Growth & Resilience
22 min readJan 15, 2023

--

Ever since I was a young child, I always saw the world in colors even on my bad days. Even today, I try to look for the best in every situation. Life is about embracing those challenges and our different.

Neurodivergent means that we are different and our brains are wired differently — Implying we process and view the world a little differently. That’s my best definition here. Instead of seeing the world in black and white, everything is different colors and at one end of the rainbow — We see happiness, fairies and unicorns. On the other side of the rainbow, it’s all dark but through our awkwardness, intelligence and creativity — We can brighten up that side of the rainbow and invite even more fairies and unicorns. Whenever I’m upset or just having a bad day, I have a stuffed unicorn and that is what makes me happy the most. It’s like a companion. Since I don’t have my groovy dolls, I have my stuffed unicorn and I love it to pieces. My unicorn gets me and that’s matters right now; my unicorn gets my crazy, messed up mind. As well, my place is everything to me too. I’m surprised that even with my loud outbursts and music during my bad days — I’m surprised I have not been evicted but do not jinx anything. I’m here and it’s my home. I have never called anywhere really home to me before so this is a surprise. I’ve moved around all of my life and I really like where I am and I will do anything to stay here for as long as I can… But then if an opportunity hits, of course I have to move.

At the end of every rainbow will be fairies and unicorns in my special little world.
What is normal anyway? They should remove that word out of the dictionary because none of us are really normal. We’re all a little different. We’re all a little awkward, crazy, special, and that’s okay. Let’s embrace that and just be us.

When I woke up this morning, I wanted to yell at everyone. I woke up somewhat groggy and I remember having a dialogue in my head about the busses being late or the bus smelling like feet. I would never say any of this out loud but I do think this a lot. Why am I even bringing this up? It’s because I get easily upset and angry about the smallest of things. I’ve been like this all of my life and I’m not blaming it on my neurodivergence but it is a part of it.

The thing with my type of ADHD is that I have a short fuse which implies I get very impulsive and hyper from time to time. During work today, my supervisor never told me that I talk a lot but I could sense and almost predict that she thinks I talk a lot. I was also speaking with one of my clients and we were just talking about a TV series and she passed me. Out of nowhere, the supervisor mocked with her hands indicating I talk a lot. Maybe I’m just overthinking. It was a little off setting to me. What can I say though? I’m still new to my organization and I do not want to step on anyone’s toes so I just do my job and that’s it. However, an agency worker who experienced some negative vibes from our supervisor today — She had said something to her. This agency worker didn’t like how she had to do everything with no support. Most supervisors help out and everything but it was just this one supervisor and she didn’t really care or do anything; that’s what it seemed like. I mean, she may have been in a bad mood but our goal at this organization is to meet the needs and wants of our clients and we have to try to at least work together in a team. I’m someone that tries to get a long with everyone and even if I feel a little bit mistreated at work, I won’t say anything. This agency worker said something though and I think that really helped — I have to work on my communication skills as I stutter or I freeze and I ramble incessantly especially when I’m nervous. With people that know me, I’m perfectly okay to hold down conversations. I still struggle but not as much as I do when I talk to authority figures, managers, principals, or supervisors. It’s odd. I did put this a New Year’s resolution type of goal to further work on my communication. I’ve struggled with speaking fluently and even making sense. Sometimes it feels like people are just looking at me and nodding their heads for the sake of it but they have no idea what I’m even saying. It probably comes out as gibberish.

I know whenever I’m at work and it’s early in the morning, I’m always walking into work with a bright smile on my face and I’m eager to take on the day. Although I do burn out a lot which is not too good. By being constantly happy, I’m also masking a lot. Have you ever heard of high masking? High masking is when you have to hide your struggles because you fear asking for help due to shame and scrutiny. Growing up, I’ve been called retarded all of my life. I don’t want to be called this again. No thank you. It’s not the best feeling and it really lowers one’s self esteem. As I mentioned previously, I was not only bullied for having a black mother. I was bullied for having a speech impediment where I was in speech therapy until I was at least twelve years old. I was also bullied because I couldn’t get my words out. I was an easy target and so I came home with bruises, cuts and scrapes on my arms and that was not from me falling — This was from kids not being so nice and they decided to stick their nails into my arms or push me into a brick wall.

