To the distraught parents of autistic children: please don’t hate autism <3

(Beginning Note: In this post, I’m not assuming that all parents of children found to be on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum are distraught; that’s not a universal emotional response.  This post simply addresses those parents who are.) 🙂

I haven’t had much of the courage to visit the websites and blogs where parents of autistic children can be found, unless the parent themselves is also on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum (and there are plenty of the latter that I follow and love!).  Perhaps this is because so many of the former come across to me as being predominantly negative about their child’s neurotype.

I have seen some of these comments and articles in passing; I read a lot and search a lot, and the more one does this, the greater the chances of bumping into this sentiment.  Or should I say, tripping over it, because that’s how my system reacts: it falls down.

I break a little inside.  I inwardly shed a tear or more for their children.

I would like to reach out, as an autistic adult, to all the people involved–this time, primarily through the parents themselves.

Dear Distraught Parents,

Hi. I’m an autistic female.  I’m probably close to your age, maybe a little older than some of you with younger children.  I’d like to reach out specifically to you.  To build a bridge, so to speak.  To see if I can maybe help in some way.

I hear your sadness.  I sense your devastation.  I can feel your hopelessness, your powerlessness.  Ever since you received the news of your child’s diagnosis, your world has turned upside down.  It used to revolve around the sun; now it revolves around a single word.  A word that very few parents are particularly excited to hear: autism.

Overnight, autism became the boogeyman, the monster that stole your child away from you in the dark.  A fog descended upon your world.  So many doors were slammed shut in an instant, leaving only uncertainty and hours and hours over the span of years of intensive therapies, with an unknown outcome at the end, but you’re pretty sure that it’s not a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

You shed tears, late at night.  You held your child–or maybe not, if they wouldn’t let you–and screamed toward the ceiling and the sky, wondering, out of 68 other children, why yours?

The “experts” in your life, be they doctors, counselors, therapists, the diagnostic criteria, website authors, (fellow) bloggers, other parents in the area or online who are further along in their journeys than you are, and so on, have likely delivered what has been bad news.  They’ve told you about all the things your child has difficulty with, challenges in, impairments of, etc, and as a result, all of the milestones your child will likely never meet, the friends they’d never make, the universities they’d never get into, the degrees they’d never earn, the jobs they’d never land, the partners they’d never marry, and the children they’d never have.

How am I doing so far?  It’s also likely that the experts in your life have been more current and optimistic, and that the news they’ve given you isn’t quite that bleak.  If that’s the case, this is wonderful!  If I’m singing your song so far, however, or you know someone whose song I’m singing, please keep reading.

I might be autistic myself, but that doesn’t mean I can’t imagine myself in your shoes. I know that simple imagination is not the same as living the nightmare, but it’s something.

The first thing you might have noticed, if you’re new to your situation and the wounds are fresh and the pain is still white-hot, is that if I hadn’t told you that I’m autistic, you might never have been able to tell.  You might never have known.

That might tell you something else: that I’m capable of more than you might have thought.  I’m capable of empathy, because I feel your heartache.  And if I knew what you knew, and that’s all I knew, I would probably feel the same way.

I could very easily have found myself in your shoes.  I didn’t know that I was autistic until a year ago yesterday.

I’m 39 and a half.

That means that, given the fact that autism has strong genetic roots, genes that are positively selected to be passed on to one’s children, and given the fact that my partner may also be somewhere on the autism spectrum, the chances that any children we had would have been autistic are about: 100%.

In a parallel universe, I am where you are.  I can see it very clearly.

The only reason I’m not is because I never had children.  But I got dealt news of my own that blew my mind and changed my life irrevocably: I’m autistic myself.

One year and two days ago, I never had any idea.  Not even the first clue.

But you know what?

It was the biggest relief I have ever experienced.  I was Mind.  Blown.  Nothing has ever been the same again.

I can hear some of you now…

“Relief?  You call this relief??  You are out of touch!”

I understand.  You might think I don’t, but I do.

Because although I can’t speak for your child, I am like your child.  I meet the same criteria, which means I do similar things and have similar struggles. The only difference is that nobody picked up on it, because back then, there wasn’t much to pick up on.

