Today is Onesies Day at Geordie’s school.
What is that?
In a nutshell, it’s an ‘out-of-uniform’ day masquerading as a fundraiser. Students are allowed to ditch their uniforms and wear something else (in this case, their pyjamas), but are ‘fined’ a gold coin which goes towards fundraising efforts for a nominated charity.
Today is all about being able to wear your ‘onesie’ (or pyjamas) to school for the day.
‘Out-of-uniform’ days work a treat — minimal effort on the part of the organisers, and a ‘fun’ way for kids to help raise money.
You may have noticed I emphasised the word fun.
There are many kids (and adults) who love dressing-up; they relish the idea of being able to wear their pyjamas (or some other costume) to school for the day. It’s FUN.
Geordie is not one of those people. He finds the notion of wearing something in an out-of-context situation (i.e. pyjamas when you are not going to bed, or a fancy-dress costume when you are not in a play) to be intimidating. It makes him uncomfortable. It is the opposite of fun.
I feel exactly the same way. I really, really don’t like fancy dress. It makes me uncomfortable and it most definitely is not my idea of fun.
This, however, is where the similarity ends for the two of us.
Growing up, I felt compelled to ‘go with the flow’ and participate in this ‘fancy dress fun’. I would stress for days about it. On the day, my stomach would be in knots and I couldn’t wait to get home to tear off the offending garments. Even now, it is only recently that I have had the courage to put my foot down and say, “No, I don’t do dress ups.” But I still stress about it — What will people think? What will they say? Will I be the only one?
Geordie, on the other hand, has always blatantly refused to participate in such days; whether it be a fundraiser, a themed party or Book Week celebrations — he insists on wearing his normal clothes. He doesn’t care if he is the only one; his only concern is that he feels comfortable. It has taken me a while to realise that, for Geordie, ‘being the only one’, and standing out becasue of that, is NOT an issue for him.
So, right now, he is dressed in his uniform. He has his ‘gold coin donation’ in his bag. In about 20 minutes, he will be heading off to a schoolyard full of children wearing their onesies; he won’t be the only one wearing his uniform, but he will most definitely be in the minority.
I am so, so proud of him.
In Geordie’s world of Asperger’s — where there has been so much confusion, so many obstacles and a constant flow of ‘learning curves’ — being able to stand up and say, “No, I’m not doing that,” is HUGE!
At his young age, he is not only aware of what makes him uncomfortable, but he has the courage to be his own person and to not ‘go with the flow’ when it doesn’t suit him.
If that’s not self-confidence, and if it’s not setting him up for a positive future, then I don’t know what is.