I'm here to propose what I believe to be the Neurodivergent Song of the Summer for 2023, and I'd love to get you on board. If you aren't familiar with the artist AURORA, she is a Norwegian singer and songwriter whose voice you might recognize most from Disney's Frozen II, as the mysterious spirit singing to Elsa. She has had three albums, each of them coming across my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist, much to my joy. In addition to her ethereal sound and creative look that speaks to the theatre kid within me, her songs frequently tackle topics that speak to the counselor in me, like identity, mental health, and social issues.
Without Further Ado
I'd like to introduce you to Cure for Me, first through the music video, then through a brief exploration of some of the things about this song (and the video) that make it my Neurodivergent Anthem of 2023.
There are several pieces of this performance (the song and the video) that spoke to my neurodivergence. I could immediately relate to the idea that there was something about me that many people feel is something that needs to be changed, fixed, or cured. This is the main objective of groups like Autism Speaks (find the cause of autism and cure it) and with Applied Behavioral Analysis (learn how to appear neurotypical and/or function within a neurotypical society), and one of the reasons that autists themselves reject this idea. "The glorious teachers are no use for creatures who know how to play with the gods." We don't need a cure for us.
I loved the introduction of the masked folks in the video and how, in the beginning, things were relatively calm and uniform in the way all of them were dancing. As the song/video goes on, though, they begin to show their individuality and take up the space to move in the ways that feel right for them. That - the freedom to take up space and to be - is what I think therapy is like with a neurodiversity-affirming clinician, and what I hope I explicitly offer to my clients. Come! Be yourself as fully as you choose to be and in whatever way that looks for you. Take up space. It's a gift to see folks as they truly are, and it also invites me to be fully myself as the clinician in the room, too. This is what it is to unmask - in the therapy room and beyond!
This song doesn't just speak to neurodivergence, though. "I don't need a cure for me" could easily be a line for anyone who feels rejected, forgotten, or if they must fight to be seen. Aurora stated that she was thinking of LGBTQAI+ folks and Drag artists when writing this song, and with what we know about the rates of autists who also identify as LGBTQAI+, I think that's important to know, too.
Needless to say, this song has been in my head pretty nonstop the past couple of weeks. Maybe it will speak to you, as well!