Friday, September 13, 2013

sensitive self

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.

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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.

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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.

sen·si·tive  (sns-tv)

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.

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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.


  1. *HUG* Guess those mean people didn't learn from their mama if they can't say something nice to don't say anything at all. :-(

    Hm... getting through tough stuff... listening to music, or seeking out as much silence as I can possibly find. Sometimes rocking myself in bed and my Guardian Angel will stroke my forehead until I calm down. I imagine it's my Guardian Angel anyway. And eating stuff that's bad for me... good comfort food stuff... like Kit Kats... or peanut butter by the spoonful. And I remind myself I have to get through just one more step, one more breath, one more heartbeat... and I can do those one mores.

    I'm glad you found your pastor. Sounds like a pretty smart man.

    Have as great a Friday as you can... even if you need to be armed with mini Kit Kats to do it. :-) *HUG*

  2. Thank you, Bay Ratt. You seem like one sweet smart cookie. It TOTALLY is your Guardian Angel. You deserve one.

  3. Chrissy,

    I have been reading your blog for awhile now and I think you are truly amazing, inspiring and refreshingly honest. I have felt so truly touched by your words many times but this post moved me to have the courage to actually let you know. In each word you write, each photo of your beautiful boys it is absolutely apparent how deeply, truly and immeasurably you love those two perfect littles. The love you have for your boys is tangible, it is so deeply and purely expressed in every word. I think you are an amazing mother, facing challenges no mother should have to with such bravery. I hope that whoever wrote that can someday understand the love that you do.
    My sister is an ABA therapist, she has the kindest heart of anyone I've ever known and she loves her "kids" like her own. I am a mother to an 18 month old boy who is my heart. You words will help me teach him that differences are beautiful, that being accepting and kind to everyone will help him live a rich and beautiful life and that loving people for who they are is the most important thing in the world. Thank you Chrissy for sharing your life, you are truly changing the world. Your boys are amazing and beautiful and they are lucky to have a mother that loves them like you do.

  4. Pepsi all the Pepsi I want! Keep.up the good work!

  5. The pastor is right...your sensitivity is such a gift. Being able to put it in writing is a talent and sharing your words is so brave. My sister and I love your blog, talk about it many mornings and save many posts for inspiration. Thank you for what you do. Halloween is stock up on those mini Kit Kats for the rough days and don't let the bullies silence your beautiful message.

  6. I love your honesty. I love that you show the hard and the good all at the same time, because that really is what life is about. Thanks for being who you are and being willing to share it. I send your posts to friends who have lost loved ones, to friends going through marriage struggles, to friends who are just struggling with life. It all translates and it's all true.

    P.S. Thanks for linking Pastor Steve's blog. It's wonderful!

  7. May God Bless you for making the world better, one blog post at a time. Chocolate is my go to comfort, and maybe some junk food, too..... pizza, or McD's....... ;)

  8. To thy own self be true!

  9. "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." So true. Thank you so much for sharing your life that is so identifiable to me and so many others.

  10. i was reading your post and before you got to the pastor part, i was actually thinking of a post of his i recently read ( and how it reminded me so much of you- the sheer honesty that so many of us (sometimes me too, although i'm usually considered inappropriately honest) are afraid to write or say out loud. your post a few days ago about doodle being annoying one second and amazing the next really struck a chord with me and as soon as i read it i thought of my own son and sat in my chair, relieved of stress, and just thought "YESSSSSS! someone else GETS IT!"

    ANYWAY- you and your boys and your blog are how i start my day each day, and there's a reason for that- because you're real and approachable and have things to say that i just need to read each morning before i jump into the crazy of work and home and Life. keep going.

  11. I love the honesty that is your blog and most of all, I relate to the way that your thoughts bounce around the page and all come together in the form of a life lesson. Those lessons are relentless and it is so inspiring to come to your blog and find a piece of my own self within your words.

    My own blog is just a small, personal account of life and the way I see it. I censor what I print off and send to my mom because she is highly sensitive to anything she sees as painful for her children (I am 52 years old and she STILL loses sleep over what she thinks that I may be feeling!). This week in particular, I have closed myself off from the honesty that usually seeps out of my fingers because my mom was over-the-top worried about me. Living out loud is a risk. But I don't want to hurt my mother in the course of my actions so I have kept to myself this week. And it hurts.

    Thank you for writing exactly what I needed to read today. You open my eyes each and every morning. You go very well with my second cup of coffee and I look forward to what your next post has to bring into my day.

    Thanks, Chrissy. You are spreading kindness into (what can sometimes be) a harsh world. The world needs people just like you. Have a great weekend!

  12. Chrissy,
    Those mean comments are just validation that the work you are doing here is important and needed! You spread love, tolerance, and acceptance through your writing and as long as there are people who can't keep their mean tongue/typing fingers in check, then people like you still have important work to do.

    And, I loved that you accidentally licked your son and then told us about it - completely priceless. I too have a delicious son who despite his SPD that made kisses need to be wiped off, I accidentally kissed, like a thousand times. I would see his sweet head and completely forget NOT to kiss him. He finally got used to my kisses - if they are not wet and only from mommy he can "take it" as he puts it.

  13. The words that fly from their fingertips have more to say about THEM than they do to say about you.

    I know you're not living your life trying to make everybody happy, and its a good thing too because you can't. Either you're not trying hard enough, or you're trying too hard and not giving your kids a chance to be kids. You're either exaggerating their issues, or you're minimizing them. You're either too lenient, or too strict. Often all in the same day. People label, and when they do, its always one extreme or the other. Sometimes I don't like other people.

