Saturday, August 12, 2023

"Confessions from Underwater"

Dear Reader, 

It's been a minute since I posted something new on this blog. I want to update you on what we have been up to,  and fill you in on my plans for the future.

Last week, Kendal came home for a visit for the first time since he moved to L.A. We have traveled to see him several times.  Between the pandemic and his sporadic work schedule, it was harder for him to travel. 

Kendal, Me & Cole 

2021 was a rough year all around, because of Cole's mental health,  adding Kendal back into the mix would have been spontaneous combustion. I have driven myself into the ground for these boys for many years. Now, I know my limits. Even though it's hard, I have learned I must have boundaries. If I didn't press the brakes, I would be completely broken by now.

2022 was the year for Kendal's crisis. Managing him from a distance was hell for me. I traveled back an forth to Los Angeles as often as I could. What used to be an enjoyable thing (going home and seeing my friends and family) became a bit of a nightmare. Both in L.A. and from Texas, I worked to pull resources together to help him get support.  When I was at the end of my rope, I sent his father out there to help. He was shaken when he got home after seeing what a bad place Kendal was in mentally. Alan's visit pushed me into action to go back to L.A. and put a fire under the Los Angeles Regional Center to put together a plan of support. I may or may not have had to consult Disability Rights California to make things happen. 

2023 has also been challenging for Kendal, but at least I knew that he was safe and has a caseworker who works with him several days a week.  He lives close enough to my brother and sister for additional support. He also has an angel of a friend who loves and supports him. 

He has grown in many ways but still has a long road ahead to realize his big dreams. I must say, I admire his resilience. Since he left home, he has been brave enough to move to two different cities (San Antonio and L.A.).  He learned to navigate both cities on his own. All while I questioned my decision to keep him in L.A. Every.Single.Day.  I cried myself to sleep many nights. Figuring out the line between supporting and rescuing is not an easy task for any mother.

Kendal & Alan, 8/23

Kendal is doing better now, thank God! It's still quite the job to make sure that he continues getting help from government resources like Social Security Disability. It seems their job is to make things difficult so that you will just give up. That's not an option for me. I constantly fight the thought of what happens to him when I die. This is why I try to teach him survival for when that day comes. I live for the day, he can become self-sufficient and not have to depend on beurocracy. 

While he was in Austin, we drove up to Dallas so he could meet his nephew, Cayden and see  his brother Adrian and Jasmine's new home.

Here at our house, he still wakes up at the crack of dawn. I do not. This time, he didn’t wake me up stomping down the stairs and slamming cabinets shut in the kitchen. He made his coffee quietly and sometimes left the house before I woke up.  He was not disruptive at all! I’ll take this as a small win and will welcome him home more often. He and Cole spent one on one time together and it was beautiful. 

He took the iniative to get together with several of his friends while he was here, including his favorite school administrator, Denise Geiger. She has worked with him since he was in 8th grade. He was one of her most demanding students, and now, they are friends. Denise has first hand knowledge of how difficult Kendal can be. She has to hold boundaries as well. Ultimately, she loves, cares and does not give up on him. He obviously feels the same about her. 

Kendal & Denise 

Cole is 24 now. He doesn’t like to draw attention to himself. He is the exact opposite of his two brothers. 

Seeing him smile makes my heart ♥️ happy because we don’t see it often. In fact, in this past couple of years, he completely lost his smile even though he was making a lot of progress in his life.

He is now working as a certified Mental Health Peer Specialist in Travis County. This can mean working with a challenging population of clients dealing with mental illness and/or recovery. 

I am highly impressed with his self-awareness. He knew something was off with his ability to feel emotions and ability to focus. He researched and figured out what he needed, and went to his doctor with a plan for change. He asked for my support to back him up in his meeting with her. This is progress because he usually likes to do things on his own. I am glad that he trusted me. He has figured out when he needs support and when he doesn't. 

THIS smile is worth a million dollars. Meet Uncle Cole and his nephew Cayden. Cayden makes all of us smile. Notice  Cayden’s hand on Cole’s face. Sweet!

