Rough drafts

By Kat, published with permission.  Original blog posted here in 2015

We are rough drafts.
Writing and rewriting this
narrative before us.
Retelling this story hoping
we’ll be believed.
Wishing we didn’t care so much.

Labels are for soup cans, they tell us.
Fuck off is what we want to say.
Instead, we redirect without apologizing.
Sorry, not sorry, she replied.

We bring laundry lists of supposed wrongs.
Rough drafts of who we are becoming,
will be in these sacred spaces.

To label — or not— as we wish.
This becoming — the rewriting and writing
Of ourselves is exhilarating
And exhausting.
Into what will be, what is, together
In this narrative space.

You cannot tell me who I am —
But I could use — correction —
Desperately need your support.
Wishing you’d help me
In the now and then and beyond these lines.

Your notes of my actions — patient verbalized.
Patient self-actualized.

She is believing herself —
I am giving myself permission to verbalize
I cannot label you.
That would be a violation of trust, of professionalism.
But you can, she said.

In this litany of verbalizations is a meta-narrative —
I can; I will; I continue.
Never expecting to become my own case-manager.
We are like your children
— but not at all too.

Verbalizing, storymaking, pen to paper.
Sharing across dial-up connections and DSL lines.
Nothing about this is linear.
As we defend our narrative like wolves.
As we hear yet another invalidation.
Or more:
Are you sure (about yourself).
How could you know (who you are).
On what authority (can you name yourself).

They go on; we stopped listening.
We create our own stories, write our own drafts.

Creating space for practice and thriving —
Erasing and rewriting into
Story itself.

We become ourselves.
We rewrite the narratives
We never thought we
would share aloud.

We are here.
We are listening.
Creating spaces in hashtags,
Long gone and overdue discussions.
Of shame and diagnosis.
Of accomodations.

Of how to be in a world
Of people not like you.
How to survive, cope, thrive
Amongst and against.
These stories we could never tell
But do anyway.

These she’s we are becoming
And speak or write or sign
We are becoming our narratives.
In this space of our own.

A room filled with women who move
Like me.
Talk like me — about me — for me.
And it is remarkable.
This wonderfully odd
Utterly misunderstood.
Thoughts shared and integrated into a
Much longer story.

We love one another
So the apart spaces hurt just a little bit less.
We bandage ourselves and sit together as
We talk until the processing continues into this draft.

We are known and loved. Because of, not in spite of, ourselves.
Remaking together a space that becomes us.

#shediditanyway #poem #actuallyautistic #selflove

Click here to follow Kat on Twitter.