For real…..

My way of coping with Oscar’s Autism diagnosis, as devastating and life altering as that was for me, was to focus on the good. The achievements, the fun, the joy. Which is fine most days. But I’m starting to think I’m only managing this by under acknowledging the harder side of our lives. At least openly and on public forums such as this blog and social media.

Today we had a trip to a zoo, that Oscar knows well (we have an annual pass). It started in the car. He didn’t “like” the zoo. He wanted to drive a train (!? not ride in a train, actually drive one!) He then wouldn’t allow me to look at him during the journey. When we arrived he refused to walk. We tried to stand our ground, which only incited screaming and tears. Eventually it became dangerous to continue (we were in the car park) so we capitulated. We then had to go to the membership hut to sort out my pass. He didn’t want to be in there, so started growling and hitting out at me. I then had to have a photo taken for my pass. I thought I was smiling. The photo is just someone grimacing.

We finally got him into the park and headed straight for the little train that runs around the zoo. It was the only thing we did he seemed to get any pleasure from all day. He acknowledged all of about three animals, two of which he only looked at because he insisted I voice them. Today I got to be a Bison and a Tapir. But today he didn’t run from enclosure to enclosure as he usually does. Mostly he ran straight past them without a second glance, while we tried to keep up. We managed to get some lunch, then he wanted to go the park. Now Oscar usually reserves his hostility for me when we’re out, but today he just started being incredibly rude and aggressive to other children. And that was as much as I could take. I manhandled him off the slide and we made our way back to the car, using the land train. Because he wanted to be carried and neither of us had the energy.

Sat on the land train, Ben looked at me and asked if I was OK. I answered that I was sad. And it hit me how rarely I acknowledge my negative emotions out loud. Oscar’s behaviour today, whether he’d been able to control it or not, had broken my heart. Publicly. I try so hard to be positive and to bend myself to his needs that I have to spend an equal amount of energy to keep the negativity at bay, all without admitting that’s what I do. And quite frankly it’s exhausting.

I should be my son’s biggest cheerleader, but I feel like I can only do that by denying the side of him I just can’t cheer on.

His diagnosis has left me without the ability to turn round and say publicly, “do you know what, my kid’s been a proper shit today and I can’t cope”. I can’t bitch about his behaviour because for most of the time, he doesn’t get it the way other children might. And as an SEN parent I can never admit I’m not coping. Steely determination and the ability to cope in situations that others tell me would have them on their knees (literally, I get told this A LOT) means I feel like I have an expectation (others? mine?) to live up to. What can I say, I’m a people pleaser!

But the truth is, today my son has been a proper shit and I don’t feel like I’m coping very well at all.


Am I ready for T2 Trainspotting?

A friend of mine shared this this morning

She said it was for anyone who had the poster on their wall, obsessively played the soundtrack on their CD player and “lived and breathed this film”. And that was me. I loved the original Trainspotting. It was probably the first film with truly adult themes, that I found and made my own. And I think a lot of my generation felt the same. We were obsessed. At the beauty and the horror. Because after all, what’s more horrifying than real life?

But that was 20 years ago. A long time past. I haven’t watched, or even thought about Trainspotting in years. In fact I think the last time it even crossed my mind, was on hearing that Danny Boyle was directing the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. A fleeting “wasn’t he the guy that directed Trainspotting” moment and I moved on. Because Trainspotting and everything about it lived in the past. My past.

So I was really thrown, when I found they’d made a sequel. A real sequel, with the same cast, playing the same characters dealing with real 21st Century shit, the way the real people do. 20 years on in their lives. I can’t say I was happy or sad or excited or reviled. Thrown really was the best way to describe it. And that surprised me.

Part of me really, really wants to see this film. I watched the trailer and it really does look like it’ll break you and entertain you in equal measure, as much as the first ever did. But part of me really, really doesn’t. That part of me just wants to believe Renton got away and lived happily ever after. I know life doesn’t happen like that, we never truly get to out run our past, but that part of me, that 17 year old, 18 year old part of me, who was innocent and naive and hopeful, she still wants to believe we can break away and start again. This film meant so much to me at the time. It broke my heart and gave me hope. Hope in a time when things were bad in my own life. Not as bad as those depicted in the dirty streets of Glasgow I’ll grant you, but bad enough that I wanted to get away. Far away.

And I almost want to protect her naivety. Let her live in blissful ignorance. That the happy ending is all it was and all it takes. I want to shout at the filmmakers “You pulled me in with my suspension of disbelief long enough to care about these characters. To care that good stuff happened to them. So why are you now trying to show me that actually life happened to them? I don’t want to see Cinderella arguing with Prince Charming or having to take a crap with the door open because the kids are screaming at her. I can see that in real life ‘ta very much!”

Or maybe it’s this quote from Robert Carlyle

“I tell you, this film is going to be quite emotional for people. Because the film sort of tells you to think about yourself. You are going to be thinking: ‘Fuck. What have I done with my life?’”

Robert Carlyle, NME

And maybe I’m just too scared of what the answer might be.