After seven days of anticipation, the gavel bangs.
The report has arrived, an innocuous little PDF file, attached to an innocuous little email. The verdict is in.
I stare down at the pages. There are eight of them; my (awesome) specialist has been very thorough.
For a few moments, nothing else matters; nothing else gets through. The world has gone silent, as if covered by a blanket. I no longer see the surrounding room. The floor plants, the other chairs, even the bookcases…for a moment, don’t exist.
The report uses my maiden name (at my request), but everything else describes me. Perfectly. Too perfectly. So much so that it’s eerie. Because it’s so spot-on.
It’s one thing to know in your heart that you’re more than likely on the spectrum; it’s quite another to see that you are, in hard copy, in conjunction with someone else’s name–and title (PhD)–and license number. The gist of my entire life, my true self, are summarized and reflected back to me so eloquently in those eight pages, punctuated by alpha-numeric diagnostic codes.
Not only do I meet the criteria…but I knock them out of the park.
Sure, I knew that. Nothing in the report came as a surprise. There were no curve balls to catch me off guard. I suspected it–all of it–all along, at least for the past 7 months and 11 days (not that anybody’s counting…oh hell–we all know I am). But seeing (staring at) it in print, looking at your reflection in writing, makes it Real.
I’m frozen. And elated. I’m actually frozen in peace, if there is a such thing. (And if there isn’t, well then, I’m inventing it, here and now.) 🙂
To the neurotypical world, such an event–such news–might be devastating, akin to the end of the world. In equal parts devastation and desperation, they might protest, “what now??” (As in, “what are we going to do??”) To me, it brings immense relief, and even joy. For me, it’s the beginning of the world: “what now?” (As in, “what comes next?”)
A non-spectrum person might scratch their heads and wonder why in the hell I might feel that way.
I’ll tell you (them)…
…..Because I’ve never felt like I truly belonged anywhere. I had always felt like an outsider. And for the first time in my life, I feel like I actually do belong. I finally fit in somewhere. There is a place in this world for me, after all. I’m not some undefinable mistake. (None of us are.)
…..Because I’ve never felt like anything fit. That Silent Wave, she’s is a slippery one. Not intentionally, mind you; I don’t get off on manipulation and mind-games. I’m not “trying” to be anything (except myself, that is). I don’t have a burning desire to make my life any more unconventional than it already is, TYVM. But I never could find adequate short-hand terms (the dreaded “labels”) to describe myself. I never could squeeze into anybody’s little pre-constructed box. My life, in coloring-book terms, never “stayed inside the lines”.
…..Because as much as I may feel like a lone wolf, I’m not. There’s a whole tribe of other people like me. People running the same “operating system” as I am. People whose minds wander as far and wide as mine does. (Who wants to go on a mental road trip with me? This could be fun! 🙂 )
…..Because all questions, all possible doubt, all the wondering, all guessing, all supposition, have melted away. The ground feels firmer under my proverbial feet. My place in the world feels more solid and tangible. I don’t feel like I’m going to topple over (well, maybe physically, yes–but not mentally, not anymore).
…..Because I now have a starting point from which to move forward, from which to gain ground, from which to spread my wings and hopefully fly (OK, maybe not yet, but at least there’s hope).
…..Because I finally have that magical piece of paper. And it does feel damn good.
Yes, the image is a continuation of my “Neverending Story” movie symbolism. See below the line in this post for the (really cool) back-story. The warrior Atreyu, in a quest to save Fantasia, must visit the Southern Oracle for advice; however, in order to reach the Southern Oracle, he must first pass through two Gates. This is a rather significant feat, as these gates are incredibly difficult to pass through. The first Gate, known as the “Riddle Gate” only allows passage by those who are true to themselves. They cannot be fooled, as they can “see straight into your heart”.
The second Gate is even more challenging; it is known as the “Mirror Gate”, “which is a large, circular, moon-like mirror, which reflects the absolute truest nature of the observer. This often frightens people into retreat or hysteria; but the observer, to pass this gate, must walk through its reflection” (source: Wiki, decent article). At wide angle, the Mirror Gate looks like this: a standalone, circular, icy mirror, surrounded by dimness and incessant, blowing snow.