No, this post has nothing to do with porn, soft, hard or anything in between. In fact, this post is not about sex at all. There will not be any numbers or shades or subtle, implied meanings of anything remotely titillating. For those who were hoping otherwise, best to move along…
However, I do have a confession to make. I tend toward extreme thinking. An example, if someone cuts me off while I’m waiting for the subway, grabbing the one remaining, unoccupied seat, forcing me to stand, I can get into some pretty abysmal thinking. I am likely to assume the day is cursed, as I engage in heinous thinking about the person who “stole” MY seat, to apocalyptic views about the nature of human beings. I know this about myself. I know I have a difficult time living in the soft, greyness of life, while rejecting the glaring, yet far more exciting black and white tragedy or ecstasy of my circumstances.
For years I felt mildly victimized by Em’s diagnosis. I felt no one really understood or could possibly understand and any who suggested otherwise offended me. Then I found Autistic adults who were not living the tragedy I had assumed was my daughter’s inevitable future. In fact, these adults were interesting, smart, some spoke, some did not, others spoke on occasion, some communicated through typing, others communicated through typing with a facilitator, some had careers, others didn’t, some were in relationships, others weren’t, some had children, others did not. Some have become friends, one in particular has become a close friend, someone I seek out, think about, want to spend time with, look forward to talking to and miss when our schedules do not allow us to connect. In knowing her I’ve been able to dispense with the “victimized” mindset. She’s helped me enormously, not just in giving me a better, more tempered view of autism and breaking down some of the more harmful stereotypes and beliefs I once held about autism and Autistic people, but in what it means to be human.
I have gone from feeling a low-grade sense of sorrow for my circumstances to feeling fortunate and grateful for my life and family. I don’t mean that everything is perfection and that we never encounter moments of sadness or unhappiness, I just mean that I no longer pin my dark moods and feelings on “autism”. In fact, I feel ridiculously fortunate. I have met more fascinating people in the past year than I ever imagined possible. I no longer wonder what life would be like had I not had an autistic child. I am grateful for the life I have. I am grateful for both my children and I’m grateful for my friendships. I find I am living more and more often in that comfortable grey area of non-extremes. (Please feel free to remind me of this post when I write something less “evolved”.)
And that woman on the subway, who for the past four years has shot in front of me to grab the only remaining unoccupied seat on more mornings than I can count? I wish her well. I even gave up my seat, so she could sit this morning AND I didn’t feel smug or resentful; I just kept reading my email. Who knows? Tomorrow I may even muster up the courage to smile at her. Because you know what? Life is just too damn short. Besides I’m growing fond of the grey.
Christmas Eve Dinner – 2012