Happy Day After Christmas!
It’s “boxing day” in most of the English speaking world, except here in the United States. Here its known as, “go back to the mall and return crap pressies and buy the things I wanted cuz I deserve it damnit” day.
I am told its almost as crazy as the day after Thanksgiving. Told, because I have never dared the mall the day after Christmas, BUT I will today, because I’m going to the movies.
More on that later.
I want to talk acceptance.
When I was a teenager life was hard in many respects. My mother’s parenting, abusive when younger turned to flat out neglect as we got too big to be bullied around and outside interests (primarily married men) took up her free time. There was never enough food. We rarely had the clothing, school supplies, or money for extra school related needs. It was embarrassing to know the son of my mother’s married lover. I spent a great deal of time away, out of the house. I got to know other adults that to me, deserved the respect I could not give my mother.
One of those adults gave me a plaque with this prayer on it:
The Serenity Prayer
“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”
I think it was a way to gently suggest that I couldn’t change who my family were, and that, that was alright. But it made my know it all, black and white, teenage self ANGRY.
“How dare they suggest I just accept things!! It isn’t right and I will fight, I will say when things are wrong! They cannot keep me down!!”
Now at nearly 40, while I pray to no one, I see the sense in this prayer.
Some things can be changed, and some things cannot. It is important not to waste time and energy on the things that cannot be changed.
It is not giving up, it is realizing what can be worked on, and what needs to just be accepted.
Radical acceptance of autism IS NOT in pretending that there is nothing tough, challenging, or disabling about autism. It is not thinking that all we need to do is smile and pretend everything is just the bestest ever and then it magically will be.
Don’t be unikitty, its not any healthier than wallowing in self pity.
Rather it is about accepting that it will be challenging.
It is about accepting the disabling aspects.
it is about understanding what cannot be changed, vs. working on what can.
Accepting our autistic children is about recognizing that autistic neurology is not any less, not defective, not an illness that can be cured with pills. It is about accepting it and then figuring out how to help a person while still respecting who they are, even the autistic bits.
Another changeable thing, is also in how autism is perceived, how autistics are treated, expectations for success and opportunities.
There is wisdom in figuring out that normalization is a futile, exhausting, demoralizing fight, and getting down to working on other things.
It can bring a kind of serenity.