I’ve recently begun to realize that I may be on the autism spectrum. This view of myself is one of the few (or maybe even the only one) that allows me to construct a self-portrait in which all the pieces fit.
You see, all my life, there have been little blips that I’ve shoved deep into a pocket. These are the actions that I couldn’t fit into the portrait of a neurotypical person. I didn’t know what to do with them–I knew that I had to carry on, in order to survive, and act like I was a confident, capable woman. To me, this was a matter of survival, what I had to do to hold a job, pay the bills, and navigate the social world. So I snipped off those divergent bits, stuffed them into a deep pocket, and I carried on, snipping, stuffing, and camouflaging, until I’d snipped and stuffed so much that I didn’t know who I was anymore. I felt I was all camouflage and no me.
Coming into this realization has allowed me to, slowly and lovingly, pull out those little snipped bits and stitch them back into the fabric of myself. The unexpected gift is that I am, once again, beginning to feel whole.
That midnight dread and that upon-waking fear of “I don’t know who I am” has dissipated in the sunlight that spreads around all-of-me, with my neurodivergence at the core.
This autobiographical series will reveal the stitches in this fabric: I’m making the cloak whole again. I’m writing it for me. I’ve decided to post it here because this blog contains the stories that have composed my past four years, so including it here lets me integrate these new understandings into all the stories I’ve told and the poems I’ve written in the years and months immediately preceding this new realization.
You’re welcome to read along. I’ll be writing for myself, but I’ll be including you, if you want to come along. Maybe reading this will help you understand puzzling people in your lives. Maybe it will open you up to showing kindness to those who don’t fit who you think people should be. Maybe it will inspire you to be more kind towards yourself in all the ways that you diverge from expectations and demands.
I hope so. The one thing I know in my core–and have always known–is that it’s through our kindness and compassion, towards self and others, that we nurture wholeness. In a kind world, being neurodivergent isn’t a problem: It’s a gift that brings bright colors into the spectrum.