I’ve been quiet on matters autistic – taking a break and inhabiting pastures new.
But it feels to me that late diagnosis is a process, with a pattern to it. Like with any process there are stages, and one day we’ll know what they are and books of the self-help variety will no doubt be written – I hope by autistic people. And books are being written – of all kinds – by autistic writers, which is wonderful. It’s just that presently we don’t have an overview because as a culture we’re pretty new.
I feel myself edging towards a new stage – one of certain detachment and reevaluation.
I did want to ignore autism awareness week but I find myself writing a blog post instead. How random it that? As random as a week in which to be aware of autism, I expect.
As random as getting caught up in online arguments, feeling triggered and generally being more stressed (like at Christmas) because humans in some number have decided now’s the time to be aware that autistic humans exist.
So my blog post is not intended to become part of all that. On the contrary, what I offer is a possible antidote. I’ve nothing against randomness per se, it’s just that I feel I’m not obliged in anyway to engage with what I see as randomly orchestrated events, especially when they have such potential to create turbulence in our lives.
I propose to deal with the problematics of autism awareness week autistically, by (in my case) deploying my unusual lack of calendar awareness – yes, for me calendars are quite surplus to requirements, as I navigate through time and space by other means. Calendars can be helpful but who needs all that detail!
Sensory navigation is far more enjoyable (and quite effective generally). Okay it does mean that you miss an awful lot – including for example when Easter is due. I know it’s coming up soon, but the precise timing of Easter is foggy. So it shall be with autism awareness week. We may be in the middle of it but by the power of autism within me I can forget this VERY easily.
Okay, I’m lucky. I’ve never knowingly ducked the issue of privilege in my writing but it’s worth restating for newcomers. Some of us can’t avoid autism awareness week – maybe it invades online spaces which act as a life-line. Now that is serious. What to do?
Well, we may be able to chose not to scroll through comments getting more and more triggered. We may be able to resist comment – thereby avoiding being drawn in further. This sounds so very Zen – probably it is. But honestly, after getting seriously burned more than one time chasing down triggering material I’ve developed an aversion to it. I learned that those who comment online often bait, or can have inordinately closed minds, that this is frankly exhausting to counteract, and can lead precisely nowhere. Worse, it can make us downright miserable.
I’m not talking about potentially fruitful debate (sometimes we just don’t know if the other person is genuine), or countering misinformation – to be clear – I’m aiming at the flotsam and jetsam of internet life (the crud which surfaces and does the rounds).
We’re a righteous people – of course we are – and we’re often maligned and misunderstood. I’m learning how easily we can be drawn in on a wash, spin, repeat cycle, but also how this can represent a constant return to familiar trauma sites.
Obviously, each one of us must make our own choices on how we manage this. I’m not preaching.
I’ve been asking myself honestly if I want to spend my time doing this, and the answer is that I don’t.
Putting out positive messages suits my temperament so much better. SO I’m trying an experiment.
Can I be critical and positive? Can I find ways to infiltrate where I can influence more?
Let’s see what this week brings. I’ve already been more vocal today than I have been in months. Perhaps the value of such blighted awareness campaigns are that they can make us think about how to do something differently.