I can be really rubbish to myself sometimes. The only thing worse than a Monday Meltdown is the accompanying feeling that I really should have grown out of this.
I should have grown out of reacting to a sudden change in my week’s plans. I should have grown out of needing to prepare carefully for an upcoming event that holds meaning for me. I should have grown out of scripting it and predicting it and plotting it and worrying about it and wanting to perfect who I am for it.
Then suddenly, and for no discernible reason, that thing is taken away – not just taken away, stripped away, because I had to earn the thing by applying for the thing and being found worthy of the thing. I should have grown out of letting them make me feel unworthy.
And I certainly should have been grown up enough not to have this pain splitting my mind from just behind my left temple. Reaching its way behind my eyes like a crack in the pavement. A crack through my thoughts and a chasm where I should be. Change and uncertainty looms.
I should have grown out of the core of anger in my chest, that weeps out of my traitorous eyes in a ceaseless stream of salty pointlessness. I should have grown out of sore, swollen eyes when I earned my first wrinkle.
I should have grown out of how often I have tapped my forehead today; my constant need to find a rhythm in the mess. I should have grown out of the stunted movements that have plagued me, like I’m dancing the robot to some unheard jazz. I should have grown out of not liking jazz.
Inside I am rational and logical and I will choose my path and actions with great care and delicacy, but the howling tempest of unfairness and unjustness in my breast rips and claws at it, and I have no choice, for now. All I can do is sit and rock.
I should have grown out of these waves of emotion that break me. I should have grown out of the cost of poor communicators in a world that could so easily just work if what people said and what people did matched. Or if I could just grow up enough to be like all those others who are untouched by change.
If I could just grow up and give up hope and stop fighting for this world to be better than it is, then I would not be me.
I loathe that voice inside, that internalised negativity about who I am, that tiny thing that thinks I’m lesser rather than different.
When my autistic brain is in full flow – and I am so lucky that I live in my world where the opportunity to flow is there more often than not – then I am complete. I am completely me and completely comfortable with who that is.
When my autistic brain is overwhelmed and overloaded and I jolt and cannot find my words, it is less easy to love myself. I feel fragmented by the change, as though my world is fractured to fractals, a floating shatter of a thousand mirrors and the light just bounces on and on. It’s hard to see yourself when everything is moving.
I don’t want to grow out of who I am, I’d just like to grow past this moment. I’d like to let these feelings fade and water them into the grass. It always feels like such a terrible waste; it takes my time, my joy, my plans, my days, my sleep, and I can’t get them back once they’re lost.
But when the water flows I learn who holds my hand. I learn who metaphorically holds my metaphorical hand when I can’t do the literal touching. I learn who does respect my efforts and values my being, and so maybe there are other things to be found amongst the loss. Maybe.
My heartbeat is slowing as I write, because although I value and appreciate every single reader of these words, each word is written for me and not for you. This is my processing in the moment. A grasp of sense following the nonsense that came before. This is how I come back to where I am meant to be.
Thank you for holding my hand.