I remember during lunch time, this was in elementary school — I was getting my lunch bag from my hallway and, as usual, I would stare at the ground. I did that a lot. I don’t do that anymore. I used to really stare at the ground whenever I was walking and kids picked on me for that too. Anyways, I went to go get out my lunch bag and a bunch of boys had grabbed my lunch bag and threw it in the boys washroom. I was only eleven at the time and I was in tears. I refused to get my lunch box and I basically starved all day.

Whenever I got home from school, my mother would ask me where I got the cuts and/or bruises on my arms. I always hesitated and my responses were always, “I fell.” I would lie and I don’t know why I lied. I’m pretty sure my Mom caught on soon enough because the bullying got really bad in grade six.

I’m bringing all of this up because elementary school was really bad and I’m surprised that there weren’t any assessments for a learning disability then as I displayed all the signs for having a some type of learning disability. Doctors would write in my patient notes to say I have Central Auditory Processing Disorder. Then again, I’m not surprised. I went to school with a lot of Italians, no brown student there — I’m serious. I’m pretty sure nobody took me seriously because my mother was black. I was a mixed kid. I experienced racism towards my mother at the age of 7 years old and when I tried to stand up for my mother who was standing up for me — Nothing happened. Teachers never did anything. The principal was tired of my mom and I. When grade 8 came about, I eventually gave up. I stopped reporting any instances of bullying altogether. I told myself, “what’s the point?” I mean, nobody does anything anyways. This was the year when I had had enough and I just put up with the physical and emotional abuse. This was also the year when everything changed. I was 13 years old and I thought I looked up to my mom but she didn’t really care.

I wanted friends and so I made a profile on Facebook of that popular girl I was telling you about with the initials B. I wanted friends and I wanted to be like this girl. She wasn’t awkward. She was just herself and I admired every quality about her. I stole her profile picture and pretended to be her, little was I aware of the consequences for impersonation that would be coming in the upcoming months. I did this for a year and I’m embarrassed to even talk about it. My mother doesn’t understand why I did it even to this day. But the moment when I stood in front of the judge in a court room —

The judge asked the following, “why did you do what you did?”

The judge continued and asked another question out of confusion and curiosity too. “I’m sure you must have known the consequences of your actions. Why would you impersonate and pretend to be your classmate?”

I was nothing but silent for a long few minutes. When I finally spoke, I slowly got my words out through loads of stuttering. “I w — -wa-a-n-n — -ted f-r-i — e — -n-d-s.”

The judge asked me to repeat what I said once more and I kept repeating myself but the judge couldn’t understand me of course because of the stuttering. I then yelled, “I WANTED FRIENDS” as loud as I possibly could.

The room went silent. The confusion from the judges face went to a blank one and it was like he lost his words. Nobody said anything and it was dead quiet.

The fact I did what I did just to obtain one friend — It’s sad. I wanted to be B. I still talk to B to this day and we laugh about this. The things we do as kids just to fit in. Let me also talk about the comparisons that happen as well. We’re trying so hard to perfect some type of image due to a lack of identity — I still struggle with this — So we mirror other people and we’re unable to form our own identity. I mirrored B and stole her identity because I admired her traits. I wanted to literally be her! I thought at the time B had everything in her life. I was wrong and I soon realized that was an assumption. B had a messed up family life and she was extremely extroverted at school. B would put on a mask and a smile for everyone so we all thought she was happy because of the mask. There was a lot more going on in her home life.

This is what I mean by masking. We still mask every single day — Or so, I mask. I have to pretend that everything is okay for my rental, employment and to just get by in society. I had a conversation with my 12 year old client the other day. It was about masking and how we cannot really show our fears in real life. We have to put on that front and show the world how strong we are in a way.

Let me explain in detail a situation that had happened to me on Thursday, January 12th of 2023 during the evening. I had no choice but to call the police in this situation and I do not normally call the police. I was scared but do you think I was able to show that fear? Absolutely not! On public transit, I was on my way home from my clients residence. I was commuting from a sketchy area and I was just minding my own business. I had literally one ear phone that was working so I had to listen to phone or in-person conversations during my commute. On this one bus, this passenger boards and starts to fight with the driver over bus fare and how he doesn’t have bus fare. The passenger said something about the driver being racist and how this driver does this to him all the time which I doubt but I do not know at the same time. The passenger is yelling very loud and it was at this moment where I wanted to cry, hide underneath my covers and at least have two workable earphones that work. The driver turns off the vehicle and stops it altogether as the escalation gets very intense. That’s when all of us get off the bus. I didn’t even clue in when people were leaving the bus and I eventually did. I was the last person to leave as always.

