Hi there, it’s been a while. So many things happened since I last wrote a blog here, but I felt like maybe now was the time to prove I’m still doing stuff and writing things. 2020 has been an interesting year so far, to say the least. I recently realised that a lot of things changed for me on many different levels. I wanted to share these changes with you, because I feel like it might help people relate and feel less alone. Everything I want to write about actually deserves a blog post of its own, so maybe I’ll elaborate on some of these things another time. But for now, I hope you stay with me until the end, because this is gonna be a long one.
Little Mx. Naive
Back in 2018 I had this feeling that the world was changing. I don’t remember exactly what triggered this thought, but I do know that it had to do with human rights topics. I thought to myself, “In a couple of years the world is going to become a lot better for all of us”. Naive, I know, because I forgot one important thing: change hurts. Change sometimes has to tear everything down before it can make something new. Suddenly I understand the motive of a lot of movie villains.
So here we are in 2020. Not only are we fighting a freaking pandemic, we’re also fighting racism, ableism, violence against the LGBT+ community, and y’know, just fighting for basic human rights. Oh! And climate change, of course. No biggie. I’m not saying these fights are new, because they are most definitely not new. But for the first time I feel them all at once. Even if you are the most privileged person on earth, you know these fights are happening and you can feel the impact they have.
All these fights make me feel hopeless sometimes, because there is so much that needs to be fixed. I tried to actively join every battle, but I quickly found that that’s impossible for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to fight racism, homophobia, transphobia or climate change anymore, though. I’m still trying to do my part in those battles. But I realised that I should put most of my energy into the fight that’s the most personal to me: ableism.
“The love I get from my friends and family is nice, but I still feel deeply hurt by the fact that the world is trying to eradicate people like me. It’s like treating a deep cut with a bandaid; you’ll slow the bleeding a little bit, but you’re gonna need stitches if you want to make the bleeding stop.”
Ableism hurts me the most because I constantly feel like I have to prove that my live is worth living. That I matter. Do you know how exhausting it is when you constantly read things about how people want to eradicate people like you? I’m talking about eugenics here. People want to cure autism, sterilse autistic people without their consent, send them to expensive therapies in hopes of making the autism go away. It just goes on and on and the more I see it the more I feel unwanted on this damned space rock.
And yeah, I have friends and family that actually accept me and make me feel loved. But it’s like treating a deep cut with a bandaid; you’ll slow the bleeding a little bit, but you’re gonna need stitches if you want to make the bleeding stop. This love my friends and family give me will never be able to fully take away the horrible feeling this eugenics talk is giving me.
So I’ve started to educate people on autism (and ADHD). I’ve decided that if I want to as much make a dent in the current stigma around autism, I need to start using my voice. I think that if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we all need to start using our voices to fight injustice. Silence kills. It’s no longer good enough to show silent support.
“A week into working from home, my mum called me to ask how I was doing. I told her that I suddenly felt much more energetic. And I did— I felt so happy and alive and recharged.”
I think all this pain I see and feel in the world has forced me to evaluate my place on this planet. It has forced me to think about how I can protect my energy so I don’t get burned out. Some of that had to do with work, so I did a lot of soul searching, if you can call it that. I became a full-time freelancer in May and this taught me so many things:
- Money stress is the worst kind of stress, because it’s always on the back of your mind
- Gods— working from home is amazing!
- Dealing with difficult clients is also a special kind of stress
- I don’t know anything and that’s okay
- I need to have more faith in my faith
- Not having to deal with people face-to-face apparently cured my depression!
Working from home
Let me elaborate on the last point before anyone gets the wrong idea. In March, when I was still working for a boss, we started working from home due to corona. I did not mind this one bit. Seriously, I was fucking thrilled. Not because I hated my colleagues or anything, because we got along quite well. No, I was thrilled about this because it would save me sooo much energy. Like, unless you are also neurodivergent, you have no idea how much of an impact daily social interactions can have on my energy and well-being. Even if the interactions are pleasant, it can drain me. It’s something I’ve come to accept and learned to live with.
