I’m going to tell a story that won’t seem to have anything to do with parenting or ASD, but if you stick around I promise I’ll connect it all.
I sew. I started sewing in a really depressed period of my life. I was 20 years old, working at the Gap and going to counselling and not much else. My therapist suggested I find something that gave me a sense of accomplishment, so that combined with the fact that i was seeing tons of waste and consumerism at the mall and that my mom had a sweet sewing set up at home led me to make bags out of old jeans. At first this was fun and a great way to get out creativity, spend my time productively and i was willing to flow with the mistakes i made to create even cooler stuff, but soon it brought out the perfectionist in me. Now, my perfectionism comes out in a super unhelpful way, guys: i beat myself up for every little detail that makes the project imperfect and ultimately i just stop doing it because I’m so scared to make a mistake. I’m so scared to not do it perfect the first time. No matter how many times someone tells me nobody’s perfect. No matter how many times i tell someone else nobody’s perfect. And this fear cuts me off from my creativity, which is as necessary to me as the air i breathe and the blood in my veins, and i get depressed again.
This cycle has occurred many times over the years, each time as frustrating as the last. Then the other day i finished sewing an imperfect top for myself and thought “oh well, i’ll wear it a few times and i can always change it if i want.” WHAT?! WHO AM I?! HOW did i get to this more flexible place? i knew right away: raising E. This child whom i adore and try my best to guide onto a kind, polite path has pushed and pulled me in so many directions. I have been insanely desperate to get him to behave in a way i deem respectable. I have tried so many strategies and asked for so many resources and support. It has been years of trying different strategies, having them sort of work, talking them through, then adjusting as needed. That’s just our life now. And apparently, even though it has been a slow, difficult journey, I have actually learned something.