I look around, and people seem so content to be going about their days full of busyness and interaction. For me, life has seemed painful to say the least. It is like I was yanked out of a life filled with beauty and wonder and dropped into a hostile world that wanted little to do with me, and have spent every day since longing to go back to a place I can barely remember.
Have you ever spent time in a daycare, or in a kindergarten classroom at the beginning of the year? You will see the differences in people displayed in the young faces before you. Some enter the room full of joy and excitement, thankful to be with their friends once more. Some are happy and content, though you know they would be just so if they had remained at home. Others enter reluctantly, but soon join in the play. Still others enter crying, wishing they had remained at home. The adults come in with their soothing voices, and their games and toys, to try and calm the child and ease their pain. Eventually they too will settle and accept life in the way it is fed to them.
Occasionally you also will see those children who cannot be deterred with toys, games, and soothing voices. They see through the lies, and know that this is not what they want out of life. They want so much to go home that nothing can content them. At the end of the day, they are still crying as hard as they were at the beginning. In time, the adults and other children will learn to ignore the tears – they have learned that they cannot help the child. In time, the child will stop looking to others for help – she has learned that they do not understand, and cannot give her what she desperately needs. In time, the tears of the child will dry, but the pain inside will silently grow.
How is it that some people live their lives full of blessings and hope, while others live lives of pain and sadness? Is it our personalities that determine what we will live through, and what we will become? Or is it our experiences that determine our personalities? My life is a reflection of that last child – a constant ache of desperation to make my way home that has been present within my heart and mind for as long as I can remember.
So I watch other people with wonder at how they can find contentment in the things they do, and in the people they meet. Don’t they realize how far from home we really are?
As for me, I continue to wake up every day, forcing myself to seek out some project or some piece of beauty to help me make it through another moment in this world. Understand, however, when I am moving through from one idea to another, and failing time and again, that it is all I can do to stay afloat. Please do not judge me for it. I am merely treading water as I await my rescuer who will finally bring me to that place I have always wanted to go – home.
This is what living with undiagnosed Autism in a world built for neurotypicals has meant to me.