What if I had… (trigger warning)

I passed a link on Facebook and the way I said something caused an enlightening conversation with someone. I’ve just begun to get to know a group of people via the route of Pendant Audio, and each time I say something I am afraid I will be rejected. Each time instead, I am accepted. If correction is needed it is given and that’s that. There is no devaluing, there is just this general sense of acecptance. This does not mean any group is without flaws but, I don’t feel like I am on the outside of something. I don’t feel that desperation inside me “Please don’t let me screw this up, please let me have said this right, please let me fit, please let me be good enough”. I have spent my life with that as my constant social companion. fear and terror. Doubt. Pendant Audio also has given me something constructive to do. In giving up my existing hobbies and existing structure, I entered a land of torture.

I need structure. I am afraid that I don’t deviate well from plans, and this can cause a melt down. I have given up everything familiar in my life so that I can be safe. I have given up the things that make me happy, so I can be safe. I cannot be happy if I am dead. The less I do the things I love the more pent up I feel. This is made worse by the lack of wheels. I want to go out, see do. I know when I do I risk over stimulation but I still deserve the freedom to go see do.

In talking with one of the Pendulums, as the members of Pendant Audio are called, I found out that their offspring happens to be Autistic. There was no mention of function levels (which I dislike because they feel so wrong and dehumanizing) just the question of, what do you do to raise your child well? I asked the question about a cure, because of course I want to know.

This child has amazing parents. They learned what they needed to feed their child to make them healthy, they adapted to the child’s needs. I feel jealous. The list of things that they have given their child in order to allow independence if so wanted and a life that is free of barriers and false social constructs amazes me. I am jealous.

I am verbal, I am independent, I am an adult. I live alone, successfully. I have only had barriers thrown at my feet, via psychitrization, medicalization, and a life long dehumanization. I still hear the scolding words “Listen to me, stop being lazy,” and all my worth as it funnelled down the drain, I can see this. The side effect of thinking in pictures is, I can see my parents, siblings, and the faces of everyone who ever shamed me for not being able to do it their way every time. It reenforces that pain.

There is a struggle involved in parenting, good or bad. The bad, the parent works against the child, punishes them for existing. It is a struggle between the child and the parent. The child always loses. You cannot defeat an opponent that controls the resources of your life. With good parenting, something I am still learning about, the struggle is against the world. The parent or parents work with the child and teach them how to navigate. They accept their child, and yes the days are not all golden paradise but there is love.

What if good parenting didn’t side line my brain every time I encountered it? It’s so foreign to me. It hurts. I know my mother may read this, and a part of me does care. She is on my facebook, and there are things I want to say, and do say to which I almost want to add (sorry mom) afterwards because it may hurt her. Sorry mom, for not thinking you did a good job with me, feels wrong too. It isn’t a true sorrow but a wish to avoid confrontation.

I am grasping at this idea. What if I had had proper diagnosises as a child, and my parents had cared and … what if I had what was needed in order to have a standard good childhood, (standard meaning proper food, safety, no violent horrible people, and perhaps accomodation). I probably would be named Mary Sue Who or something, I wouldn’t know me. I would not exist.

A part of me still longs for it. I know neither of my parents were equipped to raise children at all much less a child who has needs outside of what they could understand. Yes my mother has changed and grown a lot. She is raising my sister in an entirely different way. I am jealous of that too. I am jealous that Beth won’t have the memories of hunger, the memories of being shamed for not being able. Her life is still flawed, there is still room to be a better parent.

What if I had had loving parents? Good parents? Parents that were not disabled by their own lack of vision? Lack of acceptance? I don’t want to say my mother was a bad mother, but I cannot say she was a good mother. I know if my parents had known what I am, who I am, I would’ve been killed and buried in the back yard. I don’t think anything would be different for the better. I guess what I am asking is… What if I had another life as someone else. The same body, the same needs, the same mind, but with the needs fulfilled?

I cannot even imagine that. I try, but instead of an answer it’s a bit of missing things, the subtraction of my pain, for example. That’s all I can fathom. What if I had had a chance?

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