I have a confession to make: when I found out that the description of Asperger’s/autism fit me hand in glove, I didn’t start blogging right away. In fact, I waited a little over a month. I wanted to do all the pertinent research first, to rule Asperger’s/autism in, and everything else out.
I have another confession to make: I didn’t wait until I underwent a formal evaluation and received a formal diagnosis before I started writing this blog. In fact, it would be another six months after starting it, that I would have my initial evaluation. I blogged, as an Aspergian/autistic blogger, for a little more than six months before I finally had my formal diagnosis in hand.
But I started blogging anyway. I even spoke in terms of “we” and “us”, because that’s how I thought of us from the git-go.
That might enrage a few people. That might even make me a few enemies. I understand. Please know that before I wrote my first word, before I even set up this blog, I was That Sure (please–read the links above). I had done everything I could to make sure that Asperger’s/autism fit me, and that I fit it.
I had played devil’s advocate, to ensure that my newfound Aspie/autism “theory” wasn’t just an “excuse” to be “different” or to explain away everything that I couldn’t do, every way in which I never (neurotypically) “measured up”.
I started blogging to chronicle my journey and my growing knowledge bank of factoids and self-discovery. I blogged as a self-identified Aspergian/autistic person. I even used the terms and claimed the identity.
And I’m not sorry.
Because even more important to me was the nagging intuition I couldn’t ignore, that there were others out there who might need and might could benefit from whatever it was that I had to say. After all, I had done my due diligence, just shy of obtaining a magical piece of paper from a neurotypical medical model gatekeeper.
I had lived nearly 39 years as an autistic person, and my memory went way back, and my desires to share and connect went way deep.
I didn’t want anyone who might have needed to hear what I had to say, to have to wait six more months (until I got my formal diagnosis) to hear it.
Ladies and gentlemen (and everyone in between) of the jury, I only wanted to help. I promise.
Something inside me said, “Do It.”
And when that voice talks, I listen.
And when that voice issues a command, I obey.
So, a year ago today, this blog was born.
For shits, grins, and nostalgia, here’s a screenshot of this blog with its original layout, just before July’s theme change (read: cosmetic overhaul):
It’s been an fascinating, game-changing, and utterly amazing year, in every way imaginable.
I’m still reeling, really.
Reeling in a positive way, I promise.
I won’t bore you with numbers and statistics. To do so would be, well, boring, and it might come across as pompous, which is the opposite direction of where I’m going with this. Let’s just say that the (huge) visibility has come quite unexpectedly, and in a very positive and fulfilling way.
Because I know that somewhere, someone is reading this and having an “a-ha!” moment that brings tears to their eyes, just like I had experienced a year ago, while reading other people’s blogs. Based on the public comments and private messages I receive, I know that The Little Blog That Could is succeeding in serving its purpose, which is to help others.
The word “unexpected” doesn’t do the feeling justice, either. Posts that I wrote while feeling fatigued, posts that I thought were nothing special, went further and wider than I ever anticipated. Apparently, even in my darker times of fatigue, loneliness, alienation, despair, missteps, ableist faux pas, and every other (new) set of land minds I stepped into along the way, people still found a resonance or comfort in something I said. (That still joyfully baffles me, by the way.) 🙂
The best part, however, can’t be quantified. The quality of my life has skyrocketed. Connections have been made and bonds have been formed that I cherish so fondly that it’s not even funny. It does make me smile, however, in physical life. The smiles are warm and grateful, beaming and melting inside, all at the same time.
Suddenly I found myself feeling at home, comfortable with being myself, among a whole beehive of people who liked me for me. More importantly, who liked the real me, for the real me.
I found myself smack dab in the middle of a network of love and support, spread across the planet, from every geographical area, every mindset, and every walk of life.
Whoever said that richness only pertains to financial status? Who says one’s bank account has to be luscious in order to feel rich?
I feel rich in what I believe to be a much more important way than simple bank notes printed on special paper, every day.