My processing is very slow. I don’t clue into situations like this. It takes me time to fully process what is going on.

We leave the bus and then another one comes in a few short minutes. That passenger is still arguing with the driver. I ignore it but I did report the abuse to the anonymous bus application, not only for my safety but for everyone else’s too. The other bus comes, I board it and just when I think that passenger is long gone — I realize he is sitting at the back of the bus. I’m unsure how he even got on this bus to be honest. He’s yelling something of some sort on this bus. I purposely tune him out and go to Twitter, realizing that the subway station is nearby and I’m praying that I make it home alive. Out of nowhere, the dude randomely gets up from his seat and where I was sitting — Right in my view next to my seat, the dude punches and attempts to strangle this caucasian dude. I was almost in tears and I was shaking. Everyone gets off the bus. I’m in tears, trying to get off the bus as well with a little struggle. I was trying to climb on top of others but to also stay calm at the same time. I’ve never had something like this happen before a part from my work experiences but I would be de-escalating a crisis within my team so it was a lot better.

I just felt alone. When I tried to call one of my close friends, she didn’t answer and I left a very confusing and concerning voice message. I didn’t know what to do when I eventually got off of the bus and I ran to a nearby house and stayed on their steps. I was pacing back and forth from the houses front steps to the alley way between the two houses. I then made another report with a video of the passenger attacking the other dude and yelling at the dude and the driver. The driver is on his phone likely alerting the authorities. I eventually called 9–1–1 and that was it. I then walked to the subway station. During that walk, I felt a little bit better especially as I was getting farther and farther away from that person. I was able to breathe and relax a bit again.

This is what I mean by masking — Yes, I was scared. I was almost crying. I felt my eyes warm up but I tried hard to hold back the tears. I had to be strong for a few more minutes. I did get home and I broke down crying once I closed my front door. I’m nothing but grateful to be alive. I will, however, avoid that bus route and even the area going forward.

I’ve learned that most of us get diagnosed in late adulthood and it should never be this way. Just because I can maintain a job, my life and who I am — This does not mean I am not autistic or that I do not have ADHD. Autism does not have a look. Anyone can be autistic.

I wanted to go back to the Facebook incident with the impersonation. The end result was a year of probation, and mandated support groups and therapy. As a thirteen year old going on fourteen, I did not really give this too much attention. I had one therapist not even show up to our scheduled session. That same therapist showed up to the next session with bruises all over her. I hope she was okay. That type of image and scenario you just do not forget about. My mother has always been against therapy. She never cared too much about this at all. I had to travel to and from my therapy appointments and I did not have her support or guidance.

I was also expelled from my immediate elementary school and because of what I did, no other school would take me in. I went from attending a catholic school to now a public school which somewhat worked in my favor because I did not have to wear a uniform. My sister and I went to separate schools. I loved that a lot! I was able to make my own friends and just be myself without my sister always checking up on me in her strange, mysterious and protective way. My sister and I had a love-hate type of relationship. We’re not close even today. She’s unemployed and apparently doing drugs. I do hope she is well though. My father screwed up our family.

The Facebook inicident screwed up our family but my family was already messed up long before that… That incident made things worse and my mother never looked at me the same again. My Mom became distant and did not care too much. I think she was burnt out. She would spend long hours at work and would come home in the evening at about 11:00pm. My father was never in the picture — He drank during our upbringing and he still does. He’s a miserable person, physically and sexually abusive, and I do not care too much about him. Even on nights when my sister and I were hungry, he would not care. He would make himself food and neglect his fatherly responsibilities. I went hungry on most nights. My sister and I made seperate meals for the most part. I can’t even remember the last time I had a family meal. It’s been a while.

I’m used to not having a family though. As a result of my upbringing, I try to make my own family through my friends but I’m very selective. It takes a while for me to open up to anyone really. My walls have been up for years since I was thirteen to be honest and the therapy never worked. Therapy only made matters worse.

After the Facebook incident, I changed schools a lot and our family moved from area to the next. We were affected a lot during the 2008 recession as my father’s satellite business went under and the housing market did too; my mother was a real estate agent.

Things got really messed up during my high school years. My sister clued into our family dynamics but I never did. We moved one year to the country side when I was in grade ten with the intention to mend our broken family. This only made matters worse. I enjoyed the country side a lot and I found that the kids were friendlier. My sister got into heavy drugs and would runaway a lot which only caused us to move back to the hometown where I grew up in. My parents constantly fought. My sister had her friends and didn’t care much about me. I barely had friends, struggled in school and I wanted everyone to be happy.

