turning black but I'm learning how to be stronger."- Owl City.

* I currently have a rather serious blood depletion that has not responded as well as would like to treatment and is affecting everything. Also, A few months ago I was also diagnosed with advanced Lyme and three co- infections...which makes sense given the last decade of health issues in my life. Probably the Fibromyalgia was symptoms of Lyme. Things can only get better with knowledge of how the body is coping and where to proceed, right?:)*

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Into the Realm of Kindreds and "Best" friends/ Friendship of Women

It has been almost twelve years of close friendship. It is not my longest friendship, two of my friends from elementary/ high school are going on twenty plus years, however, we don't have continual contact like I do with her. Our friendship is different.

Growing up I had a large handful of friends I could count on. I was lucky enough to live in a small town with a group of peers I valued and connected with. I esteem and live with gratitude for each friendship that has graced my life since my childhood. Yet, I can not fully explain our relationship. It defies any other standard I have had in my life otherwise. However, I have seen our relationship on screen...Elphaba and Galinda (Broadway's Wicked), Rachel and Monica (Friends), Anne and Dianna (Anne of Green Gables), Anne and Leslie (Parks and Rec), Amy Poehler and Tina Fey (Two amazing actresses/Baby Mamma)...Basically, the substance that "Beaches" was made out of is what our friendship IS.

It's a different sort of love story. A validation of Being. For almost twelve years we have spoken on almost a daily/weekly basis for hours.  I only had one other relationship with this level of communication and it was for five years way back in high school. I could never sustain that level of consistency with anyone else even if I wanted to (outside of my husband and children.) I don't know why that is - it just IS.

Perhaps some of the kindredness of our souls is from our efforts in the beginning years? Our first and only fight a couple years into our relationship about our children helped us form boundaries. Our children are the same age and also best friends. Since that disagreement we decided on what we would prioritize in our relationship...ten years later and we still have not shared harsh words. We have our annoyances but we don't talk about them. We agree to just give them time and pick up when we have settled or we verbalize our concerns in considerate ways. Respect is a crucial element of our friendship. We also know how the other ticks. She is a Keirsey Guardian (the only Guardian I can ACTUALLY have the capability to be close with- how lucky was that?!) and I am a Keirsey Idealist that ideally does not drive her batty. Our foray into psychology and personality cemented our understanding.

We have many differences. Her children are in school, mine our homeschooled. She knows my passionate standpoints on this subject but she also knows that I understand, respect and even admire her decisions regarding her own kids. I know why they are in school and I support her. She knows why my children are not and she supports me. Our stances our similar regarding the earth and people in it. We both grew up VERY differently regarding religion. I was immersed in it, she did not even know who Moses was. Needless to say this made for some very enlightening and fun conversations for both of us. Funny enough, if it does ever get to stances in faith, we both know we are very similar in our priorities on this subject and neither of us are too engrained in anything to challenge the other. We simply accept.

She knew me pre Aspie diagnosis and post. She has not defined me by either yet also strangely validated my ways of being. In those early days we spoke for hours about the differences of an NT mind and an Aspie...she now can sometimes think like an Aspie regarding sensory overload and how I might see it and because of her, I can put myself in an NT mindset at times and change an outlook. She is still an NT, I am still an Aspie...but we have interchanged a few traits and helped each other become a more balanced version of our own selves.

Personality aside, I have given great thought to what makes our relationship different. There have been many times when I have felt guilt because other friendships, while amazing, could never attain what I have with her, and I know that sometimes that hidden hope is there for others. We all long for friendships that are strong, true and feel like family. She is more of my family than most of my family. I put her next in line after my husband and children. Her children are more than cousins. I can't duplicate that relationship with anyone else simply because it takes a lot of investment of time, explanation and communication.

The first few years of our friendship were spent with both of us explaining ourselves, our beliefs, our mindsets, and our stances. We spent hours exchanging personal information and challenging each other to see an alternative side or researching different perspectives to share with each other while NOT expecting the other to conform to anything. We know (and keep private) what decisions we each choose in certain situations. It also helps that we go through similar stages of family changes. We don't always share the same interests but our interest in human development keeps us in tune with each other. I know I will never get her to enjoy watching certain Super Hero movies or Musicals for hours...but I have converted her to a few....and she knows I will never love watching reality shows although a few of her episodes I found immensely interesting. She will never be a writer by choice, and I will never be as social or normal as she is:)

The biggest factor in our friendship is our openness. It took vulnerability, and loads of it, to get to this point. She knows what I say to everyone and most details of my life. She is someone to face the days with when my husband is at work. We both know we would choose our husbands and kids over each other and we are ok with that. We respect each other's space and fall into the ebb and flow of life. There are weekends we don't speak or weeks we suddenly don't talk for awhile but one of us calls and it picks up again quickly.

Early in our relationship we agreed that since we spoke every day and shared almost every interaction we had with anyone, that when we were with other people, we would split up and visit separately. We felt it was not fair to be one of those best friend couple hoods that rub the joy of belonging into everyone's face. Of course we present a unified presence at times, but mostly, we both know we will go over every detail of the event with each other the following day, so there is no need for us to stick like glue to the other's side. We are stable and secure in our relationship, so unless we are both feeling ill or hugely intimidated, we will spend more time visiting with others around us than with each other.

We are not hilariously funny together though we have our moments. She went to Florida for over two weeks and I forgot to hug her. I thought of it, but it seemed awkward at the time because I am the LEAST huggy person in the world, she knows that, but I felt like I should have hugged her just in case. While she was gone it felt like a piece of my world was missing. She has been gone for longer before but when it's so far away it seems more profound for some reason. We do not text nor do we keep in contact when we are having family time. When she is gone- she is gone- and I get to miss her.

I have often joked that she is my "other therapist." Just hearing her voice instantly calms me in a panic attack. I know this by experience. I can talk through any fear or concern with her, without feeling judged, and am always better for it. Many studies show - -woman friends have the potential to create a calming effect in each other that men do not always have. While I have found some women do the exact opposite, great friendships DO calm the soul.

Marilyn Monroe once said, "I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes. I am out of control and at times a little hard to handle but if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell do not deserve me at my best." The first award for this goes to my husband. He has seen my at my worst when no one has and sometimes even laughs about it. He knows more about me than anyone ever could and he still adores me which is baffling. I am true to the typical Scorpio personality in most cases and have a sting that comes with the power of observation. Yet he reveres who I am. Second place goes to my three children because they also see it all. Being in a homeschooled environment means seeing mommy in all her of her crazy glory. Plus, they get to hear all my conversations with her so know my stances as much as she does. There is not much that we don't tell in our home. My kids also weirdly adore me despite my little fits and outbursts. They love to tease. My daughter is the Rory to my Lorelei. My sons are my champions and cuddle cups, but my best friend takes third place and I am more than honoured a handful of people in the world love me at my best and my worst.

