The REAL story behind the GTS project

The content below is intended to provide background regarding the real Jess and my continued attempts to understand the world around me (yes, as a 36 year old mother of 4). 

8 years ago, I inadvertently discovered the awesomeness that is the cloth diapering community. I really did develop a love for the industry itself -- not because of the cloth diapers necessarily, but because of the connections I have made along with way with all of these amazing mama's, dad's, families, etc. over something so simple -- cloth diapers!

To make a long story short(ish) regarding where my crippling fear of being myself has come from:

I have struggled my entire life with not being able to really be myself without fear of it negatively affecting my children and husband (more on what I mean by that below).

Mental health and various disabilities are finally starting to no longer carry a negative stigma. Slowly but surely, the medical field has been showing our society that just because my brain works differently, doesn't mean I am a "loon" or "crazy". Nor does anyone else that simply has brains that work differently be deserving of such ugly labels that society tends to mark us with before ever taking even a second to get to know us.

Labels I am referring to (regarding ME personally), include the horrible "R" word. It is a way to label human beings that are different as "less-than" or invalid - and unfortunately in the work place, jokes like this are still made consistently. And while I try and stay away from it, sometimes it's unavoidable. 

The definition of invalid I am referring to is "a person made weak or disabled by illness or injury". If you originally read the word as the adjective definition (in-valid), that is not the term I am describing. Now, whether or not it was intended to label human beings in a way that deems them not being useful in society, because they are an "invalid", it's still a pretty frightening coincidence.

Additionally, I have witnessed firsthand, a close family member consistently being committed to various mental institutions for their mental illness for over 10 years while growing up in the 90's --- all for a common mental illness that is easily treated today with various outpatient programs. 

That is just a very small piece of how terrifying and crippling the "IT COULD HAPPEN" thoughts and fears are based off of, and hopefully provides at least some insight into how our society isn't quite structured for individuals that are not considered "neurotypical". Instead of focusing on getting well and being happy, I have spent my life trying to hide my true self for fear of being labelled these things and it negatively affecting my personal life as well as my professional career. 

It is also important to understand, that while no person is the same (including neurodiverse individuals) everyone is very different regarding how they cope with and/or handle their uniqueness. 

To Wrap It All Up:

My journey has been going on for 30+ years. During that time I have completed a combined total of about 10+ years worth of therapy - plus a lot of other knowledge seeking obsessive research (higher education courses, medical journals, etc.). I am finally getting comfortable just being my actual self. I have always been myself, to an extent. I just used to make it a point to laugh off my "quirks" and developed self-deprecating defense tactics to stay "hidden", instead of simply just saying "I am neurodiverse, can you please re-word that?"

- Jess

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