The first step to my own healing has been to de-pathologize my experience as a multiply neurodivergent person. Our cultural norms that separate us from nature and that seek to create “improved” people who conform to neurotypicality, who are “productive” and “overcome” their disabilities, is something I actively seek to dismantle within myself and reject outright. No, thanks. I’ve been handed a toxic culture since birth and in order to heal, I must excise this nonsense from my being. And I must not perpetuate it.
I work with autistic adults, people on the margins of society, people who are chronically misunderstood and mistreated. We are people who needed to hide ourselves behind a thick shell just to survive. And here I am, for 50 minutes allowing space for us to remove our shells a little bit and take a look at what is inside. It’s scary, I know.
Our healing lies in self-compassion, self-acceptance, allowing ourselves to be ourselves despite society’s overt wish to change us and get us to “fit in”. To fit in would mean to fragment ourselves and lose what it means to be our full autistic selves. No, thanks. Healing means we are leaning into what it means to just be. In the fullness of our autistic selves.
Healing means picking up the broken and jagged pieces of ourselves and asking ourselves what we need. What we really need. And to mourn what we needed and didn’t get, past tense. Healing means noticing the parts of ourselves that hurt, that feel uncomfortable and unsafe. And welcoming those uncomfy parts into our experience. Healing doesn’t mean lying to those parts, it means acknowledging, feeling, sitting with, grieving, listening… Healing means we are gaining the tools to allow all the pain and feelings to be here with us.
Healing means to become whole, to move toward wholeness every second, minute, day. It means to never deny our pain again.