    I love your blog. Because you're honest about the hard parts without dwelling on the hard parts and moaning about how hard your life is. Its hard. But we do it. Not because we're supermom or because we're so much more patient. Because you just do. What other options are there? I really appreciate how positive you can be, without trying to sugar coat the fact that with autism comes a lot of Hard Things.

    I love to hear how much you love your boys. And how you love the people in their lives. I love my kids too. They are absolutely amazing human beings. Sometimes its hard to see that when you're cleaning up poop from the carpet, but its still true. Even when life is hard, my boys are still miracles, God is still good.

  14. Yes, you write the words I can't express. I read, I cry and I don't feel so alone. Haters goin' Hate, I guess. May today be filled with lovers and huggers. Thank you for what you do. It is the weekend before my birthday and it feels like a day to take care of me, To be soft, alone, and reflective. 40 has been horrible and I can't wait to reset a new year on Monday.
    Thank you for writing such beautiful thoughts.

  15. Autism is a super power because people who have it have incredible insight that us on the ground will never get to see. Many great inventors had autism so screw the meanies. Anyone who really takes the time to leave a hurtful comment about your blog does not have an autistic child that they would throw themselves under the bus for, and don't want to take the time to build awareness and empathy. I take every excuse to eat kit kats so don't lose that tool, but really negative people are putting out a lot of energy that is not helpful and you are shining the light.

  16. I don't want to give the doozie any more exposure by talking about it. I just want to say that "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" made me smile a lot. Love to you all, especially the ones with superpowers x

  17. Oh Friend! I do not know of a clever or meaningful thing to say to offset the meanness. But, I can tell you from my heart that it hurts when you hurt. I'm glad you have your pastor friend, he sounds pretty wise. When I have to deal with hard times, I circle the wagons. I immerse in my go-to people & let them do the heavy lifting when necessary. Ice cream usually helps. Then just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
    World changing can be messy business. You're doing a hell of a job.
    Love & happiness & wooHoo for the weekend to you, sweet Momma xoxoxo Jennifer
    PS - Nudie bootie :)

  18. Chrissy! You are amazing and I laughed out loud when I saw Greyson jumping! My Neil is THE SAME WAY!! LOVES to bounce and LOVES to do it in the buff. Three cheers to freedom!

  19. I so appreciate how much you put out there. You have made a huge impact on me, just knowing someone else out there knows what it can be like to have a 4 year old son with ASD. So many of the things you write about Greyson are things that we experience in my home with my son. Your photos are gorgeous, your words are sincere, and I feel like if I met you, I'd instantly love you. I'm a second grade teacher and sometimes I get mean comments from parents. Like you said, it's a small ratio compared to the positive ones, but they sting in the moment. With a little time and perspective, I always realize the toxicity is about them and not me. And yes, having a personal pastor is such a huge blessing. I'm active in my United Methodist church and my pastors have been my saving grace when I am at my mental breaking point on more than one occasion! Have a great weekend! XO

  20. I have a child in my home day care with SPD-he is hyposensitive. Before we started his therapy, he wandered around in a fog and is at least 6-8 months delayed. He had no words and almost no receptive language. He spends almost 50 hours a week in my care, so it was vital that I get on board with his therapy. I love this baby like my own (as I do all of my day care kids), and I spend a huge, huge part of my day working with him. The best part is the bear hugs because he's so adorable. A million times a day I take things out of his mouth and remind him to use his chewy. We bounce, we rock, we massage, we talk. After 3 months, he has one word, his receptive language has advanced, and he has joined the world! He is still delayed, but he is advancing at a decent pace. He plays with toys, laughs, runs. He is developing motor planning. But some days, I am so tired and overwhelmed after almost 10 hours of it that I want to cry. My solution is to bend my husband's ear (he's my rock!) and chocolate. He has taken it on himself to be sure that I never run out of chocolate. A little talk and his wise feedback and a giant Hershey bar and I'm ready to tackle to world again.

    I've had blogs long enough to know that some people are mean by nature, and if they weren't directing it at me, it would go to someone else. I don't know them so they can't really hurt me. I just try to remind myself that by being their target, maybe their spouse or child dodged some hurtful words.

  21. Pastor Steve is AMAZING! I am blessed to call his church my home and have many the enlightening word from him. As you know, he led me here and I am so thankful for your words each day.

  22. No one has the right to criticize another with mean comments. That person needs to walk in your shoes. If writing your blog gets you through the day then awesome. If you think your boys have super powers then dammit they do. A mother knows these things. Keep on keeping on and be strong, sensitive and keep writing. I have no doubt it is helping more people than just you.

  23. I too can be pretty sensitive. I try to put it into perspective and somehow the rational me loses the fight with the not so rational me all the time. People say mean things, could be a power thing, being mean could be a hobby of theirs (who knows) If I need to get it out of my system I often will write a long lengthy letter
    letting them have it. Even though I never send the letters I guess its my way of letting off steam. The one thing I try to tell myself I will share, there are times in your life people will hurt you intentionally or not doesn't matter. They have the power to do this if you give it to them so try not to. Not so easy to do I know, but it does make turning the other cheek a little more bearable. You have a gift for writing, please continue opening your heart and sharing with others. Its not just your therapy, its ours too.

  24. Chrissy,

    Thank you for the gift of your writing. I'm so sorry for those hurtful comments.
    I think I am sensitive about a lot of things too.
    I have heard this book is good. I have not read it myself yet but probably could benefit from doing so.
    It's called, "The Highly Sensitive Person" by Elaine Aron, Ph. D.

    I hope you had a good weekend. (I just stopped in to see if you had posted but
    realize it is 3 hours earlier out on the west coast so too early for me to check.)

    Just know that there are many who look forward to your posts, me included. Thanks again.