There is a fine line between realizing the challenges of being autistic, and allowing the belief that those challenges are insurmountable. It is too easy to give up, to believe oneself incapable of overcoming those challenges we might realize that many people don’t face. Worse yet, being autistic, many of these challenges are unique to us – unique to autistics as a group, or at times unique to us specifically as embodied in our own individual manifestations of autism.
Contrary to what many people believe, autism tends to be accompanied by – not an absence of emotion – but instead often an overabundance of it. Additionally, autistics are masters of worry. Worry is not something we are capable of unlearning, worry is not something we can turn off, or just not do – it is inherent in who we are. The brain we are born with tends to be an overactive brain, a brain that does not shut down, or shut out all of what the world throws at it – and all of what we throw at ourselves. Yet, despite all that, it is in fact possible to become masters of our worlds, to take control of our lives, and build a life full of happiness and joy.
This is not to say that it will be an easy road – or one with an end. I have spent a year plus, learning to try with all my might, or perhaps trying with all my might to learn – to focus only on the bright side of things, to focus only on love and joy – and to attempt to put aside all which does not well represent either of those. My heart is unquestionably full of love. My heart wants love – the giving of love – to lead in everything I do. There is an understanding that keeping that focus is the right thing to do. But reality dictates that it is not as easy as that.
I have so much love for the people I love. I am learning to have love for me. I am learning to believe that God loves me. However, my head, and my history, keep me wondering if people love me. There is love and there is love. Those who do apparently understand me tell me that very few people love like I do. They tell me that there are very few people willing to open their heart and, as I do – just give freely of it, just surrender it completely to the love of those people I find outstanding.
And whether it is the reality of who I am that intimidates people, or whether it is just the reality of who they are – I don’t know. But I have never been able to believe in that love being focused on me. Being loving like I am – and want to be – is a vulnerable thing. And I know that. And I accept that other people might not allow that vulnerability. But there is always a difference between seeing and accepting the behavior of others, and understanding it.
I have a tendency to love what is good in others, and in that, believe that their responses to me are only reflective of what is good in them – not what might be good in me. This is the hardest obstacle in what I believe might be the next and most important phase of my growth. They say one should not be a “people pleaser” – but in the case of an autistic – in my case at least – it is not even so much about pleasing people as it is understanding them. I would give my eye tooth to be a “people understander”. I have to look to the behavior of others to help me realize if the things that I do are the right things. Not right as in the eyes of God – me and God have that, but “right” – in the light of my wish to be a social being. “Right” in the ways that only the people I wish to socialize with can reflect.
It is a fine line. I do often feel that I am walking on eggshells. I do often have fear in things I do that – from my heart – I believe to be motivated only by love, yet, hesitate to do other things that likewise love has motivated. Yet, not understanding many subtleties of relationships still, the only thing I know I can do “right” is to continue – to the best of my ability, and autistic-tainted knowledge to continue to love the people I do love as best I know how. To care for them – with a nod to what understanding I do have, but with every hope of being true to who I am and to my own loving heart.