I debated writing this but figured, what better place to spill my guts about the biggest two things in my life, and how the feed off each other than the blog and website that is mine?
Let’s get to it.
I want you to imagine you’re me. How do you do that?
Imagine being so sensitive to the sunlight that not only does it make your eyes tired, but you can’t really spend much time outside without having all your energy drained out of you and being exhausted for two days following. Having to eat the same things on a regular basis, with no spices beyond salt & pepper, because your body rejects most things and leaves you so sick when you do eat something out of the norm that your curled up into a ball from a terrible stomach ache – and you’ve been tested, there’s nothing physically wrong with you.
Noises – animals licking/chewing, wind blowing, people talking – are so loud in your ears that you have to wear headphones all the time to block out the noises that make you want to scream. The inability to get anywhere new without a visual or map, and the need to do everything the same way every single time, and needing exact directions to do something…but having to do it all on your own. Having stress upon stress piling up while you’re trying to be “normal” and do everything a mom, sister, friend, lover, etc. does and not knowing how to relate to most people, and have so much to do but lacking in enough energy every single day of your life…until finally, you’re getting moody and irritable and feeling as if nobody cares about you, and everybody telling you it will get better even though it won’t, because I’M NOT FIXABLE!
When getting upset and crying makes you feel a little better at first, but you’re tired. So tired, for days afterward, because you’re drained. Until a little cry and a hug from someone who cares isn’t enough.
Suddenly, you start sobbing one day…and you can’t stop. You’re not allowed to be angry, because throwing and hitting things is not acceptable, and so all that anger turns inward. You have a meltdown, but it’s a quiet one, because by god you’re an adult and you should act like one.
I’m so smart, you say to yourself. I write books people like or love. I get emails from people saying how much they enjoyed my books even. But why are you so stupid then? How come you can’t manage to remember to feed yourself on a schedule? How do you get so lost in a public place you’re driving around or parked on the side of the street because you have no signal and you have no idea how to get home and trying to talk to strangers triggers your selective mutism? Why are you such a baby, how come you “act” so helpless? I mean, it’s not that hard to just get up and do it.
And knowing…knowing all this and being unable to help it is even worse. Trying and trying, only to screw up over and over, with a brain that just never learns like it should, and living in a world that is very unforgiving of your mistakes. Knowing that you’re getting grouchy and you’re being rude and mean and you try to stop it but that just shoves things inside even more until finally you’re in full meltdown, making everyone want to get away from you…
And you can’t get away from yourself. You hate yourself and the horrible way you make yourself feel, no wonder people don’t want to be around you, or tell you to grow up. You’re acting like a kid who didn’t get their way, but it’s so much worse than that. Because it’s not that at all, as the thing that set you off, is just the last straw. The meltdown’s been building for a while as you try to adult in a world where physically you’re grown, but mentally and emotionally and neurologically, you’re not on par. You’re different. And it hurts.
You hurt because everybody you count on just can’t get it all the way since they aren’t the same.
Your writing? It’s supposed to be your outlet, but it’s turned into your job because it’s all you’ve got left. It’s what you thought you could handle. But then you use it to survive, and while you still love it, it’s hard to keep putting stuff out when you don’t know when your next meltdown is going to put you out of commission. When your next bout of vertigo is going to have you laying in bed while the world spins around you, unable to do anything except wait it out, and still have to take care of yourself because nobody else will. Or when the words will stop coming mid-book and people will be mad at you for not getting it out fast enough.
Loving publishing your work on your own, but being responsible for everything on your own. Writing, marketing, socializing…dealing with it all when your energy is so limited. Messing up and not feeling like it’s enough, and not being able to afford the advertising you need, so your books are lost in a pile of other books, and knowing you can’t compete on just publishing book after book, but being unable to do anything about it. And crying because every sale, every return, every borrow, every lowering of royalties is money gained and money lost that you need to pay your bills, and the only money you have, and being grateful for every cent, even though you need it to be more, and can’t pay to make it more.
And suffering in silence, because the world is filled with people who have their own troubles, and sharing yours feels like you’re begging for attention…when all you want is a break. When for once in your life you want someone to take care of you and to stop feeling like you’re nothing but a burden, a screw-up, a 30 year old woman who wishes she was a grown up but she isn’t…not really.
When the thing that makes you unique is the hardest part of your life, and you wish you were anybody but you because then maybe you would finally be successful…at anything.
autistic life, autistic writer, living with autism