Writing and Growing 

I'm taking a new direction with writing. I'm inching my way toward publishing a memoir. In December of 2022,  I won the New Voices Showcase  for the University of Texas, Austin, Hogg Foundation, and in April of 2023, I was published again by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. The response to these two essays, and the fact that I was paid, gave a much needed boost to my confidence. I am now a part of the "Writers Circle" for the foundation. 

In July of this year, 2023,  I launched a subscription newsletter, "Confessions from Underwater," on SUBSTACK.  This is my pet project right now.  If you support me by subscribing, you will never miss a post because it will come directly to your email inbox. Signing up for a paid subscription ($5.00 per month) will help support my ongoing writing.  

Paid subscribers will have access to special perks such as subscriber-only posts, private community chats, and first access to excerpts from the memoir. You will be a part of thecore audience to give me feedback and help shape the memoir.  You also have the option to subscribe for free which still helps me build my audience. 

I've been writing here on this blog at no cost to my loyal readers since 2009. It was my therapy and survival mechanism while raising my sons through their teen years and transition into adulthood. Every second of writing here was well-spent. It helped me grow.  It helped me stay sane. It was my community service to other parents of autistic children and made so many of you feel less alone in the world.  This Blog and the support community are among my life's greatest accomplishments. 

My goal is to grow my readership audience and have more control over distribution and marketing for my writing. I can no longer rely on the algorithms of social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram to market my writing. 

If you would to see me publish a book with a traditional publisher or by self-publishing, I need to have the ability to reach out to you directly. Publishers want to know that you can sell books before they give you a book deal. Self-publishing is also a significant investment of time and resources. It's good to know the potential success of a book before you spend years writing it. The more extensive my email list, subscribers, and followers on Social Media, the better chance of successful publication. 

I am forever grateful for my loyal readers for supporting me all of these years. However you decide to support me in the future will help me continue to grow. 

It turns out, you are never finished raising and supporting your kids who are on the spectrum, even when they become adults. The financial impact is lifelong. 

I also continue to be the primary caregiver for my mother. Time that could be spent working to earn a salary is dedicated to helping manage the lives of three adults. I appreciate however you can support my endeavors. 

With so much love, 


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Sunday, September 11, 2022

Conversation with God

 Dear God, Creator of the Universe, 

I appreciate you. 

You see my family out here in the struggle to make it through. 

The signs are all around us. 

We are blessed by your favor. 

Your angels appear out of nowhere. 

They watch out for us. 

They nurture and take care of us in the most unexpected ways. 

A few months ago, you brought a special angel into my son’s life. 

I know this was your doing.

There’s no other way to explain it. 

I hate the situations he has lived through for the past two years. 

Where he lives now is especially unsavory. 

It’s a stressful environment. 

It has such a negative impact on his mental health.   

One day out of nowhere, he decided to move from the house he was living in near USC into a sober living house in North Hollywood. 

I was totally surprised. 

He never told me that he applied for this place. And he tells me everything…so much more than I want him to. Even when he lies, and he does that a lot lately, he ends up telling the truth on himself days later. 

Sober house? 

He is and always has been sober.

Yes. He is in the throes of some mental health challenges. 

One might even call it a crisis.

I can only guess that he wanted a place that felt safer than the boarding house where he was living at the time. 

We now know that house near USC was heaven compared to where he lives now in Koreatown.

Of course, if you can’t get along with people, you will have trouble living anywhere where other humans dwell.

For him, the fewer humans, the better. The fewer people to fight with. 

One Sunday, a few months ago while he was living in the sober house, he left the property to attend his church in Hollywood. 

When he came back to the train station in North Hollywood near the sober house, there was one of your angels waiting for him at the train station. 

She was with a friend, a male. 

The two of them were there “evangelizing.” 

They saw Kendal with his bible getting off the train and started talking to him. 

Lord, you know that I have issues with extreme religion because of my lived experience growing up. 

