Shaping an expanded identity gives opportunities not many other situations give. Looking back over my life through a different lens adds perspective and dimension to my experience.
It explains and validates.
It helps me to accept myself and changes my internal dialogue.
I am replacing “you should be able to do these simple things without needing to have a day off afterward” and the frustrated internal cries of “why do you find this so hard? what is wrong with you?” with “it is alright to plan to do just one thing today so I have energy for more tomorrow”.
I am unlearning “my highest priority is to make sure everyone else’s needs and wants are met first” and affirming “it is important to make sure I look after myself”.
I am losing the feeling of “I don’t fit anywhere, I am always just on the outside” and finding a community of friends who understand me and are supporting me to have confidence to say “this is me, take me as I am”.
It is an opportunity for self reflection and reprioritising.
It is a chance to look at what I love about myself and foster it.
It is the freedom to acknowledge where I struggle and ask for help.
It is a raw process. It is taking this part from here and looking at it in detail, deciding if it helps or hurts, then grafting it where it belongs. It feels more comfortable over all to have things in their new places, but the edges sting where they were pulled at, and sometimes there is an empty space left where it was that I am not sure what to fill with yet.
It is a tentative process. At this stage uncomfortably influenced by my worry that others will not like this me that they perceive is new, and different and changing.
It is an exciting process. As I pull at the parts of myself that have always felt a bit out of place and move them to where they feel better, I discover who I really am, and see the potential of who I can be.
It is a hopeful process. I feel hope that I will find an internal integrity I have so far found elusive. I feel hopeful because I see that I am uncovering strengths and challenges that once acknowledged are leading me to paths I can tread with confidence and pride.
It is growing into myself, rearranging myself a bit at a time, building authenticity until I am happy with what I see. Then showing my emerging Autistic self to others without shame.
image shows my face (fair skinned female presenting person wearing dark rimmed glasses and smiling slightly) and the words “rearranging a bit at a time, building authenticity, showing my emerging Autistic self to others without shame, Michelle Sutton michellesuttonwrites.com“
This post is part of my emerging autistic identity series- read them all by clicking here (clicking link will open a new window, posts are in reverse chronological order- first at the bottom)