It’s been almost six months since I’ve written anything more than a tcb email, text message, or FB update.
The external world happenings of the pandemic, the national BLM protests & subsequent riots, and the 2020 election cycle combined to create a devastating backdrop for everyone’s life that I know. In many ways it feels like the birthing signs of civil war, here in the USA.
My personal world has seen the birth of a fourth grandchild…and the near death experience of my oldest daughter; a failed job/career as a tax preparer; professional certification as a Mental Health Peer Support & Wellness Specialist…in a pandemic context which prohibits face to face interaction; the transition to employment in a healthcare setting supporting people experiencing mental health challenges in maintaining housing…and exposure to people who don’t necessarily comprehend and/or comply with mandated social distancing and mask wearing; sheltering with friends for eight months…and the impacts that unexpectedly sharing living space has on friendships; online distance learning for my child with autism in her first year of middle school…coinciding with the hormonal & physical transitions of puberty; and moving back into my apartment already occupied by my eldest daughters family of six…eight people, a dog, and a cat in a two-bedroom, 1 bath apartment.
2020 was a year of me trying to gain financial independence from the ex, the father of my youngest, autistic child. I attempted tax preparation last January – March. I’m not the one. I can learn and understand the basics of simple tax-preparation. I can learn to use and follow tax software. What I can’t deal with is what feels like predatory policies of the most common tax preparation services people go to in person. I also couldn’t deal with how I was being trained to think about and manipulate the clients.
Of course, I’m probably what is known as a “bleeding heart liberal” aka “socialist” which isn’t compatible with my country’s economic systems. So, I found a job more in alignment with my personal experiences and ideals working for an organization providing “whole health care” for people experiencing mental and behavioral health challenges, as well as substance use disorders. I started working there in late April. Made it a little over 8 months. The role and responsibilities I currently have aren’t exactly what I want to be doing the field. However, working for this organization in this entry level capacity is the perfect stepping stone and foot in the door. When the pandemic is managed and the new normal is established, I’ll be in position to move forward in Peer Support Services and utilize my certification as a Peer Support and Wellness Specialist.
Behind the scenes I’ve been dealing with the loss of an important friendship and I’m feeling completely overwhelmed and inadequate to deal with the parenting issues with my now 12 year old daughter who experiences the world through the Autism Spectrum. Co-parenting with her father (whose world-view is a Bizzaro World juxtaposition of mine) challenges my grasp on my mental health stability with every encounter. There remain significant trauma responses and patterns that I’m still entrenched in seven years after we split up. Her starting middle school in the midst of the pandemic and having to manage her education when our housing situation has been so unstable and overcrowded and while I continue to work on my own mental health and emotional stability has just about done me in.
I’ve reached the point where I feel torn by the societal and systemic pressure to keep her in the completely screwed up and broken educational system currently in place and work harder than she ever will for her to “succeed.” Her needs and desires to focus on the things that fulfill her and she’s gifted at, while also doing things that feed my heart and soul feel so much more necessary and life-giving for both of us.
So, starting on Monday, I’ll make sure she’s logged in for her classes. I’ll encourage her to work with her Educational Support Specialists to do as much of the assigned work as they can help her with. But, I’m not going to spend anymore negative energy, waste precious time, or damage our relationship for the sake of making her wavy shape fit into a square space carved out by other people’s expectations.
I’m going to help her set up the Picasso Tab art/drawing tablet I got her for her birthday. I’m going to get her logged into and working on learning digital art and related technology that I paid for at the beginning of the school year and was trying to use as incentive for her to perform academically. For myself, I just signed up for a blogging course through WordPress. I’m signed up for a book group with my faith community that I actually want to follow through with this time. I’m also going to get back to writing on a regular basis, even if it’s just writing a post about nothing in particular each day.
Happy New Year