Beauty in the darkness - something personal

Dearest readers,

Rather than being inspired by a word or phrase today, usually resulting in a title, I have been inspired by a photo, below:

River Isère in Grenoble, December 2012
I haven't looked through this album in many years, as I had a very dark time when I lived in Grenoble and for many years well, until I started my new course of study) I carried many regrets of what I didn't do, what I could have done, what I should have done. Funnily enough, it is my extended visit to Grenoble which starts off my journey I am currently on regarding autism and also my journey with Jesus. It was after my return I became angry with injustice, confused as to why I could not cope like others (although it had been bubbling up for a while) and thirsty to help and teach. It took me a while to reorientate towards a less aggression based angle where I was not only hurting myself less and not burning myself out beating myself up not only for failing one of my dreams since I was 12 (living in France, I felt like my dream had been crushed and shattered to a million pieces) but also erupting with anger at the injustice I had experienced. At the time, I did not see the image above: a beautiful winter day surrounded by the French Alps, a true winter chill rather than the damp excuse we get over here and everything looking so picturesque. It struck me: it's truly a beautiful scene and the city itself is lovely. (I have 200+ photos backed up somewhere and on Facebook). I used to be the type that would always carry a digital camera until I got a smart phone after my return from Berlin and would document how things looked and what I experienced; all the small things that you see throughout the day like what trams I got, the walks I went on, the food I ate. I was also much better at uploading them too, as I'm pretty useless at scheduling time to sit and sync my phone and laptop for things like that now.

It is truly quite a lovely scene which I just did not see and I have to admit, I didn't see until about half and hour ago when I browsed through my own timeline and photos. Then it struck me: beauty in the darkness. It was there all along, a small glimmer of beauty and hope in a time that I find hard to put to words for various reasons, for the nature of them but also because I'm better at info dumping - I often wish I had a HDMI cable so I could share images with others via there rather than having to struggle them out in such a laborious manner. It might not seem that nice to everyone as a photo, but I honestly do not remember taking this photo and seeing it is such a nice surprise and a reminder of (theology alert) God's love for me. I know not all my readers share my faith nor my walk in life yet it is uncanny that I fall across this photo. I don't think I'd even got that far through the album before. I didn't see it at the time because I wasn't looking for it. 

How can this link to the work I do now? Other than this extended visit (which is a very neutral way of putting it), this place was the propellant as I said earlier. I had to wait a further 3 years (coming this November) for the realisation I could not squeeze myself into a mould that doesn't fit me any more, including 2 jobs, another stint abroad and more dreams to be shattered. But in all honesty, this may well have been preparing me for what I do now: replacing the things I thought would fit me and work for me with something that is actually a much better fit and (theology alert) that God knew would fit me better. I think I might have clung so hard to the idea of being a linguist that it literally had to be wrenched from me. This is not to say that an autistic person can't try and succeed at what I did - it just wasn't right for me. Given the heterogeneous nature of autism, we cannot be all the same. This just was not the path that was the best fit for me. We must not impose ideals onto others, but see them as people with plans for the future, aspirations and skills. We can do this, irrelevant of our faith - this is seeing people as human, a fundamental need. 

I have learnt that my voice is valid and my experience should not be passed on by. I have learnt what I need may slightly differ in terms of support from family and friends, but that is OK. I have learnt that anxiety does have a larger stake in my life than it ought to, and knowing that means I can manage these thoughts. I have learnt that communication is not only verbal and that I need to give myself time and space to express myself in a way that works for everyone, including me. I have learnt that I am not broken for perceiving the world in a different way, when I seem to be in the minority. I have learn that if someone says I have no empathy, that they are mistaken - they do not see what is burning inside and that is their problem. I have learnt it is OK to be quiet, shy and reflective and do things that make me happy. I have learnt that I am better off in the UK for the moment. I am still learning how to deal with aggression and conflict. I have learnt how much God loves me. 

For a place which has so many negative memories attached to it, I can say I was glad to find this photo and to see the beauty shining through. Thank you. <3 



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