My sister always told me to move out once I turned 18 as she would do the same. I ended up moving out at 20 because I was fed up and did not like my step dad. He’s got anger issues like myself; he is stubborn and he only cares about my mother. Just like my birth father told my sister and I, my step dad told us that he hates kids. You don’t say that period. You keep those type of comments to yourself. He just always had some sort of cocky comment to say. I can’t even explain it. He also had an attitude and a high ego. I’m happy I’m nowhere near him anymore and I refuse to visit my mother because of him. My mom has been brainwashed and it’s pathetic to say that she doesn’t see how much damage she has done towards my sister and I.

Going back to family is created — This is very true. Some of us do not have our families to go to. Some of us grew up in the foster care system and that system sucks at large. I have friends and acquantainces who grew up in that system and I never hear anything good about being in foster care. I mean, you have these families that are supposed to be there, care for and love us.

Isn’t it really all about the money for foster parents?

I’ve read a lot on abuse cases where the children are often neglected. In cases of abuse though, these cases always get dismissed. The family court system sucks too! I have similar experiences myself where my sister and I were always sent back to our home. When I told one teacher about my father hitting me, she reported this to Children’s Aid’s Society as that’s her due diligence. She made that report and CAS investigated our family for a while. The report was dismissed in the end as my father is a liar and he can easily manipulate the system to get what he wants. I eventually gave up and stopped talking about the abuse. I realized that as a kid, I have to just put up with it and that eventually I will be able to move on and hopefully move out.

That’s not true though — When a child is abused, this lives with the child for years. We grow up into adults, carrying these issues with us from low self-esteem, major depression, borderline personality disorder, attachment and abandonment issues, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and even anxiety. When abuse happens towards someone who is not all there with a learning disability — It’s even worse. We’re vulnerable and we do not know what to do.

My upbringing was not the best and I survived it thankfully. Throughout the years, I had God on my side.

I survived my upbringing through years of silence. My mother was never home as I mentioned and on some nights, she would not even come home. In my last two years of high school, she had met that guy who is now apparently my step father and she would abandon her motherly responsibilities for a guy that she did not know.

I was only 16 years old. My sister was 18.

She was never home during these years and that’s when my grades had slipped and everything was a humongous mess. I never even went to my prom. I wanted to unalive myself at 17 years old because I had enough with everything and everyone. The bullying was somewhat there — The bullying was on and off and I would go home to empty walls and my groovy dolls — But a part from my dolls, I still had that empty feeling. On nights when I cried out for my mother, she wasn’t there. On nights when I took long walks in the middle of the night on a school night too, she still was not there.

I befriended an older gentleman in my neighbourhood. He was very nice and he would make me food all the time. I helped him water his flowers, clean his house and this was in exchange for food. I didn’t really know how to cook. Nobody taught me how to cook but myself and that was through experimentation.

I had a park near me and I always went there with one of my closest friends. I still talk to her to this day and I’m actually going to be visiting her in March once the weather warms up. She’s in the Philippines right now and we were very close. Her family used to make me food all the time and they knew about my situation at home too.

I survived through friends, friendly bus drivers and teachers.

This is ultimately my favorite quote.

My friends were my family and my closest friends home was also my home too. I went from being very close to my mother to being distant from her at thirteen years old.

I still feel empty and miserable as a result of everything that has happened. I’ve gone through years of therapy to talk about what I have been through.

I’ve been through a lot in a short few years and my mother was not there. One of my trauma counsellors invited my mother to sit in on therapy — I messaged and left a voice message for her but she never responded. When I went to her house to ask if she wanted to do family therapy, she told me “no. Therapy doesn’t exist. You can’t be miserable all the time. Get over yourself.”

I’ve tried on many occassions to obtain a rapport again with my mother. It was last year in July of 2022 where I eventually gave up because it’s like talking to a brick wall with her. That was my last in-person interaction. I remember crying in front of her and she told me to “suck it up” and “nobody wants to be around miserable people.”

She also added, “this will be your last visit.”

She didn’t even invite me to Christmas. That doesn’t matter though. When I had the decency to message and wish my mother a Merry Christmas, she responded with, “once your happy, then we will get together.” Mother’s should not be messaging this what’s so ever. I will never fake my happiness in front of my family.

I no longer have my mother’s number as she is no longer someone I want to know. I’m going to stop talking about her now because I can feel the tears coming on. But my last point — She’s a stranger to me.

