The artist for the above image is @Kayas_Kosmos.
I wish I could say I had a good childhood, or life, or that family was there for me always but they weren’t. Wishing won’t achieve anything. The cycle of lack of understanding in my family of their own neurodivergence prevented me from understanding mine. I get to make peace with one of my parents, but my Dad died before I could tell him what I know now. 37 years into my life.
I want to write a letter to him – this is the only closure I get.
I love you.
I miss you.
I’m proud of you too like you always were of me.
You knew I needed someone in my corner, even though you moved away. You never wanted to do that either, but life made fools of us all. It took from us of the happiness we deserved. The understanding I have now is that I am the first to know who I am in the modern era, for I’m sure we’d have been fine before. When we had a village to raise us.
You loved me when I was failing at school, you loved me when I got caught inhaling solvents by Mum, you only cared about me. You had an understanding of what my life was like, because it was your life too. You stilled your rage toward me, you’d apologise whenever you hurt me. You knew I had feelings too.
The decades may have changed, the people around us might have started to look different to us, but you weren’t a bad person. You did things you weren’t proud of and because of that I was not proud of you too. You stopped surrounding yourself with better people, and you became a far worse man.
I can’t change what happened toward the end but I’ll remember you for who you were before the world crushed your spirit, before you did the things you did to escape. You taught me a lot of good things that have served me well.
You campaigned for gay rights because you had a gay friend – you knew this was the right thing to do. You protested the Springbok tour because you knew apartheid was wrong. You taught me to care for those who have been shut out. You taught me not to trust authority, because obedience without questioning is the wrong way to live. You are with me every time I protest.
You taught me to love poetry because you loved it too. You are with me whenever I read it, whenever I write it.
You taught me to see music in a way I will always remember. I grew up as a kid raised on Queen, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin. You gave me the gift of music, you made realise the beauty of the words not just the melodies. You are with me every time I discover an artist who was trying to tell us something we needed to hear.
You taught me to befriend animals, your gift is my gift too. I can see them in the way you could. I could feel their feelings like you could too. You knew all your animals loved you unconditionally because you did too. I am a whisperer also, I love you for this.
You were an actor when young too, you encouraged that in me. The real world made me doubt my choices, but the theatre gave me skills I needed to survive. The love of prose and metaphor and storytelling weaves its way through my world too. I think of you now as I perform to go outside.
There’s some things I never told you that I need you to know.
I’m bisexual, I don’t just love women and men, I love anyone who loves me too. I’m not actually a man, it’s not something I can ever be. I’m non-binary. I know you’d have accepted me now. I don’t know why I took so long or was so scared to tell you. You never would have abandoned me by choice.
I have a wife who you didn’t really get to know, but the brief time you did you could see she was right for me, and she is, you knew this too.
I spent so long mad at you for your flaws, that I couldn’t see your strengths. I did the thing the world did to me to you. I hated you for shining a mirror on myself. But I needed to see this to truly understand myself. It just came before I could tell you.
You kept me alive as a child, and a teen. It was only as an adult that I was taught to focus on your flaws, and the lack of understanding between us, stole from us of so many things.
I’m neurodivergent Dad, and I think you were too. I’m an Autistic and ADHD person, and you were too. You were the cautionary tale of what I could be if I had not known this. My life has sucked, but I see the beauty now Dad. I don’t want to die anymore, and you allowed me to live.
I Wish You Were Here.
Daily blog challenge
I will be writing every day on being Autistic for April using this list of prompts:
Alt-Text Format with links to other blogs – Autistic Acceptance Month – 30 Days of Acceptance and appreciation:
- Day 1 – Introduction
- Day 2 – What I love about being Autistic is…
- Day 3 – My diagnosis/discovery story
- Day 4 – Reactions to “coming out
- Day 5 – Special Interests
- Day 6 – Supports and Appreciation
- Day 7 – The Autistic Community
- Day 8 – Favorite Autistic Blog
- Day 9 – Favourite Autistic-owned Business
- Day 10 – Sensory Life
- Day 11 – Stims
- Day 12 – Favorite Autism-charity
- Day 13 – Family
- Day 14 – Routine
- Day 15 – Everyone should know…
- Day 16 – Work/School
- Day 17 – Accommodations
- Day 18 – Someday…
- Day 19 – I hate it when…
- Day 20 – Communication
- Day 21 – One thing other people don’t understand
- Day 22 – Dispel a myth
- Day 23 – Can’t live without…
- Day 24 – Political Issue
- Day 25 – Symbols!
- Day 26 – Favorite Autism book
- Day 27 – Identity Language
- Day 28 – Dealing with meltdowns
- Day 29 – Famous Autistics
- Day 30 – Acceptance means…