by Lydia Wayman
For perhaps the eighth or tenth time in the year it’s been since I moved here, I shall sleep in my bed. I am desperately in love with my couch, but it’s kind of broken (Mom says it’s “sacked out,” whatever that means), and some nerve in my back was shouting at me. So, to the bed I go, now. This will be night… two? Three? The last two nights went well, but tonight it’s going on 1 AM and I still have blog posts rolling around in my fingers. Oi vey.
Do you mind a bit of musing? I thought not. Buckle up, then.
As I said not terribly long ago, I worry. I worry that I am too small a person for too big a job. I worry that I will never be good enough or eloquent enough or find the right words to tell you what autism is really like. I worry that I will step on toes, because most of the bloggers I interact with are mama-bloggers, and while I don’t for one second even fathom that I might know what’s better for their child than they do, I worry that at some point I’ll come across like I think that I do. I worry about fitting in. And I worry about continuity; when I read other blogs, there are links and themes that run from one post to the next to yet another… and I worry that all I have for you are windows.
Are windows enough? They’re all I have. So, tonight, as we close in on 1 AM and I sit here without my glasses on, I will offer you one more window (the 370th one since I began writing this blog over two years ago).
One of the things we work on around these parts is emotion identification. This often takes the form of watching the ever-popular sitcom Friends, which frankly, has always gone a bit over my head. But, with someone there to watch with me and explain the funny parts (which, on more than one occasion, has bordered on rather awkward, by nature of the show), well, I do alright, and if I’m in the right mood (which is often), it’s fun.
But I was thinking (and, I tell you, my fingers were literally trying to type while I was laying in my bed… you think a loud, I think a type, right?) that perhaps my issue is not one of lack of empathy, feeling, or knowledge, but rather… a difference of language.
What do you call the corner of exasperated and defeated?
It sits at the crossroads of frustrated and confused.
It’s when you need big, open spaces but you have tight corners.
And it’s when you want starry skies but you have a thick, dense, low fog.
It’s squinting through murky waters to see what’s just beyond.
It’s feeling like your fingers are tied down (or for you, like your mouth is taped shut).
I could go on, but my point is this: I know exactly what I’m feeling, and I can (if I’m typing) perfectly describe it to you. No, I can’t sum it up in one nice little word like you might, but I can certainly explain how I feel, can’t I? And, correct me if I’m wrong, but can’t you get some semblance of sense out of what I just described?
It’s rare to none you’ll probably ever hear me use feelings words verbally, and it’s none to forget about it you’ll hear me really describe it like I just did out loud. My brain just doesn’t work that way… it works with my fingers instead of my mouth.
But if you’re willing to let me type, go ahead and ask me what I’m feeling. Give me a moment to ponder. I have no problem letting you know.
I just can’t promise it’ll be what you’re used to, eh? (Have I mentioned that my typing is picking up Canadian bits and pieces? It’s like copying someone’s style of speech, 0nly autisticly.)
Alright, folks. The blinds are down, the curtains drawn. And, back to that musing, I suppose the way I experience life is as a serious of windows. My memory isn’t the best anymore, and my sensory system is uh, whacked, and that leaves me with very little continuity in things. I function in boxes and windows.
Perhaps a blog and the windows it offers you are an appropriate medium by which to share myself and my life.
Now, would someone tell my fingers to go to bed already? Take two, we shall.
About the Author: Lydia Wayman is a young woman with autism and the author of two books: Living in Technicolor: An autistic’s thoughts on raising a child with autism and Interview with Autism. This piece first appeared on her blog, Autistic Speaks, and is reprinted here by permission.