By Gretchen Leary
Photo credit: Per Ardua Photography
This is one of those defining moments in my life where you stick your toe in and take a deep breath before you just dive in. Sometimes being true to who we are and owning every little piece of who we are can seem more frightening than anything else in the world.
This month I spent hours trying to think of just the right brave thing to do this month. I have a few items that are more of a physical adventure on my list for you guys that I’m excited about that I’ll write about later this year. But this month? Speaking my truth and being real about who I am so that others can feel they can as well is where it’s at right now.
I grew up believing I needed the picket fence, 2.5 kids, and possibly a minister for a husband.
Maybe we would have a farm house and I would finally learn how to walk and dress with grace and elegance. Maybe my social awkwardness would fade. It isn’t that I still dream about that farmhouse and that family. I still very much want most of those things. In fact, I’ve wanted at least most of those things so badly I was willing to deny part of who I am to find them and lost myself in the process.
During a long heart to heart with a friend over Chinese food in the last week, I realized something kind of magical:
I realized the freedom of just being myself.
I realized I could stop apologizing to all the men in the (not-so) magical world of dating for having dated women in the past, for having tattoos, all while loving God too. I realized that it doesn’t matter if people understand; It matters that I am true to myself.
Being on the Autism Spectrum, comes at a cost sometimes. One of those costs is really awkward first dates. I often call those moments my “Bridget Jones moments”. But I realized I am the one holding me back by apologizing for my truth. It’s on me for not trusting that the right person (my person), regardless of their gender, will love all of that and more about me. I realized how much more confident I will be now that I’ve updated my profile and just spoke my truth.
Those who don’t like it, can kindly swipe left.
I remember thinking “Who is going to get that I love to pray and talk about faith and that I’m bisexual and have tattoos?” The flood of old messages I once received about repentance from men flooded my mind as I began to type this article.
This piece isn’t about religion or politics. It’s a piece of encouragement to embrace who you truly are in whatever that means to you. Whether that means you’re a gamer who likes to wear pink, a surfer that likes to talk about cat magazines, or you like to put gummy bears in your oatmeal—whatever it is that makes you unique—own it.
There’s something so powerful about speaking our truth and being who we truly are.
So here we are and this is me. I’m a bisexual woman who has Autism Spectrum Disorder. I’m a woman who still wants that farmhouse and maybe not 2.5 kids but definitely at least one. I’m a woman who is passionate about serving others and loves deep talks. I work part time running a non-profit and being a life coach. My family and friends mean everything to me. I don’t like socks and I’m also now slightly curious about how gummy bears might taste in oatmeal.
Okay, your turn.
What ways can you show the world who you are? What beautiful qualities about you have you kept hidden? Those are often the qualities that might change the world one person at a time. Yes, let’s speak our truth. Who are you?
If you liked this post, you may also like:
- More “Being Brave” essays by Gretchen Leary
- Self-Care ideas by Autistics FOR Autistics
- Why Autistics are Your Compass to Best Resources
- Hear Our Spectrum of Voices Comic
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