Practicing self care can be a challenge for a lot of Autistic people. We are constantly told that the way we use our downtime, or the things that we enjoy are not okay. I have spent a lifetime unlearning how to be my natural self, but the last few years since my son came along, we are learning together that practicing self care in Autistic ways is just as valid as any other way…..
My son is homeschooled and finds learning the most enjoyable when he is allowed to pursue his own interests and build upon them. Recently, he became interested in learning about notable women and various feminist icons. I was very excited when he wanted to learn more about Frida Kahlo, who is a favorite of mine!
He enjoys learning about unconventional people in general, which is why I think that Frida Kahlo sparked his interest. We talked about some of her paintings and about her life as a disabled woman of color and how all of these intersections impacted her art. We have enjoyed thinking about her symbolism and our own interpretations of her art. Most of all, we have just enjoyed looking and the feelings that her art inspires in us.
F’s favorite Frida Kahlo painting, “Self Portrait With Thorn Necklace And Hummingbird”.
We thought it would be fun to take a break from our daily routine and practice a little bit of self care inspired by Frida Kahlo and do our own self portraits. While my son is a fast worker, I like to take my time, so mine is still not quite finished yet…….
“Self portrait of F in front of a dragon cave with orbs”
Unfinished self portrait of me, a close up of the also unfinished face because the rest is not anywhere near ready to share!
We talked about the other ways that we like to practice self care. My son enjoys watching videos of his favorite video games “to get better at them”. He like snuggling with his cat, Sweet Dee, and playing Scrabble with me in our quiet place.
Our Scrabble board, where we don’t care about rules and “gigapyro” is a legit word
F, snuggling with Sweet Dee!
Self care= being outside and creating magical spaces like this fairy garden in our front yard. Yes, fairies are real!
For me, self care is the ability to be outside in nature, hiking in the woods or at the beach and we are so lucky to live near both!
F and I, on a hike last summer posing by a sign near Wallace Falls that says “Come into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher. “ -W Wordsworth
Self care also means surrounding yourself with people who understand you and support you. Just being with good friends or talking to them is a way for me to process and regroup.
My awesomely beautiful friend Leah Kelley and I (with Elmo!)
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” -Audre Lorde