We all have a story!
I find meeting new people absolutely fascinating, I love hearing their stories and getting a better understanding of what their life is like and I’m a good listener, so people happily open up. When the tables are turned however, and they start asking about me and my life, I struggle a bit!
Who are you?
The first major challenge is when they ask ‘What do I do?’. There’s no simple answer to that one so I normally, rather feebly say, ‘Well I’m an author’, I have written a book with another one on the way so that’s true. I also do a lot of public speaking, so, I’m a speaker. I do a lot to try and raise better awareness about the struggles associated with Autism and mental health issues, so I guess that makes something of a campaigner? I also mentor people to try to enable them to better understand how the autistic brain works in order for them to be better placed in their lives to help those around them. I also do a lot of work with the media so I suppose that makes something of a media commentator, and I blog a lot, so I’m a blogger. On top of that lot, I’m also a mother to 7 wonderful but unusual children!
Who am I?
Do you get the dilemma? Then, when they start aiming questions at me about my everyday life it gets even worse! Having overcome the (it seems) shocking fact that I have 7 children, we then head into even muddier waters when I have to explain their individual mental, physical, autism and dyslexia challenges. Then people ask how my husband copes with 7 women in the house, so I have to explain that he passed away. Tthen comes the total conversation stopper, ‘How did he die so young?’. Do I lie or do I tell the truth? I normally figure that they asked, so I’ll tell the truth, he committed suicide. Deathly silence normally follows that one leading onto profuse platitudes.
Are we in a competition that I wasn’t told about?
The worse thing though isn’t the silence or the awkwardness, it’s the fact that people always follow up with something along the lines of “Wow, and I thought I had problems?”, they then clam up and don’t feel they can moan about their lives because ‘what they’re going through is nothing compared to my life’.
This makes me sad, I’m not in a competition to find out who’s had the best or worst life, every single one of us have our own challenges which we deal with in the best way we can. My life is no better or worse than anyone else’s, it just happens to be my life and my life has unfolded one day at a time to become chapters in rather complicated story, just as everyone’s lives unfold one day at a time to create their individual story.
And, to be honest, I’m grateful for my life, I have such a deep understanding of so many things in such depth and that has helped to mould who I am today, I think I’m OK, in fact, I quite like me. I don’t hurt anyone intentionally, I try to help people with the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years, my kids are well behaved and chasing their dreams and I wouldn’t change a thing about my life.
A PLEA….FROM ME!
But, I would like to ask everyone a favour, if we should ever meet, promise me that you won’t compare your life to mine, don’t feel you have no problems compared to mine so you can’t share them with me, your own problems are very real and challenging to you. If we ever meet I will learn from you and maybe you will learn from me….and, I desperately want to hear about your life, I find yours so much more interesting than mine!