AJ's User Manual

Navigating the Holidays as a Neurodivergent Queer Human

The holidays. We could probably just stop there and our point is made. Alas, we have more to say.  Join us as we talk about challenges that neurodivergent and queer ADULTS (of course, we do talk about the littles as well, we are parents after all) experience at this time of year. With its hearty belly laughs, spirited rants, and quiet moments of reflection, this is an episode you don’t want to miss! 

Transactions and Giving Gifts

Molly isn’t pulling any punches when she pokes Angela with a fiery jab and introduces the topic of gift giving. Angela is passionate about this topic and calls bullshit when people say their love language is gift giving. She explains that the transactional process of gift giving causes stress because it is, very often, not a consensual practice. She goes on to say that consensual gift giving carries no judgment or expectation from the receiver. “If I give a gift to somebody, I make it very clear to them. I saw this, it made me think of you, and I’m giving it to you. The second that I give it to you, I want you to understand you can throw it away. You don’t even have to accept it. And I still am going to be completely satisfied and not judge you in any way shape or form. Because I was giving that to you for myself, because it made me feel good” (7:10). And what about the social justice aspect of it all?

Food and a Seat at the Table

Angela is not the only passionate one in this conversation. She points out that we don’t grow out of neurodivergence (18:24) which often includes sensory sensitive or seeking behaviors that tend show up in our relationship with food. This is Molly’s soapbox, but not until after a little detour to Virgin Margaritaville. She explains how being in charge of the food supports her well because she can address the sensory issues for herself and her family while also supporting others who are way too stressed out by all the food stuffs (21:21). And don’t even get her started (we did!) on the kiddie table!

Acceptance and Authenticity

As both neurodivergent and queer adults, and as the adults in the life of gender non-conforming little, we have felt the the heartache that can happen at this time of year. Of course there can be happiness and we get to have our chosen families, but that doesn’t completely negate the reality that this time of year that is supposed to be about love, acceptance, charity, and caring for one another can also be filled (now or in the past) of events that “affect adults. And it affects the kids. And it’s painful. And it’s harmful. And it’s something that we have to think about before we go in. The stress of it starts months in advance.” (Angela 38:49).*

And Molly asks great questions to help us prepare ourselves—“how could these conversations go? What is my response going to be? How am I going to handle if this happens? What if this scenario pops up? How am I going to tackle that?—so that we can participate when and where we want to in ways that support our needs (42:34)

*Resources for support: