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A Work in Progress
Written by Lori Pranckevicus
The last time I wrote, I mentioned my wonderful 13 year-old autistic son. As my son continues his autism journey and I continue my body-positive and self-acceptance journey, I cannot help but feel that our roles are completely intertwined. I can honestly say I would not be as far into my own journey if not for him.
From Day 1 of my becoming an autism mama-bear, my mantra has always been “Do not mess my son.” I will do anything and everything for him. I will protect and nurture and guide him.
As I was journeying into body-positive land, I realized with absolute clarity that my mantra must mean the same thing about myself and to myself. Really listening to the things I think about myself and even say to myself in just a 10-minute period, let alone in an hour or a day… well… it made me think. I realized that I was one of those very people that I’d fight tooth-and-nail against if that person spoke to my son in that way.
My son is always apologizing. For everything. If I remind him to not touch his hair, he says he’s sorry. If I tell him the TV is too loud, he’s sorry. It bothers me so much. He doesn’t have to be sorry. He just has to say “Okay, thanks for the reminder.”
Apologizing for everything reminds me of someone who apologizes for just being… for taking up space… for breathing. It makes me wonder, am I sorry for taking up space? Is that why I always wanted to shrink myself? Do I apologize for who I am and how I look? Is my son learning that from me?
Confidence is inherent, but it can be learned as well. In our house, Step 1 is No More Unnecessary Apologizing. It’s a learning curve. For all of us.
I tell my son ALL THE TIME how intelligent, funny, and amazing he is – how he kicks butt on a daily basis and how he’s basically the cat’s meow. I now tell myself the same. No apologies necessary.