I have a pen pal. He saw one of my presentations last year, and we’ve kept in touch. Our random email connection is like a light in the dark to me…a beacon of light that helps me stay focused and powered up for my journey.
There is something about not really knowing someone that allows me to bear my soul…Through writing I can tell things to a near-stranger I wouldn’t speak to my closest friends. To be truthful, this blog is kind of the same. Somehow telling all the things to strangers is easier than a 1:1 conversation…it’s easier for me to write than tell a friend what’s going on. I like that I can just refer my friend, (or family member) to the blog…Did you read this week? Well…go ahead and do that, ‘cause it’ll let you know what’s going on... And then I don’t need to talk about it…I can let it go and focus on wherever the conversation might take us.
It may seem weird, but I’ve heard this same thing to be true for other neurodovergents; we can easier download all the things to strangers instead of to a friend. I don’t know why that is, but it’s certainly real.
At any rate…somehow I find it critical to have a beacon of light, a cheer team, with the work I do. And it’s not just my pen pal but also my boyfriend and my daughter. In the past it’s been my husband, mostly, and maybe a close friend…but usually not. Usually, it’s my primary romantic partner that keeps me going…from grad school to launching my own business, my partner has kept my head above water when I’d honestly, really, truly, rather quit.
This particular role in my life sees what I am capable of, sees me for who I am and what I offer, and reflects that back to me. I feel deeply seen, and that feeds my quest. Somehow, I can’t see the forest for my own trees, don’t know myself in comparison to others, and don’t know what I offer the world outside of my passion.
This dynamic is the polar opposite of a rock star and their audience; it's more like Mission Control for an astronaut…I’m out there in space, doing my thing and I need a check on…is what I’m doing landing? Should I keep going? Is anyone out there or should I turn back??
I’m not sure if that’s Neurodivergent or not, but I do know it is what I need.
I’ve said before that what I do is largely guided by intuition, a deeper knowing, a deeper resolve than anything that makes sense. What makes sense is that I work for a school…that I have a salaried job that pays well, where I have benefits and paid time off, retirement and coworkers…but noooo, my intuition cringes at the likes of this. It curls up and spits at me and drives me to do some crazy, daredevil shit.
And here I am, 48 years old, pushing 49, working on a wing and a prayer…following a dream that makes me feel alive, that makes me feel like I’m following my true path.
Or maybe I’m delusional? Perhaps I’m caught in some messed-up midlife crisis where I think I’m here to change the world but really I just need to get a grip.
Which is why my support team is so necessary for me. The other day my pen pal told me I made a difference for a couple of people in the audience the day I spoke, that they were able to connect with their own neurodivergence and make some really powerful and positive changes in their lives...both immediately and ongoing. I was floored. I had no idea.
My boyfriend seconds this…he sees me and believes I'm on to something much bigger than we can really voice...he tells me how much he believes in me, knows I can do it, and thinks I’m going to win the gamble I’m currently in. He's willing to be my "Support Animal" as I travel around doing gigs, which is pretty much the best thing ever...Last year I had several events to attend all on my own...really, really difficult for me. I stretched and grew, but....OMG I need a support animal to really rock it. What I get from this keeps me going, helps me know I'm not delusional...I mean, at least there is one other person out there who feels the same...before him it was Frank, who did the same thing, and before that my ex-husband, who also did the same...I'm not ashamed to admit it's what I need and what I find.
Even my daughter, the wisest 12-year-old I’ve ever known came up with some sincere words of encouragement the other day. “Mama: you take such good care of me. You’re amazing. I don’t often think about you and what you’re going through, but you’re going through the hardest time in your life right now, and you’re still taking care of me! You are amazing at what you do, and you’re amazing with kids. All of my friends LOVE you, you’re the best, I’m so lucky to have you.”
This, my friends, is why I do the work I do.
I don’t need the accolades, but I do need Mission Contol.
Perhaps it's my neurodivergency that keeps me in the dark...I know that's a thing too...that neurodivergents often don't see their own successes. I'm not sure why, maybe it's because when things come easy to us we think they are...easy...for everyone, and not just ourselves. The way we naturally are, well, isn't that natural for everyone? And what's so special about us anyhow? It's not like we're looking for compliments, most often we are not...we're just looking for...where we fit in.
The work I do...I don’t do it for the benefits and the bankrolls (though trust me, I’m open to that!), I don't do it for the Fanclub or the fanfare, I do it because it needs to be done...this world needs neurodivergent advocates who are here to stand up and make lasting change for our population going forward, and I get to be one of those people.
I do it because I’m driven to. I am being guided by something bigger than me. So, I heed the call. It has chosen me. My calling is getting louder and easier, and my message is being heard and recorded. I trust that I will wind up with a career and a solid future from this.
I am here to serve. It is all I want and all I have ever wanted.
I want to shift paradigms and burn down proverbial foundations in favor of new ones that will serve the people who are living here now and not the ones upon which society was founded...
I am here to connect us, to show the world we are more alike than different.
I have (part of) this quote on my refrigerator:
Dare to believe the whispers in your ear, that you might be special, that you might be meaningful, that one day you might change the world. It's us you see, the ones who listen, that will change everything.
And the other day, I got a teabag that said “The unknown is where all outcomes are possible; enter it with grace.”
So here we go, folks…here we go…
Mission Control: I’ll be checking in.