Today my unstoppableness stumbled a bit.
It doesn’t happen often but, as we all are simply human, it happens.
Maybe once a year or twice a year I lose my way. I will very honestly say some days on this autism journey are harder than others. I’d like to say there is a magic pill, a miracle plan, a way to snap my fingers and hold the answers but, alas, there isn’t. Hard times are simply hard times and you have to find your way through them…no mater how ugly.
This time, my ugly happened to be cringe worthy.
It felt like my mask-of-unstoppable-fierceness was cracking wide open. If they gave an Oscar for ugly, I’d have won it hands down. I have been on this autism journey for eleven years now and I have been a solo parent for nearly seven. I will be right up front with you and admit that autism alone is equivalent to autism amplified. I am also not one of the solo parents who quickly took up with another significant other because parenting, as if turned out for me, happens to be an all consuming effort. If you want to do it right you have to put both feet in because focusing on the periphery will not benefit your kiddos. Keep-those-eyes-on-the-prize has been my philosophy. Childhood is short and it can be fairly unforgiving and, honestly, you either get it right or you don’t. It’s that way with all kiddos but autism simply magnifies that reality. With autism, there is not a lot of wiggle room. Committed, 24/7…period. It’s neither good nor bad, it simply is.
It is also exhausting.
There have been moments when my fierce unstoppableness fades.
There are days when my reserves run low.
There are days when I lose my focus.
And, the crazy part, is it’s not unusual and, hold on for this little doozie of a reality check…it’s not just me. No, really. You might want to sit down for this one because I am going to give it to you straight…..the truth is, it’s going to happen to you too and, the good part is…it’s supposed to.
The part you have to be careful of is what you do when it knocks on your door!
When I was at my bottom rung, barely holding on and questioning what this whole life is really about, I did this thing I don’t often do. I did the thing that is often crazy impossible for unstoppable people like me to do. I used my lifeline….I reached out to a friend I could trust. I would like to say I phoned a friend but that would be a lie. I actually couldn’t talk on the phone, I wasn’t ready for that yet. I was too close to completely falling in to my own puddle of tears so texting was all I was capable of. I texted a dear friend from my childhood that I trust completely. Someone who would not judge or scream or say that’s not normal. He’s a friend who simply understood. No judgement, just kindness. I will tell you I can count on one hand the people I would trust those feelings to. Taking the unstoppable mask off and opening one’s soul to talk of the places that hurt most is not for public consumption. It is not to be bartered about and discussed over coffee so one true friend can matter bunches.
Bleeding hearts need soft places.
What I learned, after I came through the weaker side of fierce when my unstoppable stumbled, is that life and autism are going to throw you down in moments. Sometimes they will stomp hard when you’re down. Good, bad, or indifferent..it’s going to be that way.
What matters most is what you do about it.
In the first few years of the autism marathon your resiliency may radiate but, just remember, as you move into those later years, no matter how fierce you are, it’s going to hurt a little. Not because you are any less committed or because you are not embracing autism in your life but simply because no one is immune to exhaustion…physical and emotional.
Exhaustion and weariness are part of the marathon too and they are necessary in moments. Necessary because they make you stop. Then, when you make it to the other side of the unstoppable stumble and you regain your fierceness, you will be stronger and your compassionate reserves and energy will be renewed.
Sounds crazy right?
Yeah. Maybe. But the truth of the matter is that unstoppable souls are hard to slow down. Sometimes you have to get knocked down hard in order to stand still long enough to let the renewal begin. I honestly think that life has figured out that the only way to renew fierce and unstoppable souls is to stop them momentarily because constant motion is a tough place for renewal to take place.
The important thing to remember, and what I learned, is that the team you have in place is important. Those trustable friends are worth their weight in gold and chocolate and cupcakes and anything else you value. I happen to value cupcakes so I will go with that version. Trust is hard to come by and is as priceless as that soft place to fall into. You may not have a truck load of friends you would trust your heart with in moments of stumble but if you have one, that’s plenty.
One good friend.
One go-to person who will simply be there and will catch you in the moment when your unstoppableness fails.
That’s the important part to remember because the weakness is not the failure. Weakness is simply part of a well seasoned soul. Failure comes when we cannot admit weakness and our own humanity. And though you may have super powers 99% of the time, that tiny little 1% is there to remind you when it’s time for Superparents to step back, phone a friend (or text) and let the superpowers be renewed because not reaching out is your only Kryptonite.