The religion Mom got us involved with was extremely invasive faith. 

I know she had her reasons. She was looking for a support system after my father left. 

There were good things about it that helped mold me into the person that I am today. 

I definitely learned the bible.

We damn near had to recite it and then go door to door preaching it. I hated that! 

I realize now that men did some serious interpreting on their own while they were writing scripture. 

A lot of what they wrote is in their patriarchal favor. 

When the word was written, men made sure that women would serve and give, putting their own needs behind the needs of others.

I guess that was a sign of the times.

Well, thank you god…times have changed.

Remember when I was seventeen, and I told mom I couldn’t do the whole intense religion anymore? 

Of course, you remember.

You were there.

I ran away from that religion like I had a get-out-of-jail-free card!

I began the journey of finding my own relationship with you.  

The tenets of the faith that I was forced into felt judgmental. 

The judgment didn't feel like it came from you. 

There was a lot of “answering to the elders” and “brothers and sisters” in the congregation. 

I just couldn’t get with that. I knew that you could see my every step, even the bad ones.

You read my heart.

You gave me grace.

I didn't think you needed little minions down here on earth to help you.

I still have my faith in you and your son Jesus Christ.  

It’s the Christians who have their hidden agenda who aren’t my vibe.

Here we are more than 40 years later, and my son is being pulled into a similar kind of religion like the one I hated growing up!

He is vulnerable to the interpretation of and hidden agenda of men who may not have his best interest in mind.

He can not see when he is being told something that is not the truth.

Just like all of the children who were hurt by the priest who was supposed to be serving you.

Instead, they were serving themselves.

That angel you sent him —I had a conversation with her.

She is mature and has lived enough life to hesitate, to not become fully entrenched in this church. 

She takes issue with how man-centered the church is. 

It's not exactly her vibe. 

She seems to think it may be okay for Kendal because he is a young man.

I don't subscribe to that logic, but I know it's not up to me.

You will put him where you need him to be in his journey. 

It will not be the same as mine.

Maybe he needs the structure of it.

He told me that he wants to submit to the elders, to which I replied, "That's surprising! You have never wanted to submit to anyone in your entire life!"

Maybe everything that is happening in his life that makes me uncomfortable is all a part of your plan. 

I am imperfect and human. 

I want to understand everything, but I don't. 

I trust that you are all-knowing. 

I want to trust even more, but a part of my imperfection is trying to always be in control. 

I know that control is your job, but sometimes I be trying to help you.

I hear you whispering, “Sit down girl! I got this!”

Kendal was at that train station at the exact moment where he otherwise would never have been.

He arrived at the train station on that one Sunday and his new friend, your angel was there. 

France has been nothing but a kind, gracious, loving friend to Kendal. 

She talks to him with love and patience almost every day since they met. 

And you know, this is no easy feat. 

Im’ma be honest, it’s not easy to love or communicate with this kid.  

He talks, and talks, and talks, mostly about himself.

The interesting thing is that with France, he also talks about your word in between talking about himself. 

I asked you years ago to please send someone who would help take care of him, who he would listen to. 

I was worn out! 

You were listening. 

I know, I was in such a hurry for it to happen. 

That’s a flaw of which I am aware.

I'm working on it.

Kendal listens to France. 

He takes her advice. 

She is a mentor to him. 

The funniest thing about it is that Kendal does not typically listen to women.

Thanks to YouTube, he has this whole “toxic masculinity” vibe going on right now. 

Lord please enlighten him on that nonsense!  

Last month France showed up on his doorstep with 3 weeks’ worth of groceries. 

She and her daughter personally delivered them to him.

He was out of money. 

He had pushed the family he has in Los Angeles to their limits. 

He was cussing folks out, pounding them with his politics and rants.

And yet, by your grace, he was fed.

When would send money, he spent it on his wants.

Then he would turn around and try to play me.

Talkin’ bout, I don’t have any food.

I had to hold boundaries 

I had to say no when he asked for money. 

It was painful.

