Other Hearts

For the past three years I have worked in advocacy online. I have learned so much about the human condition, core beliefs, how and why people should care about issues that don’t concern them directly, and people in general.

I’ve bared my heart more than I ever had in the past to reach those aching as I did. I rooted out all the ugly and put it on display. I faced it, loved it, attempted with all my being to heal it only to find the trail leads further still inside and further back generations.

I’ve lost many along the way. This pains me deeply. I’ve run far from triggers and slammed up boundaries in self protection. I took apart myself and my life in an attempt to heal and remake all that was broken inside me. And through that journey, I discovered I am autistic.

My whole world view flipped on its head. A lifetime of confusion and pain finally made sense. I bravely became an actually autistic advocate in addition to advocating for survivors of domestic violence and child abuse. And I learned even more about people, stigmas, and the human condition. I also got my fears triggered and heart deeply broken in that process.

My personage has remained constant throughout. If anything I have grown in compassion and understanding of all that ails us humans in all of our varied struggles and triumphs. But I also watched those around me change towards me because of one word, Autism. I am still me. I have not ceased to be me. And yet, people offered cures and told me I was brain damaged from vaccines. Where before I was just me and they were okay with that. All that changed was a word to define my experience, a word I was desperate for and accepted with bliss. And the reaction caused by stigmas in others broke my heart. I lost many friends.

I dove deep into the human psyche and neurology and faced stigma demons and internalized and external ableism. I learned about disability and the people that face the world head held high despite misconceptions and repeated defeat from those with no knowledge of what it is to live every day despite the pain.

I have birthed through diving underworld deep an awareness so wide I’ve lost myself at times in information, but what resonates with me still and always is that our perspectives are very often limited by falsehoods and mistruths. We judge others without knowing truly what they themselves experience and then we offer them unsolicited advice without ever actually listening or holding space. We do this because we think we know. We think what works for us, or what we’ve read is truth for others, when really each and every heart is unique. And if that is truth, then we may never know what a heart contains, and what a shame it is to get lost in false perceptions.

None of us know the weight the other carries for we do not walk their path. None of us know what another’s truth is unless we listen intently to hear them. We don’t always have to fix it. We don’t always have to be right. We don’t always know what another needs. What we can do always is ask, listen with compassion, and embrace the uniqueness we all contain. We all need a little more grace, compassion, and healing. And we should certainly never tell another what their truth is. We all need each other more than we know. And we all ache for forgiveness of ourselves. Love each other deeply, steadfastly, and always try your hardest to also love yourself.

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