Today is my 2nd anniversary of being fluent with Tara! And I want to mark it by sharing an important shift in how I view myself.
As many apraxic folks do, I have long struggled with my body. I came to view it as an unruly opponent, an obstacle to all I wanted to do. I felt trapped as it reacted to anxiety and stress, a passively afraid mind in a disruptive body.
But after several months of working on my mind and motor, through therapy, occupational therapy, mindfulness practice, and trying so many new things with my sisters and friends, I started to notice a shift in how I feel about my body. I felt really proud of it! I saw that it can do a lot if taught the right way. And I wanted to be kind and loving with it, to take care of it and appreciate it.
It is not easy to take care of my body with my compulsions, especially with food. But I am trying to work on that by setting myself up for success through asking my family to assist me in healthier habits and practices, like no tortilla chips at Mexican restaurants, cutting my meal into portions and putting part of it in a takeout container at the start of a meal out, not baking as often at home, etc. And I asked them and my support team to help me build an exercise routine, and to help me practice motor skills that are tough for me.
All of this has boosted my confidence, in my body, my mind, and my sense of agency. I know I can do so much more for me than I ever suspected, and that my disability is not as limiting as I had assumed. I know I will always struggle at times, but I feel more empowered in that struggle. I also know that many of my peers face more significant motor challenges, and I am not broadly representative of nonspeaking autistics in this regard. But I am so hoping that my shift in perspective is helpful to someone out there.
Here are photos of me working to love my body. And yes, that includes the occasional cheeky pastry on a lovely outing 😉