I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s become of me in my life, wondering what might have become of me, had I known from the start that I’m autistic — and had I understood just what all that entailed.
To be honest, I’m glad that I was not diagnosed as a kid. I can’t imagine my family would have known what to do with me or a diagnosis. Even today, a diagnosis can feel like a life sentence to an existence less-than. Less than what? Well, everything, really. Because still, to this day, so little is known about autism, Asperger’s, and neurodiversity, in general. Even what’s known, is piecemeal and subject to regular revision… not to mention, clinician familiarity and competence.
This isn’t for lack of information, I believe. There are hundreds upon hundreds of blogs by autistic folks here: https://anautismobserver.wordpress.com, and you can see previews of them here: http://actuallyautistic.info We’re a chatty bunch, we autists and Aspies, and we have plenty of unique things to say.
I’m just not sure who all is listening. Researchers, parents, clinicians, legislators, authority figures, and people setting the cultural agenda… they all seem pretty caught up in things other than understanding and helping folks like me.
And while that is a problem — not just for me, but for countless other autistic folks who are intermittently (or permanently) disabled by their difficulties — I’m not about to jump on my steed and go charging after them. What they do with their lives and their focus is one thing. What I choose to do with mine, is another thing, entirely.
I’m tired. Worn out. It’s Thursday night, and I have another busy day of work ahead of me tomorrow. Then the weekend, when I have to catch up on the yard work and household chores I “let slide” last weekend, because after two non-stop busy-busy weekends in a row, interspersed with a whole lot other sorts of excitement and interactivity, I just couldn’t bring myself to even take my trash to the transfer station. Or clean the downstairs half-bath. Or do laundry. I was done. Baked. Over it all. I barely even cooked.
This weekend, I don’t have that kind of latitude. I’ve GOT to get things done. Even if I’m in pain. Even if I’m feeling depressed. Even if I am shaking with tiredness. I have to get things done. Just push through. Git ‘er done. Just the thought tires me. In times like this, when my energy is at a very low ebb, and I can’t see any sign of it rising (or there being a reason for it to rise), I find my solace.
The solace of small things.
A couple of used books I bought for all of $7. Total.
The soothing glow of my tabletop lamp.
The fact that my jade plant is no longer shedding shriveled leaves, and seems to have just the right moisture level in the soil to stay alive.
The music I love. Especially the one song that comes on, every now and then, that really lifts my spirits.
The fact that, after a very, very dry summer, it’s been raining. It’s actually been raining.
My narrow, narrow interests which take me down a magical rabbit hole that widens my world, even as the details become more confined, more specialized, more focused.
Lying under warm blankets in a cold bedroom.
Going for a swim during my lunch hour.
The sound of my partner working in the next room, the rhythmic tap-tap-tap of her fingers on the keyboard, and the intermittent laughter, when she sees something funny.
The wonder of small things… when the big world is so impossibly … impossible.
That saves me.