Kendal is one of the most argumentative people I’ve ever met, besides his father. 

Sometimes, I seriously wonder what you were thinking when you put me together with these dudes. 

I am a giver. 

My husband is a giver.

My son is one of the neediest, taking-all-of-the-energy people I’ve ever met in my life! 

Do you really think I have this kind of strength?! 

I’m cracking, Lord!

He was such a lonely, unhappy child.

I over-compensated, trying to single-handedly give him all of the love and happiness that he was craving. 

It was never enough.

It was never my job.

Sometimes I find it hard to understand your plan.

As his parents, we worked hard pouring into him. 

We stayed together hoping that having both parents at home would give him a better chance at happiness and success.

We fought to give him every opportunity -film camps, Christian Summer camps, swimming lessons, a supportive education.  

Yet, he continues to struggle.  

I never thought he would live in a crappy house away from home. 

He is surrounded by family, and yet, he is still alone because he shuts them out.  

Lord, I’m tired. 

This is hard to watch. 

Holding boundaries and not swooping in to save him feels impossible --and yet, I’m doing it. 

This has to be your grace.

He has all kinds of angels. 

Last month a doctor from a free clinic called to let me know what to expect from the medicine he prescribed. 

Kendal told him how worried I was and gave his consent to let the doctor talk to me. 

A doctor calling a worried mother, long distance.

That like…NEVER happens!

Overworked Social Workers and therapists have called to keep me informed beyond the call of duty. 

More miracles.  

I worked for almost a year to help him get into the California Regional Center. 

I was told it would be impossible.

It was a long, painful process. 

He was approved last month. 

He's waiting for a Case Manager. 

That's you. 

It's me too...but I probably would have given up if it weren't for your strength.

The Regional Center can give him the kind of support that he needs as an autistic adult. 

Before all of this adversity, he may not have agreed to accept the help.

He was going through the phase of thinking that he doesn't need autism support.

He's pretty close to rock bottom. 

Prayerfully soon, he will get the kind of support that he would never get here in Texas.

It would be nice if you could put a little fire under the Regional Center tho.  

Thank you for watching over him. 

And please help me to let it play out.

No swooping in, wrapping him in bubble wrap to make things more comfortable for him. 

It is through adversity that character is created. 

Through all of these challenges, this boy has shown resilience beyond my wildest dreams.  

I thank you for that.

Love always, Karen  

Monday, August 8, 2022

Dear Reader


I miss writing in this space. 

I love the total freedom of it. 

I’m sure your life was on hold, chomping at the bit, waiting for my next post. (insert eye roll here)

When I write here, I’m not trying to impress anyone. 

I’m not trying to build a big audience and earn money from my writing. 

Lies. I always love to earn from my writing. 

You may send all donations for all of the therapy I need to my Pay Pal

Have I told you how much money I spend on therapy just to exist in this family? 

When I started this blog, writing was therapy. 

I was just trying to survive raising two boys on the autism spectrum and one who is not.

Life continues to be challenging even though all three of them are adults (23, 26, and 34). 

Autism parenting does not have a designated empty nest date or a finish line.

My 3 Sons

So...what's new with me? 

Nothing is new. Everything is very old and tired. 

I'm constantly in search of something new. So far, I haven't had much luck.

I haven’t been writing lately (other than journaling). 

I’ve been stressing and depressing instead. It's hard to be creative when your mind is not functioning at 100 percent.

Having my 26-year-old autistic son who thinks he knows much more than he does, living away in Los Angeles has been a blessing and a curse —mostly a curse

He makes sure that he remains in the forefront of my mind, whether he’s with me or miles away. 

His life has been a roller coaster, and the ride is making me sick. I know. I shouldn't even be on the ride. I should extricate myself from his ups and downs. I am a work in progress. 

He goes from having great jobs to quitting good jobs.

From being mentally healthy to sabotaging his mental health.  

Up…down. Rinse and repeat. 

It all affects me more than it should. 

Like it or not, the yanking up and down of his life plays a part in my own mental health. 

