29 min

PAP 180: Growing Up Feeling ”Other,” Part 1, with Jonothan Joly Beautifully Complex

    • Parenting

Our culture has come a long way with acceptance, but there’s still so much further to go. We’re still very much a society based on conformity and normalizing everyone. I don’t have to tell you, but that simply doesn’t work. What happens when we keep pushing people to be our definition of “normal” when it isn’t who they are? They end up feeling “other” - unheard, unseen, and misunderstood. 

This is the life Jonathan Joly describes in his new book, “All My Friends Are Invisible.” Growing up with ADHD, dyslexia and questioning his identity, Jonathan felt that there was no tolerance in the world for a kid with, what he calls, my “crazy mind” and differences. So he had to create a world where he was valued more than in the real world… a world in his imagination. His invisible, imaginary friends allowed him to be 100 percent himself, without judgment, bullying, and shame. 

There’s so much for parents of neurodivergent kids to learn from Jonathan in his story, and in the way he parents his own children. He talks about how he didn’t finish school, but went back later and got a university degree and graduated with honors, how there’s a freedom to embracing who you are, and the coping mechanisms that he created and used to keep going in a world that rejected him. 

This is one of the most emotional, moving, and inspirational conversations I’ve had. I know you’ll find it impactful too.

Our culture has come a long way with acceptance, but there’s still so much further to go. We’re still very much a society based on conformity and normalizing everyone. I don’t have to tell you, but that simply doesn’t work. What happens when we keep pushing people to be our definition of “normal” when it isn’t who they are? They end up feeling “other” - unheard, unseen, and misunderstood. 

This is the life Jonathan Joly describes in his new book, “All My Friends Are Invisible.” Growing up with ADHD, dyslexia and questioning his identity, Jonathan felt that there was no tolerance in the world for a kid with, what he calls, my “crazy mind” and differences. So he had to create a world where he was valued more than in the real world… a world in his imagination. His invisible, imaginary friends allowed him to be 100 percent himself, without judgment, bullying, and shame. 

There’s so much for parents of neurodivergent kids to learn from Jonathan in his story, and in the way he parents his own children. He talks about how he didn’t finish school, but went back later and got a university degree and graduated with honors, how there’s a freedom to embracing who you are, and the coping mechanisms that he created and used to keep going in a world that rejected him. 

This is one of the most emotional, moving, and inspirational conversations I’ve had. I know you’ll find it impactful too.

29 min