I may be a Hermit in many ways but I also have extremely enriching relationships inside my home and in some of the outer world. I can't explain the particular Kindred that comes with Alexandria*, but I can say that if she died, a piece of my soul would forever die too. With anyone I regard, I would feel deep grief with death, but with Alexandria it would reach a level that could almost follow up close to my husband and three children in a different non family way. I have been asked so many times what is the difference between my relationship with her and other close friends. I tell my other friends not to count her in any comparison because she is outside of that realm and should not be the standard other friends try to achieve. It would be unfair to all involved to do so.

I do know that acceptance is one of the largest factors in our friendship. It's not just general acceptance...we know what each other is like in dire illness, we know the different changes in religion and their affects on people, we are both unafraid of hell (which is huge in respecting the other' stances without feeling fear)...we know key differences in how we both work in the world yet our fear is strangely absent with each other. Without fear, acceptance thrives and with acceptance comes understanding which creates a bond that is very tough to break.

If this type of friendship is going to happen it will be both in a natural way and with a ton of work, investment and time for both parties involved. Every person deserves one or two people in their lives, for different time periods, that will stand beside them in acceptance and understanding. I have been lucky enough (see Friendship label) to have many beautiful other Kindreds in my life. Just because it is not at the same level of belonging does not mean that their friendships are less. All wonderful friendships are simply different and awe inspiring in their own right. I hope my children one day have at least one Soulmate or Kindred who completely gets them but even if they do not, if they have even one of the relationships I had with the many amazing counterparts I have shared on my journey in life- I will be happy. Acceptance and Understanding with at least ONE- but more than that, for themselves FIRST- this is my wish for my children, friends, and for the world at large and it takes bravery. I wish self acceptance, vulnerability and bravery combined with compassion for our future generations.

*Name has been changed for privacy reasons. I was getting tired of calling her Bestie so from here on in it is Alexandria. I was going to call her Poehler Fey but realized that may cause misleading google hits.:)
Because this is her favourite show:

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Case For Introversion. Delights of a Hermit. Maybe it's a bit of an Aspie mentality?

I LOVE being indoors. I love the outdoors too but only enough to be inspired by them and get ideas to bring them indoors. My yard is large enough to soak up the fresh air and my home is full of plants, greenery and inspiring artwork. I am a Hermit and happy with it. In fact, any personality test I get, whether the day I am born (which is the sign of the Hermit) or my INFP/INFJ type, states that I need the maximum time alone in a comfortable environment in order to thrive. Being socialized and being sociable are two completely different principles. I am not sure if this is just me or if it's part of being an Aspie...but I do know other Aspies who are not as introverted as I am. However, I am often mistaken for an Extrovert. If I feel I am helping someone or contributing to their lives, I will be a prominent fixture initially, until I am either too drained to go on or until (in most cases) I have set them up with people, books or information they need to move forward in life without me. This scares people. Perhaps I trigger abandonment issues? I try to ease out of lives without them even considering that I helped or enhanced. I find most people gently leave my life because I either mirror something they would prefer not to see so they distance from me or I slowly distance myself by setting them up with their new connections. It is so much easier on them if they feel in control. There have been a few times in my life when I have not been ready for someone to leave, but they have because life was calling them excitedly to new ideas or paths...working on letting go and boundaries helped me see that even if they are not present in my life, I am still allowed to care from the sidelines.

I love the concept of people, even darkness in them or messiness, but BEING with people on a regular or DAILY basis, even with my best intents, can eventually cause hospital trips. I can actually take on their physical or emotional issues. I love to help heal and counsel. I love to see people balanced or whole or embracing their messy humanness. This means I do not want to contribute to a sense of harm nor a feeling that they were not enough. I have no problems giving versions of truthful insight if that is what needed, but even truth is relative and I tell them only to take what feels true to them. Sometimes this is enough for them to leave me. Who wants to face their demons other than Idealists?

Many of my relationships gave me so many new perspectives on life. I find I am best long distance or for short spurts of closeness followed by long months of absence. The friends who have managed to stay in my life have some easy flow of this sort of existence. Sometimes people know what they wanted to see FROM me but never really who I am. 

I find most people prefer those like them. True colours can be ignored, corrected or misunderstood even if a person is truly giving understanding, compassion and thoughtful advice back. Very few people know who I am in all my forms. I am known for what I was to them or what role I played in their life. Nothing is wrong with relationships that work this way but I DO need time away from this and to hold close the few people in my life who actually KNOW me (my children, husband and best friend are the core. But I also have a small core beyond this intimacy with a few others that work with a little less input but not less value.) My own parents only know facets of me and in childhood it was easy to be misunderstood with Autism, sensory issues, undiagnosed Dyspraxia and my personality.  I mirror what is chosen to see. I found I can induce fear... of life with a lack of conventions and rules, of the way I genuinely live, of who I am deep down... my beliefs, my reasons for choices...most of it scares people. I used to make the error of trying to explain or expose and it was always misunderstood because of fear or a boxed mind. Thus, I took a step away from most people in boundaries not because I am anxious or depressed but because I know they probably can not handle who I am or my beliefs (people tend to prefer people who have lots of black and white ethics and belief patterns) and I no longer can handle trying to shield or explain all the time. It's one of my many weaknesses and I just am not a place in my life where I have that energy I did in my twenties to sustain that tenacity.

I know when I am anxious or depressed. I am well trained in all of the signs, as most of my sensory overload my entire life was treated mistakenly as either anxiety or depression. Plus, I have experienced legitimate depression and anxiety, and one who has gone through it KNOWS the difference. Both Depression and Anxiety need to be taken seriously and I do not minimize them. (Please see side labels for different posts on PTSD, PPD, and PMDD or Anxiety) but I do want to challenge the mentality that a happy life is lived outside the home or in social contexts and that a sign of depression is when it is not.

I am as Introverted as they come. Reading Susan Cain's book was a validation but nothing was new to me. I KNOW I do better with less people in my life or at least less physical presence of people. I prefer my friends in email, online or with visitation spurts. There are only 5 people in my life I can see constantly and those are my husband, kids and best friend. Even then, I need a break. This is not to say that I devalue people. My INFP/INFJ personality loves to heal, to counsel and to bring forth new ideas and inspiration into the world, and especially to friends that I love. I don't love them any less simply because I am fine seeing them once or twice a year with some emails in between.

My home is my haven (see Home Decor Label on side.) It's my canvas, my art, my inspiration, my sanctuary, my garden, my dream, and the place where I become simply by being. I find that when I am around too many other voices I lose sight of my purpose. I am enlightened, inspired and hope filled within my walls. I find The Source, or God or the Universe or  Energy, or whatever name you want to put on it, most tangible when I am creatively living my purpose inside my home. I home school my children because I also believe they need this environment even if a couple of them are light extroverts whom I concede to feed their need for more people by having friends in our home. I prefer most play dates at our house but we do go out also.

My newly constructed Master Bedroom:) My husband is a Carpenter, I am a Decorator.

None of this is unhealthy. None of these factors mean I give less to the world. None of these factors play into the types of depression I have had in the past. Depression in the past has accompanied the following factors: too many people speaking into my life, feeling out of control due to hormonal fluctuations, traumatic experiences or lack of sleep. Disclaimer: I am NOT saying that shutting oneself in a home is not a sign of depression because some extroverts or those who thrive on being alive outdoors will have this as a significant sign of depression. But for myself, I could live almost 100 percent happy in my home forever. I go outside. I love to visit my parent's, grandparent's and best friend in their cozy havens, and I love trips to nearby cities, but even these have to be spread out in moderation. This is because I get immensely drained by sensory overload, other people's energies and moods, and the world in general.

