I would have thought that at this point in life my 43 years would have served as a better guide. The balance between hindsight and foresight seems ridiculously off, foresight always falling short.
For a few months I could barely find the colors, let alone the words to express what was going through me. I don't know if it's a mid life issue, or a redefining life issue, or a reclaiming life issue...but the more I delve into paint, into glazing, into trying to understand my medium, and achieve translucency, the more transparent I became. Hours spent trying to find a place on the canvas, or the bottle where the subject would make sense, meticulously manipulating the image just so, left me contemplating the whole concept of belonging, of finding a space for yourself, or finding yourself.
I'm a visual thinker. I'm a visual learner. I'm also ironically enough, extraordinarily myopic. I am both near and farsighted. I am Mr. Magoo with Lady parts and hair.... Without help of my coke bottle glasses, or my contacts, I cannot see my hand in front of my face. My husband, who has amused himself throughout our 17 years of marriage playing a little game that he likes to call "Hide the Glasses" can attest that without my visual aides, I stumble. Both my vestibular and proprioceptive senses are compromised.
Before Gabe was diagnosed, I did what innately comes natural to most of us, I envisioned what life could be like for him, as well as Will and Carlos. This is not just reserved for our children, we do this all the time, vision boards, imagining ourselves in a certain position to establish a goal, we day dream, we fantasize. The power of visualization is profound. It has shaped our moral code, it has been such a fixture since the beginning of our time. It has established the black and white of it all, the good and evil, the SECRET, just about every abstract concept has a very visual concrete anchor.
After diagnosis I had to learn to take one day at a time and replace my dreams for my son with small attainable realistic goals, like sitting for 3 minutes, or relearning to gesture. The difficult challenge for someone like me, who needs to know what something will ultimately look like, how I can expect my son to function in future, what his life would look like, is the not having a clear picture, and not having the power to fix it. I hate the insecurity of it all, the uncertainty. I hate the mystery, or rather the denial, the lie, the cover up of it all. I hate the double standards. And while I know that no ones future is clear, or without strife, those who love and parent children like Gabe understand my fear.
Here is what I have been battling with....while the way I envision things pre and post classification have changed somewhat because of it, I'm starting to realize that in leaving the other senses out of my mental images, I am doing myself a disservice. I need to apply the Linda Mood Visualizing and Verbalizing techniques here . I'm the one that thinks I lose 40 pounds and all will be well. I win the lotto all will be well. I hit the big AUTISM CURE lotto and all will be well. There is a disconnect between end goal and journey. There is a disconnect with what looks right and what may or may not feel right. There is a disconnet with the process. There is a disconnect with touch, taste, feel, balance,sound and vision. There is a disconnect with illusion, delusion, disillusion, reality, fanatsy, mortality, immortality, purpose, belief, hope, continuity, promise, potential, limitation, fear, fearlessness, bravery, vulnerability, insecurity, knowledge, indicisiveness, clarity, confusion, devastation,restoration, power, empowering and powerless....
For years I've tried to fit in, tried to find a space that I could inhabit, somehow give back, and the twisted in me can't help but revel in the humor of it all, here in life trying to find a place to fit in, and then we look towards burial plots and epitaph to find our place amongst the dead. George Carlin had this terrific routine about "Stuff" and where we put in...I have become overwhelmed by the stuff in my head, in my heart, in my house, in my closets, under my bed, and in every crevice I can shove something in, bigger house, bigger body, bigger brain won't solve it. Maybe if I stop inhaling the turpentine & linseed oil.....
We tell our children to be who they are, when we all know that means as long as you conform. If you really have the courage to be who you are, you get crucified, and then, if lucky, your image gets culturally canonized while the essence of your truth gets lost in translation and molded to suit other peoples greedy ambitions. When you are courageous enough to embrace who you are, you get ridiculed for your weight, your sexuality, your looks, your beliefs, your values, your disabilities. So, when I tell my kids that it's ok to be who they are, that it's thier responsibility to themselves to be true to who they are.....when they go about finding themselves, as they begin to do so now, and looking for a place where they feel they belong, I feel the disconnect between the messages we send and the reality they face. The visual of a world that embraces diversity and free thinkers as opposed to a society that still challenges what equality really means...I feel the disconect between a Government where newly elected Republlican Congressmen and our new Speaker of House has already said they refuse to work with the man we elected President. I feel the disconnect between being having an opinion and being judgemental. And I feel a disconnect between our humanity and human nature. What we envision is powerful. Perhaps how we conceptualize our vision is where real changes can come about, but mostly its our willingness to allow it to manifest the way it was meant to be.