September 22nd, 2013

grow, mature

Grow up

A few months ago, inspectors came to conduct an assessment of our house and recommend repairs to the landlord. I was home ill that day, so I was upstairs resting. The inspectors checked each room and also came to take a quick look at my room. One of the men saw my plushies and said, "Oh, there's your baby. Why don't you grow up!?"

I felt a flush of anger and my thoughts raced: "Why don't I grow up? Because I can't! I have a Pervasive Developmental Disorder. That means that growing up is really hard for me. What an unprofessional and unkind thing to say! If you don't like it, then you can leave. What gives you the right to come into my space and insult me? :( I work hard and did grow up, even though I didn't want to. Can't I keep one little piece of childhood with me? Or perhaps he is right...maybe I should just grow up. :(

In the end, I said nothing. I hoped they'd notice the various books on autism that faced them at eye-level on the tall bookshelf or at least see the little doll in the puzzle-piece dress. But how could I expect someone to understand such symbols when they make a rude remark like that? The inspectors left shortly after that and I was relieved.

But the comment rattled me. Every now and then the words come back to me: "Why don't you grow up!" If he only know how much of a struggle it has been for me to do that. From the tears shed over having my teeth pulled to going shopping for professional clothes in graduate school. It has been quite a journey for me - my parents had to drag me most of the way and once I was on my own, they continued to carry me forward in prayer. Thank you, Mom and Dad and Matt and to all of my family for bearing with me and supporting me :)

I always saw myself as an agate among rubies, a rough amethyst crystal among finely-cut jewels. I have tried to "fit in" in order to honor the Lord, but it still feels uncomfortable. No matter how much I try to deny the stuffed animals, they are still at home and they make me smile. I still talk to them when I don't have the capacity to speak to others and lack the strength to write out my thoughts in prayer. I still rub their flippers against my chin while I collect my thoughts and sit them on my head while I read books. I figure that can't hurt, so long as I can function in society without carrying them with me. I'm still trying to figure out how much "growing up" is appropriate and how much "childhood" I can keep with me along the way. I want to reach the point where I can be myself and be comfortable being myself and, at the same time, honor the awesome One who made me. I know that He is a beautiful designer and that He cares. He loves me even when other people don't understand. And He has even given me people who do understand. I've been so blessed! While it's been hard for a long time, I feel like I've finally come to some level ground. I'm eager to continue this walk with the Lord and to keep growing. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Amen.

It is a good journey :)
jehoshabeath (old Hebrew)

Summer 2013

It's been a good and busy summer! I just finished posting pictures from my summer trips to Pennsylvania. I still need to write a post about my trip to Ohio, but I at least wanted to share my progress so far.

Here I am on the trusty old Greyhound bus and at Philadelphia's 30th Street Station! The Spock jacket kept me warm on many buses and trains this summer. I'm thankful to God for safe travel on each leg of the journey. I'm also thankful for my loving family and friends :)

started email conversation with Nathan on April 23
May 19-25: full week of work
trip home and to Hershey for doctor's appointments (Saturday-Monday)
May 26-Jun 1: holiday on Monday (Memorial Day)
Jun 2-8: half-day on Wednesday due to illness
Jun 9-15: full week of work
Sent Nathan a postcard on Saturday
Jun 16-22: full week of work
trip to the beach for Suzanne's birthday (Saturday-Sunday)
Jun 23-29: half-day on Tuesday due to illness
Nathan and I exchanged photos on June 25-26
Jun 30-Jul 6: vacation on Thursday and Friday
trip home and to Gettysburg for Grandma's birthday (Thursday-Sunday)
Jul 7-13: full week of work
Began to Facebook chat with Nathan on July 8
Jul 14-20: full week of work; boss on leave
Jul 21-27: Thursday off due to illness; boss on leave
Platelets arrive in Ohio for Nathan
Jul 28-Aug 3: half-day on Tuesday due to illness; boss on leave
Suzanne moves out; Nathan's family invites me to visit
Aug 4-10: full week of work; boss on leave
Melissa moves out; Betsy and Cosette move in
Aug 11-17: vacation Thursday and Friday; boss on leave
trip home to celebrate Grandfather's birthday and for doctor's appointments (Thursday-Sunday)
Aug 18-24: full week of work; boss on leave
Mom and Dad visit me in Alexandria (this was the weekend when I was supposed to move)
Aug 25-31: vacation Monday-Thursday
trip to Ohio to meet Nathan
Sep 1-7: holiday on Monday (Labor Day)
Nathan called me on the phone on Monday
Sep 8-14: full week of work
trip home to celebrate Matt's birthday by going to a Flyers hockey game (Saturday-Tuesday)
Sep 15-21: vacation Monday and Tuesday