Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 6 - Page 50

VERY hard. This chapter 19, from which this excerpt came, alone took over 6 months. To show for it, I have a swollen arm with broken, bloody, seeping skin from where I bite my right wrist violently and then bang it into my teeth as forcefully as I can with my dominant left hand while caterwauling like a petrified alley cat. I warn others to get back as best I can, but they don’t always get my non-verbal message, and in this state I am sure to grab, claw and bite you if you get too close. Do I want to be like this? Is this Autism? I am not sure. From what I have gathered, “severely autistic” may describe my way of being and doing as accurately as words can at this time. If you and your spouse were to divorce tomorrow, would you be able to financially care for your autistic child on your own— perhaps for your child’s lifetime? CONNER’S LAW I don’t know how to write about injustice and anguish without feeling it. So, I bite into pain, knowing Grace will come. The consistent, eventual reward and bliss of Grace fuels my perseverance and keeps me moving. I planned to end this article with a rah-rah for you to keep being and doing as Grace will come. Then my perception changed. Two days ago, I was just being on my smooth wooden swing in a faultless fall afternoon, relishing remnants of my favorite microwave buttered popcorn on my fingers and cheeks, when I captured the image of Grace. Astonishing! But how? My autistic darkroom was closed. Grace was not out there. Grace was in here. Like Malcolm Brown, “I realized this is something of unusual importance and that I’d have to get them to the AP in one of its far-flung octopus tentacles as soon as possible. And I also knew that this was a very difficult thing to do [in AUTISM] on short notice.” For immediate release: “See past octopus’ ink - Grace is always everywhere.” Neurodiversity advocate Barb Rentenbach is a sagacious and humorous writer. Due to “severe autism” she does not speak but painstakingly types one letter at time. Barb is the co-founder/ CEO of Mule and Muse Productions and star of LOUD MUTE RADIO. 50 ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses BALANCE 5 New Year’s Resolutions for a More BALANCED Life A s 2015 comes to an end, it’s time to look less to the past and more towards the future and the blank slate known as 2016. A new year means new beginnings, a chance to rewrite 1 your own book or at least the next chapter! So, stop for a moment, take a deep breath and reflect on the changes you want (or need) to make 1 that will allow you to live a happier, less stressed and more balanced life. Just print out these five resolutions below and put them on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror or anywhere else that will allow you to see them often. 2 Then resolve to make the change and be the BEST YOU you can be! 1 In 2016, I will take better care of MYSELF. You have a calendar full of your loved ones’ appointments, but when was the last time you had your vision tested, your teeth cleaned, your bloodwork checked or even your hair 2 cut? We all know that we can’t take care of others if we don’t take care of ourselves first, so 1 why don’t we do it? This year, resolve to take better care of yourself, improve your lifestyle and not feel guilty about doing it. 3 1 2 WE NEED YOUR HELP! SB923 Conner’s Law passed in VA. Join our advocacy movement while we go state by state, changing laws as needed... Because a disability doesn’t stop on a child’s 18th birthday. Conquer for Conner In 2016, I will worry less and TRUST more. Steve Jobs once said, “You cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in 4 your 2 future.” Every person has their own time 3 so this year, resolve to worry less about the line, future and trust that the dots WILL eventually connect! In 2016, I will work on being “UNDER CONTROL,” not “in control.” You may not be able to control the situation, but you can control how you react to it! When you are under control, you are sending the message that regardless of what is happening, whether it is 4 your child having a meltdown in the middle of aisle 4 in the grocery store or your boss giv- 3 4 5 2 ing you another assignment on top of the three you already have, YOU get to decide how you feel 3 about it and how you will react. This year, resolve to stay under control as it will allow you to remain calm and keep the focus where it 3 needs to be, which is the situation at hand. In 2016, I will concentrate on what is RIGHT rather than what is wrong! Don’t focus on what did not work or go as planned; 4 instead, look for the silver lining because, believe it or not, there is always one there. This year, resolve to look at the glass as half full, not empty, and celebrate every milestone, for none are 5 too small or insignificant. 4 In 2016, I will remember that “to err is human,” and no one is perfect. You will not always make the correct decisions, react in the best way or say the right thing. It’s okay! Mistakes are how we learn. Personal growth is only achievable when we are able to see that every blunder, trial and hardship is not a failure but an opportunity! This year, resolve to accept that YOU ARE A WONDERFUL IMPERFECT WORK OF PROGRESS! 5 5 ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses 51