The topic of expectations is a personal and emotional reality for me. I have been told these, and told myself these, phrases (and a whole variation of similar) my entire life!
And in turn, I developed a whole lot of beliefs about myself – “Alli you’re lazy, you’re, selfish, you’re unthoughtful, you’re not organised enough”. And the most dominant self-deprecating belief was this. “Alli. How can you be so smart, but so stupid?”
This stumped me for real. I can write a thesis but not follow a shopping list. Present at International conferences but forget to check my text messages. (Let alone ever reply to them.) I can remember the phase of the moon cycle but forget the Dr, the dentist, the psych etc. appointments.
My autism diagnosis was the most life-changing and liberating event of my life.
In that moment that I finally understood myself, all of those limiting self-beliefs just kinda fizzled out. But healing the shame that comes from believing these things about myself is a much harder reality, and to be honest, as my executive functioning difficulties impact my children more and more, the shame continues to thrive.
Time blindness means I often can’t get to school on time. Inattention means I often forget piano lessons, library day, sunscreen and nappies, hyperactivity means I often can’t process what you’re telling me if it isn’t animated, exuberant and fast, and therefore I often don’t ‘show up’ in the way that’s expected.
I’m not alone – this reality is very real for a H.U.G.E. Chunk of the population. So why do we continue to express an ablest rhetoric directly to the people who are literally disabled by this reality in so many and varied ways?
I’m asking in all honesty, because I genuinely don’t get it, but if I had to guess? I’d say the world is still simply unaware of neurodivergence and the literal ways that inattention and hyperactivity difficulties can play out in our lives.
Executive functioning, inattention and hyperactivity differences (or any combination of these) *may* externalise in superstar list maker, always spot on time, prepared to the max, never forget a thing, practical, organised, go-getter etc. type ways. And they may also play out as the opposite. For the neurodiverse, forgetting the appointment isn’t a choice. Getting to the social event late (or not at all) isn’t a choice, not following through on the commitment isn’t a choice.
But it’s something we do get blamed for. And judged for. And we don’t deserve that. If you’re reading this and nodding your head? YOU don’t deserve that either. And nor do our children.
We are a neurodivergent world! And if we were all always on time, what a boring world it would be!