But I suspect that I faced many of the same difficulties.  I made the same movements over and over.  For hours.  I became irritable when pulled away from one activity to do something else.  I threw what was thought to be a temper tantrum when the babysitter made my peanut butter and honey sandwich the “wrong” way.  I became distraught when a schedule underwent a change.  I screamed when the lines on my high socks got twisted when she was dressing me, and I kept screaming until my mom straightened them out for me.  I took two or three hours to eat dinner.  I picked up on–and emulated–temper tantrums thrown by other children in the grocery store.  I became irritable very quickly in public places.  I’m sure there were times when I embarrassed my mom by making a scene, and I’m sure she drew The Stare from other people.

I struggled in school, too.  Bored half to death with the rudimentary subject matter and completely clueless about how to make friends, I was painfully shy and drawn to books instead.  I sat and stared into space and blocked out the world.  I was incessantly admonished for one reason or another.

There was no such thing as an Individual Education Plan back then, nor was there much by way of programs or specialists.  They would have been hopelessly out of touch anyway; they didn’t even have the criteria right.

With any luck, you’re beginning to understand how I’m like you…and your child.

So far, most of the experiences I’ve written about are tinged with negativity.

But that’s not the whole story.  Despite the challenges we faced in those early years, in a backwater part of middle-America (which lags behind the rest of the world in its understanding of autism), during an equally-backwater time period, I persevered.  I won’t lie; it took a lot of emotional and cognitive elbow grease.  And teachers were of no help, not even for the daily bullying.  We had no internet, only the library, which was 20 miles away.  There were no websites or support groups.  Homeschooling wasn’t even a thing at that time.

Do you know who my single most significant source of support was?

My mom.

She didn’t know what I was, so there was no word to hate.  She took me at face value and accepted me as I was, quirks and all, some of which weren’t so flattering or fun.  There were no doors to slam or dreams to cross off one’s list.

Would it have been the same had I been born 30-35 years later and diagnosed as a child?  Heaven only knows.  Parallel universes and all that.

What I do know is that I became an adult that she could be proud of, even when measured on the non-autistic meter stick.  I had all the essentials: honesty, integrity, sensitivity, caring, logic, discernment, and so on.  I even had a few unusual sparks: creativity, individuality, intuition, unique expression, a natural resistance to peer pressure, and a mind of my own.  Rather than worry about me more, she worried about me less.

What happened that gave my story a happy ending (thus far)?

Open, supportive, affectionate, patient, balanced, and encouraging parenting, and…

…my autism.

She did it right, but I’m not saying you’re doing it wrong.

The key is to forget most of what you’ve been told about autism.  Look at your child and see him or her for who he or she really is.  Try not to see The Autistic Child, try to see My Child.

Let’s explore each of those points in turn:

Point 1: “Try to forget most of what you’ve been told about autism.”

Those people might think they know a lot about autism, but the truth is, they probably don’t.  They’re well-versed in the shortcomings as perceived and recorded through an egotistical outsider’s lens, complete with their human tendency to carry bias.

They’re not fortune-tellers.  They probably don’t even know your child all that well.  They have no idea what he or she experiences or what he or she is capable of or destined for.

They don’t even have a contemporary grip on what autism even is.  So it’s important to take them with a grain of salt and try to avoid putting them on too high a pedestal.  They don’t know the future; only a higher power knows that, if you’re inclined to believe in one.  The future, for our purposes, is unwritten.  And most importantly, so is their future, for theirs.

So, please try not to imagine the worst.  Remember the line in “The Field of Dreams”: “if you build it, they will come”.  It might sound cheesy or unrealistic, but it’s accurate to apply the statement to life in general, especially your situation: think good thoughts, and good things will come.

To do that, one probably has to heed my second piece of advice (Point 2):

“Look at your child and see him or her for who he or she really is. Try not to see The Autistic Child, try to see My Child.”

I know it’s tempting; after all, your child’s autism spectrum neurotype is an integral part of who he or she is.  The two cannot be separated.

This is precisely why I believe that parents of autistic children must find a way to make peace with autism.  I would venture to say that it’s almost imperative that one go further than that: embracing autism.

It might seem like a pipe dream, bu ultimately, it isn’t.  This becomes especially perceptible when one begins to venture–and expand their info-quest–beyond what the “expert” talking heads have to say.

