Standing at the Mirror Gate

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.

concurso-6

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25 Comments

  1. I was truly just on WordPress to come and ask you what had happened re the verdict and here it is! Well done, and I can understand the feelings you have at the moment. On a sidenote, my diagnosis is eight pages long too. They’re very thorough, but then they need to be don’t they. As the doctor who diagnosed me said, even though he could tell within minutes of meeting me I had it, they still have to go through the complete diagnostic process anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lol awesome! Thank you for your kind words 🙂 That’s cool that your experience is similar. Yep, they need to be thorough and I’m glad they (well, most of them 🙂 ) are ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that site 🙂 It was one of the first ones I found after I started to suspect I might be on the spectrum. She’s amazing! Thank you for linking to it here; it’s a gold-medal blog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you luv!!! OK I’m so embarrassed; I don’t think I replied to your last Twitter message :O I will get to that ASAP 🙂

      Like

  2. ***Adventures ahoy and congratulations!*** I’d love to do a road trip one day and actually meet the people I connect with online. So happy for you🙌

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So glad-indeed, it is just the beginning! Which, funny enough, is how I put it in a portion of my speech for my upcoming speaking engagement. I was referring more to parents and their kids’ diagnoses, but I truly hope I can continue to step forward more and more in my own new beginning. One of these days, I may even seek that official paperwork, too. Who knows? 🙂 I appreciate your words so. They are such an encouragement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear!! The feeling is indeed amazing 😊 There was no question in my mind about whether or not I was on the spectrum, but having that professional corroboration seemed to plant my feet on more solid ground for me. I wish you the very best of luck if or when you seek your own formal diagnosis. Looking back, it wasn’t too scary; I think I had a lot of lifetime emotions come to the surface, but it was actually very positive, and very healing. I hope that if/when you go for yours, it brings you the peace and sighs of relief that it brought me. If it’s any extra encouragement for you, many other people have echoed similar sentiments and report similar experiences. You go, girl! 👏🏼👏🏼 We’re behind you all the way! 👍🏼💪🏼😘💞

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Relief pretty much captures it. And yes, I’m sure that looks strange to someone who isn’t autistic. After all, most of the time you don’t want to be told you do have something. But I don’t think any of us ever had any doubt there was *something* different about us. And the people who knew us for any significant length of time have known that as well. It’s weird for me looking back and recognizing how many of my conversations at work with people I’ve known sometimes for decades have revolved around trying to figure out how my mind worked differently. Autism never came up, and I’m not even sure which of the intertwined threads are rooted in “giftedness” and which in autism or if they can even be separated.

    After decades, sometimes, of not knowing why we’re different, a diagnosis finally explains why. It doesn’t alter the underlying reality, but if you know and understand what’s happening, why you’re acting or reacting the way you are, why you don’t always understand what’s happening around you, it really does help. It provides context and a framework. And that context and framework gives us at least some agency to meaningfully manage our environment and interactions.

    Everything doesn’t have to be reduced to an “I’m fine” even when we aren’t.

    I’m happy you finally had that moment of seeing it in black and white. There’s something difficult to express in words about that moment. My report was 15 pages, but my diagnostician also screened for ADHD and a number of processing issues in order to have as complete a context as possible. So there’s a lot of that in there as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So eloquently put! Thank you for your support and your perspective. So glad to know that there are other people out there who (totally) “get it” 😊❤️

      Like

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