My theory is that if women were considered equal back in the day as the seers, monks, advisers to the court or whatever without being mistaken for a Witch, I would have been respected. Women who were most often the Natural healers with herbs ect, the Douala's or Midwifes, the women who spoke up or were different or had incredible insight were subject to death simply because they were women. If I was a male monk during those moments, I would have never been pushed to go beyond what I do in normal circumstances without a clinical label being slapped on it. In fact, people would have admired my seclusion. I would have been praised for my bravery to be alone. I would have been revered for the capability to be able to have such quiet. This does not mean I do not value the beauty of actively going out into community or being in nature. I take these exercises in humanity seriously enough to give of myself even when it drains me at times, or to be revived in nature when there is a change of pace needed. However, outside is full of sensory drains for an Autistic Introvert. Being with people is full of colourful energies and emotions for an INFP/INFJ/ Scorpio.***

I am often told from enlightened people who understand depths, that I can often be a mirror in short conversations. People who get frustrated with me do not understand whom they are really frustrated with: themselves. I am a mirror who shows what people want or whom they are. I absorb their energies and emotions and while with them, become what they are, while knowing where I begin and where they start. Often this is not seen or this difference is not understood. That does not make them any less. It is completely understandable. I hear that many balanced Aspies often are mirrors. My personality type is rare in all it's manifestations (including Autism) and it is not meant to be understood by most.

I never get myself confused with another person nor do I find myself EVER wanting to be someone else. I did however, make this mistake often in my twenties (wanting to be something I wasn't) and that in itself revved up anxiety and depression. I am who I am and am happy with it. Would I love to trade in some Dyspraxic traits? YES, but sometimes we have to come to 70 percent peace with our flaws. The other 30 percent is healthy anger or frustration inspiring what we can change (or blog posts to help those who also struggle!:)

There are a few closed doors from people who misused their presence in my life but it takes a lot to get me to the point to ever fully close a door. Understanding happens once individual emotions are worked through. Because I need to find the beauty in myself when most people do not see it, I will find the beauty in them when they cannot see it themselves. This way of life can hurt but it is not meant to be hurtful. It is simply allowing life to take it's course of ebb and flow. I have made the mistake of trying to explain this to ease hurt but have found it only amplifies it. I WILL be there for a smile if we bump into each other and I will eagerly hear about their lives. There is a difference between not being friends and not being present if life demands a presence. If life demands it- I will be there and I will always love.

Sometimes we need to close doors. Not because someone was bad or wrong for us but because life is asking us to take a new journey that needs alone time or a new acquaintance. Sometimes we have simply gone as far as we can go without repetitive or unchanging behaviours which can trigger unhealthy states. We can't stay stagnant without ill health. The trick is allowing this to happen without being wounded to our core. I used to feel wounded when someone moved on either physically or in spirit but now I celebrate it after the initial (and natural) sadness. They have a new journey and I was lucky to be part of theirs for awhile.

I am a happy hermit. I see the frenzy, stress and dis-ease of many who claim to love busyness or tons of people. Some extroverts genuinely do, but the rest? I think it's partially conditioned...especially if they are not content in at least 70 percent of themselves. Where do all the lessons get them? Where do the Degrees take them? The constant interactions? Where does the endless pursuit of knowledge, stability or  adventure take them? If it's for pleasure's sake partaking in life - it is all good, but if it is the driving force to what is perceived as happiness - how exactly is that working for them? I do not thrive or need the identification of busyness or participation to have value. Nor do I believe I am less compassionate or human by being more isolated. I am balanced except when I am not...and I am okay with that too. I am inspired, hopeful and part of the world we all create. I am no less because I decide to spend less time outside my home...and if there are any other fellow Hermits and their less isolated cousins, the Introverts, I want you to know that you are fine if you enjoy the content and quality of your life in quiet. You bring beauty.

I look at all the unique souls in my life I have been blessed to have different types of relationships with and my heart swells with gratitude. Relatives or nemesis who challenged me by misunderstanding or being cruel forced me to face myself in these circumstances because I could not change them, and learned how to grow in my own boundaries. I can honestly say that the amount of true wrong relationships in my entire life equals less than two hands. The rest of the people have been a variety of relationship depths that took up permanent residence in my heart. My heart is full of spots that stretch to fill if they enter back in, and comfortably fill in whenever they are not around.

I believe my life is fully lived. I adore my existence about 97 percent of each day even though I live with physical pain everyday. Most of our life has been formed by hard choices and counter cultural ways of existing which are definitely not easy but for me, they have been rewarding. We never are running to various appointments. Our kids are not in every possible sport, music lesson, extra curricular ect. We pick two extra events per year and stick with that. We have most of our days to JUST BE...which seems to be what most people want but do not think they can attain. Stepping out of the rat race is tough and comes with a few of it's own problems but our beautiful existence of reading, learning, going outside, drawing, playing casually on instruments of choice, rough and tumble creativity, maintaining and putting down roots and learning new skills is worth it for the precious time we have on this earth. My husband does not strive to crawl up any career ladder thinking it will hold the key to a more beautiful life...everything just IS...and in that BEING we find our belonging and meaning. Some have accused us of taking the easy route. In every choice it has been an intentional route that ruffles MANY feathers and causes many people to feel judged or like we are just lucky...that is not how it happens but unless one digs deep- one will never know.

I have my own set of problems and joys and I regret none of them. Envy is not something I take with me. I do take the pain of others and myself and I take doses of anger and definitely impatience, but gratitude is a gift that keeps my perspective a little more healthy. I do believe this is because of my introverted existence. I wish I could be a fully realized Hermit but in my circumstances this would not be possible. I have kids to raise and a place in society that DOES demand a bit of extroverted participation, but I like to have a certain amount of isolation because it enables me to realize higher levels of intuition, knowledge, wisdom, and truthful awareness. This also reflects soul searching and truth. The secrets of a Hermit existence would take too many posts to unlock. This is just a facet. Being a Introvert is not greater than being an Extrovert, but it is not less either as so much of our cultural authority suggests. It is simply different. A way of Being that benefits from solitude and rest.

May you find your way of Being in the world and follow it avidly without apology and with greater compassion.

These two songs are a couple of my favourites describing this way of life:)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

World Autism Day and the Power of having Understanding Friends

Post Edit: After I published this another friend sent me a Pin on Pinterest and said she is wearing blue on my behalf.  I never asked for that support yet it is there. I feel very lucky. Love you Keren. Feel free to wear feisty red on behalf of me or a happy yellow if that is what you prefer!!:)

Those in the Autism community do not always benefit from "Awareness" thus we sometimes look upon Autism Day with a bit of chagrin. Organizations like Autism Speaks take this day to spread more mis- information. Those on the Autism scale benefit from people taking our blogs seriously but unfortunately that often does not happen because of these reasons: I have had all five of those points brought up to me before including some from people I thought knew better. It has been disheartening to say the least, but I still have hope...