This is easier to accomplish once one realizes the incredible gains to be made in pathologizing the autism spectrum.  Everybody involved stands to make a lot of money: the doctors, the counselors, the therapists, the puzzle-pieced “charity” and “support” organizations, and so on.  Ironically, the same people who are hell bent on convincing you that the sky is falling, and totaling up the numbers of hours of various interventions your child supposedly needs.  I won’t claim that your child doesn’t need intervention, but it may not need to involve the kind they’re advocating; it could well be something else entirely.

The first step is to look at your child for who he or she really is, as a human being and a unique individual.  All the parts are there; this includes the brain, even if it’s wired differently.

Given the chance, your child likely has hopes and dreams, and most of these will be quite attainable, given the right support.  They can almost assuredly do everything I do: laugh, cry, play, think, be friends, feel, connect, etc.  The catch is that they might have different ways of doing it.

But “different” doesn’t necessarily mean “less”.  It’s a matter of finding one’s own way.  If you’re going to take the road not taken, you’re probably going to end up clearing your own trail.  The greatest movers and shakers throughout history have been those who did just that.  As Steve Silberman has pointed out in his book “Neurotribes” (which I can’t recommend enough), these same people who are singlehandedly responsible for many of the creature comforts that we currently enjoy hundreds of years later, also displayed traits that eerily resembled the autism spectrum diagnostic criteria of the present-day.  Not every autistic child will grow up to do those kinds of things, but practically everyone who has, has exhibited strong autistic traits.

As for myself, I became a doctor.  My autism actually makes me better at what I do than I would be if I weren’t autistic.  I can zero into details with keen perception and insight.  If I weren’t autistic, I might gloss over important nuances.  I’m also married, with two cats.  I drive, I’m creative, I write music, I blog, I travel, I have good friends, and I’m close with my family.

None of this is out of reach for 99% of autistic kids.  I’m nothing special; every autistic person I know is talented in some way.  And all of them are amazing.  I know almost 1800 of them; there are maybe 20 whom I don’t like so much; everyone else is gold.

My life has been more interesting than most because I’m autistic.  My talents and skills are emphasized more because I’m autistic.  My insight is powerful because I’m autistic.

Hating autism isn’t the answer.  If you need to get mad at something, get mad at the bias in the research literature.  Get mad at the people who try to convince you that your world is over unless you subject your child to thousands of hours of therapy, while simultaneously diverting thousands of dollars away from what should be your child’s university education, into their pockets.  Get mad at the “charity” organizations that rake in billions of dollars and shunt that funding away from supporting efforts that would improve your child’s life, and toward efforts to ensure that wonderful people like your child are never born.

Get mad at them.  Then, channel that energy into seeking out real help.  The autistic community could be of huge support; gaining insight from us could actually prove more constructive and therapeutic than thousands of dollars in therapy.

Above all, erase the slate; the writing you believe you see is actually an illusion.  Nothing has been written down yet.  Look at the child in front of you.  Love them where they are.  Encourage them in all they’re interested in and all that they do.

They’ll probably shock you…in a fantastic way. 🙂


Related Posts:

Reaching Out To Parents of Newly-Diagnosed Autistic Children, With Love From an Autistic Adult ~ October 1, 2016

How To Find Your Autistic Child’s Voice ~ February 2, 2017

Autistic, Staring, and Silent ~ January 19, 2017

 

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64 Comments

  1. I don’t know that my sister or brother-in-law were ever distraught that my two nephews have Asperger’s. Really, I don’t know. I kind of doubt it. But one thing they seem not to be doing is encouraging them in any way.

    I’ll admit that my parents never encouraged my sister, brother or I in any ways either. I’m sure my sister learned that from them.

