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Wicked Veracity Podcast Show Notes | Episode 90

astrology coaching neurodiversity podcast Aug 11, 2022
Wicked Veracity Podcast Episode 90

The Unmasking of a Neurodiverse Witch

I’ve been accused of not talking about myself a lot. I guess that’s about to change, at least a little. Today I’m going to stray from astrology a bit, don’t worry it’s still going to be covered but we are also going to discuss neurodiversity, what I mean when I say someone is a magical creature, and why I think the Model from The Life Coach School is the framework that ties it all together. 

Behind the Mask

I didn’t know I wasn’t normal when I was growing up. 

After failing pre-algebra three times, I attempted to withdraw from my freshman year of college. The admissions counselor looked at my test scores and asked why I wanted to leave. I told her I didn’t see a point in staying when I couldn’t even pass the introductory math course that would allow me to take the required math course for credit. She asked about my academic history and after I told her all of the details, she suggested I be tested for a learning disability. I was diagnosed shortly after with a Math Learning Disability and my relationship with education changed dramatically. That’s a whole story for a different time.

I earned an undergraduate degree in history and became a teacher. Then I earned a graduate degree in curriculum and instruction. I loved how different all of my students were and found it really easy to write accommodations for students who learned differently and I was soon writing a lot of IEPs. 

I left teaching in public schools and became a parent at 30. My boys are two years apart and both are autistic. It turns out I also have pretty significant sensory processing disorders (SPD) in addition to a learning disability and PTSD. I’ve had some of these diagnoses for decades but I only talk about them with people who have to know because they’re going to be in my life.  

The one neurodivergent quirk that pretty much anyone who has ever been around me (virtually or in person) is aware of is that I have misophonia. I can’t tolerate certain sounds such as chewing without having a meltdown or escaping entirely because the way my brain interprets those sounds is to launch into flight or fight mode. Fun example: as a first-year barely-out-of-college teacher, I told my principal to stop chewing gum near me or I was leaving the staff meeting. Y’all, the look on her face was complete and total shock but I was just trying to save her from the part of my brain that had identified her as a threat that needed to be eliminated.  

That’s just the most obvious one that I have always had difficulty hiding. For most of the other things, I’m remarkably good at masking - thus the name of the podcast. Masking is what highly functioning neurodivergent people, especially women, learn to do in order to function in a world that was simply not built for us. And it has some pretty significant costs associated with it, including not getting the help we need, depression, anxiety, and way more. 

I’ve long considered myself a neurodiversity advocate because of my students and my children- but all that really means is that I don’t expect people to be put into little boxes and act or learn a certain way. I want them to be themselves with me and be free to be all of who they are with everyone else without risking their reputation, livelihood, or relationships. 

It’s come to my attention that hiding all of who I am is antithetical to that advocacy sooo, I’ll be deprogramming myself. For those of you who are like “Ohmygosh, how could she be any more honest in the way she approaches the world,” buckle up. It’s going to be an interesting journey.


One of the things that’s important for people to understand about neurodiversity is, you don’t have autism, ADHD,  SPD or any other neurodiverse label in the same way that you have cancer, a cold, or a bacterial infection. 

For the most part, there aren’t diagnostic tests that can say “yup, there’s the autism. That’s what’s wrong!” What they do have are checklists of traits associated with the term being used for a diagnosis. That’s not to say there are no diagnostic tests. 

For example, there are genetic tests that can be used to look for markers that have been identified as likely having to do with autism BUT not all autistic people have those genetic markers and not all of the people with those markers present as autistic. 

I think this is critical because so many people think they (or their children) are broken or sick and I don’t see it that way at all. Being labeled as autistic just means one interacts with the world around them differently than what is held up as being normal.  This is true for all neurodiversity labels.

But even what is “normal” isn’t objectively true, which is why societal norms change over time. It’s why cultures in the same time can be so radically different. If I’m being honest, contradictory social norms and a lack of diversity acceptance is why the United States - and much of the world - is such a mess. 

I don't care who you are, you’re not normal. There is no normal, it’s a myth. But since language is useful, there are typical ranges of the human experience that are more prevalent. 

Sort of like an average IQ is 100, but the range that covers is between 85 and 115, there is an average way of perceiving the world. I’d explain what that looks like but to be honest, I don’t understand it at all. I have no flipping idea what it would be like to be able to tune out a crowded restaurant and focus on what the person in front of me was saying or to be able to walk outside and not feel personally attacked by the light of the sun, or what it’s like to be able to wear perfume, or be in a room with a dozen different perfumes and not want to jump out of the window to escape, or go on a merry-go-round and be able to walk after, or be able to take a standardized exam while someone clicks a pencil. (I walked out of my first GRE because it was that or jail time.) NT people are like a cross between superheroes and aliens. For real, y’all showed up on this planet like Clark Kent able to do what to me seems superhuman.  

Neurodiversity isn’t new or even unusual. I think it’s part of the human experience that makes us unique. It’s like eye color or hair color or height or literally any other physical characteristic but because it happens in our heads, we don’t notice it as much. Sort of like how most people have no idea what the IQ of those around them is, whether someone has depression, a learning disability, or any other internal thing. 

Humans are herd animals. We want to fit in so we try to be as much like the other sheep as possible so we don’t get perceived as a threat and kicked out of the collective. When Neurodiverse people do this, it’s called masking and most of us do it automatically and don’t realize everyone isn’t doing it. 