Anyway, we started working from home and maybe like a week or so later my mum called to ask me how I was doing. I told her that I suddenly felt much more energetic. And I did— I felt so happy and alive and recharged. Because I could work from home, in my own safe place where I could let my guard down. I don’t have to mask at home (masking is what autistic people do to appear neurotypical, in my case this happens automatically). I never realised how much working in an office ate me alive until then.
Two months later I became a full-time freelancer and last month I quit my anti-depressants. That’s how much my mental wellbeing has improved since I don’t have to be around people on a daily basis anymore. If that doesn’t show how much being social and masking drains me, then I don’t know what does. By working from home I can protect my energy better.
What do I want?
In the time I became a freelancer I started to kind of lose myself. I had to reinvent myself because no one was telling me what to do anymore. No one told me how to behave anymore or what I could and couldn’t do. So I started asking myself, who am I? Also, what are my goals and aspirations? What makes me happy, like really happy? And gods— How the hell am I gonna organise my life?! I’ve had like five existential crises between April and.. well, two weeks ago.
“To create a perfect life, I realised would need money to make it happen. So that sucked.”
I already had a pretty solid idea of who I am, because I know myself really well. But I wanted to dig deeper and find out what my inner self wants and who they are. I found two things: confirmations of what I already knew I wanted, and a lot of old trauma. If I want to be the best version of myself, I need to do a looot of healing. I also figured that my dream job is a pretty clear image in my head. My aspirations have been very consistent, so it that question was answered rather quickly.
Asking myself what makes me happy was more difficult, because it went beyond my aspirations. I started envisioning what the perfect life would be for me. I quickly figured that to create this perfect life, I would need money to make it happen. So that sucked.
And then, the million dollar question: how is my ADHD ass gonna get an organised life? Because I feel like all I do is make plans to organise my life and then watch them fail. To be honest: I still haven’t figured this one out, other than that I want to cut back my social media usage. Maybe in a few months I can tell you the secret formula to having an organised life as an ADHDer.
“I don’t know why people turn to faith when they’re lost, but I guess there’s something about putting your worries into someone else’s hand that offers some sort of relief. It helps you sleep at night knowing that someone up there is working on fixing it for you.”
I started going back to my faith. I’m a Norse pagan and a witch, meaning I work with the Norse gods, but I also work with the Universe. Most people would consider this to be spiritual bogus, but I don’t care. It’s my faith and it’s what keeps me grounded. I started meditating more, having faith in the Universe’s path for me and I started praying more. I don’t know why people turn to faith when they’re lost, but it does help. There’s something about putting your worries into someone else’s hand that offers some sort of relief. It helps you sleep at night knowing that someone up there is working on fixing it for you.
I must admit, I did see almost everything I asked for getting realised. Most of the things I asked for was enough money to get through the month, and so far that worked. Now some manifestations are happening, which makes me feel even more confident in my faith. I realised that my faith can also help me protect my energy and that it can heal me.
“I can’t change the past, I can’t see into the future, I can’t mind control another person and I can’t bend reality to my will. So why would I waste so much energy on worrying about all these things?”
With all the stress from the state of the world and my work and personal life, I realised that I needed to let some things go if I wanted to prevent a meltdown. But letting things go has never been my strong suit, so I decided that I want to learn the art of letting go. I’ve always been interested in spirituality, Buddhist teachings, and philosophy. There’s something about those things that soothe me and quiet my mind.
I started listening to and reading the works of Alan Watts. His work, along with some other things I read and listened to, made me realise that we humans have absolutely no control over anything. We only control ourselves, but even that control is influenced by external factors. I stress so much about the past and the future, about what people think of me and about what life has in store for me. But I can’t change the past, I can’t see into the future, I can’t mind control another person and I can’t bend reality to my will. So why would I waste so much energy on worrying about all these things?