Today, on National Autism Day, I woke up to this text, "Thinking of you friend... today is world autism awareness day and i was just thinking about all the wonderful people i know who have greatly enriched my life ❤❤❤❤"

I was honoured. I often don't even remember World Autism Day. To have a Non -Autistic/Nuerotypical friend remember and thank ME for being who I am from her far off place in my world (we live in different countries) was astounding! This friend reads almost all the links I send her, she gives me feedback, and she reads my perspectives with great respect. I realized that I really could not ask for more in anyone. To have even one friend like this is a blessing. I know I have at least 5 friends who actively do the same.

Today I would like to honour my Neurotpyical friends who make the world a better place with their acceptance and willingness to see the world through my eyes at times. I deeply value them. I would also like to thank my Autistic friends for making me feel less alone...and allowing me to feel "my normal" in a world where I often feel misplaced. 

With Gratitude; 

I dedicate this post to Kristin with love. I regret we do not have a photo together:(

I'd also like to specifically thank all my readers who come here to understand with grace or to get validation.

 Special thanks also goes to those Kindreds who have actually read a full book that was written BY Autistics on Autism *click for links* (Aspergirls or Nerdy, Shy and Socially Inappropriate or 22 things) just for me or for my children: Sara, Philip, Kristin, Keren, Rachel, Mom, Shelley (mom), Miriam, Dr. R, Sanghamitra. (Apologies if I missed anyone.) My heart is warmed each time I think of the moments you approached me to ask what you should read or in the odd time I approached you, that you showed up for me with a resounding YES and made the world a better place with your new information. I hope I also enrich your world because that's what friends are for. I am glad you are on my side.

 I am also grateful for the additional friends I have who may not have had time to read the books but have read some of my posts and supported me through the most transitional years of my life. (Dea, Lola, Cyndy, Glynis, Rain, Christine, Cindy, Alicia, Amy, Alyssa, Lisa, Lynn, Atlanta, Carelton and Valina, Grant, Tim, Steve, and Jessica.)

and because I am a sap:

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Stories of Hope and Validation of Being: For Autistic/ Asperger's Birthdays: Odin (13) and Glenn (6) #OdinBirthday

I am always relieved that my son is not in school. I hear the tales of bullying for any child who doesn't seem to fit. A child who may struggle with conveying some emotions or does not always understand social etiquette is especially at risk. My child's circle of friends is very small. He has his brother and sister as his best friends and one other child who has been like a brother to him since he was born. Other than that we have a few kids who come in and out of his life, but the sticking power is not there. Some of it is because of his sensory issues. Some of it is because they are interested in things he is not interested in. Sometimes it can be chalked up to personality differences. At it's worst he has less friends because of a FEAR of difference or people unable to overcome the differences in communication.

When I hear stories like the two below links, I cry my eyes out with happy tears. In the news there are so many negative stories about Asperger's or Autism. I stopped reading the stories because they broke my heart. Often it felt that the articles were full of marginalization and misinformation about the Neurodiversity we possess and only perpetuated the greater population's fear of a difference that also has some beauty. My husband, however, pointed out these two articles to me because he knew they would help heal some of the damage that other news stories have created.



Happy birthday Odin! Happy birthday Glenn!

The stories of these boys bring healing. There are many children who are ignored, teased, bullied, or neglected by their peers who do not get their happy moment, but the lives of Odin, Glenn and their mothers are proof that love and effort can change this fact. My hope is with a little understanding, some educational changes in the system, and parental guidance on how to treat the Neurodiverse, this can change. I respect each celebrity that responded because a few minutes of their busy day was given to show a moment of recognition. We are all only human. A celebrity has more of a platform for this reach of humanity but they are still on the same level of beauty and worth as the child who is celebrating his own gift of life. This is especially impressive that someone who is busy with many connections used their platform to install worth. This validates the inherent hope embedded in the human experience. When we recognize a soul and acknowledge BEING we give the greatest gift; we validate a person's significance.

There are other ways we can contribute to the validation of Being. Installing confidence and worth usually creates a trickle effect of beauty for the world. We can create this change simply by reading perspectives by those who actually have the differences (see my side referrals to the blog Musings of An Aspie or my Labels on Asperger's/ Autism), or changing our perspectives of the stories we find ourselves in. We are largely influenced by our culture. We write our stories by living them and sharing our beauty and struggles.

Life is made up by little moments. If each of us gives a few of our moments that make up our lives to validate the worth of another Being we contribute to the positive changes in the world we help create. Let's be the change.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Gasping for Breath. Thoughts on Anemia, Depression, and My Closet.

~This picture was after a full day in ER (due to other reasons not in this post) and three recovery days after. I was still feeling awful but did not want that to define my I decided to take the kids to my next medical appointment in the city, put on some false eyelashes and loads of make up and pretend I was fine. I still had to take breathing breaks in the mall and my husband had to carry my purse, but for my kids, they will look back on these pictures and not realize how crappy I was feeling because I look well. That matters sometimes in feeling well. It can't be done all the time, but sometimes when I force myself in moments when I feel moderately crappy, it works sort of! Sometimes faking to make it actually does work. Being an Aspie I am pretty good at masking...sometimes masking leads to living...but if done for prolonged periods of time will have the opposite effect so I am not saying to mask regularly. I lived that life once and it is NOT worth it but sometimes it has it's payoffs.~

It's so hard for me to breathe. The air feels too light. The substance of it seems to be missing from my oxygen. I take gulping breaths through the window because cold air seems to have more of a bite. I have been craving rocks and ice and those comforting plastic nose things the hospital gives oxygen in.

I have been varied forms of Anemic since teenage hood. It started with my heavy menstrual cycles and has alarmed health professionals since. I have had the iron shots (*see post note), the constipating supplements, and the consistent blood tests until I can get my levels up. My mind forgets how absolutely awful it can feel.

I know the warning signs. A few months ago I knew I was Anemic again but since it was/is my normal, I tried to ignore the fact that stairs took the wind right out of me. I told myself it was because I was out of shape even though I am participating in rehabilitation Physio for severe Fibromyalgia issues. I told myself that panting after a walk could be from lack of being outside and the light heart pains were a 'healthy' sign of exertion. But I knew my own bullshit. I knew I would have to face myself and the blood work because I know when I am just lightly Anemic (my normal) and when it has crossed into affecting my whole system. The tip off usually comes from my Native/Hispanic Grandfather, "You are so pale missy. That is not how my granddaughter is supposed to look. Go get some sun missy. Are you sick?" This happens over and over again because he is cute and wants me to have my sun kissed look back, but also because it's my first warning sign that my levels are progressively going down. I pull out my fake bronzer to avoid the pale comments but sometimes I forget to put on my make up armour that hides the bruises under my eyes and the pallor of my skin.

