Mind Over Mizunos

Mile 1:  Getting reacquainted

…favorite tunes are pumping, body is falling into stride, feeling good in my skin again as complete thoughts begin to flow. No little voices begging for a juice re-fill? No stopping mid-stride to change a diaper? No spelling the big words? Nope, it’s just me and more me, a rhythmic indulgence of unedited thought… a chance to blow the dust off my adult intellect which, let’s face it, wouldn’t stretch past the first mile anyway, but for now, life is good, I’m a rock star, and brilliance is mine if I can just keep putting one Mizuno in front of the other.

Mile 2: Negotiations
My legs start moaning, “not again” and proceed to rain on my mile 1 parade. My muscles make their best attempt to strike a deal with my mind to stop this madness because everyone knowns that running is pointless unless someone is chasing you and no one will really know if you walked instead because you’re still sporting the iPod arm band that makes you look like a legitimate runner even though you are a complete poser. I hate Mile 2. Mile 2 is the Antichrist.
Mile 3: Confession
My muscles forfeit the battle of wits and turn their dirty work over to an emoti-gland for which medical science has yet to come up with a proper name. Suddenly, I am flooded with the awareness of every horrible thing I have said and done or wanted to do since the last time I rounded the Terrorist Mile 2. The open sky becomes my confession booth and I begin my merciful plead for forgiveness in hopes that once this run is over, I may resume some sense of decency, dignity, and compassion for humanity…if only the humanity dwelling under my same roof .
During yesterday’s open-air confession, I began to rehearse the flood of responses to my last post about Salem’s recent diagnosis. Each one took my breath away. I felt as though you all wrapped your arms around me in some great big cyber-group hug and for the first time in weeks it seemed like everything was really going to be ok even if it wasn’t. You used words like, “courageous”, “brave”, and “strong”. One girlfriend send me a text saying she was proud of me and I had to ask her why on Earth everyone keeps saying that, for the spirit in which I wrote that felt more like an admission of guilt than a fearless war cry. The truth is, I am completely terrified of this Mystery Intruder who recently marched into our family’s life uninvited and unloaded all of its unpredictable baggage. No amount of sleepless nights or online research or Mile 3 Confession Sessions relieve me of thoughts like, “perhaps I should have taken prenatal vitamins,” or “maybe I ate too many tuna fish sandwiches or Malamar cookies when I was pregnant.” “This is because I stood in front of a bass amp that one time I was singing”, or “I knew I shouldn’t have exposed him to all those noisy basement rehearsals when he was an infant”. Too much TV, not enough vegetables. Too much room time, not enough socialization. To borrow a lyric from my favorite British pop-psychologist, it is “guilt on guilt” on “play” repeating–a broken record loop of torture which brings me to….
Mile 4: Talking to Myself
Comprehension has never really been my strong suit. Most of the time I only pretend to know what everyone is talking about when really I don’t have a fat clue, and I have to ask Clark about it after everyone else has gone home. So when I receive the news that my son has ASD, I nod like I know what that means. The therapist could have told me he had Autism or Asthma and it wouldn’t have made a difference in my mind because the truth is, I don’t understand what we are getting into whether we are ready or or not or want to or not. So, yesterday I concluded my mileage by talking to myself in a sort of mock-convo– proof that I too need therapy of a different kind. But perhaps if I can wrap my head around what this is exactly I might be able to explain it to friends and family who are just as foreign to the world of Autism as I am.
Tune in next time to eavesdrop on that admittedly dysfunctional yet surprisingly helpful chit chat with Yours Truly.

1 Comment

  1. Carol said,

    July 7, 2012 at 3:21 am

    After being in the field of education for 25 years, I can tell you that there are soooooo many forms/faces of autism and I have worked with many children with some form of another of ASD. Most of my experiences have been very positive and the most positive ones have been with children who have parents who love them and encourage them and find ways to make their lives as normal as possible. You and Clark have gifts and hearts bursting with love for Salem that are going to get you all through this. My daughter, Leslie, works at a school for autistic children….she is an OT. I know she would talk with you about questions/concerns, etc. Keeping you all in my prayers…..Carol
    Be sure to take care of YOURSELVES, especially during this time of uncertainty/newness/anxiety…..your running is a good way to keep your mind clear and stay healthy!!! Keep up the good work! Sending love…

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