Monday, February 16, 2015

" Why can't you just be normal like everybody else..? "

Am I jaded? Yes, perhaps I am....

My own father bullied me, almost on a daily basis with verbal threats and the sentence "why can't you just be 'normal' like everybody else?"  You cannot imagine this indignity, cannot comprehend what it does to a child's or adolescent's already fragile self-esteem.

Now, as there are two sides to every story, I can infer and recognize my parents wanted me to be "mainstream" as much as possible for my own hapiness" I would not be truthful if I didn't acknowledge this.  That being said, the absolute shame on my father's face and voice were obvious, even to me, who apparently cannot pick up on subtle facial and emotional cues.  In his eyes, I saw embarrassment that I was not "normal like everybody else."  His feelings more often than not escalated to frustration and anger about the same.

Just about the time that my Corpus Callosum would have kicked into high gear (if I'd actually had one), the time that I began to venture outside of family for a larger social and emotional circle is when he began his relentless negative mantra of disgust and shame.  Of course, I had no idea that mine was not a "normal" or average childhood.  I continually held myself  up to the rule of my peers and found myself lacking.

My father was also struggling with his own issues.  For as long as I remember he drank alcohol to excess and more so when under any stress.  He has also always had a problem with explosive anger, very often my being the direction it was vented.

I do understand, particularly for fathers, they want the best for their child and often think this means "measuring up" to their peers.  I do not think this necessarily "wrong", but one must ask themselves, about ACC children what is my child's "normal?"  Our wiring makes us different, and no matter the wishing, the trying the prodding, the hoping the wiring will not change.  Again, this does not mean we shouldn't strive for our child's very best, but we must strive for our child's very best, not our idea of what this is "supposed" to look like.

Individuals with Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum have different cognitive, memory, social and emotional processes.  There is currently no medicine nor therapy, nor anything else that can change this fact.  What we should hope for and strive for is our child's, or in the case of an ACC adult our own personal best.  Measuring ourselves strictly and only by our peers is not only counter productive but damaging to the psyche of a human being.  This even holds as true for the neurotypical individual, but more so for us.

As parents, and as individuals, we do best by learning about our child's or our own unique neurology.

ACC appears to exist on a spectrum, yet regardless of where on this spectrum an individual exists, research bears out very specific cognitive and socio-emotional differences with everyone born with Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum.  I know I spent far too many years of my own life in denial of these things, always hoping that the next greatest thing would "cure" me or "heal" me. Now this is the very think I strive to be healed of.  My true "cure" came about with my diagnoses of ACC.  Learning to recognize and accept that I am, in fact, different than one in 4,000 of my peers has done far more to heal me, strengthen me, to discover my own unique skills and abilities than any other single thing.

I no longer waste my time and precious energy and attention trying to fix something that is not broken.  It is who I am, and I am not broken, I am different.  Regardless of the hole in my head, I am a whole human being, possessed of unique skills, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, not unlike my peers.


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