Awareness unfolds. Eight months have passed since my diagnosis of autism, and still the realities of what this means reveal themselves to me bit by bit. Or perhaps that is whole by whole. There is so much to know and this seems at times vast – like a powerful ocean tide around my feet, or whole constellations twinkling above me.
I can’t tell how many such moments there will be, or how deeply they’ll take me to a core of knowing.
It feels infinite and beautiful. Knowledge is secure at such times – perhaps this is a oneness I feel, with the elemental. Having nothing to do with earthly life as lived via human design, by which I mean roads, houses, cars, buses and planes. The realities of the machine, and now digital age/s.
And in reality I am the most machine dependent person. I am a city rat (small city please) and like my amenities close at hand. So I’m not against that. But we have screwed things up. We have, oh we have!
But I’m not about that in this moment. I’m taking a break from all that kind of thinking, and the cycle of terror and hate we’re locked into as a species.
This is about breath, blood and bone. The only thing we truly know is in our bodies. We must trust our bodies.
Autistic people spend their lives being told that their bodies malfunction. They can’t regulate, they can’t coordinate, they cannot process.
What is true is that we can’t do it like the rest of you (you mythical ‘normals’ who are in truth as variegated as we autistics).
So I’m learning to do things my way. Be how my body needs to be. Allow my mind what it needs to function my way – without judgement or interruption.
Oh ‘normal’ world! Can you imagine what it is to be a child, to be in school, and to find nothing but interruption and judgement? And not even knowing. To not know that this is what is happening to you…
Your body learns that it is wrong. Your body learns to contort and try to be right. You learn to approximate to this thing called ‘normal’.
This is the unlearning that has to be done.
I look back and see a small child. I often hid in small spaces. Under tables and behind curtains. I was ‘naughty’ and knew I was bad. Grown ups seemed random and foolish, and school a place of boredom and lies. I noticed the arbitrary, and was not impressed.
But soon I learned to contort. When did I learn to be unimpressed with myself?
This is the unlearning to be done.