FORMING AN AUTISM POWER POSSE: Taking on The Koyosegi Puzzle Box
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When Phoenyx didn’t respond to his name at one, I waited.
At two, when he wouldn’t look into my eyes while I held him, I asked questions.
At three, when he managed to sneak out of the house and was found alongside the highway, I realized this was actually a life-or-death situation.
He was crying out for help, but his internal world was as locked away as one of those wooden koyosegi puzzle boxes that take countless steps to open, and he had swallowed the key. I could hold my son but his mind was 35 interlocking layers away from me.
First, I grieved. Privately. As a mother you realize your wants and hopes and dreams for your kids are nothing more than your own whining, self-aggrandizing ego. So I checked that. I took several seats and shut myself up long enough to re-learn who my son was. I shed the layers of what I thought my son would or should be. I learned to love him in the present.
Him, not my projection of Him.
Him, not my Pinterest board of Him.
Him, not my Christmas card version of Him.
My son has autism, but my love for him is not on a spectrum.
Part of asking for help is coming to terms. Shaking off the shame. Rolling up my sleeves. Getting my head out of my ass. Being the Mom my son needs.
The mom who communicates by proxy through touch.
The mom who buys five packs of markers specifically so he can put blue caps on his index fingers.
The mom who puts on his sleepers backwards instead of crying as I clean his shit off the wall. Again.
But something else happened. After being led in circles by doctors and therapists, denied by insurance companies, and brushed aside over and over again, I decided to stop stalling in victim mode and harness a rage that overtook my anxiety and sadness. I was able to begin advocating for help after feeling completely alone. I formed my very own Autism Power Posse. I broke down and told the truth. I begged for help. And I designed some tees, because that’s what I do.
And this is why I’m writing this. Not because I want to, because I have barely broken the official news to my family. But I made a commitment to be a spirit-centered entrepreneur; to speak my truth even when it isn't profitable or clean. Even when it doesn't tick the boxes of consumerist expectations. Because my business is who I am. We make our products by hand in our home, and so our home is an extension of this business.
But because if you read this and you’re going through a dark time, I hope that at least for your thirty seconds of scrolling you feel an arm around you. You see a flicker of moonlight on this dark path.
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10% of all Autism tee sales will go to Autism Speaks.