    Both of my nephews have extreme talents. My one nephew is a natural born engineer. He paid his own way to an A.S. degree, then he stopped and just continued working in a grocery store as a cashier. My other nephew never made it through any college, though when he was in (paying his own way too) he got A’s. Both are very artistically gifted. My second nephew is an outstanding talent. I mentioned to my dad that I wish he’d pursue that seriously. My dad said “Well maybe he likes to pack groceries and retrieve grocery carts.” All I know is that pissed me off. If my nephews were my children I would have done things differently. I assume they’d really benefit and appreciate encouragement. As an aunt, I try to encourage them, but I can only do so much. Ultimately it is their choices, but I think that parents really are the most important ones for such things.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Absolutely! Many parents are indeed not distraught at all. Thank you for your comment; it gave me the gentle heads up that I need to clarify 💖

      Liked by 1 person

    2. yeah. i learned how to program when i was about 5, from a book. im in my 30s now and have since written a programming language.

      after spending years trying to teach basic or python to my family, i finally created fig to make it easier to teach code to anyone. and you know what? for once in all those years, they started learning it. because it was designed to be useful, but focus on the essentials. other than the fact that it worked and they learned something, ive gotten not a lot of encouragement otherwise. encouragement to teach (which i do anyway?)

      0! its like they havent figured out how this is a really great thing. they arent the least bit interested in whether i do it (or can do it) for another year, or go jump in the lake instead. my life could be a series of coin tosses and it wouldnt change them one little bit.

      i didnt even tell them i have my own gnu/linux operating system distribution now. (version 2.6 went up today.) they dont need to know, and they wouldnt really care. i think its just as well.

      they think somethings wrong with me. i think somethings wrong with them. its a pure waste of family ties. ive spent my life doing stuff with computers (and people, for that matter) and they seem to be more interested in the equivalent of party tricks. on a particularly lonely day, theyre less than an hour away. “the only trouble is, what will we have to say?

      funny thing, when i was growing up they were different. a lot of my personality and ethics are based on who they used to be, when they were real people. they dont know the first thing about me, havent known me very well in years, and ive grown sick of trying year after year to get them to listen. they finally won that battle.

      whats more, i know these “cure autism” f***ers helped hold useful initiatives back and helped destroy my family, like the cult that they are. along with every uninspired, flaccid social worker or school-hired dingbat that shouldve been watching a 4-year-old while the parents went to the movies, not trying to help people make important decisions about children. all the good that happens, seems to happen despite and not because of these people.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. I definitely will! Thank you for that link! I just gotta get to a real computer, since my WP app doesn’t make the link active lol 😉❤️

          But thank you so much for sharing it! I’m having a “stronger” day, so I feel like I can listen without devastating heartache 😘😍💖

          Liked by 1 person

      1. I admire your special talents and hope you will allow yourself to keep soaring like a bird. Or more specifically, like an eagle.

        Some birds are flock animals, and some are not. Think of the American bald eagle, one of the most majestic birds that there is. They only reunite with their mate during mating season and to help raise the eaglets until they fledge. Then they live their own life. They are proud of their accomplishments and celebrate themselves.

        Though I am very close to my husband, my other family not so much. I think I’ve always mostly soared on my own when well. I’ve grown used to it and learned to like it.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Omg, you learned to program at age 5?? Damn, dude, you’re amazing! Congrats on the new version! How cool! I am in awe, brother 👏🏼👏🏼😉❤️

        So true about family or even friends who don’t understand 👍🏼. I can relate; my parents very much adhere to NT customs (although it’s becoming more and more apparent to me that my dad is probably an Aspie 😉). He’s undiagnosed, though, and very sociable (he can mask well, and I think he enjoys socializing, for a few-hour stretch at a time, but he doesn’t have many friends and he doesn’t plan get-togethers or anything). My sister is probably an Aspie too, but she’s like my dad; she can mask really well, and she’s great with people, but she doesn’t go out much or anything. When it comes right down to it, she’s at work, or at home with her partner and cats, just like me lol 😊

        But those two can mask well and they hold sociability in high esteem, whereas I could never quite mask as well as they could 💘. So I felt a lot like a “black sheep” of the family. The weird one 😊. We’re close now, but I felt more estranged growing up, in ways I couldn’t explain then, but certainly can now 💓

        I often wonder what it would have been like, how things would have played out, and what our relationships would have been like if we would have known, at least about my Asperger’s/autism. Would it have set us further apart, demoting me in their eyes, with them perceiving me as a mental/emotional “invalid”? Parallel universes, and all that 😉🌷

        Liked by 1 person

        1. it certainly invites skepticism and condescension. whether it results in those things, depends how cool the person is. you cant fix most people with logic because they have a strong immunity to it. besides, logic is only as good as its inputs.

