An adult growth spurt?
Below I posted an update for the first time in over a year. Please feel free to read that “Christmas” update as a way to catch the “flavor” of how I intend to migrate the themes of this blog to better fit my life as it is, now.
A LOT can happen in a year; even in the life of a full-grown adult such as myself (as of this post I am presently 42 years old). I may sometimes convey what appears to be a rather self-absorbed naivete in my posts – perhaps that is unavoidable in one’s own journals or blog entries? – but however much of my OWN immaturities are betrayed or exposed by my continuous “shock”-over-life-revelations, I am nevertheless amazed by the things my husband and I have had to learn over the past few years.
It’s a bit like I’ve gone through an(other) adult “growth spurt,” so to speak.
In large part, I owe this to the fact that I now better (if only in part) understand, that I am definitely classifiable as “on the autism spectrum” – something that is only becoming more clear as this gets better understood these days (compared to my not-so-long-ago childhood), and as I have been FORCED by life circumstances to find answers to a great many struggles and difficulties. My preference is to maintain the status quo – I like variety, but I crave predictability (control?), so “sameness” is not my enemy. 🙂
I think this is not as much a function of my personality as it is my “ASD”-ness .. And my life – especially these past few years – has been ANYTHING but predictable or “the same” from day to day. The LACK of sameness or predictability has been its own kind of traumatizing, but I can’t truly be ungrateful, as I love becoming “more true to myself” in spite of it all. [This is not mere introspection – I genuinely seek to BECOME the woman God has INTENDED me to be; and NOT everything that is an obstacle to that goal “must” be classified as “sinful”!]
I suppose the butterfly has to love the cocoon even if the caterpillar is dying inside? ❤
SIDENOTE: As ASD is necessarily defined by the “D” … as in, “disordered” … I STILL resist the label. My life HAS been disordered, especially in recent years, but I am more “ordered” now than ever before. 🙂 So I may continue to use “ASD” as shorthand, but I am STRIVING and THRIVING in my pursuit of greater clarity and understanding, and adapting to better life-skills to manage my “quirks” .. or, as a beloved former roommate who is also an occupational therapist by trade once told me, “Those aren’t ‘quirks’, Leah, those are SYMPTOMS.” (Thank God she, along with a very few other beloved friends in my life, chief among them my best-friend-come-husband!, have loved me IN SPITE of myself. 🙂 )
So why this post? Why speak on this now, or here in the context of my “grace2grow” blog?
Well, in short? Understanding that I am in fact on the “autism spectrum” is one of the first clues that began the unraveling the “mysteries” of my upbringing – the APPARENT impact of some of the negative aspects of my upbringing (largely born out of the ignorance of the parental advice of the time – late 70’s/early 80’s) – and the degree to which even now, I am still somewhat necessarily “biased” in how I INTERPRET the things I am still working through in my efforts to understand “Narcissistic abuse” .. family dynamics .. my physical health issues (ongoing) .. being a new wife, etc.
And .. I am kinda giving myself permission to have a VOICE .. where elsewise in my life there is not much of a place for that, yet.
I am one who “needs” to journal to work things through, and I have found this format helpful in my OWN journey. 🙂 And maybe my musings will be a means of “grace2grow” for others as well?
So – historically and repeatedly having been accused of being both DEFIANT and even HISTRIONIC .. I am (these days) affirming to myself (or at least striving to) that NEITHER of these descriptions are fitting (or “defining”!), even if my behaviors have sometimes looked like these things.
To whatever extent I HAVE actually been “selfish” and “sinful” and thus “displeasing to God!”? I seek to be genuinely repentant. But I also still lack the discernment to know exactly when to stop apologizing for being MYSELF .. I [may seem to] convey a lot of confidence, in that I am perhaps too-often very “definite” about my own opinions (I’m sure that shocks you) .. but when it comes to a HEALTHY self-assertion? I am embattled and vacillate between OVER asserting (like the desperate fight just to be heard/understood/believed) and completely MARTYRING myself (like my own wishes/desires are to always take 2nd chair to everyone else’s).
My propensity towards extremes may have garnered the above “defiant” and “histrionic” designations, mostly within my own immediate family of origin (FOO) .. but in fact? I am becoming more aware how these traits were more the FRUIT of being raised ill-well, and not the ROOT of WHY I was ill-well raised. (if that makes sense)
If I may be so bold, I didn’t “deserve” the descriptions. I “deserved” better love than that. Or so my heavenly Father is trying to teach me. 🙂
With this revelation I am forced to dig deeper – both in understanding myself, and also in having greater PATIENCE with others when the so-called “behavioral issues” show themselves. If I can have greater LOVE for others, and understand that “awful people” are not just “awful” in the black-and-whitest sense, but that perhaps the “awful behaviors” have real causes that can be remedied? Including my own? Or at least real and understandable explanations (as to WHY so-and-so is this way)? .. I can rein in my OWN over-reactions and get a better handle on how to at least not *add* to the problem by getting angry too quickly or forcefully, or by being overwhelmed by the immediate and panic-stricken NEEEEEED to RUN AWAY from such influences. Making this differentiation – both with others and myself – ALSO empowers me to NOT TOLERATE the bad behaviors, and this doesn’t mean that somehow I’m being hateful ..
These finer distinctions I have always struggled with, and thus I have had a perpetual “love/hate” relationship especially concerning anything (or anyONE) that gives off the scent of being “right” vs. “wrong” or “just” vs. “unjust” ..
There are a LOT of shades of gray, if you will. Or there are a LOT of other colors than just black and white. (Note to self!) And, please. This is NOT to suggest that morality is subjective – that is not my conviction. But there are a HOST of things in this world that do NOT need to be classified as RIGHT vs. WRONG – they MAY just be DIFFERENT, and that’s ok! 🙂
Baby steps, eh? 🙂