Summer depression has been an issue with me from the time we moved to Texas. 

I hate the heat, and this year has been brutal, with temperatures over 100 degrees for months. It’s really pissing me off! 

I am working on radical acceptance of this sucky situation. 

Fighting with it is not changing it. Complaining about it is pitiful. I don't want to be pitiful. When I realize how long I’ve been complaining, I beat myself up for not doing something to change it. That’s an additional drain on my energy. 

Tolerating a distressing situation is a part of life as an adult. 

I remind myself that I have an air-conditioned home. I can choose not to leave my home during the heat of the day. 

I work outside the house in the evening or when there’s cloud cover. 

In caregiving for my mother, I end up running two households and five lives.

Dragging groceries and supplies in and out of my mother's apartment during the heat of the day is a dumb idea. 

I stopped doing it.  

Grocery shopping apps are my friend. (Except,  half the time, they say items are not available that I know damn well are available. When this happens, I send my young, vibrant son to the store instead. He can take the heat.) 

I have book dreams. I have dozens upon dozens of chapters and stories written. 

The feeling that a goal is unreachable can make me shut down. 

Being depressed and beating myself up about not writing makes me more depressed. 

Editing my own writing is a nightmare. It always has been.  It’s hard to find my own mistakes. 

Add ADHD, anxiety, and one family crisis after another makes focusing on writing pretty damn difficult. 

Building a writing career adds the pressure to be perfect. 

Perfection can make me shut down. 

He’s Married Now

I never wrote much here about our eldest son Adrian. He is not on the spectrum. 

He is a college graduate and served in the United States Army Reserve. 

I didn’t carry him in my uterus, but I raised him. He was just about 5 years old when I met his father. 

Now, he is a  grown-ass man with a son, a wife, and a mortgage. 

It’s so nice to pull up to his house and see his success. (Even if his home is larger than ours and has the floor plan of my dreams).

No shade. I’m not hatin’. 

We want our children to be more successful than we are, right?  

Granma status: 

Adrian and his wife, Jasmine, made me a grandmother!!! 

It is one of the most prestigious, pure joy-inducing jobs ever! 

Cayden is two-years-old. 

I am completely in love. 

He is my sun.  He's so pure and full of joy. 

When Adrian and Jasmine had their wedding recently, the best part was taking care of my grandson while they were on their honeymoon! 

23 and Me: 

My twenty-three-year-old son is still living with us. 

He is finding his way in the world. 

He has been having what he called an “existential crisis.” 

He’s such a deep thinker. 

When the world slowed down, he found time to focus on the anxiety beneath the surface (kinda like the rest of us).  

We all had time to think and examine the meaning and purpose of our lives in the last two years. 

Leave it to my kid to teach me new things. 

When I was twenty-three, I had no idea what an existential crisis was.  

I was just swimming upstream, doing all of the things life expected of me.  

I didn’t question everything the way he does. 

Side note -When I was 23, I was madly in love with love. I was caught up in romance. There was no time or interest in reflecting on the meaning of life.

These days both of us treat our mental health like it’s a full-time gig. Therapy, writing, reading, podcasts, and more therapy.  

Therapy is one of our biggest household expenses. 

He volunteers at a mental health support community called the Austin Club House.

During his time there, he has developed even more empathy for those with mental health struggles, including the homeless.  

In fact, he is leaning toward becoming a Peer Mental Health Advocate. 

Recently, he answered the call for submissions to a mental health writing contest sponsored by the Hogg Foundation He won a monetary prize and is being published! 

Maybe, I will follow in his footsteps. 

I’m in a hurry for everything to happen for him. 

He’s in a hurry for nothing. 

His steps are measured and well thought out.   

Note to self, 

Life is not a race Karen. This is his journey, not yours. It’s not your job to hurry things along. You have no control here. 

It’s still like watching paint dry for a person like me who wants everything now! Patience used to be my strong suit. I don't know what happened. 