Conclusion: if I wanted more peace of mind, I needed to give up my need for control. I’ve started kind of living day by day and put my fate in the hands of the Universe. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I firmly believe that if things are meant to happen, they will happen. And if something isn’t working out in my favour, it isn’t for me. I still have hope for certain outcomes, of course. But when I don’t get the desired outcome, I don’t stress over it anymore. I let it go.
So what did 2020 teach me?
“We’ve built systems that benefit from other people’s suffering, we have given power to the wrong people, we have started valuing productivity and money more than wellbeing and human rights, and we are constantly at war with each other. It’s a fucking shitshow.”
Everything I’ve talked about so far seems more like me writing in my diary than actually making a point. So this is where I’ll explain what exactly I learned this year. 2020 taught me that the world is really really complex. We’ve built systems that benefit from other people’s suffering and we have given power to people who are not doing a very good job at using that power in the right way. We have started valuing productivity and money more than wellbeing and human rights. Human beings are constantly at war with each other and it’s a fucking shitshow. And it’s definitely not like I never saw this before. I’m not living under a rock. I’m saying that 2020 exposed a lot of these things to the public. It’s all becoming visible at once and for the first time I didn’t just see it, I felt it too.
I don’t know why 2018 me thought the world could be fixed in a couple of years, because I’m now wondering if I’ll even live to see this change I envisioned. We have a lot of work to do as a society, but it seems like me and many others are just talking to a wall. We’re shouting “People are dying!” and the people in charge leave us on read. Sometimes it makes me lose hope, but then I remind myself once again that change hurts. Things are starting to change, slowly, but it’s gonna take blood, sweat and tears. So we can’t give up yet. We have to keep pushing.
I figured that often change starts small. If I want to help make this world a better place, I need to heal. You don’t go into a physical battle when you’re wounded, right? So why would I throw myself into this fight for change when my heart is still bleeding? I didn’t know I was bleeding until this year, but now I see how much the past has left me scarred.
Ever since I started working on healing, I’ve cried a lot more than usual. Most times I’m not even sad, I just cry and don’t know why. But I let it, because those tears have to come out. I need to heal my heart and learn to love the world a little more, because this world isn’t built for neurodivergent people. But it’s the only option we have, so I have to heal in order to cope with it better. So now I’m trying to patch up the parts of my life that cause me distress.
At the end of 2019 I said that 2020 was gonna be my year. Honestly? It has been so far. I found more peace in my work life and I’ve take some major steps to my dream job as well (I mean, my work is getting published soon, how cool is that?!). In 2020 I’ve started to make peace with my past and I’ve started healing. I’ve become more aware of the things I do and say and I’m working on improving myself. And you know what? I’m pretty damn proud of the progress I’m making.
“I feel like my generation in particular is in need of healing. We need a rest, take a breather, but we can’t. Because our chance at a good future is hanging by a thread, so we need to make a change before that thread snaps.”
Congrats, you’ve made it to the end! I think what we can conclude is that there is still so much work to be done. 2020 is shining a light on all the holes in the system. It’s showing us how messed up this world is and what we need to do to change that. It’s showing us what’s really important and it’s showing us why empathy and compassion are so so important. I think this year will shape a lot of people and help them re-evaluate their priorities and way of thinking. Or well, I hope it does.
I feel like my generation in particular is in need of healing. We need a rest, take a breather, but we can’t. Because our chance at a good future is hanging by a thread, so we need to make a change before that thread snaps. But while we fight for change, 2020 has also shown us that we need to work on ourselves. Many people have already said that quarantine has helped them get in touch with themselves.
So I guess this is a message to everyone who reads this: do your part in making this world better for everyone, but also for yourself. Never forget about yourself while you fight for the greater good. We need people who break boundaries, change the norm and bend the rules. But we also need those people to be healthy. Your life and wellbeing matters, so start acting like it does. You deserve that much.
And now I’m done talking. I hope this means that I’m going to write blogs regularly again, but I won’t make any promises. So goodnight, take care, and until the next one.