Most days I get up and I arm myself with HOPE. Sometimes I choose STRENGTH as my main accessory because it looks better with what I am doing. For the past few days I have been arming my self and my senses with BUBBLE WRAP.
Sensitive. A word that I have always equated with weak. As in, Don't be so sensitive (said in a seriously nasaly voice).
Many kids with Autism have what is called Sensory processing disorder SPD. SPD is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses. Some senses may receive a heightened or dulled response from the brain. Common sounds may be painful or overwhelming. The light touch of a shirt may bother the skin. Others with sensory processing disorder may bump into things and are unable to tell where their limbs are in space. They need strong powerful hugs to feel okay and like they are in their body.
Kids in general like to be naked, but often times kids on the Spectrum LOVE LOVE LOVE it. The lack of clothing touching their skin must feel divine. Every time Greyson jumps naked on the trampoline I can't help but yell out, Nudie Bootie! Nudie Bootie! Over and over again.
Parker does not have many sensory issues. Greyson is moderately sensitive. He does not walk barefoot on the grass. He is sensitive to noises that are too loud. He is sensitive to food that looks a certain way. He NEEDS big hugs, tight squeezes and to swing at the park every single day.
1. Capable of perceiving with a sense or senses.
2. Responsive to external conditions or stimulation.
3. Susceptible to the attitudes, feelings, or circumstances of others.
4. Quick to take offense; touchy.
5. Easily irritated: sensitive skin.
6. Readily altered by the action of an agent: film that is sensitive to light
And in the last few days I've come to grips with the fact that I am sensitive.
My name is Chrissy and I am extremely sensitive.
Whoosh...that feels so good and extremely yucky to say. I am like you. A human just trying to live a good, happy Life the way that feels right in my soul. I want to tell the truth. Damn, do I want to tell the truth. Big deep truthy truths. Little tiny inconsequential ones. I GOT BOTOX LAST WEEK. Just a little. On the corner of my eyes. YESSS!!!! I don't want to hide things.
I want us ALL to tell the truth because I think it feels good, I think it is beautiful and it leads to the most brilliant and intimate connections--and something about all of that feels like the right way to do Life. It makes me feel more connected. It makes me feel less alone. I think we all want that. Truth fills a tiny part of that big fat black hole of empty we all feel at times. Sometimes Life is a daily battle of Acceptance...and isn't it so much sweeter when we can do that out loud and together?
But sometimes I am nothing like you, because in sharing my World and my truths out loud, I open myself up to criticism. Most people don't have strangers giving you their opinion on your choices, actions or Mothering. I want this blog to be a two-way street. I don't want to shut down my Facebook page or remove my email address or remove the option for readers to add comments to the blog. I MUST be accessible to any Mom or Dad that needs to reach me because they at the beginning of their own journey with autism and they are hurting. I am a real girl. I want to be real and available.
It's not often, but a few times I have heard things no kind person doing the best they can should hear. I have my own internal mean asshole, I don't need a mean asshole on the outside too. I searched everywhere for my, What to Expect When you Write a Blog book and realized- IT DOESN'T EXIST. I don't mean to open myself up for that yucky stuff, I don't want to, but I am learning I can't have one without the other. I've heard so many things. I've been ridiculed for sometimes saying Super Powers instead of autism. I've been told,
You're doing a grave disservice to your sons by calling it Super Powers. You are trying to make them sound better than others.
Your sons don't care if others are mean to them because they have autism. Stop projecting your needs onto your sons.
Your son isn't normal. Stop trying to make it seem like he is.
Sometimes it makes me want to curl into a ball and never write again. And the other night I received a doozie. It questioned my love and heart for my children and it knocked me down with one punch.
And I know Friend, I know- If this happened to you and you told me- and I didn't know what it actually felt like to put your honest imperfect self out there and then get kicked on the shins on the playground, I would tell you- Screw that person. It's obvious something is wrong with them. The crazy that they spit out on you has NOTHING to do with you. Wipe it off. Move on. They are sad and you just happened to be their target.
And yes, yes, yes- This is ALL true. My Rational Me knows all of those statements are absolutely true- but my Rational Me doesn't drive this bus. Rational Me doesn't write this blog. Rational Me's blog would be pretty boring and short worded. Sensitive Me is the only bus driver in my world.
So I am left feeling pain, and then anger at the person who wrote the bad words, and then MORE anger at myself for feeling so sad about words said to me by a stranger who just doesn't understand the way the world works. A stranger who has never met me, never seen my love for BOTH of my boys up close and personal. I've LICKED Parker before BY MISTAKE because I am so in love with him. I meant to kiss him but somehow it came out as a lick.