          speaking of which, at age 5 i wasnt doing much more than saying “put this text on the screen, change color to this, loop,” that sort of thing. if id known how to do graphics back then…

          10 color 4
          20 print "hello, laina"
          30 print
          40 goto 20

          in fig:

          x colortext 4
          while
          x "hello, laina" print "" print
          wend

          fig was originally called “fig basic” as it was heavily inspired by basic. but a lot of computer languages overlap more than people would expect.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yep! They really kinda do, don’t they? I remember writing lines of code like this in elementary school on the old Apple 2E (remember those? Lol!) 😊💓

            Liked by 1 person

          2. yeah, i hated apples. i didnt mind that they were (allegedly) easier to use, but i couldnt understand how anyone could be SMUG about that.

            i mean no one goes to moma and says “f*** this sh**, working in crayon is better.” but the schools were littered with them.

            i was spoiled with an ibm pcjr followed by clones.

            the first didnt have a hard drive. the first clone had a 90m– it was the size of two 5 1/4″ floppy drives, or one “full height” floppy drive. and 6 or 7 inches from front to back. these days theyre about the size of HALF (or even less of) a deck of playing cards.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Lol yeah!! I remember those. Actually I remember the version that had a single 5 1/4″ floppy drive and you had to take the system disk out in order to put your blank disk in to save your work lol 🎉🎊👍🏼💖

            Liked by 1 person

      3. Way way back in the early 80s we had an Apple II computer with floppy discs. Back then I was a super smart computer nerd. Now I sit in the corner with my dunce cap and a confused look on my face. You’re amazing! If you don’t hear it enough, go stand in front of a mirror and say it! 👍😎

        Liked by 2 people

        1. good old floppies. when i was 11 or so, i knew these things called “double-e-proms” existed. if you like, you may imagine a formal dance with very top-heavy… anyway…

          as you might even know, talking about floppies and the apple ii, it stands for “electronically erasable, programmable memory” (or close enough.)

          the capacity is small, but at 11 i thought we could do two really awesome things with those.

          one, if we had enough of them (or if their capacity improved) we could use them instead of floppies. a disk on a chip! (this is basically what people have with usb sticks now. i didnt know that the technology existed in the 80s, it wasnt in use anywhere that i knew of, and no one bothered telling me. i mean, we all used floppies. my first hard drive only held 75 floppies (90m) of data. 1 tb is like 11 thousand of those drives.

          the other thing i thought about eeprom is that maybe, we could use them to create a programmable cpu (in that you could change the cpu architecture itself by reprogramming it) and when i saw the “fpga” (a chip that can programmably take on different chip designs) on the cover of scientific american years later, i was pretty excited. ive never used one, though.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Hehe yep! I remember when a big hard drive was 40MB lol 😂. I’ve had an 8TB server sitting on my desk since 2012 lol 😉💜

            A programmable CPU sounds pretty cool! 👍🏼💖

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Well, it’s one of those little compact Apple boxes 😊. Our A/C runs pretty much year-round anyway 😉💓

            Liked by 1 person

          3. oh, an apple server. hahahaha (this is one of the few times i will ever dare to point at you and laugh.)

            granted the capacity is nothing to sneeze at. the servers im thinking of would make it difficult to tell if your ac was on 🙂 but i get you.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Lol 😂. Yeah, it’s cool to point and laugh at that 😊. I *was* a computer science major about 20 years ago, but things have changed just a little lol 🌺🌺

            Liked by 1 person

          5. its just a server by its very nature is like a jeep (before they were bought by chrysler and now you cant get decent replacement parts anymore.)

            and an apple server isnt so much useless (probably more server than you need, but thats far better than having less server than you need!) theyre just (pointlessly) fancy and overhyped and overpriced. im sure its a nice machine, thats not what i was making fun of. the only server i ever ran used to be one of those help yourself book kiosks at borders. underpowered, but definitely all the server i needed at the time. i had something like a 5x 10gb (really about 9g each) scsi actual server, which after installing debian on it i mostly used as a stand to keep my keurig machine off the floor. it seemed to weigh as much as a small dresser. (it definitely weighed a lot more than emmanuel lewis.)

