Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

“I am not Enough”—is that true?

I loved this story.

For a year I’ve struggled resisting a thought that has come to me as criticism and became specially painful last month:

“Maria is holding Joaquin back; she’s not enough to educate and heal him”.

I know—yet forgot—that any criticism that hurts points to a belief inside me that needs checking. So in my darkest moments, when inspiration is temporarily low, when the outside world shows me a limited present and future, when I feel like I’ve failed at accomplishing what I expected I would, when I think Joaquin is “stuck”, I notice that my vision for his future has morphed into a very dark picture where I can’t see all the brilliance, potential, and promise he has always shown me. So although Joaquin is different than the child in the article, I relate so well to the painful anguish her mother explains. I know now that “Maria is holding Joaquin back; she’s not enough to educate and heal him” was always the fuel behind my dark times.

It took effort and focused dedication to reconnect with myself and truth, and yesterday I felt out of the darkness for good. Inspiration and ideas started to flow like in the good times, until “You’re over your head” came up to test me again. This time I was ready. Ready to notice it hurt, but rather than separate myself from the messenger, realize that it was an opportunity to go deeper and check again: Am I over my head? Am I wrong? Am I holding him back? Am I not enough to do what I’m doing?

I went in. I asked. I learned. I saw the pieces where I continue to believe I am providing the right stuff for Joaquin. I saw the pieces where I agree that outside help would be useful. I made a list to check on each of them.

And the point of all these thoughts I share here is that now I know I am only holding Joaquin back when my thoughts see him small and limited. I only hold him back when I fear for his future. I am not enough to do this only when I believe that “I am not enough”. But right now, looking back at what has happened last year in Joaquin’s development and inspired by the curriculum I’ve gotten for this next year, I feel capable and confident. I am enough. Right now. And I am very open to keep checking every time somebody tells me I’m not. I’m very open to see when I cease to be enough and something new and better comes our way.

Part of the curriculum for Joaquin and I this year is to strengthen our voice, and one way to practice this is to give verbal presentations to each other and to the world; to share our work and our thoughts fearlessly. So in the coming days I’d like to share my report for all the gains Joaquin did last year at home. I am so proud of him and myself for all he gained and the path we started. And I also want to share what I’ve been inspired to pursue in the next months with him. It’s going to be another rich year for us… Another year in the road less traveled, which still scares me. It goes against all my security programming. And yet that is where the expansion is.

For years I’ve been called to walk on this road, with promises and guidance that only manifest when I get quiet and centered. It isn’t easy folks, and I have to believe that it is, however, purposeful and it is building all the goodness in the world. The “construction” is not complete; it probably will be visible in some years, and the only way to see it right now is with the eyes of love… With the eyes of God.

Wearing a t-shirt that reads 'Blazer of Trails, Bender of Rules, Buster of Moves, Force of Nature'
Joaquin and Joey got this shirt for me. I feel like Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons :)
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