Can you blame me? Isn't he DOODLE-icious? Here he is at way too early this morning eating oatmeal. Please note the copious amount of oatmeal at his feet.
Living with Greyson and Parker is the craziest, hardest, most incredible and amazing thing that's ever happened to me. They teach me so much and I want to be able to share it with you, free of fear. And most of you are wonderful and kind and amazing and appreciated.
I didn't sleep very well that night. Perseverating. And in the morning I woke up and I didn't know where to find what I needed to make it through my day. Sometimes Life is just hard. I emailed a new blog Friend who recently wrote me, who happens to be a Pastor. I am Catholic. I grew up with Churches and Priests. I don't know anything about Pastors. I don't know what compelled me to write Pastor Steve, I'm thinking either God or luck. I hoped he would have something deep and Pastory to say, and boy did he deliver. With his permission, of course, I am sharing his response to me because I think it applies to many of us highly-sensitives out there.
I'm so glad you wrote. I have a blog as well, and have gotten a few unbelievably mean comments - things like, Shame on you! You're a pastor and you think that way! I feel sorry for your wife and your kids... I've also gotten emails and letters in a similar spirit about my pastoring. And I've never figured out a way to not let them affect me. They just do.
I was lamenting this with a therapist a few years ago, and she (wisely, I think), said, "Steve, you are sensitive, which means that part of the gift that you bring to the world is that you have the unique ability to sense (take in, interpret, make sense of) many things. That's part of what makes you a good pastor, husband, and father. What also comes in that package is that you're going to be sensitive to criticism. But I hope you don't become callused, because you'll lose your ability to sense what you need to sense". I don't know you, but my guess is the same is true about you.
So Chrissy -- I resonate with carrying it longer than I'd like to. I so resonate with wanting to stop being honest/stop being vulnerable. I'm sure there are people out there who just don't really care how people react to their work, but my guess is that those people also don't write with the kind of vulnerability, thoughtfulness, and honesty that you do. I think the ability to write the way you do goes along with the fact that these kinds of comments don't just roll off your back. It's just all part of the package that is you.
So, advice? Keep being Chrissy: the vulnerable, imperfect mom who writes what other people feel but can't put into words, so that many people who feel unbelievably alone in their parenting, will feel much less alone after reading your blog. And isn't that one of the greatest gifts that we can give to people? We can't solve their problems, but we can tell them that they don't have to go through them alone.
Amazing. Simple. Thoughtful. Good. I don't have to do one single thing differently- EASY. And Pastor Steve's words are so true, because he didn't solve my problems- but he helped me see that I am not alone. That I am not broken. He didn't shouldn't me.
And then I thought- I can't believe people say mean things to a Pastor! What is that about?! Pastors should be exempt from unkindness. I have two kids with autism. I'm doing the best I can- and I'm pretty damn certain I should be exempt too. I should be getting free facials and massages and mini Kit Kats while I'm at it too.
I am sensitive- and for the first time in maybe forever, I welcomed my sensitive with both arms.
And tonight I am less afraid. I am sharing my words with you without the bubble tape on. Much less sweaty that way too. Bonus. I know the bad comments are one in 100. I know they will come, and I also know they are just a sign of growth.
And I realized I can't stop harsh comments from coming- but I can have a strategy to get through it. I just won't go though it alone. And just like my writing, I like a little bit of everything. Late that night I texted the comment to my Friend Wendy and- Can you talk? And I just talked to her and cried. She is sensitive and rational and said all the right things. She reminded at the end of the day- I have to write because it's good for me. She is also the one that came up with the fact that I need a plan or a way to handle this in the future so I don't have to feel so bad.
I emailed my new Pastor Friend- which I now highly recommend everyone gets- their own Personal Pastor. BETTER than Botox. (Pastor Steve- I have nominated you for this position. And you won. I hope you don't mind.)
I talked to my Friend Lisa who was a Deputy District Attorney who prosecuted really terrible violent criminals. Her no BS attitude helped put things into perspective. She's seen some ugly parts of the World, yet she still believes in good.
Even Uncle Frankie sent me a Bible verse from the Book of James first thing this morning... All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
Oh, and I ate miniature Kit Kats in the pantry that night too.
And in the peaks and lows of writing, I learn more about myself. I had no idea that you could be sensitive AND strong. You probably already knew all of this. What's your strategy to get you through hard times? Make sure you have one because I don't want you to lose your one true self. You are pretty darn amazing.
Have faith that what you are looking for in Life, you will find. I've never felt that so wholly as I do right now.
Yours in Nudie Bootieness,
Have a Nice Comment? Leave it on Facebook. Mean ones? Feel free to keep them (enter your own real smiley face here).
Pastor Steve's Blog can be found HERE.