So, where to from here? What is 2021 done for me? Well, it has opened my eyes to understand myself to see that I’ve had hidden for 53 years it has unmasked some of my strengths and let me acknowledge some of my weaknesses. It has allowed me to embrace who I feel I am. It has let me feel comfortable in my own skin. I feel really empowered and alive. I know that I haven’t always, but I really feel like things are coming together.

My being diagnosed with dyslexia, having Irlen syndrome, possibly having ADHD and being accepted into a community of practice while undertaking Masters.  Being part of the community in my workplace, opening up and not feeling embarrassed about who I am or what I’ve achieved or not achieved—noting that if I slip up or feel like I’ve slipped up, it’s okay. I’ve acknowledged this year that when I feel like I’m hiding my neurodiversity or if someone points out to me some grammar or spelling that is not correct, my struggles become even more real. I get it now my dyslexic behaviour becomes even heightened. If I feel like I’m being undermined, my senses become overloaded. This year I don’t feel like I’m being watched or judged. (MUCH)

I need to change that. I need to stop that. That is because that is old, that’s old stuff, I feel alive now. I know my capabilities; I know my workarounds. I have a community of people living my journey with me and helping me understand where I’ve come from, see where I’ve come from, and support me just as much as I support them.  Having neurodiversity—and acknowledging that there’s a word for what I have that and understanding what that word means has made me feel alive and awake.

Also, acknowledging we all might be similar diagnoses (dyslexic, ADHD), but our similarities can sometimes be very different from each other. The name, the conditions, or the behaviour that we feel can be very different, and maybe that’s because being 53, I’ve got/made some strategies have my own “workarounds”. I have decided I should stop using some of them now; as I am opening up and trying not to be afraid, I can let some of them go, the ones that are more a defence mechanism or a reaction – I can let them go!

I have to soldier on, and I no longer need to guard myself. I will embrace my new “workarounds” and maybe create others on my journey. I don’t know. Perhaps 2022 will lead me to unleash more things. Who knows, I feel the world is my oyster, and I can get out there; I want to get out there, I want to stand up for what I believe in. I want to stand up for being different and not feel like I’m being judged for being different. I also have to remember not to judge others, as not everyone will be on the same pathway I am.

Yeah, 2021, I feel alive. I feel like I get to know myself all over again. I am feeling alive. The world through my eyes is changed.