Neurodi-fur-gent... Part 2
“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” - Albert Camus
We are all a bit weird, aren't we?
Neurodivergent or not, you can guarantee that if you're reading this blog, then at some point in your life, somebody has said "You're a bit odd", or "why are you so strange?"... For some reason this is used by society as a derogative term, but I don't think this at all!!
In the picture to the right is our 10-month old ferret Siouxsie eating her eggywegg and enjoying it thoroughly. When you first saw this picture did you think "what a strange face?" or "That is just odd..."? I doubt very much that you did, rather it was likely a thought regarding how hilarious she looks in this picture. It never ceases to make me smile, knowing how contented she is to be eating her favourite treat while making a face which was a treat for us to catch on camera!
My point to this is that Siouxsie is not autistic per say, but she is different. She isn't a dog or a cat, or another societally appropriate domestic animal, yet the empathy, love and emotion she expresses are vast and beyond anything I've ever experienced with humans. Being Neurodivergent ties into this, we are not the societal norm, we are not suited for this world and it's peculiar rules like how to dress or how to speak.
A lot of Neurodivergent individuals struggle to look into another human's optical cavity when engaging with them... Personally when I do this I feel like I'm seeing everything and nothing at once, which is very overwhelming. The eye is an organ made up of so many constituents with a constant flutter and small skin socks that occasionally cover it to provide moisture... imagine thinking that every time you look into somebodies eyes. That is what it is like for me each and every time I engage in eye contact. Ferrets don't care for that, much like other animals, they pertain to a more ethereal approach, connecting through movements, emotion, even when you don't realise it. They inspire me to forget the social norms (to an extent) and live as I was born to live.
Humans have evolved to require a sense of meaning and control, but what exactly is it we are trying to find meaning for? Acquiring this sense of centric peace and holistic tranquillity is within the human model of life but we have to remember we are not the only creatures on this planet. Ferrets predominantly live a contented life, regardless of being "weird pets" according to so many, but I don't yet know of any ferrets who have attained absolute peace within themselves while assimilating within fictitious cultures...
In order for ferrets to be recognised as friendly, loving animals there has to be someone who is to explain "why" and it is the same for Neurodivergence, there has to be some way to explain "why they are the way they are" but it feels to me that we should work in normalising differences and congregating together so there is less of a "why" regarding ferrets and humans and the discussion can continue as it should, by looking at them as though they are just a little bit different and asking "how", how to care for ferrets, how to employ that individual who struggles with loud work environments, we should make amends, work with them, work to gain acceptance. everybody is aware these differences exist in both regards, but nobody is willing to accept these differences and remain ignorant to the absolute truth of differential neurology in all of us.
I read somewhere recently that animals with masks such as opossums, raccoons and ferrets have their masks in order to allow them a safe journey when they venture out at night to find their dinner, it assists them in blocking out harsh lights and making their eyes harder to see by predators. This struck me as very interesting for two main reasons.
First of all, I've always wondered the mystery of evolution behind animal masks and why they have developed to become the way they are, ferrets have even grown longer bodies over the past 500 years so they can stay underground in tunnels with their families and keep their business (collective noun for ferrets) safe.
Secondly, masking is a superfluous term used in the neurodivergent community as a way to avoid suspicion for being different. We put on this hypothetical mask so we can explore the world in a "normal" way, yet as soon as we return to our safe haven we have developed routines, and like to retreat to our own space whether this includes a family or not, but much like ferrets, we are very private creatures and avoiding the predators can cause us to get overloaded which is why we also need a figurative tunnel for an escape.
So animal masks and human masks offer a similar functionality, which is where this connection between ferrets and neurodivergence really align for me and helps me feel a bit better about who I am and how to help others. I hope this has all made sense to you as the reader. This blog is somewhere I can escape my mind and write down a myriad of mind-numbing thoughts and ideas alongside one of my special interests; Ferrets. I may change the theme for the next one, not sure, we will see.
Thank you so much for reading my post!