A social handicap is such a difficult thing to have for someone who loves people. So many times I am told “but you’re just fine the way you are”, ” there’s nothing wrong with you”. But then those same well-meaning people often follow that with a “you should do…” and fail to understand that I would, if I only understood what the “…” really meant, or in more specific terms how possibly to accomplish it. Feeling less-than-human in a world you adore, and would so much like to be a part of, is an endless frustration. Dealing with one situation after another involving people who have captured your heart, yet who you don’t really quite understand, and whose lives you wish to – but are not sure if you do, or ever could – fit into is heartbreaking. Wondering who, if anyone, is really able to see past your differences and eccentricities and value you for that which resides in the depths of your soul, but you feel so inadequate at communicating.
And beyond that, dealing with the endless battles of a life that taxes you at every turn, of a world that is at once loud, smelly, overly-tactile, and a body that suffers from so many of the co-morbidities that plague you along with so many other autistics. Pain and discomfort that is constant, and you wish for relief from. Yet you know that relief is not forthcoming, so you deal with it – mostly. Until those days when you just can’t, and then you feel guilty for wishing for sympathy and love from those very people you are trying so hard to cultivate relationships with. And you don’t know the balance of how much you can wish them to give, vs how much you must give to hope that they might allow you to stay. Because that is certainly how you feel, it being a privilege to be allowed to be in the life of anyone whose light warms your heart.
And in the midst of all that you hear that you should love yourself. A self that you understand has merit, but who you cannot help but see as being woefully inadequate at those very skills you realize you most need to fill your life with what most matters to you – the love and company of those who your heart cannot help but love.
I have more than once heard the word “helplessness” used to describe the feeling many autistics have when they think about being assimilated into a society that seemingly does not readily accept those who are different. But I refuse to be helpless. Over the years, I have worked hard to figure out how I can fit. I have honestly been frustrated, cited fairness as why I “should” be accepted, beaten my head against the wall trying to understand “rules” I arguably may well never understand. I have come to realize that love is the only real “weapon” I can hope to draw upon, that may give me whatever opportunity I may have to wage war against my social inadequacies, and find me the place I wish for in this world and in the hearts of those I care for. Not only is love my answer, but I now believe my only one, and the only one I wish to pursue.
Even sadly realizing that my goals may ever be beyond me, a situation I am fighting as to whether I must accept, or rather must never accept. But even if accepted, then love is still my chosen path.