Is it Still Brave If We Don’t Have a Choice?

#Kale – Metaphors

Keep discrediting the metaphors:
Annihilated “Journey”,
Liquidated “Battle”,
Excused “Chapter”.

*

I write #kale poems for my friend @drbexl as she lives with the challenges of a secondary breast cancer diagnosis (#livingwithmets), but this one is sort of for both of us.
Because while her challenges are not my challenges, and my challenges are not her challenges, we both find ourselves living a life way outside that which we aimed for or predicted for ourselves.

I have had people say that I am very brave, that they don’t know how I do it, that I’m some sort of supermum. I don’t really have a choice in the matter. My daughter is autistic, and the world demands that she behave in a way that is not true to who she is. She didn’t ask to be autistic. I tried asking the world to allow her to be her true self, but that really didn’t go well. But that doesn’t make me brave. That doesn’t make me any kind of hero or martyr or any of those things. And telling me that I am those things doesn’t help anybody. Okay, maybe it helps you feel better about yourself, but it doesn’t help Little Person, and honestly, it doesn’t help me either.

It just adds an extra layer of demand on top of a life that can sometimes be quite challenging. It says “you have to fit in this little narrative that I have constructed of what your life is like”. That I have to fight against the dreams that I wanted to have for her, and keep battling for those “normal childhood experiences” that I know we will miss out on. Thanks, but no thanks. Neither of us fit in that box called “normal”, and it took realising that to help me throw away those “normal expectations”.

All this to say that I have tossed out a few of my life metaphors too. “Journey” implies that I’m going where I planned to go. That would be a nope. “Battle” would imply that I am fighting against this reality. That would be a nope (Local Authority and EHCP applications excepted). “Chapter” implies that somehow, there will be an end to this and I can start afresh at some point in the future. Big neon lettered with flashy lights and chocolate sprinkles nope.

I am not brave, because I give up regularly. I am not brave, because I do not have a choice in this life. Or maybe I do. I choose not to resent it (most days). I choose not to judge myself for having bad days (and ditto for Little Person). I choose every day to look at us and say we are beautiful, and valuable, and worthwhile, just as we are.

When I think of what life metaphors I might use, I think of words like emerging, unveiling, growth, revealing, finding, searching, hoping. More and more I am drawn to Bex’s self-descriptor of “Life Explorer”. I might be exploring a land that is a little less hospitable than I had hoped, but perhaps, I can find beauty in unexpected places.

Just don’t tell me I’m brave for being here.

*

#Kale – metaphors (revised)

Kept discrediting metaphors:
Annihilated “Journey”.
Liquidated “Battle” (EHCP excluded)
Exploring “Explorer”. Yes.

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