The pain in my headache

If you’re wondering what oppositional defiance and autism look like in adulthood, it is a picture of my twenty-six-year-old son in the DSM-5.  

He moved to Los Angeles in 2020 to pursue his dreams and escape us. He didn’t want our help financially (except he totally does, only on his terms). Accepting help from us would mean we might have something to say about his decisions. 

He moved to live with my niece and her son. 

However, he burned that bridge pretty quickly.  

My siblings and family also live in L.A. 

He has burned bridges with most of them. 

My family is loving and supportive in the same ways that I am. 

Turns out cussing people out and hanging up the phone on them is not acceptable.

Coming into someone’s home, not speaking, and then storming out because you don’t want to wear a mask around an older, immune-compromised adult is also unacceptable. 

The blessing is California (a blue state) has more services and support.  

He has the best Social Worker in the world (me…for free).  

He does not appreciate or take full advantage of what I’ve tried to put in place to support him. 

When an adult acts like he doesn’t want help, these agencies will not beat your door down to give it to you.  

It kills his brother and me to watch him blow off support when so many here in Texas are desperately seeking help and can't find it. We know so many young adults who have no one to help them navigate an impossible mental health system. And yet, he has my support and more and could not care less. 

Whatever I am for, he is against. 

I’m not Christian enough. So why should he listen to anything I say? 

He continues to be the person in my life who commands the most energy.

And yet, it’s uncanny that so far, he turns out to be the opposite of me. 

I am love and peace. 

He is fight or flight. 

I avoid conflict.  

He lives for it. 

I tell him I don’t want to control his life. I just want to see him happy. 

He tells me, “Life isn’t about being happy.” 

It’s like he tries to make life as hard as can be. 

Ask me for money. No. Problem. 

Take advantage of the support that would help him not waste money. No. Thank you. 

Recently he started attending an extremely conservative church.

When I asked him, “Why the change from the church in Hollywood that you enjoyed?”  

He said, “That was one of those feel-good churches where they don’t preach the hard truth!” (Fire and damnation)

He is antagonizing and frustrating.  

He is the main ingredient of my anxiety, worry, and heart palpitations.

I love him deeply —probably too deep for my own good. 

Sometimes, I don’t know how I pull the love out of thin air for him, but I do. 

Honestly, I don’t want to feel him deeply anymore.  I’m so tired of carrying the extra weight.

I can tell you how hard it is to love him with no shame because more than one thing can be true at the same time. 

There are so many moms in the world who are feeling horrible about how they can have feelings of animosity toward their adult child who causes them so much stress. It’s okay to feel whatever you feel. Love and hostility can co-exist. Love ideally wins.  

As my friend and fellow writer Carrie Cariello often says, “Autism is heartbreak by a thousand papercuts.”  

I continue to work through burnout, which affects my energy reserves. 

It affects my level of patience and ability to be a pleasant human.

Sometimes, I just have nothing left to give. 

I want time just to be focused on myself after years of neglect. 

Menopause only adds to my moodiness and emotionality. 

My marriage is on life-support. 

However, we finally found a black therapist who is culturally sensitive. 

When we told her our story, her jaw dropped a few times. 

But hopefully, she’s a miracle worker. 

Thank you, Dear Reader!

You can read my son's published poem here The Hogg Foundation  

You can also find my stories here on



Tuesday, April 12, 2022

I Have a New Home, Come on Over

Dear Loyal Reader, 

Have you missed me here on this blog? Some of you have messaged me."What the heck, Karen? Did you stop writing on Confessions?" 

I'm still here. I'm just trying to change my focus.

Recently, I have been writing on  Medium is a digital reading platform where writers like myself have the opportunity to connect with readers from around the globe. It's also a writing platform where writers earn money for their work. 

I hope that you will join me there. You can create an account by signing in with your social media account or email address. It's free to read a certain amount of stories per month. I also post a free "friend link" on my Instagram, Facebook Page, and TwitterOf course, you already follow me on social media, right? 