            Liked by 1 person

          6. Otherwise I couldn’t. I’m heat-intolerant these days. And I live in a tropical-desert combo climate lol. Bad combo 😂👍🏼💜

            Liked by 1 person

          7. dont feel bad, i can barely use your phone too.

            you know how to accelerate an iphone? a baseball pitcher can do it better, but if it doesnt hit a brick wall hard enough the first try, its at least as much fun on the second throw.

            Liked by 2 people

          8. theyre all the same, stupid thing. apple fans dont think so, but i hate iphones just as much as their south-korean ripoffs.

            if you go to singapore though, they have phones that would make a person pee a little. you could show them an iphone and youd have to wait for the giggling to stop. i dont like touchscreens. in theory: awesome. in practice: at best, theyre overrated. theyre on phones because they have to be. but touchscreens, small ones especially but not only, are obnoxious technology. barely fit to use imo.

            Liked by 2 people

          9. Pretty soon everyone will have implants. Not me, I’ll do a Logan’s Run & live in a library👍 I have problems with the touchscreens sometimes. I think it’s from the nerve damage in my arms. No electricity in the fingers. I’m just a mess.😕

            Liked by 2 people

        2. Yep!! Lol – I really relate to the dunce cap thing! Today’s technology hates me. I fry it, as in, I make it hang, freeze, stall, etc. 😂🤔💞

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Ben was 3 when we finally got his dx. We knew way before then but misinformation caused the delay in dx. We were happy to have the dx! We wanted help for him. Help was not easy to get. We are still, 5 years later, trying to get all the supports he should have. Autism is NOT sad. The lack of support is sad! I adore my quirky little man. He’s teaching me to look at things in a different way. Every time I get frustrated at the difficult parts I try to remind myself that it must be even more frustrating for him. Love & patience…Love & patience! 💖

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I wish I had words to say how awesomesauce I think you are! I seriously love the relationship you and King Ben have 😘❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aw shucks ma’am😊 thank you! It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. I still lock myself in the bathroom to “run away” sometimes. He’s an eight year old kid and sometimes he bugs the crap out of me. I do appreciate your support and kind words. It’s helps me on days when my fuse is short 😍😘💞🌹💜

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I hear you, girl! Eight-year-old boys are frightening 😉 sometimes, whether they’re on the spectrum or not 😘❤️

          I really appreciate *your* support! 🤗🤗. And I bet The King does, too 😘❤️

          Liked by 1 person

          1. He wouldn’t be the King if he was NT. We do things his way for everyone’s​ comfort. Funny thing about the word Grandma. I wouldn’t even say it for almost a year. I was 40 when he was born and did NOT feel like a grandma. Still don’t. I think I’m stuck be at about 32😂😂😎

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Lol! 😊. I agree, I like The King and an ND person too 💞. I was lol’ing at the “grandma” part – Gen X might be getting to be grandparents these days, but not, you know? We’re perpetually 18-25 lol. We’re close behind you! My partner is 46 and I turn 40 at the end of the summer 😘 but I’m always 18-25 😂💘💘

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Looking back, I was so blessed that the doctor that diagnosed my kiddos was so warm and upbeat. She never once made autism sound like a devastating word. We laughed together about their beautifully unique personalities and she emphasized the hopeful possibilities. I mean, I already knew they were wonderful, but, she was one of the first to truly see it the way I did. I can’t honestly say I ever felt sad-tired sometimes with all the hoops the world wants you to jump through-but not sad. Maybe because there was that unrecognized autism in me that helped me understand them so readily. But, yeah. This is so well said and so compassionate. I have encountered so many of these parents in my day. I really feel for them. So many are so often misinformed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so very happy for y’all that your doc was so cool!! I think that makes a lot of difference in how parents handle the “news” of the diagnosis. So many doctors don’t realize how much power their words and attitudes carry; they can make or break lives. I’m so glad yours was *made* and that you took it all so graciously too 😊💖👍🏼🌷

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, beautiful friend 😘❤️. I really appreciate your efforts! You amaze me, in a wonderful way 💖.

      You are right, it’s not easy to see one’s true self and accept it 💘. It’s definitely a process that takes a while sometimes! 🌺🌷

      Liked by 1 person

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