Dear Autism

image

Image by Tim Sackton (CC BY-SA 2.o)

 

Day Eight: Reinvent the Letter format  #EverydayInspiration

 

Dear Autism,

Hey, how are you? I’ve been thinking about you lately so thought I would write you this letter to catch up. Can you believe it’s almost eleven years now since we first met? Actually, it will be my son’s 15th birthday next week which is also hard to believe! But you already know that, right?

Do you remember when we first met?  What were the odds of us meeting? Around 1 in 68 according to some reports but honestly, I don’t think anyone really knows. I certainly wasn’t expecting to meet you that’s for sure. You arrived in my world as a sort of package deal with my son. I never placed an order for you but you were delivered to me anyway. I didn’t even realise that you were there at first but then you started dropping hints. Eventually I couldn’t just ignore the hints and I consulted others “Look, I think there is something” I said “but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Can you see it? Do you know what it is?”. Together we started looking at the clues and working it out and then one day ‘Bingo!’ we worked out that it was you, Autism, and just like that you became a part of our family.

I hope you don’t mind if I’m frank with you here, you were a shock to me at first and I didn’t much feel like welcoming you. In fact I resented you coming in to our life uninvited and turning my world upside down (or so it felt at the time). Honestly,  if I could have packaged you up and stuck a ‘Return to Sender’ label on you, I would have.

Looking back now I can appreciate that I didn’t know you at all in the beginning, when we first met. I judged you and made assumptions about you based on ignorance and fear (sorry about that!). I didn’t really want to have to acknowledge your existence but what option did I have? You weren’t going anywhere and I was forced to get to know you.

As I write this there’s a German proverb that comes to mind ‘Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.’ That’s pretty apt I think, don’t you?  I can laugh with you now, now that we’re friends. It turns out that you aren’t the big bad frightening wolf I thought you were.

We’ve come a long way together haven’t we? I won’t pretend it’s all been a hoot, it hasn’t; you have frightened me, frustrated me, confronted me and made me cry more times than I care to remember. But we got there in the end didn’t we?  You have also been an amazing teacher, opening my eyes to so many new things and you have made me a stronger person than I ever would have been if I hadn’t met you. And through you I’ve met so many other wonderful people too.

But most of all, because of you I have a uniquely amazing and precious son. For that reason we’ve become good friends over the years, you and me. I know you know how much I understand you and respect you now, but I’m sure you won’t mind me mentioning it again to you now.

Well, I expect you are busy at the moment, I know I am, so I’ll send you my regards and say I’ll see you soon!

P.S. I hope you don’t mind, I’ve been talking about you to some other people I know, I just thought it might be good if they get to know you too. No pressure though!   

 

Advertisements

The Space to Write


Day Six: The Space to Write

Today’s assignment for the #EverydayInspiration course is a straightforward one; the question posed is where do you write? 

I’m not sure that this makes for a very interesting post for readers. I did consider just completing this task privately and not posting it here on my blog, but I guess there’s no harm in sharing it here.

I don’t have a specific place where I write. For me the key element I need to write is solitude. I write in different physical locations; at my desk, at the dining table, sitting in the garden, in bed, in the car (not whilst driving obviously! but as a mother of three children I do spend a lot of time waiting around in my parked car)……you get the idea, the location doesn’t really matter to me.

What does matter to me is that I need to have the mental space to be alone with my thoughts and inhabit a bubble of solitude in order to write. I can’t seem to do this when my family are around, somebody always needs to ask me something it seems and that distracts my flow of thoughts, so at home I either write when I’m alone or I try to seek out a quiet space and hope noone finds me there! 🙂  I can however ‘switch off’ and ignore people in public spaces. I can sit in a cafe for example and inhabit that bubble of solitude to write. Alas, I don’t often find myself alone in cafes to write though.