On "Medium," you have the opportunity to engage and build a relationship with writers like me, who you love, by "clapping" on our articles, writing thoughtful responses, and highlighting your favorite passages. If you comment or ask a question, I will reply. You can also sign up to have my posts come directly to your email address. 

If you enjoy reading great stories from writers from all over the world and want to support the art of writing, please consider signing up for a Medium membership. When you use my membership link, most of your monthly membership ($5.00) will directly support my writing. 

Membership fees allow Medium to pay writers. You have unlimited access to all of the good stuff from other writers in your subjects of interest. I mean, Barack Obama writes there. Yep! Me and Barack. 

Thousands of writers have been writing in this digital format and earning a living (or at least a cup of coffee) with their work for years. 

I started writing on "Medium" because want to change the focus of my writing since the boys are now adults. They have their own stories to tell. I want to diversify and write about mental health, wellness, self-care, and perhaps a few opinion humor and pieces.

I also hoped to change the focus of my life. They say what you focus on grows. I don't know who "they" is, but... I thought maybe if I stopped writing so much about parenting autism, the issues associated with it would disappate in my life. Imagine my disappointment when that didn't happen.  

The transition to adulthood is the hardest part of parenting autism. At least, that has been my experience. My boys are 23 and 26. I am exhausted. I have zero control over anything. I'm just a passenger with a first-class seat to watch them move their lives sideways, backward, and occasionally forward. I can not control their action or inaction, even if it impacts my stress level. 

Autism continues to impact my life no matter what I write about. I will continue to be a voice for autism parents who walk this path. I have been writing this blog for nearly 12 years. I started writing to create autism awareness. I wanted to paint a picture of day-to-day life raising two teenage boys on the autism spectrum. They also happen to be black, growing up in a primarily white suburb of Austin, Texas. 

From the start of this blog, my intention was not one of financial gain. I have earned pennies from my writing in this format. I was too stressed out, raising my sons and keeping them alive. There was no energy to consider monetizing my writing. I couldn't imagine adding the stress of writing deadlines, editors, and publishers' demands to my chaotic life. Although, my close friends and husband strongly encouraged me to do so. 

People who are not writers think you're not a "real writer" unless you publish a book. I am published all over the internet. (Google Karen Wesley Weaver) I am one of the Top Ten Autism Blogs in 2020 by Everyday My essays have been published in two books. I haven't made my first million dollars, so that doesn't count, right? 

Other people can not measure my payoff, success as a writer, a mother, or anything else I chose to do with my life. 

At the beginning of this blog, the boys and I agreed that if our story helped one person feel less alone in this world, or allowed one person to be inspired to keep going, then it is worth it to share our story. 

I write for my life and sanity. I come here when I have nowhere else to turn. This blog was a source of therapy when I didn't have a therapist. The writing is raw, with no sugarcoating or making it perfect and pretty. I'm trying to do that now on Medium, and let me tell you, my brain doesn't work so good anymore. Prolonged stress has changed my brain. Still, I try. 

I just celebrated my 57th birthday. I'm in menopause. Hormonal imbalance finds me crying at the drop of a hat. I'm tired. My mental health is in the toilet. It's hard to know what is caused by what and what to do to make things better. 

My biggest job in autism parenting has become holding boundaries while trying to move my sons towards independence. Of course, I have zero control over this outcome. The only person I can control is me. That has always been true. It just slaps me in the face now. 

All we can do is build ourselves up with self-compassion, self-love, and self-care. I will be writing about it along the way. Maybe someday, I can pay for all of the therapy we need with my writing earnings. Ha! 

I appreciate you for always supporting my work. 



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Friday, June 11, 2021

Unhappy Anniversary

I can’t do it. I can’t pretend that our 27th Wedding Anniversary was actually happy. I have a "thing" with people who post the “fabulous life” on social media as if life is all roses. This phenomena that has taken over our lives can lead to some of us feeling more depressed than ever. The reality of most of our lives has plenty of thorns, weeds and dirt.  

