So yesterday, as I was ambling around the internet, I stumbled upon something. About autism. This piqued my curiosity, as I have a current friend with Asperger's and an old friend from elementary school with autism.
I fell in love with a blog I had managed to link-wander through: Diary of a Mom. I want to be a mother, so this showed me a unique set of challenges I hopefully won't have to face, but might.
It opened up the floodgates, it inspired curiosity, and - most importantly - it made me smile. It made me see the similarities.
Through this blog, I discovered an autistic 'meltdown' (oh goodness, I hope I'm using these words respectively and in a correct way). And it struck me, when reading it over, how much it's like... me.
I'm not autistic. I am academically advanced (albeit chronically lazy). But I have anxiety and depression, and meltdowns... I do that too.
There are too many people. There are too many issues. It is never lights and colors and sounds, it is people and thoughts and the concrete things, not the way my brain processes it. I break. I crack. I burst into tears, I flee, I do everything I can. I - shut - down.
Words are my everything. I find it exceedingly hard to communicate without them, whether written or spoken.
A girl in my class has autism and she struggles to speak. She's in my acting class, and I think she enjoys it. I don't know. I can't tell. I'm scared.
I am scared to approach her, because the only way I know how to communicate is with words and hugs and holding hands.
Autism is not always friendly to that.
Another boy, in my psychology class, is talkative. He recites lines from movies, but he also talks to us openly. I talk back. I can talk, and words are how I communicate - quotes are how I dance around issues, how I begin to express my opinion.
This girl is different. She is "Tummy T" (omitting all but the first letter of her name for reasons), a name alliteration she made up in our acting class. She can mimic things other people do easily, but she needs to be guided.
In the same way, in some games she is not fully included. We are not sure if we should tag her when practicing the name games, we are not sure if she should ever be in the center of the circle.
The awkwardness permeates, and yet: "I love T. She's great." Someone said that. Someone found the light to communicate with her.
I can't, and it breaks my heart.
But then I turn to myself.
I like blogs and stories like this, when I can understand more. When a new world is unlocked and opened for me, when I am no longer trapped in my own filter and lens.
The similarities of people are terrifying and exhilarating. Everyone shuns that which is different. We all put up masks and play pretend. Normalcy is a farce that keeps people separate and broken. What if we broke the chain?
What if we allowed ourselves to be ourselves, stopped judging, stopped being so overly sensitive, and just -- be? No more colors, no more constraints, only beautiful souls with all the potential in the world.
I have anxiety and depression. I get meltdowns.
(I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It can go away. I pigged out yesterday. I'm a failure.)
I am one of those kids labelled "gifted and talented", G&T, rising from a second grade reading class to a girl everyone says "stop reading and pay attention!" to.
(I am lazy. I can't do anything right. I need to be working on homework but I'm - still - procrastinating.)
I am in an in-between state, of adult and child. The teenager years. I am in an in-between state of intelligence and laziness, of this and that.
(I am stupid and ugly and ugh. There is nothing good about me. Why do I keep trying when it's so pointless?)
Similarities for everyone.
Minds don't work the same.
Everyone has their challenges and their own hells.
Who are we to be?