Similarly, I don’t have a regular writing routine or a time of day that suits me best for writing. I tend to write at random times when inspiration strikes or a line of thinking occurs to me. Of course more often than not this happens at inconvenient times and I find myself grabbing the nearest scrap of paper (think receipts, shopping lists, back of car park tickets –  I have a lot of my ‘best’ thoughts whilst driving!) to jot down key points so as not to forget what I was thinking. I’ll then use these notes when I have the time to write more fully. I find this system of writing, as and when the mood takes me, to be much more productive than if I made myself write at scheduled times. I spend my life thinking, observing, listening and reading and I never know when something will inspire me to write.

In an ideal world I would write everything the old skool way, i.e. with pen and paper. Somehow I find that typing stilts my creativity, most likely because I have never learnt to type properly, whereas handwriting is completely intuitive for me. For my own personal ‘writing’ I always hand write in notebooks but for blogging purposes I am finding myself typing directly on my iPad more and more just to save time.

And there you have it, there’s really nothing more to the where’s and how’s of my writing than the above mentioned.

I write because….

I have signed up to a Blogging U course called Everyday Inspiration so the majority of my posts over the next 20 days will be in line with the course assignments. I fear that I might stray a bit off topic (i.e. away from autism posts) but I hope you will bear with me if I do!

image

Day One: Why do you write?

 

My initial reaction to this question is “do I write?”

The term ‘Writer’ feels like too grand a word to use in relation to myself, I don’t think of myself as a Writer or indeed as someone who ‘writes’. I’m a relative newcomer to the whole world of writing. I started my first ever journal about 18 months ago at the age of 41 and I only started this Blog in January of this year which together don’t exactly add up to a wealth of writing experience.

I guess my writing, such that it is, is really a by product of various other labels that I definitely can apply to myself. First and foremost I am a Thinker, I mean I think and think and think, over anything and everything, and I can’t stop myself. When it comes to thinking, I have no OFF switch. But I’m also an Observer, a Reader, a Listener and a Learner. I think that years of being all of these things have ultimately lead me to writing if only to try to get thoughts out of my head and free up some space in there!

I’ve found journalling to be a great way to quieten my whirring mind; I think my thoughts, I write them down in my journal and then I can leave them be. Writing just for myself in a journal is one thing though and writing more publicly with a Blog is quite another. I don’t think I would have thought to write more publicly if it wasn’t for the advent of Facebook. As I’ve said already, I don’t and never have thought of myself as a Writer but via Facebook I seem to have inadvertently stumbled upon a writing voice I never knew I had.

I write often about my children on Facebook. I like to turn the everyday happenings and conversations I have with my children into little stories. I like to show the humour in the frustration that can be parenting and I like to inject interest and sparkle into the mundaneness that can exist in routine family life. I think for me it’s therapeutic; to find a lighter side when life feels overwhelming. But it also acts as a reminder not to lose touch with what’s really important and to be grateful in my life.

I’m a classic introvert by nature and can often be ‘the quiet one’ in social situations. Facebook, it turned out, has been a great social vehicle for me. On line I have a voice that isn’t hindered by the shyness that often accompanies me in the real world. And what has been most surprising to me is that other people find what I have to say entertaining. I have had numerous comments from friends of “I only go on Facebook to read your posts” or “You should write, I love your Facebook posts”. Of course, the more people said these things to me, the more I started to think ‘perhaps I should write’.

Really this Blog is my first foray into the world of writing for a wider audience. A friend encouraged me to start this Blog with WordPress and follow a Blogging U course in tandem with her so that we could encourage each other. When I considered what I was going to blog about, Autism seemed the natural and obvious choice. I have a teenage autistic son and over the past ten years or so my understanding of Autism has gone from zero to very comprehensive. I’m at a point now in our journey with Autism where I want to add my voice to the debate and bring my perspective and insights to the table. I also feel passionately that I have a responsibility to further awareness of Autism and introduce it in an accessible way to people who don’t have any personal connection or experience of it.

My life and that of my family is more than just Autism. There are any number of other things I could happily write about in my blog but I suspect those posts would not be terribly interesting to others!  When I write about Autism however I feel that I am writing with a purpose and a passion and these things give me the confidence to believe that there is a value my writing.

Well I think I will wrap up this post here before I over think the assignment. 🙂 This has been a fun exercise into a bit of self reflection and I’d love to extend the same question to you; why do you write?