Today, I was not needed.
My children got to therapy, dinner got cooked, sunshine was enjoyed, and the everyone is clean. I had nothing to do with any of it, because today I worked all day.
And I really was not needed at work either. We trained today. We learned some new games, and reviewed lots of old ones. We helped some newbies get a swarm of info, and I shared some insights that were hopefully valuable, but I was not needed today.
I am, at heart, an academic - a student of how and why people get along. I love challenge course work because I have a microcosm of experiment in every group. But, I am NOT an athlete. There is a significant amount of physical effort and activity in challenge course work. I am capable, but not as capable as the younger people I work with...
Every year, training makes me feel that much older, that much less capable, that much more disabled... I am SO very frustrated that my body does not perform to the level it once did.
I was not needed today. I was allowed to participate, allowed to offer insight and opinion, tasks were created for me to do, but I was certainly not necessary to the learning that was occurring...
And this really shouldn't be a "problem". I mean why should I be needed? I am going to grow older, it cannot be stopped. My pain will eventually stop me, I have always known. We have worked for years to create a capable and competent staff, and my boss is a friend who actively uses each of us to our strengths. I want my children to be independent and my husband to be a capable caregiver (for his own sake of confidence and because my children deserve a capable male role model)... it is really a great development that I was not needed today.
So why do I feel like crying, but don't? Why do I just wish desperately that my kids would just cuddle up with me? Why do I feel like I should just go hide in bed?
'Cuz I just want somebody to want me?
If I'm not needed, will I be wanted?
Outcast, outsider, never-quite-right, just-not-the-same... I am not really sure that I have ever been wanted. My parents want me, love me, but I am a grown-up now and my job is to be independent, to be a contributing member of society right now... I have had to forge a place for myself, create a niche for myself everywhere I have ever been. I do not know that I have ever really truly believed that I am "wanted". Tolerated, yes, even enjoyed by some, but not sought...
So finding places where I am at least needed helps...
but I wasn't needed today.
Funny that this being different, this standing-outside, this just not being completely with-it, is part of what so many autistics talk about. I thought it was just part of being human... isn't that why it is a universal theme in literature?
The parent group this week had a speaker, a local professor who is Autistic, with a son who is Aspergers. He had some interesting statistics, and postulations. By his research, there is at least a 48% chance that if a child is autistic at least one of the parents is too. As their family described their experiences, I heard a mirror of my own, generations of "academics", labeled "gifted", being some where outside the norm, intense bullying with academic success...
I actually labeled my self as Aspergers today with my peers (at work). They were totally accepting and non-pulsed. No surprise.
So am I feeling like an outsider today, less useful today, because no one really needed me today? or because I finally, openly, labeled myself with a "disability" today?
I really just want a hug... I just want to know that my family loves me... that regardless of labels or aging joints or decreasing mobility or increasing pain, I am valued.
Is that what makes me human?