June 13, 2013:  Seasonal Shifts
    I recall growing up in southern Wisconsin that with rare exceptions, winter was a time for the sky to be gray and the world to be cold--for literally months; virtually forever, from the perspective of a child.   When the spring did finally come, it seemed far too late, far too slow, and far too tentative.  In finally knowing after fifty years of waiting, a name and the beginning of an explanation for the differences in brain functioning that I had noticed and described to others since early childhood, my diagnosis of autism seemed like a break-through.  After months of searching, however, the diagnosis now seems like one of the rare Wisconsin winter days when the gray clouds that blanketed the sky from one horizon to the other were pierced by a few hours of beautifully direct sunlight.  As a gay man, I have been estranged from my entire family for over twenty years at this point, so when the added challenge of consciously, psychologically, and emotionally integrating this interpretation of my brain functioning was presented to me, I had no familial support system whatsoever to accompany me as I stumbled through this new territory.  Additionally, because of the fact of my autism, my engagement with life has always been a bit too intense, a bit too honest, a bit too deep, and a bit too direct for nearly all of the gay men I've met within my life to tolerate--so there was no personal support system in that area of my life either.  Spiritually, since earliest childhood, I had gravitated toward a mystical relationship with that which is greater than myself (which I refer to as "Godde"), so my understandings were almost never compatible with religious persons and communities I encountered along the way.  So when I was informed that one of the common characteristics of autism is social isolation, I think my response was something like "No sh_t!"  Thankfully, throughout my life, one of my persistent character qualities is that I'm nearly always way too stubborn to quit, once I've set my mind on accomplishing something.  If various gatekeepers won't allow me to do whatever it is in the usual way, I will find some alternative way to do what I have imagined, given enough time to develop the necessary resources and skills.  It is in this sense that I continue my perhaps irrational belief in ultimately creating for myself some sort of alternative family and community within which I will at last find a genuine sense of family, of community, and of home and the freedom to be truly and completely the creative individual that somewhere deep inside I have always known myself to be.  Even if the winter is long, it is not forever (even in Wisconsin).  The season of spring must eventually come, if for no greater reason than that the world continues to turn in space and--for a season at least--I am blessed to be one of its passengers.


July 3, 2013:  Reviewing the Movies
    Although I'm a person who is very selective about which movies I like to watch (mostly because of how much I remember them for days, months, and even years afterward), I also occasionally pull the DVDs out of storage and watch them again--in some cases as many as a dozen times or more by now.  One of the mixed blessings of autism is being able to similarly review experiences of my life, recalling incidents with all of the detail and immediacy of when I first experienced them.  The fascinating thing about seeing movies for a second and third time, is that one can notice additional details, meanings, and implications that might have been previously overlooked.  Even with my autistic attention to detail, there has always been more to discover--perhaps because my own perspective on life has subtly changed in the meantime and there were lessons and insights available which I lacked sufficient maturity to appreciate during previous viewings.  Consequently, the best movies become more and more inspirational and deeply meaningful with time.  Having recognized this, I find myself regarding each new day as a collection of sacred opportunities to make the movie I will be quite possibly remembering and reviewing for many years to come.  Another important aspect of reviewing the movies, however, is recognizing that if I turn off my DVD player during the bad parts, because they seem just too painful to watch, I will never get to see the happy ending which follows.   Similarly, if I fast-forward through the difficult moments, my appreciation for the final victory will be significantly less.  All of which leads me to the conclusion that enduring difficulties is necessary for full appreciation and the deepest possible experience of unknown victories and accomplishments that will follow.  If the present circumstances are troubling, therefore, it just means that I haven't yet reached the happy ending that's sure to follow.  Times of trouble are never the end, but they are quite common when one is in the middle.  So I keep going--any way that I can.