Not Unlike a Confession

When I was eight years old, I got my first journal. It was this brightly-colored Lisa Frank diary THAT LOCKED. And it was the coolest thing on the face of the earth, to me the third-grader. Boy craziness took me over early in life so I filled the pages with musings on all my crushes, written in pretty pink gel pen; nothing else would do.

That was eighteen years ago and I don't think I've ever been without a journal. Whether it was online or on paper, I was always rambling to someone or no one about everything. I'm certain I remember going through about two notebooks a year during the peak of my puberty days. So, over the past few months, it's troubled me that I haven't blogged, or even really journaled. Anywhere.

It's not that I don't have anything to say or am too tired to say it; I find myself composing in my head almost daily, moments highlighted with "I should blog this". But I don't, and I've been perplexed as to why. I've tried pretending I'm writing to a specific audience (hi guys!) or writing to no one (go away!) or some imaginary space alien studying the human race (yeah, we totes cray cray!!!). Alas, it's all been to no avail.

Then, my best friend came to visit this month for a few days. PX tolerated the change in his routine surprisingly well, and it seems he now believes every visitor to be solely for him and the pursuit of fun play therapy. It honestly shocked the hell out of me a little bit, but in a good way. About midway through her visit, after coming home from a day out, I saw an opened letter from the speech therapy office on my desk. "That came today," said the daddy. I picked it up and brought it with me while I sorted out tubby time. I breezed through the first few pages, the summary of the history I provided for PX, and began to read his assessment based on the observation a few weeks ago.

It's been a while since I've gotten any evaluation for PX. The last one was his autism diagnosis. The diagnosis was expected, and his overall assessment & place on the spectrum was a lot better than I'd thought; the psychologist evaluated him at moderate, hovering close to the mild-moderate line. So I wasn't prepared for what I saw in terms of his speech. Six to nine month range...skills around 12 months...below six month range. He's 2 1/2 years old, and his skills are being compared to that of an infant. Every conceivable emotion ran through my body in about 10 seconds, and I felt completely gutted.

It wasn't till about 5 hours later, while trying to shut my brain off and get some sleep before round one of wake-ups, when I realized the root of my problem. Guilt. On top of more guilt. This guilt squared has been coming between me and my ability to write.

My overwhelming emotion while reading his evaluation was guilt. I may have been sad and pissed off but more than anything, I felt guilty for his rankings. I've felt guilty in other moments, too, when he can't tell me what he wants for lunch or shuts down when we can't understand his attempts at speech. It was like I'd drank a guilty martini of what didn't I do back then, what am I not doing now, what wrong crap have I done since the start.

And it doesn't take long for me to start feeling guilty about all my guilt. My whole life has been surrounded by special needs; daughter of a special education teacher, sister a brother with PDD, heck even one of my first boyfriends was an Aspie. If anyone should know better about not being to blame for autism and all its quirks, it's me. I'm supposed to have a handle on this; I lucked out and got thrown into the autism world with at least a little experience and some references. So I've got no reason to feel misplaced/undeserved/whatever guilt. And I'm actually a bit ashamed to admit I do feel this way, but I need to just... stop.

I'm a human being in a family full of human beings. I've always been a bit of an emotional being at that, and it's OK. Feeling guilty about feelings is just a vicious cycle that gets in the way of so much and doesn't contribute positively in any way.

I need to remember every day I'm not responsible for PX's speech and communication challenges, but I am responsible for helping him work towards hearing his voice. I cannot let any part of me or my subconscious dwell in guilt over the fact he has almost no verbal skills at this time. It's alright to feel my feels, blog about my feels, get them off my chest, but then it's time to move forward.

He's already on the run, anyway. I better keep pace.


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