Yes. I posted this pic on social media of the two of us having our moment --dinner at our favorite restaurant. 

Yes. We were both smiling pleasantly. (I was acting, mostly. I haven't felt like smiling in weeks). 

*Get it together Karen! You're at our favorite place. This is fine dining. The food will be delicious! We can even afford this...sorta. We made it! Married 27 freakin years! Smile. Dammit! Be happy. 

My husband, Alan always has that dazzling smile. He’s so good-looking and such a charmer. His public persona is impeccable. Everyone says, “He’s the nicest guy they’ve ever met." He has a loving, giving, open heart. I love that about him.

Of course, there are two sides to every story and every Gemini. 

I know all truths are that are hidden beyond my husband's smile.  He struggles through this life like any black man does. He is always proving to the world that he isn’t your average black man. He's none of the stereotypes. He’s not your average man.period.  

How many men do you know who actually stay in a marriage for 27-years with the stress of providing for and raising three boys, two on the autism spectrum? My husband is human, flawed, with moods, inner struggles and insecurities just like the rest of us, despite his charm and dazzling smile. 

He’s a better actor than I am though. I am beyond the whole “acting happy” stage of life. I have very few fake smiles or f*@%s to give these days. 

We had a happy “moment” for our anniversary. I’m thankful for that. The food at Eddy V’s was beyond delicious. We shared a perfect crabcake, a Ceasar salad (which always brings back a memory of my dad. He always made the real deal Caesar with anchovies, from scratch.) Halibut topped with avocado, crab and Panko bread crumbs. 

My French 77 cocktail/s (with vodka instead of gin) helped me  smile and enjoy the moment. His perfect Old-Fashion cocktails helped him relax.  

When we got home and tried to wind down, the anniversary was not genuinely happy. The truth is, we have mental health issues in our home. Mental health or lack thereof,  can steal the glory of the actual “happy” like a shameless thief. It can ruin the party in the blink of an eye.

After this year of CoVid, pandemic, quarantine, social isolation, work-at-home, college-at-home, unemployment, and racial tension, my mental health is in the toilet, swimming in shit. Such a pretty metaphor, isn't it? 

I will not speak in detail of my adult children, but their mental health, or lack there of, impacts my mental health. It has been a shit-show of a year. I am holding on to life by my fingernails. 

The other day I wrote a journal entry that would scare most people if you read it, depending on how you interpret it. I cursed everybody out! I called out all of complete bullshit that has been effecting my life for years now. I have been living the stress for 4 other adults, problem solving, feeling their emotions, (empath) listening like a therapist who lives with her clients. It feels like they continue to ask me for more, and even if they don't ask, I give it. My letter was saying goodbye to that b.s. 

I don't want to end my life.  What I want is to actually start living it peace.  I’m mature enough to realize that life has really awful moments,  but you get up the next day and try to make it better than yesterday. You grow. You stretch. You say goodbye to what no longer serves you. You work to create the life you want, even though you’re exhausted. You don’t give up. 

You keep working through the pain, and along the way, you encourage others to keep going, to take care of ourselves, to forgive ourselves for the places where we fall short. 

Back in high-school, I remember my English teacher called me "Florence Nightingale." He told me to sit down and stop helping everybody. “No one asked you to do that,” he said. 

You didn’t need to ask for my help for me to give it to you. This kind of thinking can lead to a woman’s undoing. *Burnout and cumulative stress can end in physical and mental illness. Stress can lodge in your body as heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. 

As a caregiver, mother to adults on the autism spectrum, and wife of 27 years, I work continuously to create and keep boundaries; to find mercy for myself. I practice self-love, self-compassion, and self-care.  We keep practicing until we get it right.    

Some people will take your last breath if you’re willing to give it to them. My adult children will probably stand over my grave and yell, “but Mom, I need…” 

I work hard every day to say yes to myself. It’s not easy. 

Will you come on the journey with me? 

*"Burnout -The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle"  (Emily Nagoski, Ph.D. Amelia Nagoski, AMA,  2020) 

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