For example, I had NO idea until I was talking to my best friend a few years ago that not everyone had scripts for different social situations. If a person says X, you say Y. I have a script for all things and if I don’t have one readily available, it becomes way more obvious that I’m not in the normal range. If someone asks some version of “How are you?” the script is “Fine, thank you. How are you?” That’s an easy one that most people recognize in themselves. (Right?) I don’t even notice I’m using a script until I don’t have one or until my eldest asks why my voice changed when talking to someone. Apparently, my intonation is different when I script - trust an autistic kid to pick up on that.

The point is, I’m really freaking good at it. I can have entire conversations and have had entire relationships that were nothing more than me scripting appropriately and redirecting focus to the other person so I didn’t have to try to communicate anything in my head. And that’s not a great way to exist.

I want to connect with people and the way to do that is to mask less. But, if I’m being honest, my desire for personal connection actually wouldn’t be enough to get me to stop masking. What IS enough is the number of extraordinary people I’ve met as an astrologer and life coach who had no idea that they were neurodiverse and who had no resources or language. It bothers me a LOT that those awesome humans try to shove themselves into a box and if me being more myself helps more of them, I’m all in. 

Magical Creatures

Let’s talk about magical creatures. For those of you who aren’t aware, I’m a witch. When I say that, I don’t mean I’m Wiccan or that I cast spells on a regular basis. I have a magical worldview because it was the language I found first to understand the ways in which I am different. 

I’ve come to believe that what I recognize as magical talents are likely just another form of neurodiversity that have yet to be codified by the mainstream. For example, if you look up the definition of someone who is classified as HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) it will look a LOT like someone who would be defined in witch circles as an empath.

I believe there will eventually be an acceptance and neurodiversity classification of what I would call channeling, energy work, seeing auras, mediumship, psychic phenomenon, divination, and way more. Each of these is simply a different way of interacting with and experiencing the world around us. Until that happens, I call these people magical creatures. 

The interesting thing, at least to me, is how often other forms of neurodivergence overlaps with status as being a magical creature. A lot of parents have asked me if their child being autistic means they are also mediums or psychic. The answer is no. I know neurotypical (NT) magical creatures and I know ND muggles. 

One does not cause the other in any way that I’ve been able to identify. It’s all a part of the spectrum of being human. This is also why I won’t attempt to teach people who want to learn magical creature things. I can teach you to understand it but not to do it just like I can teach you to understand what your child with dyslexia or SPD is experiencing but I can’t teach you to experience it that way yourself. I do however take in stray magical creatures who need training on a semi-regular basis. 


I promised you there would be astrology talk and we’ve finally reached it! One of the reasons I gravitated towards astrology is that it gave me a way to understand myself. The more I understand my chart the more I am able to understand myself, the way I relate to others, and the trajectory of my life -  and I find that infinitely useful. 

What I didn’t expect was that it would give me a framework to understand everyone else I encountered as well as the world in general. One of the reasons I truly adore astrology now is that it allows me to do the same thing for other people. I’ve always known that no two people are the same and that the lens through which we experience reality can be radically different from one person to the next. When I look at an astrology chart, I can give people permission to be exactly who they are with no filters. I think almost everyone I’ve ever worked with (or been friends with) said it felt like they’ve been given permission to be who they really are. 

I love that more than I can express and it’s why astrology will continue to be a large part of how I engage with people. It’s a manual for how to live life that is personalized for each individual. It’s the coolest thing in the history of ever and I never get tired of learning more about it.

This is one of those things I can teach pretty much anyone who has an above-average IQ how to do competently (assuming you don’t have an LD that would get in the way). It’s like learning a language or how to do math. It’s a skill with rules and the basics are pretty easy and a great way for people to gain new ways of perceiving the world that are outside of the normal range of human experience. 

Life Coach Certification

Certification through The Life Coach School has been the most recent addition to my arsenal for understanding myself and those around me. It gives me a way to talk about how I’ve understood the world for a really long time and help people who need a framework for interpersonal interactions and life in general. It’s really simple but it’ll break your brain in the best possible way repeatedly if you let it. 

Circumstances are neutral - that includes your fate as shown in your astrological chart, your neurodiversity status, and literally everything else. We have Thoughts about those neutral circumstances that create Feelings which drive our Actions and create our Results. This is called the Model at The Life Coach School and it’s one of the ways I can work with clients who are struggling with literally any aspect of their life. 

I have several episodes about this and there will be lots more in the future but in the context of this episode, I find it especially helpful for neurodivergent people because facts and logic are really great tools for emotional regulation which can otherwise be especially challenging. 

It’s been the most effective behavior modification and management tool for my eldest son. It’s almost magical how well it works.  

For my magical creatures, it’s helpful for a different reason. If you really want to work with “magic,” you have to be able to manage your mind. It’s literally the foundation of all magical traditions and the Model makes it easier than any other technique I’ve encountered. 

Going Forward

I know a lot of people find me because of astrology and I don’t think that’s likely to change. I’ll probably have something along the lines of ‘come for the astrology and stay for the neuro inclusivity’ added to my marketing at some point but I will be talking about all of these topics more. 

I know my people need to be in places where these types of conversations are happening, they need someone who can advocate for them, and teach them to advocate and adore themselves. 

I’ll be doing more of that going forward.

What won’t change is the way I see and accept each person I interact with exactly as they are and where they are in this journey we call life. 

Until next time, my wish for you is whole-hearted acceptance and unconditional love of yourself. 

Podcast Theme Music

LicenseRustic Ballad by Alexander Nakarada

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