Again, family is created and it takes me a long time to open up to people. One of my favorite persons — I never trusted him at the beginning. This took a long time to build the trust and I would always go on about him wanting to hurt me.

I’ll put it this way —

My guard was constantly on the defense. I was scared especially because he’s older but I soon realized in the coming months how he only wants good things for me. I realized and I still realize that he’s in a better mind space than I am but that could be an assumption. I don’t really know how he’s doing.

We never really know about someone else’s battles. We should never assume.

Anyways, he was just there and I’m nothing but grateful because he’s still like a big brother to me. Whenever I meet people, I do remember the interaction but, for the most part, I don’t.

This person made a difference in my life and I am thankful because I was able to think more about my life, who I am really and how I can go on about a few things. I’m not making much sense and I’m struggling to write this part.

I have a lot I wish I can say to my favorite person. Even though we’re not on talking terms and I don’t think he’ll ever talk to me again because I messed up. The one person that actually got me to talk about my issues and everything — I think I burnt him out. I would stupidly get my close friend to talk to him because I’m scared. I’m scared to talk to him and I don’t know what to do and I would sometimes catch myself riding the bus to his area where it purposely passes by his house. I just know he’ll never talk to me again. I deserve it.

I’ve never once had a family or really anywhere to call home. Where I live right now is home but I’m always doubtful that it won’t last or whether or not I’ll be able to afford my rent because the struggle is real every day and I just have myself in this world.

Again, the only person that really got me to open up was my favorite person and even if we don’t talk for eternity, he will still be in my heart and someone that I care about a lot.

I’m not just saying that. You know every time I get home from work, I would imagine my favorite person sitting outside my place on my chairs. He was there on one night when I was in a crisis like state and I wanted to unalive so badly. I was in crisis as a result of someone on this Discord platform website and I had enough basically. This same person would go into Twitter spaces and every time I wanted to speak, she would speak. I’m the type of person that allows this type of behavior to happen to a point where it sends me into a crisis like state. I’m quite but observant at the same time. I take in a lot of crap from people in this life but I don’t say anything. Because this user saw my face on a video through that platform, I stayed in the Discord community that we were in. I had left that community after my crisis because I realized that her problems are not mine and all she was doing was projecting her insecurities onto me. My favorite person actually recommended that I get rid of Discord altogether and I did exactly that.

He was there when no one else was and he never had to be there for me that night. He was there when no one was there. When I cried on my kitchen floor for someone, even a sign, for someone to just be there — He was at my door with a cane and a broken ankle. I didn’t even know him and he was just there. Nobody forced him to stay. I barely remember that night but I’m nothing but grateful. I don’t think I would have been alive if it weren’t for him.

I don’t normally cry when it comes to anyone really except if they mean a lot to me and I don’t know how to describe how this person means to me. But they mean a lot. There’s a lot of regret, shame, heaviness, and pain in my heart and I wish there was a re-do button.

I wish I was not so screwed up and that I was at least assessed for a learning disability early on in school. Nobody ever took me seriously but this one person. My close friend never even took me seriously. I feel like she laughs at me over everything I say or do. I always get mad anxiety and butterflies in my stomach whenever I talk to her. I don’t think she wants anything to do with me anymore. On some days, I wish I can just get onto a train and travel to wherever it takes me.

But in life, you have to face your challenges and struggles head on. For my New Year’s resolution, I promised myself to start up my blog writing again because this has been a lifelong goal and I know I can write but I doubt myself all of the time.

Writing is also an outlet.

I find it’s easier to write everything down even if may not make much sense than to verbally say it out loud —

I’m pretty scared in real life and I put up a front every day. I even put up a front with my favorite person even on nights when we would hang out. Our last memorable experience together was Niagara Falls and it was great. I will never forget about this as they’re memories and I can make a scrapbook of those memories. I don’t erase good people from my life. I can only hope that in time, we will re-unite and talk.

I need my walls to come down a little bit but it’s hard as I have a lot to work on but I don’t know where to start. I have trust issues. I struggle every day to even grasp a conversation and to communicate what I need and want — I even struggle with this at work but nobody can see those struggles which is very frustrating.

You know what they say though?

Where there is struggle, there is strength. We have to keep fighting the good fight.

You have to look fear in the face and just tell it to “shut up.” Just do it anyways.

--

--

Growth & Resilience

If life were easy, we would not be living life correctly. Life is about constant growth & overcoming challenges and obstacles along the way.