Friday, February 6, 2015

Happy 2015!

As I sit here in Starbucks jobless [sad face] enjoying my tall cup of Pike roast despite the morning chill evident in the store, I try to disregard my sensitivity to the smell of charred cheese and garlic. This place should only smell like burnt coffee, right. I digress.
I took to the laptop a few years ago to write this blog because, during that time, my life was a stressful hot mess. A heavy cloud of unhappiness, guilt, and doubt seemed to follow me around like an abandoned puppy seeking a handout of scraps. I must admit how writing this blog helped me a lot… a whole lot, like literally save me. I mean, it really kept me from jumping off the deep end. The deep end for me, mind you, is an extra margarita for lunch, or that second glass of wine at night or fully indulging in my forbidden bad habits…like eating too many donuts and bagels, isolation and excessive self-criticism [and that daily margarita because, you know, I earned it – excuses, excuses]. Considering that addictions run in my family, I have much concern for my tendencies to obsess and be compulsive in my way to escape my feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety. But back to the blog. I wish I were the type of blogger that blogged about the highs and lows, my every moment of confusion, frustration, success, or rare occasion of bliss, but I guess, I’m not. I think I wanted to blog about my experience with blacks and Aspergers as a way of getting the information ‘out there’ in the world, so to speak. Because, sadly, mental health, neurological disorders, special needs, etc. still remains taboo and rarely talked about in my community.I don't know if any members of my own family is truly understanding of Marty's challenges. I've rescued him from grandma's, cousin's, aunt's, uncle's belts on many occasions. Cause black folks love to whoop their kids, right. I am only being a little bit sarcastic here folks. Though I can recall when a dear friend announced to her family that her beloved daughter was suffering with Selective Mutism [a form of social anxiety], my friend’s mother casually replied, “Oh, I just thought she was gay.” Sure we got a great gut busting laugh out of hearing my friend share her story in her own ‘stand-up comedian’ kind of way, but being the mom of children with special needs, I understand how painful it can be when your child’s uniqueness is disregarded, belittled, and not accepted. So, for the past few years in lieu of blogging I’ve been doing a lot of research on all things Aspergers, autism, and ADHD. My little Marty, the inspiration behind this blog, has been growing, and learning and playing with trains, and imitating, and watching trains on youtube, and misbehaving, and did I mention talking excessively about trains. 
Marty has become a great source of joy for me because, unlike the myth of the disconnected and un-empathetic Aspie, Marty is very thoughtful and sensitive. He doesn't quite express his compassion in the typical way, but I know that he cares and he cares deeply. One day, while fearful that he had lost the affection of his older brother after a night of Marty-style irrational rage, name calling, and intensity [the dreaded Meltdown], Marty squeezing Max tightly, in tears, exclaimed to Max, “I am so sorry, I shouldn't have said those things to you; they are not true. I love you.” Max and I chuckled at Marty’s dramatics but understood that those were real tears. Marty also provides much needed comic relief in keeping true to his Asperger nature to say everything on his mind without filter. For instance Marty faithfully expresses his disdain for our neighbor and my good friend as she is very strict with him and rarely lets him get away with what she deems “bad behavior” as High Functioning Autism is never an excuse for her. "I don't like her," Marty pouts. Marty recently has started to slack off, neglecting his homework due to his predisposition and preference to think, play, and talk about trains. Getting him to do homework is a daunting chore for me and his Aspie dad, surprisingly. So, I enlisted the help of my neighbor who I lovingly call the ‘Enforcer’. She threatened to sit with Marty until he completes his homework if he doesn't straighten up and fly right. Of course, Marty wants no parts of this. He growls whenever I mention her name… yes he literally growls and has been doing this since he was a toddler. Any whoo, the other day I reassured Marty that my neighbor was on standby to make an appearance if Marty could not stay focused on completing his homework. Marty screams in response to my warning, “Please, do not call her. I do not want to have to deal with her.” Then he proceeds to finish his assignments. Passive Aggressive management used for motivation – check. Hey, who says empty threats don’t work. I know, it’s wrong, but I am a work in progress and humanely typical. In the future, I’ll do better, I promise.
As Marty continues to mature and grow, he has become more aware of his differences and even suggested that I take him to the doctor because, “sometimes I don’t understand what people are saying to me.” If you only knew Marty; if you only knew. I find his unique way of thinking to be very enlightening as I have matured in my personal spiritual growth and desire to understand my own human experience. However, unlike his mommy, Marty doesn't concentrate on the future or what lies ahead; he truly lives in the moment. He lives to amuse himself with his endless imagination and intense interest in trains. He’s not embarrassed or hindered by lack of progress, not fitting in with the crowd, or making a scene while expressing his very narrow opinions very loudly. He revels in the opportunity to break out a finger flick or two ignoring onlookers. He’s a few months shy of second grade and has no shame in wearing shoes with large Velcro straps because learning to tie shoes is “boring”. Marty loves his dog, is loyal to his 2-3 friends and his self-interested brother [blame it on the ADD], and feels more secure when he’s at home, unless there’s a model train exhibit in town, in these rare occurrences, he could spend hours at the exhibit marveling in all the HO, G, N, Z gauge excitement of it all. Cue fast finger-flicking.
To wrap this up, I am still dealing with some of the difficulties involved in parenting a child with Aspergers, but at this moment, I am enjoying it more than complaining about it. Note to parents – it is okay to complain and vent every now and then, but try to always get back to "the glass is half full" mentality [trust me, I know it’s hard, but work at it and practice it]. Positivity and Love heals! I have two degrees and 10 year of research to qualify myself to say these things. LOL.
In all honesty, I often imagine that in a higher spiritual world, Marty and I arranged this experience on earth where he would be the child with special needs, idiosyncrasies, and quirks, and I would be the mother learning patience, unconditional love, and acceptance. And from all this, our two spirits would discover truth and evolve to become better humans [to aid in the advancement of mankind]. Thanks Super Soul Sunday on OWN!

 As the cliché goes, “everything happens for a reason.” And, this makes me confident in my belief that in life there are no mistakes, yet opportunities to learn and practice freedom of thought and choice. Til next time, which at the rate I am blogging, perhaps next year, all of you readers are in my thoughts and prayers for understanding, love, acceptance, peace of mind, and happiness. Thank you so much for reading my humble thoughts and words. LOVE and BLESSINGS.