My Life In Files

Filed Under (To Get To The Other Side) by Estee on 17-02-2010

I’m filing. Yes, it sounds tedious but I’m trying to approach this with a new zeal. Moving into a new home is one thing. Moving into a new life after a separation where all of a sudden I have to learn things like personal finance among many other nitty gritty things once shared with a spouse can be a little overwhelming at first. There are no secretaries to do the filing for me. No one to make that call or file that paper. I am taking care, for the first time in my life (believe it or not) of everything. I mean, I am a capable human being, but what is it about suddenly being on one’s own to encourage this level of emotional stress? Ah, right. It was loving someone. It was remembering when someone used to make me a cup of tea and when I helped that someone with other tasks. It was sharing.

Now, it feels like all I have are to-do lists for Adam, the house, for me… for EVERYTHING that it resembles Santa’s Wish List from all children around the globe.

I have to admit I am getting cranky. I felt guilty about that until I read (in a Toronto service for divorced people) a check-list for stress. One of them is being irritable and easy to set-off. The stress is pretty heavy. I’m trying to transition Adam and forgot that I am also still transitioning myself. I’ve gained weight (I am the kind who puts on weight when stressed out). I haven’t been looking after me — something that most moms of special needs kids talk about a lot, never mind adding divorce stress on top of it. Maybe it’s a little feminist of me to suggest that maybe I let other people take care of me a little too much. I resemble the capable, intelligent woman who deferred many of these tasks to a man. Yet I also don’t believe that sharing the tasks is a bad thing at all. It’s not learning and not knowing how that can be dangerous. When confronted now with sorting new things out in life, it feels foreign and I need to map it out.

To my surprise, Adam was very happy last night exploring the new house and making quite a mess of it — opening doors, taking things out of cupboards and I figured that as long as he was safe this was important for him to do. Like discovering routes (yes, intended pun), my little Autie is making himself feel at home. Who am I to tell him to put everything away when I’m trying to make him as comfortable as possible? He needs to know what’s behind all those doors. He needs to sort out his new environment. Many an autistic person will attest, like Adam, that routes and familiarity are very important.

So the house was in shambles this morning. I tidied up after Adam left. Putting things away leaves me with a sense of order and peace that I’m looking for in my transition right now. I’m trying hard to slow down instead of rushing forward. I have decided today to take breaks which is something new for me — the kind of person who always always ate lunch at her desk. And yes, I’m filing. It is helping me think. Everything has a place and there’s a place for everything, as the saying goes.

My life is out of the boxes, but it’s going in files. It is helping me understand my new life as much as Adam needs to empty out all the closets.


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About Me


I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (, and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.