2024 needs patience and assertiveness (for me)

Filed under: life

I almost didn’t write this, but my friend Dom Griffin made a video where he explained that sometimes, you just gotta do the work even when you don’t want to. So here I am.

I wrote an article called 2017 Needs Brevity And Nuance 7 years ago and while I still think we need both, I want something else in 2024—and mainly for me.

2023 has shown me how impatient we can all be and I’ve definitely felt that thrown in my direction this year. It has caused me stress, anxiety, and exhausted me beyond belief. Sometimes, it was an urgent need for my time or expertise where panic was unwarranted. Or where I struggled with something and needed someone to be patient with me, but got the opposite. With my ongoing journey through autism and neurodivergence as a whole, I’ve noticed things I do that people can find difficult to deal with: mainly how I communicate and my issues with decisiveness. I’m not trying to be weird or make things hard for people; my brain just gets in the way of the best or simplest solution. But while I navigate that, I need people to give me time and space to get there rather than feel like I’m an inconvenience, being weird, or acting like a child. In hindsight, my neurodivergence has been around for decades and I’ve had to learn how neurotypical people act and respond accordingly. So I’m not a weird kid—I’m an adult who just needs some patience to get to where we all want to go. It’s the least I deserve, especially when I actively give that time and space to other people.

And that’s where the need for assertiveness comes in. I went to my first CBT sessions back in 2017 (it was a pivotal year, evidently!) and assertiveness was something that cropped up a lot as something I needed. Elements of it have improved, particularly in work, but I could still do a lot better. In fact, I’ve arguably regressed in certain areas of my life; backing down rather than saying something. I say it’s to conserve energy and while that’s true, there may have been times where I could have dealt with issues better if I’d been assertive rather than passive (or aggressive, another annoying go-to of mine). It’s easier said than done but setting boundaries, being firm in them, and not backing down—even if there are uncomfortable conversations and reactions involved—is ultimately for the best.

Ultimately, I know people see me in a certain way and I have no intention of changing the things that they see. But knowing people treat me differently because of them, in a way I can see and feel, makes me sad. It’s not about wanting to be normal or “not me” (been there, done that), it’s about a wish for patience from others and for people to maybe stop and think about how they act and the impacts those actions have. Wherever we are on the everchanging planes of neurodivergence, we could also use a bit of care and time to ponder and reflect and make life a bit easier to deal with. I want that for me and if that can’t be the default, I’ll firmly prod you with my assertiveness rod until I get it.

But no worries if not, let me know xxx

Another week in Lisbon My Albums of the Year: 2023