Who Am I Now?
Insomniac is possibly the most obvious answer to that question, it is currently 3am and I am unable to sleep owing to the words that are trying to escape my head. After 2 unsuccessful hours of trying to ignore the words I really do wish I could own a pensieve Like Dumbledore. Then at least I could store the movie in my brain for a slightly less anti-social moment in order to share it. But never mind, I don’t like to sleep anyway – Yawn
So who am I now? Well in 2014 I joined a group of Women on a blog called ‘Aspie Women Speak’, our aim was to reach out and help other women who might suspect they have or been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, which is now more commonly known as Autism Spectrum Disorder.
‘But isn’t everyone somewhere on the spectrum?’ I hear you ask. Well technically the answer to that is yes since after all the clue is in the name and since Autism is considered a spectrum that goes from ‘Not at all Autistic’ to ‘Severely Autistic’ then yes technically everyone is somewhere on the spectrum. However, the occasions on which I have had this question posed to me or indeed phrased like a statement, what it illuminates to me is the complete lack of understanding that the world at large (even the ‘experts’) have around what it is like to deal with Autism on a daily basis, how it actually feels to not want to talk to anyone, yet at the same time feel terribly alone. To want to go shopping and look at beautiful things but to instantly regret that decision because you forgot it was market day and much busier than normal, or indeed maybe you wish you could cope with market day because with the high street becoming more and more full of big brand chains, the only place nowadays to blow an hour looking at independent sellers and artists work is the market or at specialised craft event which again are very busy. Christmas is coming, I would love to take the children to see one of the light switch on events that will be taking place everywhere soon, but for our combined difficulties we simply won’t cope. We recently managed a theatre visit for the first time so maybe we’ll make the pantomime this year, or maybe not we’ll have to see.
So who am I now? Well my name is FairyClare but it is also more recently BellaRose. As FairyClare I wrote a piece on Identity for Aspie Women Speak which can be found here and also here on my own page Over The Ultraviolet Rainbow. It details the personal metamorphosis that I have been through during my life up until 2014. The last 2 years have been somewhat of a rollercoaster for me and I have discovered things about myself that I wasn’t expecting, I found my diagnoses and dealt with that. I found support for my children who as a result have been able to return to mainstream education after a 2 ½ year sojourn, which is great. I found the momentum to make decisions and act upon them for the good of my family, which saw us moving 300 miles. But most importantly I think, from a personal point of view, I have gained a deeper understanding and respect for my own needs. My name is Clare Anstead, I go by FairyClare and BellaRose and I am an Autistic Adult, diagnosed with High Functioning Aspergers Syndrome.
And what does that mean? Absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. Because Autism and Aspergers are so widely mis-understood there is truly no knowing how someone will react to this statement. Sometimes you get sympathy and an attempt to make you feel better about who you are. Sometimes you get spoken to like a toddler which hearing issues and a penchant for peeing in flower pots. Sometimes you get barely concealed scorn like the time I visited a new GP and she looked at my diagnoses as grounds enough to refer us to social services. Clearly I am a terrible mother because I put my children’s mental health and well-being ahead of fitting in and ticking boxes. But really none of this matters because I am still the slightly awkward woman, who loves her children and husband and puts them ahead of herself at all times. So how does that make me so different to who I was before my diagnoses? Or indeed 90% of mothers in the world for that matter.
I still play with my children and try to help them grow into strong resilient individuals, but sometimes the noise of their happiness is too much for me and I need to retreat for a while.
I still make jewellery and love sparkly things almost obsessively but I now understand why I need the colours separated and it hurts my head when the boxes are put away wrong.
I still go shopping both alone and accompanied, even with my Autistic children. Sometimes we cope marvellously and sometimes I have had to phone my husband to rescue me because I’m close to meltdown in the store.
We still attend social events but sometimes we can’t and we ask no forgiveness for that. It might be that I am having a bad day, or maybe one of the children is having a meltdown. As a family we make choices that often do not make sense to those outside and what I know today that I perhaps didn’t know in 2014 is that it’s okay to be different. I, We do not need the worlds approval to be who we are. We are who we are and we will always see the world differently to the majority of the population, and that is a cause for celebration not camouflage. I am no longer hiding who I am.
A good friend recently informed me that if you write for pleasure, not just talk about writing in attention seeking status’s, but are actively working on a project or piece, either for submission/publication or not. Then you’re a writer and to get used to it so here goes.
My name is Clare Anstead and I have Aspergers Syndrome. I choose to be FairyClare, who loves glitter and crafts and spending time with my family and I am also BellaRose, who loves books and learning and has decided to follow her words and write. I don’t yet know where this will take me but I’ll follow my path as long as it feels like the right one.
FairyClare / BellaRose xxx