These were the questions to consider - I'm not going to answer each fully but I wanted to list them as a prompt to get started and just see where this post leads me.
- Are you different and, if so, how?
- Do you celebrate your uniqueness or strive to fit in?
- Are you ever judgmental of other mums who are different from you? Answer honestly even if only in your own head.
- What would you like to be different about you?
- Have you ever being attacked or bullied for being different? How did that affect you?
- If you had to write an advert for yourself as a limited edition, what would you say to make people think you were great?
I have always felt different but there always seemed to be another reason for it that I never really understood why until more recently. Even my earliest memories of school, I remember being different because my first language was not English. I remember asking to use the loo in Farsi (Iranian/Persian) and finding the teachers looking at me blankly.
Then at age 10 I got diagnosed with Arthritis so during those teenage years when others were on sports teams, going out socialising etc, I was in and out of hospital and spent several years on crutches, again making me feel different.
At Uni, I didn't enjoy the uni type of socialising but met my husband early on at uni and he didn't particularly enjoy the social side of uni life either so we became soul mates and had each other.
Then in my twenties, I became a Christian after having an amazing dream where Jesus came to me in my dream. I thought that everyone else already knew about Jesus and that it was just me who was new to it all but in my excitement of telling everyone, I soon realised that people thought it was odd and that it wasn't considered 'normal' and sadly I stopped telling people so excitedly and openly about my faith.
When J started school, noticing the difference started up again. I don't just mean realising that J was different but I found that I hated the school gates. Everyone else was having play dates and coffee mornings but J never got invited and I didn't particularly enjoy going to busy coffee mornings. I've always much preferred to meet up with friends in smaller groups.
And then J got his diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome and I suddenly realised that a lot of my 'symptoms', likes, dislikes and differences could also be explained the same way. When I happened to mention it to one of J's doctors, she shrugged it off and said that I was very good at making eye contact, I gestured as I spoke and that there was no way I had Aspergers.
Well regardless of whether I would ever qualify for an official diagnosis or not, I know deep down that I certainly have a lot of strong ASD traits that explain a lot about me. I also know that I've had 36 years of learning to be 'normal' and it is well documented that girls often learn to cope with ASD or cover it up better than boys.
I've gradually started to feel happier about being me. I think partly just getting older has helped and blogging has definitely helped. In the blogging world I've found there to be less judgement and more open-mindedness and acceptance. There are such a huge variety of bloggers with different personalities and different interests that I think it can be easier to find others with similar interests in the online world than you perhaps would within your own circles in the real world.
I have in the past found myself judgemental of others - not just about parenting but about all sorts of things - I try to be less judgemental these days - I suppose because I am aware of just how much J was judged when he struggled so much in his early days at school.
This post is getting rather long so I'm just going to touch upon one more of the questions and then stop for now. One of the things I'd like to be different about me is to be more thick-skinned. I worry (a lot) about whether I've upset someone or if someone seems annoyed at me, I worry about what I've done wrong (when it usually turns out to be nothing to do with me but something totally unrelated).
So I'd definitely like to worry less and be more thick-skinned.
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