I participate in denial because I don't like the monitoring. I don't love the poking, prodding and freak outs of potential bowel diseases or causes of inner bleeding. They never find anything. It's just my body and crazy cycles, but just in case I have developed something new, it has to be checked. I comfort myself with the fact that this has been happening for 21 years. If I had a weird cancer or bowel disease I would have already been dead from it. I am thankful for the advances in medical tests and professionals who genuinely DO care but medical tests are the ONLY thing in life that can drive me to borderline suicidal thoughts.

I have been severely depressed, in the past, with diagnosed PPD, PMDD and PTSD and NEVER have I answered 'Yes' to the suicidal tendency question. Not because I am somehow braver or strong than those that do, but because I love life too much. I love the small things like flowers and plants, the colour green, peach or nude coloured lipstick, the smell of books, my kids smiles, and my husband's eye crinkles. I have the mind of a poet in the sense that I live sensually and I soak up so much beauty...which is why hospitals put out the light. There is no beauty to see, hear or smell. I need beauty to live. It's my drug. I like being alive even when I am severely depressed. I still have the moments that transcend existence. I latch on to hope and bleed it dry. My husband has answered yes to THE question when he was in depression and I have thought about what the difference was in him and I, because frankly, my depression scores were always higher. Some of it is being Autistic. Being Autistic I had to constantly overcome being and feeling different, overwhelmed, and isolated. That builds resilience. I have been told I have resilience in spades and I bet I can thank being an undiagnosed child/teen in the educational system for that. Something good tends to come out of something bad and sometimes negative consequences come out of something positive. I have had different faiths in different stages of my life and I think it is petty to say that faith in God will get one through anything. It's not true. But faith DOES contribute to well being, even faith in hope or life or colour. Some of it is fear. I fear no longer hearing the voices of those I love, I fear the consequences of taking my energy out of the world before it is ready, I fear the consequences of what I would leave behind. That's just me, but if someone mentions a Colonoscopy I can almost answer yes to the suicide question when no other dire moment in my life has brought me close. I wonder why that is? Why would I rather die than do a medical procedure or take certain drugs? Perhaps it has been the prep I have done for a similar test before and will NEVER do again but I think there is something more to it. Maybe it is not meant for my specific journey. Sometimes we have intuitions for a reason, other times it is just fear. I have not figured out my line yet. I now can manage blood tests because I have had so many and request the Butterfly. If you are a bleeder or paranoid of blood or needles ALWAYS insist on having them use the Butterfly. It makes such a huge difference and I no longer bleed forever after a test. I hold up well under emotional and mental strain in general yet can not handle some bodily ills. At the same time, I have a high pain tolerance with some random pains yet very low with sensory overload pain. Perhaps this is part of being Autistic?

My life currently feels like an Air Supply song; floaty, airy and breathy. Yea, I see the irony. This last cycle has wiped me out to the point that after showering I have to sit down and take a few desperate breaths. I feel like a cancer patient which is not how one without cancer should feel. I feel empathy for anyone who has any condition that causes problems in breathing and then I take on their energy for a moment and sit with their grief, I send out warmth and light wishing there was something more I could do because I know I am in a good place. I know in a few months I will breathe fresh again and my blood cells will plump up. I have a wonderful doctor who has seen me two days in a row and will discuss my treatment plan again (I have had other health complications and my white cell count is also up.) I know the drill, the iron and Ferritin are extremely low, my Hemoglobin has gone steadily down since the steady stream of iron shots in 2007**. I'm cold, exhausted, out of breath, pale and irritable but more than that, I get depressed, because I am a mother. I am supposed to be able to do the dishes and minor responsibilities without being out of breath. I am not allowed to do "any form of exertion and definitely no running." That's funny for anyone who knows me. You will never see me run unless it is an emergency. My physiotherapist won't allow me to run either due to my muscles, alignment and spine anyway, so there is that... I already have to pace myself with Dyspraxia and Fibromyalgia, so having something additional to deal with in the day to day responsibilities can add up to me feeling like I fail. Especially when I am strict about my health, what is put in my body, what I do to manage stress and my overall dedication to  being a contributing member of my family. I feel depression sink in when I feel incapable. I fight so hard to be capable (see THIS post) so when an additional health complication comes up, I feel myself sinking and clawing my way up to hope and validation that I am worthy. My mantra is I am worthy because I EXIST. If I believe that of other people, I have to fight to believe it of myself first.

The Closet:
In my world, behind the solid, closet door is my safe zone. I have found beauty in that deep, dark, small place. Under the clothes I sit in the dark. This is when I am at my worst. If my husband finds me there he knows. More importantly, if I am sitting there it means I recognize the signs of depression in myself. I know what to do, have wonderful support, know how to help others, and how to analyze the whole deal. With all that knowledge I am able too keep a tight lid on  most of my lighter depression. Most of the world does not even know when I am in it but when I am in the closet I can no longer deal with the outside. I just need the smell of our laundry detergent clinging to the clothes, the quiet wooshing of my heartbeat telling me that life goes on, and the dark caccooning my body from sensory overload. Often my children will join me in there. When they were little they would bring their flashlights and make hand puppet figures on the wall. It was one of their favourite times. "Oh look, mommy is sitting in the closet- it's time for campfire stories and puppets!" And suddenly my world became focused. I still felt the same, but I knew there would be an end to the dark feeling. There always is. Until the moment when I could rise again, I soaked up their innocence. I saw their perspective and knew that when they were older they would remember my walk in closet as the camp out place. I don't believe in shielding children completely from the broad spectrum of human emotion but I do believe in protecting them from a few mature facts. They didn't know that mommy was overwhelmed. They just felt safe. Somehow, from their feelings of safety, I felt safe too. My husband eventually coaxed us out in the world to live, but those moments of quiet reflection saved me from my tormented thoughts. The world  became MEANINGFUL because of closet doors, cozy clothes, sock puppets and flashlights.

And that is what depression is like. If it's not understood it's just a dark closet perceived as cold and scary. With a little light, a bit of empathy, a touch of innocence the closet is still a closet BUT  for a time it becomes a cozy haven.

There is a reason I tell this story. Most of you probably perceived that the Walk in Closet is also a symbol of depression. A simple room in which the occupant will not stay in forever. One day the occupant will slowly step into the hallway to life. And eventually the closet will be full of stored clothes and distant memories. But the lessons will stay as understanding is developed. Instead of a scary place this symbol becomes a brief hiatus. It can be dark, it can be stuffy, dank, closed in with this feeling of ' I am never going to get a breath of fresh air again!' But it is only one room of life. Just one. Once it is conquered it becomes that camp out spot of both bad and good memories. New doors open, the hallway slowly melts into the entryway and with a final push the door to the sunny outside is once again re-opened. With a bit of help, life comes full circle. Clinical Depression doesn't have to be a home, it can remain a sizeable closet. In the fabric of the interior the closet will make itself known from time to time. Meanwhile the other rooms are beckoning. With understanding and empathy, those with depression will be able to live out of the closet in meaningful and wonderful ways. Judgement, misunderstanding and ignorance lock doors. Loving empathy, wisdom and understanding open doors, freeing the prisoners into a space of colour, warmth and faith.. Depression does not have to last forever. Depression can also teach lessons and allow beauty. Depression can be managed. Please have hope and find the proper support to open the doors to the soothing colours of Joy.

