A Week of Autism
March 12, 2016 § 7 Comments
My paintings (Earth and Sky) will be included in an exhibition called Brain Dancing, hosted by Autism Family Support, Oxfordshire)
So how has it been to spend my first week as a newly diagnosed person?
(You can read about my diagnosis in Asperger Syndrome and Me)
To say that I am ON TOP OF THE WORLD would be metaphorically accurate. I wake early. Waves of euphoria and wonder wash over me as I greet each new day.
It seems there is nothing like the true power of knowing yourself to make you feel solid and substantial rather than composed of wavy lines (like a grinning Cheshire cat liable to disappear at any moment). No need to feel like a person who is doing a bad job of being a person anymore.
An apple among bananas comes to mind, or perhaps it would be the other way round? Knowing I’m an apple and not a banana (or vice versa as the case may be) means I can be just the type of fruit I was meant to be. I’m good as an apple. Let’s go with that.
These thoughts conjure a fruit basket – I can almost touch – where apples and bananas sit together comfortably, their distinct shapes and colours proving complimentary. You could never confuse one for the other. They are palpably and indisputably different.
It makes perfect sense to me to say – and so it is with brains, except that we can’t see them.
And so you can imagine the struggle and often impossibility of fitting an apple shaped brain into a banana shaped world.
But now I don’t have to. Well, not all the time. Crucially, I never have to feel lesser when the fit is wrong. I am not wrong.
Yesterday I tagged along briefly in a conversation about the word spectrum. On the spectrum is often used in lieu of autism or autistic. Spectrum is way softer than autistic in sound I notice. I will be thinking about this some more.
Presently, the collective view is that the only really good fruit to be is banana shaped, and so it’s important to look like one if you can (hence passing). But the apples know this isn’t so.
Let’s not kid ourselves some of the bananas haven’t caught up with where the apples are at core (excuse the pun). Not being a banana is pretty good too.
And I’m not talking about best apples, or a spectrum of apples. In my mind apples are apples. Apples don’t do lines. This is how my apple brain works.
It is also true that there are many kinds of apples. Many.