February 24, 2013: The Persistent Question: Who Am I Now?
    Well, it's getting close to a month since I was officially diagnosed with high-functioning autism and in some ways I don't feel much closer to any sort of clear understanding of this. I have made a number of contacts and have a number of potentially empowering meetings with individuals of various non-profit organizations scheduled for early March, but if a potential employer were to ask me today, "What accommodations do you need, to be a valuable member of our team?" I'm not sure I would be able to provide a clear and complete answer. I could perhaps name two or three basic generalities, but that hardly constitutes a complete answer. Perhaps the remarkable but unavoidable conclusion this suggests, is that life is ultimately an ongoing exploration with no guarantees, which it is most recommendable that we explore together. So how many of us are willing to give life a chance, even with all of its unpredictable twists and turns and infinitely variable relationships? If we do, the possibilities are positively amazing. The ability to try, however, it seems to me, arises from whatever answers I can give to the even more fundamental question of "who am I?" Answering this question remains difficult for me, however, because it's sometimes difficult to tell which influences arise from autism and which arise from my own personality (both of which resist alteration but can nevertheless be integrated). Adding to the confusion are all of the public debates about who should receive assistance, as well as what kind and how much assistance should be offered. Some seem to expect the government and all of its complicated programs to fix the problem. I think we would do better to focus upon helping each other, rather than waiting for government programs to kick in, but I haven't found too many people who think this way. Perhaps that's because everyone else is also still answering the question, "who am I," and consequently aren't any more sure than I am, of how to begin. Some people seem to hide from themselves behind seemingly endless intellectual analysis, while others appear to give free reign to emotional and instinctual reactions that are sometimes counter-productive to building relationships. Surely there really is a middle ground where mind and heart can be constructively integrated--at least that is my hope, but I can't be sure, because I don't think I've found it yet. My first suggestion in even beginning to address this question, is to remember that we are each a multifaceted being--unique combinations of positive, negative, and neutral qualities which express themselves in innumerable ways within the diverse circumstances and challenges of our lives. I like to think that I'm not so concerned about from where an answer comes as that, in fact, an effective and truthful answer does come--and that I remember that every answer is tentative, pending mostly unpredictable further developments in circumstances and abilities. I would very much like to know--as completely and truthfully as possible--what my current circumstances and abilities are and also what they may become, within the days, weeks, and months ahead. Since apparently no one has this information readily available, it would seem the only answer currently within reach is, "I guess we'll find out." Hm. Well, onward and hopefully upward.

March 5, 2013: The Action of Waiting
    Okay, now  that I have an official diagnosis, why is it taking so long to form a constructive response, a clear definition, or a reasonable expectation? "Every case is different"--I've heard that so many times by now that its unavoidable truth no longer satisfies me. While I have found a person or two who appears to be supportive of constructive resolution of my challenges, the general demand in this area is astonishingly large, resulting in answers such as "Considering all of the other clients whom I need to see, the next time I can meet with you is three weeks from Thursday." Yet autism is a very constant and daily experience. What do I do in the meantime? When nothing makes any sense, I get up in the morning trying to imagine something--anything, even just one thing--that I can do today that will somehow move me and my life in a positive direction. If I can accomplish at least that one thing today, then I know I will conclude the day with a sense of contentment--that somehow in spite of all the chaos in the world, there is a sense in which things are okay and I will consequently be able to get a good night's rest. Unfortunately it's been a while since I've been able to do that. Everything seems to be spinning all around me, like Dorothy riding on her bed within her bedroom as the tornado carried her to Oz--just waiting for everything to stop spinning so she could begin to figure out where she was, who her friends are now, and what path to follow in order to re-establish a sense of home. Perhaps in some way or another we all long for home; to be surrounded by a sense of family and a certain minimum amount of familiarity, from which to make our own unique creative contributions to the world around us. I guess the things that I try to remember to cope within such moments are that no tornado lasts forever (they all come to an end at some point); there is always something which follows (the world doesn't end); and there is always a way for me to respond or something I can contribute to that which follows (I am not simply a victim of circumstances). More concisely, I remain unavoidably in relationship to the frequently mysterious unfolding of my own life. While I can only build the bridge halfway (inescapably relying upon others to build the other half), I do have to make sure that I have done a good job building my half of the bridge. That will ultimately and genuinely be my life's work, even if--for now--I don't exactly know what that is. And so I wait; eager and restless to begin.