Posted in Autistic Identity, Burnout, Career Change, Self-Care

Regret: Learning to Unmask

This is a bit rawer than I usually write, but it explores what I’m feeling and where I am now.

I am finally beginning to get back to the way I was before I ever entered that school.   I’m working around what used to be my home office and I am finally able to pick things up and am trying to figure out where they go. I have listed books for sale that represent my academic and professional life. I have thrown a lot of things away, and for a pack rat it’s very difficult to throw things away because I might need them in the future.  I think now that I see that my life will definitely be very different. I realize I no longer need to hold on to the clutter.

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Posted in Disability in Education

The Null Curriculum: That Which We Dare Not Speak About

At a Diocese meeting yesterday, the other principals were surprisingly helpful, trying to see what they can do to help me personally and professionally.

It was kind of creepy.  I’m not used to colleagues caring.  Then again, it was probably easy for them to see that it could happen to any of them, so they are genuinely concerned.  If I became a wheel in the machine, I would expect to see fake caring, the kind of thing neurotypicals do because it’s expected.

This was genuine.

Beyond that, though, there may be a job open next year, through one of my colleagues who told his priest he was only doing the job for one year.

The holy spirit may be at work here, because this is also my priest’s home parish (his parents, who adore me, are parishioners) and they have Spanish-speakers, besides.  We share a teacher who comes to do some religious education at my school who likes me a lot (and she has the ear of the priest besides).  Also, they are not in danger of closing any time soon for they are closer to full and well-supported financially.

I’m not sure if anything comes of it, or if I want to be at the mercy of another priest’s whim, but this particular priest is older and more experienced, which comes with it both good points and bad points.  It’s less likely that what happened to me with a sudden school closure would happen there, though.

On paper, I know I am valuable (I went over my CV; it’s a bit gappy in places, since, well, Autistic; but it’s got a solid combination of degrees, educational experiences, and professional “appearances” that I’m kind of a unicorn in the K-12 market), but I am still Autistic.  I know this is a strength, but sometimes it’s just people getting past my oddities, to see it.

Having people trying to open doors for me, though…this is what I needed.  I tend to get jobs this way, with someone pointing out how great I am first, and then we can go from there.

I’m told neurotypicals get jobs this way, too, through connections and networks, but it’s hard to get that narrative of working hard leading to success out of your head.

It’s amazing what stories we tell people about how to get ahead, which we don’t really mean.

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Posted in Autistic Identity, leadership, Self-Care

Masking, Anxiety, and Other Everyday Woes of the Autistic Woman

I wrote a piece yesterday that I set back to private regarding a parent-student interaction thing.

I walk a tight line with confidentiality and trying to help inform other leaders about Autism in education.  I think I was alright with that post, but if I get “outed” by identity, my school is so small, each player in that post will be instantly recognizable.  That’s not okay.

While that post gave me some good feelings because it helped me to justify why it will be okay whether the child in question stays or leaves, I have spent all of today in Autistic overload due to anxiety.  I don’t think it’s because of the post per-se, but because of dreading the follow-up conversation with a neurotypical parent which will happen tomorrow morning.  As a Catholic institution, we remember that parents, not schools, are responsible for their own parenting decisions.  It is his mom’s right to do whatever she sees fit, and I do applaud that right because I profit from it as a parent of a homeschooled child.

But as an Autistic who lives with anxiety as a “normal” fact of life, the implication that I know less about her child’s neurology than she, herself, or the neurotypical establishment doctors know, hurts me, too.  (By the way, Autistics, for “fun” look up anxiety symptoms…you’ll probably find you live like this ALL THE TIME.  It’s actually NORMAL for you, so you don’t think these are actual conditions neurotypicals do NOT experience all the flipping time and if they suddenly do, they ask for help.  Who knew?)

Here’s more on anxiety and masking: the endless cycle.

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