I’ve got a number of projects in the works.
The main writing project I’ve got going is Into the Deep (tentative title, which I’ve changed a number of times) – a memoir of a sensory day, wherein I describe my amped-up sensory experiences and overload… which ultimately culminates in a meltdown. Sorry for the spoiler, but knowing how it ends up is actually an important part of the entire book leading up to it. It dates back to circa 2008, when I was diving into my Aspergers and sensory issues with gusto. My focus, over the years, has been on describing the stresses and strains that accompany extreme sensitivity, coupled with environmental and logistical demands of just living your life.
I’m also working on compiling criteria for assessing the prevalence and impact of Aspergers / autism in a person’s life. I’ve compiled hundreds of different criteria from a number of well-known and trusted sources, and I’m in the process of grouping them into meaningful categories which pertain to the AS experience. I was full-speed-ahead with that one for weeks and weeks on end… then I ran out of steam, lost focus, and I’m getting back to it again. I’ll produce several different tools out of this — a spreadsheet with some calculations, so I (and others) can record and also chart issues in childhood, teen years, adulthood, and elder years… as well as an online version that will generate better-looking charts and have the ability to print out what’s been entered.
I’m also refining the AS “Spot Check” tool I built a few weeks back. I have a number of features I want to add to it, and I can think of additional ways it can be tweaked.
I’ve got some other writing projects in the back of my mind — especially relating to how women (and non-stereotypical men / non-binary) folks experience and present when they’re on the autism spectrum.
And of course, there’s always my own self-assessment work, which I’m doing partly to console myself about not having access to an Aspergers assessment, partly to get clear on my situation so I can manage my life more effectively, and partly to prepare for an eventual assessment which I will definitely be pursuing, as soon as I can get the money together and spend it without jeopardizing my health and welfare.
It only looks like a lot if you’re not in my head. Inside my head, everything fits nicely into an overall schematic that’s like the blueprints of a large and sprawling building. It’s very 3D, this schematic in my head — no, 4D, because it involves the passing of time, as well. I can literally see how things will evolve and develop over time, expanding from a framework of ideas into a real and literal thing. It feels awesome to have a clear view of what I’m doing and how it’s evolving and what it may eventually be (with some modifications, of course).
Something has been missing, though. And I realize that I’ve been paying far too much attention to the Aspie “issues” I’ve been dealing with, at the expense of the really wonderful things about being on the autism spectrum. There is so much joy, so much light, so much brilliance and enjoyment that comes from uniquely autistic living, why get bogged down in the issues? It’s not like I’m looking for services or assistance. It’s not like I need to prove my Royal Aspieness to anybody else. I’ve learned how to “pass” in the NT world, while knowing all along that I’m nothing — but nothing — like the people I’m emulating. And that’s okay. It’s like being fluent in a foreign language, so you can comfortably live abroad for six months out of the year. It doesn’t make me less of who I am. It makes me more, actually.
So, yeah. I’m letting go of the intense need to have an official diagnosis for Aspergers, and I’m just getting on with my life. And I’m reconsidering the approach I’m taking with my writing and other projects. I want them to be more accurate, more truly reflective of what my experience is like on a daily basis — which is not the kind of continuously excruciating that I hear others discussing.
It’s awkward, yes, at times. And it’s lonely. It’s confusing. It’s consternating. But that’s life.
The “flip side” (imagine a record being flipped over on a turntable – if you can conjure that image from the dusty, distant past) is that I have so many wonderful, blissful, ecstatic experiences of unbridled joy, richness, intuition, grace, and just plain fun, that it totally, utterly cancels out the pain and frustration. And it does it in ways that make me never, ever, ever want to forfeit my Royal Aspieness.
Cutting the pain of autistic separation from the “allistic” world (I learned a new term in the past few days — “allistic” which equates to “neurotypical”, from what I gather)… solving the problems of Aspergers by reducing my autistic tendencies… it’s just not worth it to me. I’d rather have the pain, if it means I get to keep the joy. To be honest, the joy far outpaces, outsizes, outstrips the pain — a thousand times over.
I’ve written before about wanting to bring out the joys of Aspieness. But that’s not entirely true. What I want, more than anything, is to be 100% honest and show the full spectrum of Aspie life. Not just the struggles which are detailed to justify funding. Not just the problems that are raised in hopes of crafting solutions. Not just the ways we are put down, disadvantages, and disabled by societal norms. But the flip side of that, as well — the parts of my / our life that are so vibrant with irrepressible life, that we wouldn’t trade our autism for all the money or social acceptance in the world.
“Spectrum condition” is right. There’s far more to tell. So, in a sense, back to the drawing board, to chink the proverbial gaps in the structure I’m building in my life.