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Acceptance. What does it mean?

Hmm. It's Autism Acceptance Week, formerly known as Autism Awareness Week.

I've seen some chatter on social media about feelings that 'acceptance' doesn't feel much better than 'awareness'. Granted, I have mixed feelings around it myself but hey, I'm not going to let it stop me talking about it and see this week as an opportunity to do so.

Going to go slightly left-field on it with this post because that's often how my brain works and I like it...

Acceptance came up as a big theme for me post-diagnosis. Self-acceptance, that is. It felt like a very big, very muddy, very slippery mountain to start climbing. I'll be honest, I'm still somewhere on that mountain. I'm waving at you as I keep trudging generally upwards though.

Part of my journey through exploring acceptance as a 'thing', was actually allowing people close to me to understand and see me better as a person. This was because for years I had 'camouflaged' much of my real self in order to fit in and conform but I couldn't continue doing that to such an extent any longer. It was damaging my health. It was stifling me. That process of taking off the mask I'd so effectively crafted for myself carried risk, because, well, what if they didn't like me any more? What if when I showed them more of my true self, they didn't like it and bowed out? Well, yeah. That did happen. Only with a very small handful of people though. The majority of people in my life have really shown up for me. Examples like when I've explained what some of my needs are in social settings, prioritised my energy by leaving a gathering early, or been honest about struggling, most of the people in my life have really heard me, and, accepted me. I now find myself in a place where I have old and new connections that value me for who I actually am, pretty much entirely. That's pretty awesome. It's important for all human beings to feel they can be loved and accepted as their authentic self. So, today I've written a little of my own experience and gratitude to be really feeling that in my life. I'd write a bit more, but Hilary is demanding some attention... That, and she's aware of my propensity to waffle...

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