Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Power of Art: How My Autistic Son Saved Me

I always felt I'm in the wrong place professionally. When I finished the army (yes, I was in the army but that's another story) I went to university and studies Social Sciences like I was expected to. It's not that I wanted to study something else, I didn't know what I wanted but instead of stopping and thinking about it I did what was expected of me.

When you start a path in life then you go on it and everything in your life aligns with it. The job you find is a continuation of that path and my job was in civil service. First the police and then the foreign ministry. A 9 to 5 job in an office, with a boss which was the logical natural place to be after getting a degree in Social Sciences. The thing about paths is that you walk on it until you reach an intersection and then you can decide if you want to continue on your path or take another one. The problem is sometimes you miss the intersection completely and you just keep on walking. But the universe is smart it puts that intersection in your path again and again but eventually if you still don't see it it makes you see it! And that is exactly what happened to me...

I had a beautiful baby boy. At first everything was fine,he did what every baby is supposed to do. But with time we started to noticed some things are not as they were supposed to be. Finally we got a diagnosis: Autism. My son is autistic. Being the practical person that I am I immediately started to work: taking him to therapists, pshycologists, putting him in a special needs education system and so on. He flourished. Making huge progress every day. But slowly I realized working in the foreign ministry meant living abroad, going to a different country every few years, that was not a way to live with an autistic child who needs stability more than anything.
I had two choices: stay and be cooped up in an office for the rest of my professional life or leave. I left. I decided my son's well being and development is more important than my career. But what am I suppose to do now? I need to find some kind of a job...

"When God closes a door, somewhere open a window" This saying is the best way to describe what happened next. One day I discovered the word scrapbooking and searched it on Google. I was shocked to find an amazing world I knew nothing about, but immediately knew this is what I wanted to do. That was the first step in my new professional life as an artist and designer. I started a business for custom designing scrapbooks and the rest is history.

So what actually happened? My autistic son was my wake up call. He was the one that opened my eyes to the intersection in front of me and made me choose the right path. I know now this is the path I'm supposed to walk on, this is what I'm supposed to do in this world. But there's more... not only did he show me my true path he gave me the tools to help him. By being an artist I have an outlet for my feelings and frustrations and I have a place to process them. And by doing that I'm a better mother to him, more patient, understanding and able to cope with whatever comes my way. Art is truly powerful I see it everyday and i wouldn't have found it if it wasn't for my son.

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