Being Anemic is another reminder for me to breathe life. It's time for me to actively build up my blood. It is also time to gratefully take deep breaths, slow down, and practice the beauty of BEING. It's harder than it sounds. It's time to figuratively and physically take in life giving oxygen to revive the cells that make up ME.

Song choice (because I have a weird sense of humour and Air Supply kept surfacing in my mind during this post. Plus, I just love these songs!)

Disclaimers and Websites:
*Be careful what you take being Anemic. I would no longer recommend the shots due to severe anaphylactic reactions in many people as well as other dangers. Read up on posts like this:
I only take iron supplements when it's very bad...or the liquid form and I am very careful about my diet.
**THIS POST IS NOT A MEDICAL OPINION AND YOU NEED TO TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT ANY COMPLICATIONS YOU HAVE regarding Depression or Anemia. Anemia can be serious. ESPECIALLY DIFFERENT TYPES OF ANEMIA MORE SERIOUS THAN MINE. See your doctor but also engage in your own health research. Depression is also serious and if you can answer yes to the suicide question you need to see a professional who cares.
*** Websites for Grief or Depression:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Beautiful Film about Being. "Being in The World" (Or Why I am a Risk Taker in my life Choices.)

It seems to baffle some people, that I have incredible meaning in my life, despite the fact that my religious beliefs are not always able to be pinned down, or despite the fact that to them, I should have a lesser quality of life, because I am different or choose very different ways of Being. I understand that paradoxical ways could be confusing. I validate the confusion. However, I also deeply feel for that bafflement because it can not be way of BEING...unless one was to LIVE my complete way of Being. We each have a way of being in the world that is unexplainable. On the plus side, we also have a human connectedness and innate sense of community that can also be felt. So in this way, even if there is not full understanding, there is a place of soul that discovers a mutual partaking.

One of my passions is to help others discover that their beauty is BEING. Being does not mean continual peace but it does GIVE meaning. This film below helps give a bit of understanding into this philosophy of life. I had never heard of it before, but I had coffee last night and my husband put this on to help me fall asleep. I was captivated by the fact that while, of course, my philosophy in life has been shaped by books, people and environment, I have never actually studied any particular philosopher. While I know about many philosophers and find reading bits of each an essential part of my living, I had not constructed nor will I ever construct my reality around one particular philosophy, however, I enjoyed this film because it aids in connecting the concept of BEING to creating and the love of life for life's sake. That is something I can fully support even if it does source one philosopher more than others.

I feel the title YouTube put on this film is misleading. It is titled, "A Film about Martin Heidegger's Philosophy" but the original name for the film is "Being in the World." Even though the film occasionally references Heidegger, the film is more about BEING. It takes to the half way mark to start feeling inspired (during the introduction and first little bits I drifted in and out.) But the beginning sets the foundation for the rest of the film by giving a brief history of foundational philosophers and why our age has transcended Plato or Aristotle. This age is more about BEING and I feel this simple explanation of historical collective meanings and beliefs is also an important part of the film.

I am a risk taker in my personal decisions. I may not be a risk taker physically but I am completely a risk taker in how I engage with the world around me. I can be a rule follower in some things and completely break free in a similar realm. To many this seems contradictory but to me it's a fluid way of Being. I can conform to the rules of society that are crucial to belonging but still be individual and connected to that which gives specific meaning. This phenomenon is put under the light around the forty minute mark of this film.

If you find yourself wondering how to incorporate technology in your life but still honouring community and individualism...or if you find yourself 'missing' or in general feel a discontent or discontinuity between your space of belonging or meaning, this film is going to be a validation of hopeful aspiration and calm inspiration.

Enjoy your unique way of BEING. You are a fellow artist of being alive. Embrace that.

(Personal Note: I found the jazz background music distracting and a tad overloading at the very beginning but it ends around the nine minute mark. I left highlights below the film link.)

A Film About "Being in the World"


"A tool isn't an instrument you focus on, a tool is literally a way the carpenter has of engaging with the world." (10:24)

"When you've got the skill the last thing you want is thinking about or rationalizing or stepping back from the activity you are involved in...thought about the domain will typically get in the way of." (10:57)

"The really important ends of human life, are ends that are only perceptible if you allow yourself to be within the human condition totally. For example take love. What is it to have a really loving relationship?  What is it to have real communion? What is it to have meaningful music? can go on and on...nobody can loose touch with that aspect of being human entirely but they always denatured it so of course people were moved by music, they were moved by art, moved by love, so they invented various ways of describing that...the profound truth you can find in a great work of art. The profound truth of human beings." (21: ish?)

"Moods don't happen without our heads but that doesn't mean they happen in our heads. The analogy I like to use is a radio. Right? A Radio gets tuned in to different radio stations as you turn the dial you get different songs playing on the radio. That doesn't mean the stations are all inside the radio. It just means that without the radio getting tuned to them you are not in a position to pick them up." (23:50)

"We talk about the mood in the room...there was a happy mood when we walked into the party or the mood of the nation is depressed right lines up in particular ways, it's illuminated in particular ways and when we get in the right mood it's a way of getting in tune with the world so it can so shown certain features to us. SO when you are happy the world looks different and it is not just interpreting the world through a different filter but that your happiness tunes you into the world and features that you were not paying attention to."(25:43)

"Just as skills allow things to show themselves, they also allow people to show themselves ...they start to see things that someone without those skills doesn't see. They become someone who inhabits the world differently."(26:46)

"Our bodies, our ways of Being get attuned to the world. There is a kind of  understanding there that we can not explain. We are very poor at articulating. Rules work by ignoring details. What anyone who is very skilled in a domain knows that being very skilled means responding not just in general terms but in responding very specifically to what the situation demands." (28:40)

"You know, cooking is like religion. Rules don't no more make a cook than sermons make a saint... You can all have the rules you want...and take the same recipe and maybe you can't do the same things I do." (29:27)

"Risks are very important in becoming a master or  acquiring any skills at all because you have to leave the rules behind and stop doing what one generally does and doing the standard thing and push out into your own version of the world." (30:00)

"So the willingness to take risks is a very important stage of moving beyond just competence and following the rules and doing whatever everyone else does, to getting to the position where you learn what you are supposed to be responding to." (31:20)

"What distinguishes the kind of risks we're interested in from just bravado is whether the risks are taken in the interest of what someone is committed to and what they have defined themselves in terms of and what makes the meaningful differences in their lives. That kind of risk is a special kind of risk and is necessary part of becoming a master of anything." (31:38)

"Being willing to embrace a particular type of possibility and let other possibilities die off."(32:08)

"In addition to the fact that you can't ever get beyond a rule governed behaviour without taking risks there is also a kind of exhilaration or joy in the human existence leaving the rules behind, going out on the edge, letting the world show something new to them.The risk takers are the ones who disclose new worlds, disclose new ways to be human and new ways to behave. Discover new things about the world." (33: 34)

"You commit yourself and suddenly the world is organized in terms of things that are meaningful and  things that are irrelevant to do." (34:23)

