Autism / Special Needs,  Motherhood,  Writing

No Shame

Well, it had to come.

Some of you readers have been with me for a while now. You’ve read these random blogs and followed along on Facebook as Jax came home from China, was diagnosed with all the things, and proceeded to grow up into a teenage boy. He’s gone from tricycles to bikes, from building blocks to creating airplanes, from Thomas the Tank Engine to his own You Tube channel.

It was bound to happen – and it did.

Puberty. The big P.

His voice lowered, he grew right past me in height, and his shoes look like canoes. Jax is 14, puberty wasn’t a surprise.

Actually, nothing with my son is a surprise because my son has never had a thought he didn’t verbalize. My friends, I mean that literally. I am very aware that Jax has discovered the human body in all its forms and glory because he tells me.

It’s refreshing, actually. I envy it. Jax has no shame. His brain just isn’t wired that way, his awareness doesn’t extend that far. It would not cross his mind that anything he feels, experiences or thinks would be shameful. When he was younger, I tried to explain the word “embarrassed” because it’s not something he feels. I said, “imagine you’re at school and your pants fell down in the cafeteria at lunch time.” He practically fell over in laughter. “That would be the best!”

(Can you imagine? This is a post for another time, but can you imagine living with the security that every part of you is intentional and acceptable and glorious? I can’t, but I get to hang pretty close to it every day. It turns out shame is for suckers.)

Back to the point.

Jax is a teenager, he has hormones, and he wants to check out some photo-nakedness like every other teenager in the world has since the inception of humankind. It’s normal, it’s natural, go for it, kid.

And therein lies my question: HOW? How can he engage in this time-honored viewing tradition?

Most kids these days have the internet. For us, the internet is a whole abyss of no-can-do. For obvious reasons, I don’t need my extremely literal son thinking that plumbers routinely show up to houses to do things, uhhhh, other than plumbing. You get my drift. For special needs kids, especially, the internet is scary and creepy and no.

Go old-school and buy some magazines? Not into it. Over-sexualized, rail-thin women are not my goal. In fact, that is the opposite of my goal.

Art? Been there. Catalogs? Sorta. Textbooks? Educational, but diagrams aren’t exactly over the target.

I had an idea for a digital book of artsy nudes with a diverse and beautiful collection of models. Think of it as a celebration of the human body in all its forms – that, yeah, Jax could hide under his bed.

I know, you’re all like eeeeek. I know this because eeeek is the reaction I’ve gotten from everyone I have floated this idea by.

“So, Becca, basically, you want to make a book of tasteful naked people for your son with autism.”
“Yes.”
(Awkward pause)
“So this has been such amazing weather, hasn’t it??”

Right.

This whole issue is a little weird, I get it. But it’s a real question for real kids. I’m thinking I can’t be the first special needs parent to run into this.

So I come to you, people of the internet, with my shoulders shrugged, with my mind open, and with pen and paper ready to note all the ideas you’ve got.

But I come with no shame, man. No shame.


Rebecca Masterson is a writer, speaker, and an advocate for children. For more from Rebecca, follow her on Instagram. Or sign up for her newsletter.