I have ALWAYS struggled with my mental health. Even as a young teenager. Postpartum and circumstance pushed me to the edge, and was in the process of shoving me off. Three years ago someone extended a hand and pulled me back from the edge and into the best hug of my life. From that day forward, everything was extraordinary. Now I don't mean fancy cars or parties in big houses or anything along those lines. I mean he listened to me, he laughed with me, he made me feel safe, and he was everything I didn't have and everything I needed.
My grandmother died at a point in my life where I wasn't very proud of myself. She was my best friend, my biggest fan, and one of the greatest loves of my life, although I didn't always know that. Growing up, everyone ended up at grandma's house at one time or another. She was the glue that held our family together and once she was gone so was the family we all knew. My biggest regret in my life is that she didn't get to be as proud of me, as I would have liked.
Domestic violence is like this country's dirty little secret. Everyone knows it is happening but, until it directly affects you or someone you love, it isn't talked about. There are many reasons why, such as embarrassment, shame, and even guilt; we are silenced. As little girls we are told that a boys is mean to you when 'he likes you' and that "boys will be boys." As we grow we are ingrained to accept that boys are rough, they can be mean, and that their affection can hurt. That is beyond unfair. He can't hurt you and love you at the same time.
"She doesn't look autistic," says the well-meaning person. "If I didn't know, I wouldn't even be able to tell," she says again as to lend me some sort of comfort in the appearance of my child. "What does 'autistic' look like?" I wonder to myself as I smile and say something passive such as "well she is". I know they mean the best. I know they want to help. They don't see her cry and cover her ears in shear terror because she can't find the things she had strategically placed. They don't notice her, outwardly shutter at the thought of a change in our everyday routine. I do. I am here when the dark clouds roll in and the ear-piercing screams begin. I have watched her watch 18 hours of a single Netflix show and endured hell when they removed it. I have sung the same song or commercial jingle over and over until I wanted to poke pencils deep into my ears to make it stop. But no, she doesn't LOOK autistic.