"What happens when you have this commitment to a particular something that is finite and that you could lose and is risky and you hold yourself open to it completely. What happens in that situation is that you get a sort of meaningful existence and the meaningful existence is the one that identifies who you are to YOUR meaningful existence. It is the one that picks you out as an individual because nobody else understands the particular hierarchy of meaningful differences the way you do." (34:57)

"What is it to be the best version of us? When we are operating at our best we are precisely not detached from the situation that we are involved in rather we are opening ourselves up to being called to act a certain way in a situation." (35:47)

"The most amazing thing about Bradley when he is taking the ball down the court is his vision. He doesn't seem to be looking at anything rather he's a glaze of pan optic attention... He's not focused at anything but he is ready to be drawn into whatever it is that is calling him to act in the moment."  (36:20)

"Authenticity means owning up to the situation you are in, confronting the situation and doing what needs to be done...when you are authentic you are resolute... you are confronting the situation you are in."(36:52)

"There is a real tension in societies between conformism and individualism. In order for society to function there has to be a certain  amount of regularity in human behaviour." (40:00)

"There is a sense that mindless conformism is dehumanizing and destroys what is great about us and unique about us, so we value individuality as well but there is a tension there, if everyone is individual then we loose the benefits that come from shared adherence to rules, shared norms and values so there is always a tension going on there." (42:20)

"We are thoroughly conditioned in the world we are in." (43:28)

"A real innovator changes the way the game is played, and the game takes on a new style and people start playing it differently even though they are playing by the same rules." (44: 43)

( Now)"Everything is interconnected, everything is exchangeable and all meaningful distinctions have been gotten rid of except for this one empty distinction of being efficient and optimized. And you see it all over the place, we are so used to it that we don't even notice it." (54:17)

"You have these frightening subdivisions where all the houses on the side of the hill are the same shape and same colour...and everyone manages to live that way so everything is totally standardized."

Honestly, from 54:17 onward is the part I am most passionate about and would highlight the rest of this conversation! However, do not skip the beginning that sets you up for it!

"In a certain way that is terrific if you use it in the right way...but if that's just what it's all about everything get's's all reduced just to more information."

"What it is doing is making us look at time that is infinitely usable and accessible... as against that we are forced back to understanding that there are times that are just different, that has a different quality and it is not appropriate to use them in this way." (59:08)

"The problem is how to respect technology and use technology to get rid of all the dumb stuff we used to have to do and yet not let it get rid of what matters and what is local and what is unique and what is significant and meaningful for us." (103:44)

"Affirm four propositions: 1.) There is no place I'd rather be 2.) There is no one I'd rather be with 3.) There is nothing I would rather be doing and 4.) This I will remember well." (?)

"Being in the world is a unified phenomenon when people are at their best and most absorbed in doing a skillful thing, they lose themselves into their absorption and the distinction between the master and the world disappears....everybody in their way can bring out what's best in themselves and in their world we can re- experience what people call the sacred."  (1:17:20)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Glee and A True Young Marriage Success Story: Love Part 2 of 2 Post: The Wedding Episode

*This is a follow up post to part ONE here: which was written in September 2013. To gather some context I would recommend that post. For those who do not feel like reading the short post, the basic point of Part One was that I applauded Glee for supporting young marriage (and a double minority of gay, young marriage) and I sincerely hoped the writers would follow through on the promise of a young union despite the critics. Glee, once again delivered.
(Picture: My husband and I, 13 years married, at my brothers wedding. I was the maid of honour.)

True love of any kind should be celebrated. News feeds are proof enough that tragedy, bullies, critics, hate crimes and intolerance's are plenty. The main reason I have stuck with Glee through the crazy (the inconsistency could be frustrating but I shrugged this off because LIFE is inconsistent and the fact that they made fun of it themselves was enough for me) is because it was the ONE show on television, that despite the tough, crazy or uncomfortable subject matter at times the heart of the show was based in acceptance, unconditional love, and frivolous fun. Out of my favourite shows Glee was the one that could inspire incredible emotion. Songs have a way of touching the heart when conveying emotion, but it was the poignancy of the writers in unexpected moments that would catch my soul off guard. My spirit felt camaraderie to people I have never met. I felt united with people all over the world who were represented by the characters.

The struggle to belong, be validated in our short and precious journey of life, and be supported is a need we all feel, but minorities feel it more profoundly. Glee creators and writers had a way of filling this need through T.V. in unexpected moments to the hurting and misplaced that were willing to watch it simply for that hope...without criticism...who were willing to take what they could and leave what they couldn't. Despite what any critic have said, I really believe that there are not many places anywhere online or on T.V. that gave/give hope without having to show opposing graphic violence. Plus, what other show breaks out into song with heartfelt innocence?

There have been numerous weeks throughout the years where Glee was my one glimmer of light.  I have been lucky enough to have the support of my husband but otherwise, sometimes I felt completely alone. Despite the fact that it was just a show, I felt like there were people, who if they met me, WOULD support the life decisions that we had to fight for....young marriage being one.

*Spoiler alert: I am going to quote a few profoundly written lines from the latest episode "The Wedding" in the following section.*

Kurt and Blaine are speaking with his father Burt and mother Carole about their previous engagement plans. Kurt says,"And that would have been a beautiful day too but you know it just wasn't meant to be, you know... young and foolish."
Burt:,"Hey, maybe you two guys weren't meant to be but it's like young and foolish? Come on, are any of us ever really ready for anything? You know, I wasn't ready to lose your mom."
Carole, "And because of that we haven't wasted one day since we met."
Burt, "That's right. It has been a crazy adventure ever since."
Carole, "It has. You're gonna make mistakes and that's OK. I've made so many."
Burt, "Are you saying I'm one?"
Carole, "No you are not one. You are one of the good things but you just have to take every second of every day and squeeze it as tight as you can. Just wring every last bit out of it. Finn taught me that."

As I mentioned in Part One, my husband and I knew at 17 that we were soul mates. It made no logical sense for us to wait until school was over or we were older, just for the sake of age, yet that is what people continually told us to do. Our support, which we needed desperately, was either pulled from under us, bossed and demanded from us, or hard-won. It was rare to have anyone with enough logic to see the love that we had and accept that even if it was a mistake, it was worth supporting love. Those who DID actually give support have stayed as a fixture in our lives and we deeply appreciate that accepting love.

We did not want to waste a day. We were not being harmful to ourselves or abusive, yet we were treated like criminals at times because we were (and never have been) traditional, conservative, or followed society's protocols. My eyes teared up at the above conversation because it was one I never had... and really wished for. I just wanted someone to say, "Are any of us really ready for anything? Go and fight for your love." As I mentioned in this post, "Marital success and wise life choices depend on the situation, but regardless, young love could use a little more support. Maybe if couples had more support and successful portrayals of the good and the bad, there would not be as high of a break up rate? Maybe, just maybe, those stats are a little misused? Marriages break up often, regardless of age. It depends on LIFE, on circumstances, on support, on personality, on communication and dedication. Thank you GLEE for once again fighting for the underdog. Finally, I got to see my life choices promoted in a positive way." 

