R is for Respect

by Tuttleturtle from Turtle is a Verb

R is for Respect

Because I demand respect.

Demanding that I will be recognized, neurodivergences and all.
Deciding that I will be valued. All of me, not only the parts that look the way others want or expect.
Defining myself, rather than living a life others push upon me.
Declaring that I will treat myself as I deserve to be treated.

For my own respect, and all which comes from that, is a thing which I should have.

R is for respect.
The respect which I do not need to do anything special to earn.
The respect which should be innate, is innate, and will not be taken from me, no matter how hard you try.

Who I am, how I am, what I am, is entirely worthy.
And treating myself the way I need is something that I should do. It is something I will do.

I will value myself,
even when my surroundings tell me that I am a lesser being.

I will honor myself,
recognizing my own needs as worthy, even if they are different than the needs of others.

I will appreciate myself,
knowing that I am worthy, without any prerequisites on who or how I am.

I will respect myself.
No matter how hard it is to do.

My experiences. My autistic, my neurodivergent, my disabled experiences are those of defiantly respecting myself. Of forcibly stating to myself that I am worth respect while hearing the opposite so often.

My experiences are that of learning to listen to my body, learning to know what is too much, learning to not challenge my own idea of what I can and can’t do. My experiences are those of doing activities I enjoy, acting in ways that make me comfortable, and doing this even when this is somehow deemed “wrong”. My experience are that of saying that my preferences are preferences worth paying attention to. And they’re that of continuing on, sharing, doing things that make me, me, when others are trying to remove those aspects of my existence.

I must defiantly respect myself, even when others around me are pushing to have everyone disrespect and disregard me.

Because the other half of my experiences is hearing how much I should not exist.

My autistic experience is that of disrespect. Of even within my field, being pushed aside as innately lesser because of my disability. My autism means that no matter how hard I work at it, I have not been given the respect by my peers to be treated as capable of completing tasks required by every adult in the building – even when claiming I cannot directly traumatizes children. My teaching will be over-managed, but my peers won’t – even when I have dramatically more experience than they do. Simply speaking to me or not when I prefer is not a thing that occurs for someone like me.

So I respect myself, because I deserve respect. And I actively state it, because others do not. And others should see it. And others will see it. If not for me, then at some point.

This is part of a series of posts addressing themes from the neurodiversity movement and paradigm which will be published during the course of April 2016. To read the rest of the posts, please click here.