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  • angenevin

I am not a straight line.

Very recently, I was given the gift of an ultimatum. Most people wouldn't think that being told you have to do A or B will happen is a good thing, but it has been a beautiful gift for me.

Those who know me are aware that I believe "time" is squishy and stretchy - hence my long-standing history of being late for everything. Mike is always trying to prompt me about time. One of our many conversations sounds like this:

M: Ange, are you going to leave anytime soon? You know you are going to be late.
A: I'll be fine. It doesn't start for another 15 minutes.
M: Yes..... but it is a 30-minute drive.
A: I know, but I will be fine.

And somehow I think I will make it on time anyway.

So, I with an ultimatum, and my own desire to understand time, I am learning to judge how long something will take me, plan for the unanticipated, use my time more efficiently, and (fingers crossed) start making reasonable deadlines and sticking to them. In doing so, I have a coach hired to help me.

I picked Kathie England because of all the people I interviewed - she was the only one who didn't tell me that they could help straighten out my issue. Instead, Kathie asked how I could use my art to better understand my perception of time! Wow! What an eye-opener. Someone who wants to use who I am to build on, instead of trying to take away the creative parts that seem to so easily distract me. (One coach I interviewed immediately went to my childhood and wanted to explore why I wasn't unhappy about being adopted! )

Through the few conversations Kathie and I had, I have discovered something about myself that should have been obvious all along - I am not a straight line.

Give that a second to sink in. I know, it is a total surprise to me as well.

I read some of my previous blogs like "I am a Rube Goldberg Device" and "Why are their eggshells sitting on my windowsill?" There is a theme that runs through all of my writing - neurodiversity. I know it's a little early in the day/week/month/year to be hit with a six-syllable word, but hey, sometimes you have to stretch.

neu·ro·di·ver·si·ty /ˌn(y)o͝orōdəˈvərsədē,ˌn(y)o͝orōˌdīˈvərsədē/ noun

the range of differences in individual brain function and behavioral traits, regarded as part of normal variation in the human population

Okay - that helps not at all. Let's try this:

neurodiversity - the differences that make each person quirky, unique, different, extraordinary, strange, eccentric, bizarre, inspiring, smart, creative, brilliant, idiotic at times, innovative, happy, sad, beautiful, unsure, afraid, daring, and a superhero.

I am neurodiverse, and I have a lot to offer. I don't know what that is - yet. But, I intend to find out. Over the years, I have reinvented myself so often that I am not anywhere near the person who graduated from college with an English degree. I am no longer the special education teacher who started a new program where "those kids" weren't wanted. I am not the costume designer who made kids wear things they couldn't wash. I am not the alterations manager who understood that the bride who loved the worst possible dress choice was right and I was wrong. Nor am I the corporate employee who was written up for laughing too much.

But who am I now? What do I want to be when I grow up? (I'm 53, by the way.)

I have always believed there was a place for the way I think. The fact that I can look at an object and figure out a minimum of 5 things to do with it besides its original intent - makes me unique.

Wandering around home depot looking for that "thing" that will work for the odd item I am building - makes me creative.

Believing that I can do almost anything until somehow I am proven wrong - makes me a dreamer.

The fact that info enters my brain in the usual way. But I then twist, knot, bend, cut, spindle, fold, & even mutilate it to create art, education, magic, & beauty - makes me one of a kind.

And none of these things makes me wrong, ghastly, unacceptable, or someone to be avoided or criticized. These are my superpowers.

There is a place for all of us who think differently. It is time we embrace our weirdness and understand it isn't what makes us wrong - but what makes us right! We live in a world where so many people don't think for themselves but instead end up believing in Qanon or following unethical leaders blindly. Where did we go wrong that so many people think we should let others tell us who we are, what we should choose, and how we should be? We need to stop being afraid that someone will notice we are different. We need to take a stand and say,

"I am not a straight line! I think differently, and that's what makes me awesome."

Life is so much more interesting this way. Do you want to join me?

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