March 21, 2013: The Time before Dawn
    How  very long the night seems to linger; how cold the dark breeze when I reach out and find no one there. I have heard of a day that is coming, of a family that I will find there that is so different from the one I knew already years ago, and of the man I will become when that new day’s light has filled the earth--free of all demands to be or believe or act according to that which I am not. Faith is that perhaps foolish hope that the words I heard, will not be disappointed. Yet only time will tell. The moment that is now seems to hang as if frozen in space and time, threatening a glimpse of eternity rather than of brevity, as I strain to move ahead. The methods of the past have, in some ways, left me broken and weighed down by failure. Yet this failure was the only path I could see by which to arrive at this present pivotal chance to learn something different; to become someone new; and to begin a journey which was unable to begin anywhere else. Now  if only I knew  how  to proceed. And so it is that I wait, watching for the light to fall upon the first step of the new path; waiting in silence, to see if any will join me, each in his or her own way. If the light arrives before any companion, of course, I will take that as divine guidance that I am to begin alone, yet knowing that solitary journeys are impossible unless I can actually believe that unseen angels and the spirits of all who have gone before are not present with me--but I’ve never yet been able to believe anything like that. So I stand, eager to begin the journey once again, even if I must do so with no more than the light of the stars. Perhaps that will be enough.

April 1, 2013: Shattered Chrysalis
    There are no directions for the emerging butterfly--”apply pressure here...cut along this line...keep this end up...”  Which way is up anyway, when you’ve spent all winter hanging upside down?  Do descriptions of up and down even make sense once one has finally launched one’s self into limitless space?  Why must the butterfly’s entire life be so without any clear sense of family, beyond the rarest of moments?  Why doesn’t any of this prevent the butterfly’s wings from being so beautiful that giant creatures stop and stare in awe and wonder, as I flutter by, still not fully comprehending why they stare?  Will I ever be able to see myself the way that they see me?  The chrysalis left behind looks like a tangle of mistakes:  nothing orderly, symmetrical, or carefully engineered about the way its form was shattered, torn asunder, and abandoned, as I fought to escape its limitations. Apparently it fulfilled its function quite well, if my survival was its solitary goal.  What shall my goal be now?  What purpose can I yet serve?  Then again, how  essential is it for me to know and understand myself, in order to be the chrysalis for whatever life is yet to come?  I suppose you would have to ask the life that is yet to come, since my current perspective offers no answers to that question.  Yet there is something in the rushing of the wind past my ears that hints of greatness that I do not comprehend, even while I do it; there is something in the truth my eyes perceive that foreshadows transcendence beyond any ability to interpret it; and there is something in the blood pulsing through my body and pounding a steady rhythm through my brain, that testifies to being more alive than I ever thought I could be.  For all of these, I must persevere and see what comes next.  I do it because, mysteriously perhaps, I feel I have to... and somehow  I know  that it’s all good--or at least it will be.

April 8, 2013: Out Where? All on my Own? If by whatever means I had recently been rendered blind, there are resources for learning to read Braille, move from place to place with a white cane, work with a guide dog, and make use of a vast spectrum of technological assistance devices (everything from screen reading software to personal voice recorders with Braille-identified controls). Two months of intense searching, however, has shown that because I have autism, satisfying my personal needs for food, clothing, shelter, social interconnection, financial income, and everything else required for contemporary life, will be produced by my own ingenuity or not at all. In every case, it appears, I’m not bad enough to get any help and not good enough to effectively manage on my own. So what does one do when surrounded by people who believe in a system that clearly isn’t working--at least not for one’s self? Perhaps it works for someone else, but it definitely isn’t working for me. I continue to encounter people who are most concerned that others do not have to deal with a person who is emotionally upset (which means myself, within certain challenging situations) and are content to manage this circumstance with drugs or deceit--by which I refer to the common instruction to conduct myself as a neurotypical would instead of as a person with autism would. This issue, however, is not just a concern for people with autism, but rather the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, of the world’s general inability to deal with honesty and truth--and to let ourselves be the human beings that we are. Virtually the entire world of employment appears to be oriented around presenting one’s self as being the embodiment of the potential employer’s fantasy rather than as simply being one’s self (hopefully a dedicated and honest worker with sufficient skills to do the particular job). That this is repeatedly framed as management of emotions is becoming more and more offensive to me. Personally I don’t particularly care whether I’m happy, sad, or whatever. It is my understanding that being human includes experiencing a spectrum of emotions throughout whatever ups and downs my life ultimately includes. The problem is not undesirable emotions; the problem is the interruption of my ability to think which is provoked by certain combinations of overwhelming circumstances. I need more than words; I need effective methods, devices, and assistance that do not ask me to lie about who I am or what I’m experiencing. I think there is some credibility to the notion that people with disabilities are born into this world to draw attention to life lessons that are being otherwise ignored or at least neglected. Among the possibilities for autism is that it may be a divine prompting to recover commitment to our own humanity. Indeed, within every situation and circumstance of which I am aware, anything that requires us to be less human, less feeling, less thinking, less honest, or less fully present--anything that tells us to repress our thoughts and emotions instead of constructively integrating them--is generally followed by a long list of psychological, emotional, and social dysfunctions. If we wish to be the best that we can be, we must be fully human--and that includes integrating every example of so- called disability that ever occurs in ways that are genuinely supportive, effective, and empowering. It is never a question of “do it my way” but rather of “how can we make it possible for you to do it?” In the meantime, I pray that faith in the ingenuity and compassion of others and of ourselves is able to survive. Hope for a better tomorrow depends upon it.