My life has been enriched just by finding other people with a similar neurological orientation and hanging out online or What’s App or Skype with them.
I never knew that it was possible to have times like this and friends like these. I never thought I’d find anyone like me. I never thought I’d find anyone who would like me. I never thought I could be myself and people might like me. I never thought that what I had to say, these torrents and trains of thought, would resonate with anyone or cause anyone to exclaim, “me too!”
With tears of relief and joy in my eyes, I have often wondered, lovingly, where have y’all been all this time?
Oh, you know, here and there.
We are indeed everywhere. I’m the one out walking just before dawn and just after sunset, gazing up at the trees, the moon, and the stars.
I’m the one walking down the hall or sitting in a restaurant or waiting room, gazing into my mobile screen, checking in on WordPress and social media, giving each passerby a quick, shy smile, and maybe mumbling a pleasant “hi” out of a combination of obligation and genuineness, if I have enough mental energy left or I’m feeling particularly extroverted that day.
I’m the one who pauses to stim while thinking at my desk at work, before diving back in to think and work some more. I’m the one who has chosen a career option that allows me to work alone most of the time.
I’m the one who sits for hours outside, cherishing the windows of time in which I have the world, or at least the house, to myself.
I’m the one who puts on a mask, pretending to be way more extroverted than I actually am. Trying to feign eye contact and socialization. Trying to anticipate and navigate nonsensical social rules about which I never received a memo. Trying to not only survive, but thrive in a world that contradicts my nature. A world that flies in the face of my instincts. A world that disapproves of my tendencies and initial inclinations. A world in which that which is prized is not what I have. That which is valued is different from what I possess.
As it turns out, so are many of you. The ones on WordPress and Twitter with whom we share an unusual neurotype. The ones who Skype and text internationally with me, much to our mutual amusement and spirited kinship. So are the ones on Facebook who are connected with me for reasons other than autism, who see my autism-related posts and pipe up to comment, “oh my gosh! That describes me!”
The Silent Wave is not about me. I am one droplet of water in the world. One droplet does not an ocean, nor even a single wave, make. The wave is comprised of all of us, those of us on our individual journeys of discovering ourselves and seeking the human connections that we might have long ago begun to assume we didn’t need.
Because that’s exactly what the so-called experts were telling us. In their books and spoken words, they had determined that we didn’t possess any desire for human contact. They had labeled us loners, and because it seemed to make sense to us, we likely agreed.
But they were wrong. Dead wrong.
Like practically all human beings, we crave bonding, too. We, too, tend to seek out other humans with whom to share a common connection.
But because we find those people so infrequently, we often sense an invisible division, and find ourselves alone on our own island. An island initiated by others and then reinforced by ourselves as a means of constructing an existence free of pain.
For years, even decades, we existed as the droplets unseen, the ones that form the undertow.
It’s not our fault.
It’s also OK to rise above that surface, and we are doing so, forming the wave. At present, it has not yet reached its full height. But it’s gathering, both force and strength, under the surface. That is what The Silent Wave refers to–the process of pushing upward from below. It will give rise to itself, pushing to the surface and beyond, until we can no longer be ignored, until we are a force that the world at large has no choice but to reckon with.
There will probably not come a single Day of Reckoning. It will probably be more like years, decades, generations, entire eras. When the reckoning hits, people will reckon for a long time. The Silent Wave in the making will reach a crescendo.
A crescendo without a collapse. A crescendo that just keeps…crescendoing. Eternally, perpetually, endlessly.
Right now, we are doing the pushing, skyward from the depths.
I feel the push, the pulse, the energy.
I might be only one droplet.
But I will keep pushing. ❤
When an ‘Official’ Asperger’s / Autism Diagnosis Is Just a Formality ~ August 20, 2016
Why It’s Asperger’s ( / Autism) and Not Something Else ~ August 27, 2016
Standing At The Mirror Gate (my formal diagnosis) ~ November 4, 2016
Perpetual Defense Mode ~ November 9, 2016