Throughout my life, I have always known I am different. It was not until I had my third child Jay, that I truly found out who I am. It was Jay’s Autism and his unique individuality that first alerted me to the possibility that it’s absolutely fine to be different and embrace that uniqueness.
Then I got to thinking about how many children and adults I have met along Jay’s and my journey, and how they all had that one thing in common. Each and every one of them has their own free spirit and uniqueness that like Jay and I, stands out if the right people are able to see beyond the norm and in to the mind and soul of that person or child.
Being different can be a lonely road, until you awaken and realise that you do not have to follow the crowd. You can stand aside from them and dance to the rhythm of your own drum. Autistic individuals often display what people call quirky characteristics that are more noticeable to those people who still follow a social set of rules and etiquette, which without their knowledge actually enslaves them not frees them. Those Autistics who like Jay do not know any other way of being, except for being themselves, will always appear strange, odd and weird to those who do not have a mind that is open enough to accept their differences and see their true shining souls. Jay has an aura about him. He has a light that shines from within his very being. People comment all the time about his expressionate eyes, and his beautiful smile, which lights up their souls and makes them feel happy. I am so delighted that my boy can ignite a light in others like this ,that light is the very thing that makes Jay stand out.
Many people, when their children are diagnosed Autistic, are uncomfortable with the traits that go with Autism. I have had conversations with mums who say it. Especially people who are incredibly social. The lack of social skills and abilities make those parents try to enforce a social life on the child or young person. The person actually does not always want this. Many Autistics prefer to be alone, just like introverts do. On the flip side many Autistics want to have friends and socialise, but they just do not have the skills to do so. This makes them feel unworthy or sad that they cannot seem to fit in, inside a world that insists you stick to their social rules. This world is a black hole for many people who have Autism, or are introverts or unique and quirky. The same can be said for any individual who seems different or does not ‘fit’ in to the social ideals and expectations that rule the social kingdom. We should always challenge any rule that excludes groups of people. Absolutely and completely challenge any form of non acceptance of a person’s right to freedom. Freedom to express who they truly are. Freedom to stand up and be different. Freedom to show the world their special uniqueness and to be given the chance to show what they are made of, regardless of whether they fit into the social bounds of supposed normality.
Lately I have had to stand out from the crowd. I have expressed my right to freedom many times over the last 6 months, my right to choose, my right to think differently from 95 percent of the population. Sitting listening to people around me saying what they believe but not able to say what I actually believe, as my beliefs are more radical and not what the majority think or wish to hear because it takes from them their preconceived comfort in closing off their thoughts to possibilities they don’t want to believe could happen. It happens all the time. I wish to have the right to not become a sheep. A Lemming, jumping off the cliff following each one as they jump. Breaking free from the bonds of strict society rules which I had nothing to do with setting up. I was learning more and more about myself. About the power I had, to speak truth, even if people were not ready to hear it. I was awakening. Awakening to the true strength and power I had realised I possessed by just standing up for what I believe, instead of keeping silent and having an easy life. To think differently is a powerful thing. It is also exhausting. To effect change and challenge a pre conceived idea takes absolute courage and integrity. It takes a bravery that few people seem to have. If noone ever stood up for a new way of thinking, then we would still have climbing boys and slavery. It takes exceptionally gifted people to change the world for the better and I am willing to bet that most of the freedom fighters in history were in fact on the Autistic Sprectrum. Autism seems to give the person extraordinary gifts. These gifts if applied can make truly powerful individuals who quite literally can make change happen. Either they invent amazing things, or they challenge the system when it is wrong to make a better world. These people exist in history. Einstein, William Wilburforce, and Sir Issac Newton were all game changers, exceptional people and with many of these examples it is thought they were actually Autistic. Autism, especially high functioning, creates super clever talented people who excel in their particular field. Artists, technology experts, writers, scientists, philosophy and Doctors, and actors, often its Autistic people who enter these professions and excel in them.
This observation goes some length in showing how Autism truly is a gift. It’s challenging, it is hard and in Jay’s case, with development delay and a severe learning disability, its a difficult thing to live with, but the purity of these children’s souls, the light that shines from them, makes them a shining example of all that’s good and right in this complicated world. I am proud to be different. Proud to stand up for those who struggle to stand up for themselves. I am proud to be a voice for those who cannot speak, and I will always encourage my Autistic child to express his light in any way he wishes to. I naturally gravitate now to people like me. Those who are unique personalities, those who seem odd to others who to me just seem like my soul mates. My crowd, my people. I will always accept the people who are seen as weird, I think they are the cool ones, the interesting ones. I want to know them and they are the only people I can actually connect with. They are my twin souls. The people who, like us, shine their light, and are not afraid to think outside the box. I do not follow mainstream anything. I will always look further in to a situation, and question things, I never accept something purely because it’s easier to. The challenge here is to be different without causing yourself stress. That is where my true challenge is. I get very passionate standing up to the crowd and I need to learn to say it then be free of it..
Being on the spectrum is at times hard, but seeing the many great gifts Jay has, and knowing that the same light is inside me, makes me so proud to be Jay’s mum and Carer. It means that I truly understand him because our souls are made up of the same stuff. I see his mind, and I understand how important it is for Jay’s uniqueness to be accepted in the wider community. It’s the reason I write my blog and page, it’s the reason I share who we are and what we stand for.
We stand for a group of people who are strong and not afraid to show their true colours. We are not afraid to be different and we do not fear being alone. We love it. It’s where we find ourselves. Whatever and whomever you are, find out who you really are and don’t be afraid to shine your light. Don’t ever dim your shine to make other people more comfortable. Be you, your authentic self. No one likes fake. Fake is weak. Being yourself is strong and powerful!