Motivation: If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job. The kind robots will be doing soon.
One thing that seems consistent in many Autism, or even just parent seminars and conferences, is a session on self care. I have often left those sessions feeling more stressed than when I entered, and more than a little annoyed. I come away thinking, if I see another motivational quote on a pretty picture, I’m going to blow.
I’m not against self care. It can take the shape of getting fresh air, a diary, or daily exercise. As long as you do something you enjoy, you get something positive out of it. However, most self care seminars also seem to insist that I also have a sunny attitude in my daily life. They promote optimism as a way to deal with my struggles as a parent. They put endless amounts of quotes up on slide show. One speaker even suggested we could all take optimism training. It completely stressed me out. I mean I’m sitting there in desperate need of a haircut, hoping to learn how to carve more time out for myself, and now I need to fix my entire outlook on life. I have come away from so many of these conferences more stressed than when I went in.
What I need most days is just permission to have a bad day. Permission to see the world as it sometimes is, a total piece of crap. I don’t live everyday like this of course. I just need to not feel bad about it when it happens. I need to permission to have a bad attitude when things are just bad. What gets me is the seminar speakers (who rarely have credentials in anything) that say live your feelings, and then in the next sentence promote how important to be optimistic. They put cute pictures of how I don’t need to be Super Mom, but that was never my goal in the first place.
Long ago, watching the Daily Show (back in the Jon Stewart Days) an author by the name of Barbara Ehrenreich promoted a book named BRIGHT-SIDED: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America What I got out of the book was permission to be me. I’m not a naturally positive thinker, yet for the most part I’m a fairly content person. The relentless pursuit of happiness stresses me out. I’ve been through chronic pain. No, it doesn’t help to have a positive attitude. Anyone who has suffered migraines knows that no amount of positive world view will take away very real pain. Its ok to be mad, angry, and indeed feel pain.
So, yes to long walks, time away to get my haircut, and writing for my self care. No, to trying to make myself believe in the power of positive thinking. That’s not say I see my child in a negative view. I don’t. He is wonderful and his mind is amazing. I just also deal with his struggles in a very real way. They affect me. I’m not going to lie. My child’s struggles are real and need real solutions, and not just a pretty picture with a quote.
Get To Work: You Aren’t Being Paid to Believe in the Power of Your Dreams.
These are hilarious especially if you worked in an office: https://despair.com/collections/posters