Written words are my metier and yet I seem unable to articulate what is happening with me with any sort of concision or focus. I think this is one of the reasons such a contemporary record as this blog is important for me. Not least because I’ve started drafting about two dozen different writings that I thought I might post here, but I lose control. I’m hoping the discipline of posting here will force a little theme and rigour into my thus-far random, rambling draft-scripts.
These drafts so far have all started neatly enough but they quickly veer off at tangents or fragment and scatter into a directionless wind. I think one or two of them might circle back and tangentially touch other of the writing-beginnings. But, of course, I want linearity and certainty and predictability. And this process of identifying, discovering a sense of self – my sense of self – as a result of learning I am an autist is none of those.
I have some near-certainty. Autism feels right. No problem there. I tick so many of the boxes. Well clearly I do otherwise I wouldn’t have been diagnosed. Doh. And I keep discovering I tick other autism boxes. It feels right pretty much all of the time … and I’m guessing (I’m doing a lot of guesswork lately) my spikes of hesitancy, of doubt, are because I will have to let go of everything about myself I thought to be true. That’s quite scary. More than quite. Fortunately there are occasional nano-second glimpses of exciting too. I guess (there I go again) that’s what is called hope. This gives me strength to put one foot in front of the other.
I’m certain I will feel as though I’ve “come home”. But retrospectively figuring it all out, re-configuring fifty years, phew, that’s another thing. I’m going to have re-categorise, re-file, re-index almost everything about myself I assumed had to be true. My absolute truths turn out to be not true. When truth and facts are at the very core of one’s being, that’s a tough lesson. On the other hand, it might be rather liberating, too. At least that’s what I’m hoping.
Here’s an example. It’s one of my biggest examples; I will undoubtedly return to the theme in more depth. It turns out I’m not stupid. I’m autistic. (I have two Masters degrees). I probably shouldn’t be surprised it’s really difficult to let go of an absolute truth (e.g. stupidity) one has been lead to believe, so deeply, that it has remained embedded, indoctrinated, for fifty years. Stupidity absolutely has been my frame of reference (see first post) for fifty years. If I remove that structural wall, that underpinned foundation, will the whole house fall down? Does the whole house need to fall down? Ooh bugger, what if it does. Could I put up internal scaffolding while I gut and renovate? Or should I take out the precious internal fixtures and fittings first, (how do I know which are the precious ones, especially as my internal world is currently utterly disorientated?) then knock down the external structure and build new walls and roof around the fixtures and fittings? They’re very different scenarios.
Are there any rule-books / guidance notes on discovering one’s identity so late in life?
I am entirely confident that it will all make sense at some point in the future (though of course I want to have arrived at that point already). I know (though I don’t know how I know) my thoughts will become aligned, neatly ironed and precisely filed in categorised and alphabetised mental folders. But just now thoughts, half-thoughts, realisations, speculations and mere wonderings are coming at me from all angles, and it’s sending my critical (ooh, that just ‘auto-corrected’ to crucial – yes, that too, thanks) analysis off into a whole another plethora of discombobulated directions. This is so far outside my comfort zone of linear, rigid, black and white thinking.
And something else … I hadn’t planned to write any of the above. That all just came clickety-clacking out of the keyboard. I’d planned to tart up a part-draft about “permission” or noise-overload, or exhaustion. Oh well, there’s always next time… and the time after …