It’s seems that I’ve gone from being nowhere to being everywhere. It’s a little overwhelming and I’m still unpacking it.
I’ve been on the fringes of advocacy for a little while, but I wouldn’t say that I’ve been an active advocate. I think this is mostly because I sort of believed that what I had to say wasn’t really relevant, or worthwhile, or something. But, bits of my writing seem to be resonating with some people, and that is encouraging but also overwhelming.
Self-esteem issues are a real problem for me. Growing up, feeling different, feeling wrong didn’t do much in terms of letting me know that I was still an ok person. Trying, trying, trying so damn hard to fit in but failing, and not being able to understand why I was failing was a little soul-destroying.
When my son was first identified as autistic, I disliked what I was hearing about autism in the media and among parents. I thought that, maybe somehow, connecting with other parents in the horrible parent support groups. I say horrible because many of those groups have very little to do with support, and very much to do with whining about how their kids make their lives hard. But, I still thought that, maybe somehow, I could make a difference. I could show parents that their journey might be different but it could still be an enjoyable journey.
I spent a few years as admin of a large closed group on Facebook that was aimed at providing parent support. In some ways, I was able to change the tone in the group. But, there are times when I need to conserve my energy and just disconnect from the world to recharge. During those times, the tone of the group would once again change to that of despair and devastated hopes and dreams, and blah blah BS. So, I would return and try again. But, how many times do you do that before you realise that you’re fighting a losing battle? So, I gave up.
It was at my lowest point when I was finally able to connect with like-minded people, and figure out better ways of advocating for autistic people. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m not weighed down by it to the same extent.
It was shortly after that low point that I started this blog, and I began writing and submitting things to other blogs. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the reception that I’ve received. I feel like I’ve found my voice now. I feel like I can finally be one of many people who can stand up and say: “We’re here, we’re everywhere, and we are sick and tired of the bullshit!” And, there is a lot of BS, so I will continue writing, and I will continue being everywhere in an attempt to change it.
So, that’s why I’ve gone from being nowhere to everywhere.