I live amongst humans. In many ways, on the surface at least, I am indistinguishable from them. And yet, I separate myself from them, to some extent, in some specific ways. Of course I’m human. But what interests me, and what I talk about here, are the ways in which I am different. The notion of being human or not is a categorization, a generalization, along with many others I use.
Categories are the stuff of language, a means to convey thoughts between minds. They are convenient, if blunt, instruments (see Boundary Issues). They are also, to me, a fascination. I apply categories. I examine them. I confront them, even. They abound in what I write, consciously so. I rarely take them for granted. Categories are both imprecise shorthand and deeply satisfying. I am drawn to them as helpful, messy tools to make sense of the universe.
One of those imprecise categories, that I use for myself, is autistic. It is common to speak of the autistic spectrum. That simplification assumes autism can be reduced to a single dimension, that each autistic individual has a single label that defines their condition. But autism is a landscape. It has length and breadth and height. There are multiple dimensions, multiple variations.
I represent the last lost generation—those that struggled for decades without diagnosis, without understanding, born into a world not yet woken up to the extent and breadth of autism. To me, that was expressed as a lost childhood and a fierce invisible battle throughout most of my adult life, a battle to find a way to survive amongst humans while being so different from them in many ways. It was a trial by fire, but I survived and learned. I learned how to cope and compensate, without words for what I was doing, nor purpose. Yet survival was sufficient, and when I finally understood the nature of my differences, I recognized the complex mechanisms I had constructed around myself to live, and even to succeed.
I claim no expertise. This is a subjective exposition. I have avoided exposure for decades. Writing here, to the extent that anyone will read it, is uncomfortable. It puts me out of my control. But I am drawn to it. Bear with me as I expose my brain for all to see, never to get it back (but see my unusual copyright notice). I hope it helps.
Speaking of help, and speaking of speaking, this is not the only way I have exposed myself. In the last few years I have spoken on a number of occasions to rooms full of people that, apparently, are interested in my story, my struggle and the ways I have mastered living amongst humans. If this interests you, or for any other reason, please feel free to contact me.
2015-05-31 (last updated)