People who are not my kids think it’s really interesting to listen to my side of a coaching phone call. In fact, lots of people say they’d pay to hear both sides, but it’s clear to me that if someone knows another person is listening to them the call gets useless fast and sounds more like a job interview.
My kids have had enough. And now that my youngest is home alone with me he has taken to pausing his video game to yell out a personality type. Just from hearing my side of the call. Really. That’s how easy it is.
What I want to do in coaching sessions is say, “This is your personality type, here’s your real problem, here’s how to fix it.” But people tell me I can’t possibly know everything from personality type, and they complain that I’m not listening to them about their uniqueness. So instead I don’t tell them about personality type and the person thinks I’m a mind reader.
If the person has Autism, I want to say, “You have Autism and your parents and siblings have Autism. You will marry someone with Autism if you haven’t already, and your kids will have Autism.”
I know this will surprise you, but no one wants to hear that from me. So instead coaching sessions feel like magic because I already know what people in their family are like and what they did as a kid and what they eat for breakfast now. Then we solve their problem and we are Autism friends.
I like coaching people who have Autism because they’re like me. This is lucky because most of you have Autism. Okay not everyone. Some neurotypical men read this blog. But I doubt there are any women reading who don’t have Autism. Even me just writing something like that would piss off any normal woman. An Autistic woman who disagrees with me thinks to herself, “Fuck Penelope,” and waits for the next time I post.
My son has spent so much time listening to me tell people how to see Autism in themselves, that he can sit on a college campus and pick out the people with Autism. He tells me he wishes he knew as much about the gay community as the Autistic community and he feels really lonely. I tell him Covid is hard for everyone, read a book.
I want to be a compassionate mom. Autistic moms are challenged. We have to be more intentional than other moms. So I tell him we can sit on campus and watch for gay people.
He tells me people watching does not help loneliness. We make hand shadows under the moon until we are interrupted with a coaching session I forgot I scheduled, which is every session, really.
The problem with transformative coaching is no one asks for it. In fact, they specifically hate it. It makes people cry. Or hang up on me and have their boyfriend call me to get a refund. But mostly it makes people cry. I was talking to a guy recently who told me, “You just tell people the truth without thinking they might not want to know the truth. Everyone doesn’t need to know everything that is true.”
Okay, that’s probably true. What people want from coaching is an upgrade to the life they can see. But sometimes people are totally screwed. So I have to tell them. I have to say, you think you are on a path that is difficult but your path is nonexistent which is why it feels so difficult.
We cannot talk about nonreality because all the options in nonreality look really great, so then my realistic options will look terrible. In that sense, the guy was right. I’m just telling people the truth to make it easier for me. So our conversation can move on to something more interesting than fairy tales.
I always take crying as a good sign because I only cry when my own make-believe scenes dissolve right in front of me.
I have known intuitively that people who are not crying are resisting the shock of reality, but I have not had proof. I just know that I’m seeing clearly that someone is in trouble and I am telling them and they are calmly asking clarifying questions to something that is already very clear.
But recently, I got proof that crying is best. Remember Whitney, the woman who annotated my blog post to show the white privilege? I talked with her a lot. She told me I have a white savior complex. I argued with her and when I realized I was arguing I was like, Crap. I’m a Karen. So then I switched to asking for clarification in argumentative ways.
I’m only admitting this now, okay. I didn’t admit it til, like, hm. Yesterday. Yesterday my son and I went to an ice cream place for our daily foray into the world that is not our apartment.
I didn’t wear a bra, which he pointed out.
I said, “It’s misogynist to tell women what to do with their breasts.”
My son is reading Hood Feminism. He told me that people think if a Black woman doesn’t wear a bra then she’s sexually available, so it’s white privilege to not wear a bra and escape that judgment. He told me if I start talking about how women are being harmed, I need to separate Black and white women because the Black experience is so much worse.
I said fuck it and put on a bra when we got home. And I’m reading Hood Feminism.
My son wants everyone who might be reading this post and judging him for college or a music competition or God knows what else that he told me not to quote him directly here. So I am not quoting him directly. This is exactly why it doesn’t work to do live coaching calls: people are surprising and fascinating in private. It takes being a little bit crazy to want to be surprising and fascinating in public.
I want everyone to know that Whitney was right. She was telling me I have white savior complex because it’s so easy for her to see. During our last phone call, I was the person who couldn’t handle transformation. I wanted Whitney to tell me something to change that would be in the context of the life I can see now.
I did what most people do who hang up after a coaching session with me. I let the new information settle at a pace my heart and head could handle. Then I called Whitney to say thank you and tell me more. I still get impatient with people who cannot process the new information as fast as I’m dishing it out, but at least I understand what it feels like to be bowled over by the truth.