In a story plagued with self-shame and comparison for August there is a glimmer of hope as he searches for his place in the world around him. For the majority of his childhood he is home schooled, and avoids exposing himself to the criticisms of life. He eventually finds himself in Middle School where he faces many bumps and bruises that come along with growth.
I read this book before they made it a movie. I can’t remember why I turned to it exactly. Perhaps because we know a family with a child with Auggie’s condition. When the movie came out I bought it for the family as well as a copy of the book for my kids to read. Both of my older children have picked up the book, and this morning as we made breakfast they asked if we could watch it.
During eggs and waffles I watched the opening of the movie, and began listening to the story while in the kitchen. While this perspective in the first-person helps youth learn and grow about self-acceptance I was watching from the lens of the parent. The movie briefly shows Auggie’s birth and the reaction of the hospital staff and parents, and I began to feel the emotions they must have felt when something is outside of your control. Someone you love is hurt, and there is only so much you can do. The story continues, and I pick up additionally on the parent’s perspective and pain through Auggie’s growth.
While the movie played I continued to draw parallels to my own life, and settled into Auggie more from the perspective of an ABDL. We, as adult babies or diaper lovers, struggle to find our place within ourselves, let alone in the real world with other people. We wear masks, not always astronaut helmets, to hide ourselves from ourselves and others.
From the book:
“I wish every day could be Halloween. We could all wear masks all the time. Then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked like under the masks.”
I absolutely recommend this book to kids and adults alike for its ability to help us see the pain we feel in our search for self-acceptance in a new light. I struggled for decades internally with what I was, or what kept creeping back into my life no matter how much I tried to purge it from my life. I became more and more weary of the returning attraction to diapers, and also my continued ability to shame myself more and more about all the things that made me “wrong” or “bad” or “unacceptable.” It wasn’t until the middle of 2019, when this blog began and a few other things that I began to see myself in a different light.
While watching this movie with my family I also continued to look through the lens of the parent. I see my wonderful spouse experiencing the spectrum of emotions that Auggie’s parents endured. Through our conversations and experiences we’ve had over the last year I know she has had her own series of mental struggles, battles, or wrestles with the things I’ve told her. I know that I’m Aberrant, and don’t always love myself, so how could I expect someone else to be able to? I cannot express the joy, gratitude, and love I have for my wife because of her patience and willingness to hear me. Auggie said it pretty well when he said:
“We carry with us, as human beings, not just the capacity to be kind, but the very choice of kindness.”
She has seen past the weird, the aberrant, and is working to keep her eye on our love for each other. We are growing, slowly, over time and experience.
My hope is that we continue to grow together. I further understand myself in diapers as I am able to express myself through wearing and talking it out with my spouse and other littles online. We have a community of friends who are strangers, but are combined in the commonality of padding. We all find solace, comfort, and peace through taping on a diaper and hearing the crinkle that instills confidence and reduces anxiety.
“The best way to measure how much you’ve grown isn’t by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average — though those things are important, to be sure. It’s what you’ve done with your time, how you’ve chosen to spend your days, and whom you’ve touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success.”
We are constantly striving to understand ourselves, and our spouses are with us also working to understand that part of us as well. Our choice is how we choose to spend our time (whether in diapers or not).
“Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle. And if you really want to see what people are, all you have to do is look.”