Today is World Autism Awareness Day and it’s an important event for me. My middle son has great taste in music, can tell a mean joke, loves the ocean, and is also autistic. He’s equal parts exasperating and interesting and has changed my life in ways that I could never have imagined.
I have spent much of the past 14 years in that awkward space between hope and acceptance, wishing for him a happily ever after but knowing that I can’t create that for him. All I can do is love him the best I can.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening to our stories and participating in this worldwide event. If you’d like more information, click on the links above or visit Autism Speaks.
To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow – this is a human offering that can border on miraculous. ~Elizabeth Gilbert
Last week we talked about shame and I gave you a few bullet points. I thought I would break them down just a bit.
When you feel shame, own it. Don’t fight what you feel. Shame can be beneficial in helping us look at behavior that was inappropriate. We feel shame, we process and we own what we need to and create resolutions so we don’t repeat that behavior. Shame becomes counter-productive when we hang on to it, skipping the processing. When we just use it to beat ourselves up no change occurs. In addition, if we carry shame based on something that was done to us, or how we feel about ourselves, no change will come and we give away our power.
Process why you feel it and determine what you need to learn. If I process shame I will learn about myself. I may not like what I learn, but that is not the point. I need to come to a place of acceptance related to who I am. Only then will I be able to determine what I do and do not have control over. Lets go back to the issue of weight. In grade school my nickname was Fatson Matson. Looking back at pictures I was chubby, but I certainly wasn’t huge. Regardless, that didn’t matter because my body image issues have stayed with me until this day. The reality is I will never be buff. I am not willing to do the things necessary to have what others might consider the ideal build. I like to cook. I like to eat. I have accepted that I am unwilling to make the sacrifices to reach that “ideal” because I value other things more. What I can control is eating healthy, exercising and being strong. I can know I am healthy and active and I can accept that the ideal is something that will not happen because of the choices I have made. I would not be happy if I did what was needed to reach that “ideal”.
Adjust your course of action to avoid it in the future. Holding on to shame is a choice. There are a lot of happy fat people and I love them because they accept who they are and make no apologies. In fact, even people I don’t like who make no apologies have my respect to some degree. One of my favorite role models for woman right now is Chelsea Handler. Some call her rude, crass and a slut. I don’t, because as a woman she makes no apologies for the choices she has made. She will openly say what she thought might be good or bad about her actions. She will admit that certain choices were not great and talk about how she adjusted her behavior accordingly. Then she moves on! What an example! We all can choose whatever path we like, so long as we take responsibility for our actions! Shame has no place in it. It is usually the result of judgment, whether self-imposed or put on us by others!
If you have done the above, let go of it! Are you objective? It takes work to see ourselves clearly. What is crazy is that it is often times harder to accept the good then it is to accept the bad. I know who I am, both good and bad and accept both. I don’t have to ask anyone else about me because I know me! And at the risk of pissing you woman off, I am perplexed as to why you would ever ask a man what they think about how you look. If your butt is big, it’s big- who cares if they like it or not. If you don’t, ask yourself why. But don’t take on shame about your body because they want perfection! Women are exceptional in what they are able to accomplish. They have gifts no man will ever have! Would you trade kindness, patience and a nurturing heart for a nice butt? Don’t do it! Know why you are beautiful! Don’t lie to yourself and don’t allow yourself to be lied to! If you make no apologies and you strive to be a strong and mature woman, others will be drawn to you despite your shape or size! You can’t expect anyone else to accept you the way you are if you don’t!