I hope, if circumstances happen to others like when I was young that I give Walter's following advice to my children or anyone who is in love.
Walter: "I'm jealous. I mean you are right at the beginning of it all...You're lucky Kurt, Go be lucky and whatever happens, even if you get hurt again, just remember, the only thing worth doing is going toward love don't waste time double guessing and don't waste time behaving yourself. You gotta run, you gotta jump, you gotta grab it while it's right in front of you and whatever you do- don't let go."

My husband and I believe that we SHOULD grab life when we can. Love is something worth running towards. We have often felt like Santanna when she told Brittany that the rules do not apply, they never have, and we often make our own luck. Humanity has always been scared of that which is different. But there are a few enlightened or brave people who come around and who either change their minds over time, or dare to think outside the box to see that we are not causing harm but embracing LIFE and LOVE. Even if they do not agree, they can still CHOOSE to be supportive.

There was a conversation in The Wedding episode between Santanna and her Abuela which induced a few tears on my part. (A brief context: Abuela/ grandmother was Santanna's best support system until Santanna came out and she disowned her. Despite attempts to reconnect, her grandmother refused to attend the wedding based on her beliefs. It crushed Santanna yet she was strong enough to choose her new love Brittany over her grandmother even though it broke her heart.) In the end Sue brings Abuela to the wedding and this is the conversation:

Santanna's Abuela, "I was wrong. I'm not saying I agree with every decision you make. I still don't believe it's right for two women to get married but I do believe that family is the most important thing in the world, and I love you Santanna. I don't want to be the person in your life that causes you pain, and I don't want to miss a day that I have been dreaming of my whole life or the birth of your kids or any other important days."
Santanna: "I don't agree with everything you believe either. I just want my Abuela back. I've missed you."
Abuela: "I've missed you too."

The beauty of friendship, family and support is not in agreeing. It's being able to be present and be supportive even if there isn't agreement. It's being the people who do not want to CAUSE the pain because we all get enough involuntary pain through life. Life IS pain. Family and support do not need to dish it out because our fair share will come around. I deeply admire my mother in law, because despite the many obstacles we have had to overcome in our relationship, we both learned how to respect each other even if our stances on life are opposing in just about every area. There has been misunderstanding but instead of being the last straw, we both respectfully stepped back and re tried again with more explanations and understanding to omit subjects that would be explosive. Though some family members made big issues out of little moments or beautiful moments were ruined from their continual phone calls of judgement, my mother in law's deep love for her youngest son would always trump her stances. I saw that and it was enough for me. There has been hurt from her and from me but because of our mutual love for her son...she is the one person in the family I deeply love and respect. In our conservative community anything different is often disowned or tolerated in the hope that the person will come back to the fold of the majority consensus. One of our friends was  engaged to his best guy friend. When he bravely faced his family before Christmas, they had him come him only to be disowned Christmas morning with bible verses read to him as he walked out the door. Perhaps this is seen, from their perspective, of standing up bravely for their faith, but to me, I see weakness and an inability to be able to love differently despite the fact that faith may differ.

Burt (officiating): "I want to thank you guys for being so brave and so honest and for standing up here and showing all of us that love and marriage is so much bigger than we thought it could be and also so much simpler. Love and marriage is when two people say to one another I love you because I love you, and I know this is gonna be one heck of a ride and I don't want to do it unless I am doing it with you."

(Vows) Kurt: "Blaine I'm a man whose always lived in the shadows and every one whose has come into my life has always tried to pull me out into the sun or push me back into the darkness."
Santanna, "I have been bullied, outed and misunderstood."
Blaine, "I honestly thought that I would never find real love."
Brittany, "The world seemed so scary and confusing- it was just too fast- it made me feel dumb just because my brain worked differently."

At this point of the show, during the magnificently written vows, tears are leaking down my face. I also often felt dumb because my brain worked differently. Finding someone to love me FOR that, and having almost everyone tell him that he was making a mistake, or that I was too sickly or too odd, was completely devastating. Especially on what was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. Like the old cliche the car was waiting "just in case." In every big event of our lives thus far, I have had to continually tell myself that I AM enough. Deciding that any person is not enough based on sickness or differences is a form of prejudice.

Kurt continues to address Blaine in his vows as Brittany and Santanna also give their vows.
Kurt: "And then you came along and even if someone had told me that it wasn't gonna work out and at the end of all of our struggling and all of our work it would just end in heartache..."
Blaine, "I would have said yes."
Santanna, "A thousand times yes."
Brittany, "I would have suffered it all just for the chance to be standing up here marrying you."

I would STILL say yes to my husband despite our fair share of heartache. Even if it ends bitterly because the moments I HAVE had, have been worth anything else life throws at me. I have never been loved so completely by anyone. While my parents loved me, they did not completely understand my autistic brain and open minded view points the way my husband does. He has held up a mirror and I have seen my value. I also believe I have done the same for him.

Santanna and Brittany, and Kurt and Blaine close off their vows expressing, "I'm a work in progress." (I thought this was a particularly beautifully written statement by the writers. )

My husband and I will always be a work in progress. We are fine with that and those who support us are too. A quote I came across said, "You can not change the people around you but you can change the people you choose to be around." I have learned how to choose those who celebrate and not just tolerate or condemn based on their beliefs. We try to choose wisely. Sometimes we need to kindly distance from those who do not support. A close circle of supporters does not need judgement. Enough people in the world will take up the cause of judgement, hate and opposition. True friends/family (which can be blood related or not) do not need to be one of the main oppositions.  I know I am lucky to have my husband and the few treasured friends we DO have despite some differences, LOVE regardless. Our built in family provides advice without attachment to outcome, and show up if we ask them to without their judgments accompanying them.

My husband has never pushed me when I have not been ready nor has he regarded my shadows as wrong. Instead my darkness has been viewed as part of my light. Any shadows that have bothered me he has bravely helped me fight. Together, we are stronger than apart, and our soul bond delivers. This fact, gives me hope for the greater world we ALL create it Viewer/Fan, Creator, Writer, Actor, Activist, or simply person of BEING. I believe we all are unique and deserve respect on the same level. Together, in love and acceptance, we CAN help shape the world into a better place from our own platforms of living and being. Thank you Glee for being part of my personal platform of contribution and delightful witness.

As Kurt eloquently expressed to Blaine at the end of his vows, "You don't ask me to come out of the shadows you help rip out anything that is blocking the sun, it's time for all of us to walk out into the sun together. Is that something you want to do together?"

I do.

Song Choice: "At Last" by Etta James. This song happened to be on the episode last night which is serendipitous because it is my husband's ringtone for two reasons...
1.) Even though we were married young it felt like I had waited for someone to love me like he did and really SEE me from birth. At last... he did.
2.) He is ALWAYS late because his is an ENFP (click) and chats it up to anyone in his path. When he FINALLY calls me to tell me where he is or that he will be running late, my sentiment is "at last!"so it is with both humour and romance that when I hear the first swell of the music my heart skips a beat and I smile EVERY time (even if I am annoyed which helps diffuse the situation. Who can be mad when this song is playing?!) With my Soulmate at last my lonely days are over. With Philip every day has a moment where life really is like a song.