New 12 months, New Me? My Decision to Cease Masking Autism

It’s that point of yr once more when the world screams, “New yr, new you!”

Each January, with out fail, we’re inundated with messages about remodeling our obvious less-than-optimal selves into one thing higher. (“Shrink your waistline in 30 days,” and “Energy up your psychological well being with these protein shakes,” learn the topic strains in my inbox, to call a couple of.)

I’ve been making an attempt to create a “new” me for many of my life. The “previous” me, in keeping with most, was too quiet, too intense, too awkward, too delicate, and too targeted. The “previous” me wanted to relax out, relax, and cease speaking about my obscure passions on a regular basis. For practically 40 years, I did what I needed to do to remain protected — I masked the true me and have become “new” when others demanded and anticipated it.

That every one not too long ago modified for me once I was recognized with autism — an awakening that reworked all the pieces about the way in which I see myself.

So this yr, I don’t wish to be a “new” me. I wish to be the previous me. The genuine me. I wish to shed the masks and begin dwelling totally as myself.

[Read: “Could I Be Autistic, Too?” Signs of Autism in Women with ADHD]

New 12 months, Radically Me

In his e-book, Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity (#CommissionsEarned), Devon Value writes, “Refusing to carry out neurotypicality is a revolutionary act of incapacity justice. It’s additionally a radical act of self-love.”

This yr, I wish to radically love the wounded youngster in me who believed she was deeply flawed. Who believed she needed to corrode herself to suit the mould of the world, it doesn’t matter what it took. Who typically thought to herself:

What’s the matter with me?
Why am I like this?
I’m an excessive amount of.
I’m not sufficient.

New 12 months, New Us, New World

I’m a part of a rising group of people who find themselves simply starting to find and embrace their neurodivergence (ND) in maturity. As I study my id, I’m additionally studying about my youngster’s personal neurodivergence and eager about his future.

[Read: Why ADHD Masking Is a Form of Self-Sabotage]

In our lives, our houses, and in our hearts, we, the ND mother and father of a brand new era of ND youngsters, get to interrupt the principles we had been raised to uphold. We get to say, “Not this time.” We get to boost our kids to consider that they’re excellent, simply as they’re. That they don’t have to vary to be accepted.

As Value writes in Unmasking Autism, “We are able to step out of the soul-crushing cycle of reaching for neurotypical acceptance and being rejected regardless of our greatest efforts. As an alternative, we are able to assist and uplift each other, and create our personal neurodiverse world the place everybody — together with neurotypicals — is welcome.”

That is my hope for 2023 — New yr, new world. A world the place everyone seems to be welcome. A world that embraces and celebrates humanity’s inherent neurodiversity, beginning with our personal houses, our personal households, our personal selves.

If you’re to “rework” this yr, don’t consider a “new” you. As an alternative, study to like the true you you’ve been compelled to masks all alongside. This radical act of self-acceptance permits others, particularly our kids, to develop up loving their actual ND selves.

So, be the quirky, wild you.
Be the delicate, tender you.
Stay off the usual clock.
Problem the social norms.
Wave your fingers whenever you speak.
Lose monitor of time.
Give honest monologues in your favourite matters and don’t apologize for it.
Embrace neurodivergent tradition and rejoice neurodivergent folks in your circle.

New 12 months, New Me: Subsequent Steps

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