On feeling out of sync
I watched Hannah Gadesby’s show Douglas recently, and along with the many, many laughs she provoked, she spoke of a truth that resonated deeply for me. It’s one I hear so many times in so many different manifestations that I wanted to blog about it today.
Gadesby spoke movingly about her Autism, and the feeling that she often has that she is the odd one out. She talked about her sense that everyone else has a set of rules that no-one gave her, meaning she can’t make sense of the interactions that are happening or find ways to engage that fit with the unspoken patterns that others might expect. She spoke about the sense of isolation and aloneness that comes with this and the deep pain this brings.
I have had the privilege to work with clients with diagnoses of Autism, and many with traits of Autism without a diagnosis. The confusion, aloneness, despair and anger that sometimes comes with their patterns is so very difficult, particularly given this is not an illness, it’s not something that is treated and recovered from. It is about a person’s unique way of being in the world, and the question to ask is how they can navigate their challenges in ways that are enlivening and enriching for them and for those they love and care about.
Gadesby also moved me with the way her beautifully crafted show displayed her understanding of herself and her advocacy for herself. It seems to me that insight is so very important. Understanding what it is that is happening for you, what your challenges are and how you can best work with them is a liberation. Accepting your own self as you are frees up so much energy from inner battles and self-doubt. Let's face it, we all need our energy for the many challenges life throws our way, and this is even more the case for people who are neuroatypical because the neurotypical world is hard to navigate when you have no map for it.
It is sad that there is so much energy invested socially in convergence, in everyone being the same, in the celebration of the majority and of those who have power and influence. How dull a world of samey people is.
We are ALL different, in so many ways, and our humanity calls us to be curious, to be kind, to be social and inclusive of everyone. Power over may feel good momentarily if you’re the powerful one, but ask yourself why you need that hit. What wounds are you not addressing that you could more usefully be with? After all, power with feeds wellbeing and builds community, and that lasts a lifetime.
Why not reflect on the communities you are a part of? Who is not like you? How could you come to know them better? What connections can you build to enrich your life experience and theirs?