“The woods are lovely, dark , and deep but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep. . .” Robert Frost
Turning off emotions that don’t serve me is something I have thought about a lot during my adulthood. I realize that I may have always been quite good at shutting some of my emotions off and I suspect that I became quite adept from an early age. Sometimes I wonder if this is how I was born or if it is learned behavior. I suspect it is a combination of both, but I really don’t know and I guess it doesn’t really matter. The truth is I can turn off some of my emotions automatically. People say I’m stoic. This is a quality that I’ve come to understand about myself after years of seeing it reflected back to me. After years of feeling misunderstood. Like everything else in life, there is good and bad that comes with stoicism. That’s life.
The downside. I have a poker face. So my words are important and I don’t always choose them carefully enough. And people are not usually very good listeners. I am frequently misunderstood. My facial expressions sometimes don’t match my feelings or the words I may be using to express myself. Sometimes I laugh when I don’t mean to at all. This results in miscommunication, hurt feelings, bad blood, disconnection, and feelings of abandonment. It causes me to turn inward to avoid hurting others. And then that hurts them, too. It’s a no win situation really.
The upside. I have a poker face. The only time I really cannot control my face is at times when I am feeling really angry or sad. At these times I might appear to have a little smirk on my face that is misinterpreted as flippancy. This was something that a good friend pointed out to me in high school. I think of it as resting smirk face. I might have gone years longer if she hadn’t pointed this out so kindly. Thank you, Kelly. 💌
Becoming a special education policy expert over the last twenty years means that I have studied evaluations about children as a job, I know that the assessments are helpful for identifying the root cause of some of our challenges. I do think that it will help some people to understand me better if I identify myself. I am actually Autistic. I have not yet been professionally evaluated and I don’t know that I ever will be. The truth is I found out as an adult that when I was a child there were teachers who suspected that I was autistic, but I was never identified as anything by Denver Public Schools other than gifted and talented. I know that I am that, too.
That is irrelevant. I identify myself. I am different. I have a mind like a diamond and I feel mostly invincible. What I do not relate to is my human design being characterized as a disorder. It’s just my human design. I am hopeful that by knowing this people may be able to understand me better and maybe even understand themselves and their children better. I am also hoping that people will forgive me for miscommunications or other challenges that being in relationship with me might present. I am actually extremely ruthful. This is just who I am.
Please know that I intend no offense about the title of this writing. These are words I use about myself to make a point. M.R.S.H. is an acronym that I (and all of my other friends who attended school in Denver Public Schools) learned for the segregated special education students in our schools. It stands for Mentally Retarded and Specially Handicapped. 2E is what students who are “twice exceptional” are labeled today when they are identified as “Gifted” + qualify as a student with a Disability and eligible for special education protections and supports under the IDEA.
The point is…WE ALL BELONG.
At your service,
Dr. L.A.W. Rudofsky, J.D.