Opening minds, one at a time

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Dear daughter, love yourself and others

I’ve been a full-time job working single mom for seven months now raising a 6-years old gifted child. Besides, I am autistic diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Being single mom is not easy, being an autistic woman makes it even harder and taking care of a special needs child is exhausting. Although I am managing to deal with all daily activities, I often wish I get more support. As I function and manage so well, nobody in the neurotypical world could even notice my mental and physical exhaustion. In the autism community, I’ve been told that I should be thankful to be able to do so many things. From both neurotypical and neurodivergent point of view: I have no reason and no right to complain compared to others in worst situations: moms having a severly autistic child or aspies with more pronounced traits preventing them to even get a job. Often, it makes me sad, unwanted and rejected by both communities. This is the dark side of the high functioning and invisible autism, of being at the extreme limit of the autistic spectrum. The fact that my child is gifted makes it even worst. How many parents would dream to have a gifted child? What they don’t know is that giftedness is also a disability in our society built on normative values. Giftedness is not a synonym of future success. Despite of this halo of negativity around me, I tried to be a role model for my daughter, not less.  I try every single day to teach her some principles that matters to me whether she is gifted, Aspergers, a girl or just a simple kid.

Self-esteem. Everyone is unique. You are you, with your flaws and your strenghts. Believe in yourself and in what you can do although some people might try to discourage you to do what you’d like to.

Politeness. Be polite to everyone, not just to your grandma. This is the first step to engage communication. You’ll be taken more seriously  and be more likely to get what you want. Also people will be more likely to help you.

Failure. It is ok to fail. Humans start their life with multiple failures: babies fall countless times before they can actually walk, they mispronounced words before being understood by their peers. You’ll mix up syllable before being able to read a book. Later, you’ll have bloody scratched knees before being able to ride a bike. You’ll fall, a lot, this is the most part of life.

Compassion. Nasty people are all around us. Sometimes, we don’t understand why people behave badly with no reason. Nasty people are often those who lack of love or are in physical pain. Those who do not have a supporting, loving partner at home. Kids who are more or less ignored by their parents. Adults who have a chronic illness that make them suffer. There is no excuse to be spiteful to others. However, there is always a thorn in their backspine they sometimes cannot remove by themselves.

Love. Love as much as you can and give a chance to anyone to be loved by you. If you give love, you’ll always receive back the love you gave.

Be humble. Being confident is alright but with reserve. Even if you have a high IQ, there is always somebody somewhere that can teach you something you don’t know.

Acceptance. Accept your difference. You can not change the way your brain works. You need to accept this fact in order to built a good self-esteem. There will be sad days when you feel off with your peers and want to connect with them and others you’ll find wonderful to have such way of thinking. In both cases, you’ll never be able to wire your brain differently. This is what makes you unique.

Be helpful to others. Don’t miss a change to give a hand freely. Hold the door to your mom carrying those heavy grocery bags. Offer your help to the old lady crossing the street…

Fight for your right. Never tolerate to be diminished under the pretext your are a woman. Fight to be respected as a human being. Fight against stereotypes.

Allow yourself to have big dreams. Anyone can accomplish big things and change the world. Be an activist.

Patience. It takes time to get what we want. Years, sometimes.

Tenacity. To be good at something, you’ll need to work and work and work harder. No success without effort.

Create your own luck. Talent is useless if you stay hidden in your basement. You sometimes need to be bold and to show off your strengths, meet people who can help you make your dreams come true.

Autonomy. You’ll be taught how-to cook, to saw, to repair things, to clean, to take care of your body, to read a map, to take public transportation, to write and send a postcard, to replace a flat tire, to make a simple piece of furniture…

Problems solving:  if something is broken, try to repair it. If you do a mistake, find a solution to fix it.

Be positive. When you think you had a really bad day at school, with your friends, try to find something that was good in that day. A good meal, a good laugh, a nice sky to watch, a warming sunlight, a big hug to your mum

Be grateful. Don’t forget to be grateful to be in good body shape, to be allowed to practise your favorite sport, to have friends, to live in a peaceful country, to be allowed to study and speak your mind, to have a pet….

I hope she’ll accept her differences, never be ashamed of them, build a strong self-esteem as a neurodivergent, as a woman, as a human being. I hope it will help blur the frontiers. I hope it will help to make the world a better place to live for future generations. Opening minds, one at a time.

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