It is impossible for me to separate my Autism from the circumstances in which I was raised. I have a fair expectation that Autism shaped part of those circumstances. – though I read of other Autistics who were raised much differently than I, yet feel quite similarly.
When it comes to love, I equate Autistics with those with Down Syndrome, with kittens, and with puppies. I personally take this comparison as a complement. You see, those in this group are innocent, are unjaded by many of the thoughts and attitudes that pervade those who are considered normal. Wanting to love just seems as though it should be simple and natural.
Admittedly, through my lifetime, the thing I have found hardest about being Autistic is not understanding so much of how to interact successfully with the rest of the world. I suppose that is where I somewhat envy others in the above group with me, in that they don’t even recognize that need. They are just happily who they are, and the world can conform to that. Kittens don’t worry about “conforming”, they just love. Yet Autistics recognize that we are out of place, because we are seen as so.
Not everybody wants to be loved by a kitten. But people are far more accepting of a kitten’s clumsily loving behavior, then they are of that of an Autistic human, who “should know better”. Should we, really? Do we need to?
There are things about how “normal people” think that I will never understand, there are those I have come to understand – that I work hard to try to accommodate without fundamentally changing who I am, and admittedly there are those things that I simply don’t agree with. But it is hard, as an adult, to continually work to make those assessments that most, without thinking, learn as children.
Throughout my life, honestly, what I have most wanted to do successfully is just love people. I wish that was so simple as it is for a kitten. I believe it should be. But in the human world it is not. So many of the people through my life who I have just wanted to love have pushed me away. And many have done so quite cruelly. Yet I continue to love. There is nothing else I want to do, except to love more successfully. To me, to love successfully is to love in such a way that those I love are happy that I do. And to find those people who let me love them, in all the ways that are just me (even when all those ways are not “typical”), is just amazing. Gratitude cannot even begin to describe what I feel at finding what should be such a simple thing. To spend a lifetime wanting so much to do something you’re seen as bad at is just disheartening, especially when that something is simply loving people. And that was my story for most of my life. To be able to let my heart be my heart… is just the best thing. The thanks are overwhelming to those I have found who allow me that. My goal in life is to build the understanding that allows that, until we can live in a society which can allow each person to simply work to be the best of who they are, and not be expected to “conform” by being someone they are not.