Recently I had one of those rare nights out with the girls, two who also have children on the autism spectrum. As we waited for our table, I had a more private conversation with one of them.
M is a newer friend. Our paths crossed before I even moved here, and perhaps that was the first sign that we should be friends. She has not walked down this autism road quite as long as I have, but through our various encounters I knew that I needed to reach out because I think we are quite similar; outgoing, normally upbeat and strong-willed personalities. Driven (perhaps sometimes to a fault), lapsed Catholic (bring on the guilt), and lead by our deep emotions that can sometimes empower us and often times overwhelm us.
I have felt at ease opening up to M. I am a very open and honest person, so this isn't normally an issue, but there are those things that a person sometimes needs to verbalize not only to the universe but to another being, and I guess that lovely glass of pinot noir, though only a few sips in, was the impetus to speak my heart. I told her--as I dropped the volume of my voice just slightly--that sometimes I feel like autism is my living hell; like I have done something really awful in a past life and this is my hell on earth to repay it.
No doubt, that is a strong sentiment, and one I realize has many tangential arguments that I acknowledge most directly. But at that moment, on that day, I needed to tell someone that dark feeling inside my heart. It felt good to let it out, and it felt good to hear from M that she, too, has had that feeling at times. I don't think it's a coincidence that the two of us were raised in Catholic homes where you were encouraged to confess your sins to a priest. Though we don't practice that religion any longer the need to purge our less-than-perfect thoughts is likely so ingrained in us that it will always be there.
But I recognize that you who are reading this probably also feel that need to purge those thoughts, and perhaps this is why this blogosphere is so crazy important to us.
So thank you, members of Hopeful Parents, my personal friends, and family readers. (Well, the two family members who actually know about this blog!) You are my confessional and without you I know this journey would be a hell of a lot more difficult than it already is.
Mama Deb does a little too much reconciliation at This Is My New Normal.