I’ve built my personal brand around “Jess Knows Best.” I like to teach and people often seek me out for advice. The brand will definitely continue, but I wanted to clarify the scope of my blog.
Learning to Laugh
One of the most curious things I’ve had to understand with Nicholas is his general lack of laughter. The most glaring aspect of most kids with autism is their social skills. Now, of course, this isn’t a gold standard. Some kids with autism have a great social skills and lack in other areas. He has always giggled when he was tickled but never expressed humor outside of that. I never struck me as weird, until he started imitating laughter.
Since the end of April 2017, I’ve realized just how little I know about being silly, smiling, laughing, and enjoying myself. Six years were spent bending over backwards for kids that weren’t mine, relatives that didn’t respect me, and a man who twisted my every thought and word. Life was a challenging, if not downright awful. I lost myself. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know if I ever knew who I was in the first place. I’m a very flexible person, so I melt from situation to situation, learning how to blend because it helped me to be likeable.
What I lost was individuality and my own way. I began a journey over a year ago to find myself. It didn’t sit well with my significant other. He bucked against my individuality with gas lighting, accusations, inconsistencies, and manipulation. As I reached into deep corners of myself, finding motivation and strength I never knew before, he got more manipulative in his tactics. Finding ways to make me feel less than human, a failure as a mother, an absolute failure as a wife, unable to earn through my own avenues. I felt more defeated than ever, but felt more determined to do what was best for Nicholas and I.
I had to learn to laugh again too.
And I am still learning. We are rapidly approaching the first anniversary of our world changing irreparably. And as I sit here on Leland and I’s 6 month anniversary, I can’t say I wouldn’t change anything. There’s plenty of things I’d change. I’d do sooner. Would do better. But what I can tell you is I am learning to laugh right alongside my baby boy and that is something I wouldn’t change for the world.
Its worth it. Every crappy thing you have to go through leads you to something better, if you manifest it for yourself. Stay strong and love hard.