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 :)