Friday, April 9, 2010

Too cheerful, too maudlin, too too much!

Someone, an acquaintance who barely knew me, once accused me of being overly cheerful and optimistic in light of my sons demands and disabilities.
I'd gone from feeling that my daily routine bored everyone to tears, that some might feel that I was moaning too much and now I was 'too cheerful'.

My mother had always drummed into me to present a cheerful face to the world, that 'you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar' and how no one liked to listen to people moaning about their lot in life.
So, to make sure I didn't get labelled as a Whinging Wilma behind my back I made a determined effort to be upbeat and happy, to be ready with a quick joke and a smile or a laugh.
Brush over the struggle with our son, make light of it, change the subject onto something light and fluffy.
Be thought of as shallow.
And now someone who'd known of my existence on this Earth for all of a nanosecond had judged me and found me wanting, as I was 'too cheerful'.
She even questioned my son's diagnosis, stating that any parent 'with such a handicapped child couldn't possibly find anything to joke about'.
How abouts smacking me across the face next time, toots, it would have the same effect!
I stood there with my jaw on the ground looking for all the world like an idiot, too shocked at her rudeness to shoot back a suitable reply.
So, do parents with kids on the Spectrum 'putting a good face on it' render our struggle less valuable in the eyes of the media and society?
Have we got to jump through hoops and put on a circus sideshow for others' entertainment to justify funding or donations towards early intervention?
Where is the happy middle ground where we can vent our frustrations, stress and angst without superficial acquaintances complaining that we're 'too maudlin' (yes, I've copped that accusation, too, make up your minds, people!) ?
Maybe that's why we gravitate to each other, us parents exploring the Spectrum with our kids, as we speak the language, we know the difficulty behind each innocently-seeming statement.
Someone with no inkling of the Spectrum would never appreciate "Johnny picked up a spoon today" or the blood, sweat and tears that got Johnny to the place where he could pick up a spoon.
Perhaps I'm trying to say ... if we parents seem too cheerful or too maudlin don't go getting all judgment day on us; at the end of the day you see a spoon as a mere utensil whereas we see it as our personal mountain to climb.
Such is the adventure of the Spectrum.


Fen said...

I tend to ignore people who make baseless statements like that, as they really have no idea what you're like. Nothing wrong with being cheerful and optimistic, far better than all the negative nancy's in this world!

Ro said...

Thanks, Fen :)
I do try to ignore these 'outspoken' (read rude) people who have less social inhibitions than people on the Autistic Spectrum but it's the sheer arrogance that amazes me.

antikva said...

I am also one of those annoying glass 1/2 full, she'll be right people that the sads whine at for being Miss Pollyanna.

I've found the people who say things to you are usually those who have opinions and no one to listen to them. Usually because they've driven people away with their self absorbed view of the world that they impose on others.

Ro said...

Thanks, Antikva, it never hurts to be cheerful and happy :)

Madmother said...

I would have probably been speechless too. What an idiot - where did she get qualification to judge: Morons R Us?

People tend to be cautious around me. I have a tendency to verbally anihilate before realising it was not the best thing to do.
Must learn to use the gritted teeth smile more often.

In case you haven't guessed, I really like your style. ;)