July 27, 2013:  Being Me Around You
    Perhaps autism is the reason I've never really noticed an inherent conflict between individuality, relationship, and community.  Specifically because of autism, I notice the myriad of details related to each of these three and, in time, I've also learned how these details can be organized like the subtle shifts of color within a rainbow.  When conflicts have occurred, it is more often because of objections to interconnection.  On one hand, in being myself I make a point of knowing my strengths and weaknesses and of being proactive in my ongoing response to them.  The only times my quirks become divisive, is when I encounter persons who prefer that all or part of my uniqueness would somehow cease to exist.  In forming a relationship of any sort, two inherent qualities one must expect are first of all that integrating someone new into my life will introduce various changes and second that all of my decisions will no longer be made by myself alone.  Conflict begins, however, where mutual respect and openness end.  One cannot simultaneously welcome someone into certain areas of life while keeping that person out of others, without thereby maintaining a personal and emotional distance that is specifically adversarial to deeper interpersonal connection.  In so doing, the result would be fractured rather than holistically integrated people.  On the other hand, are those who wish to be welcomed, but who simultaneously hold parts of themselves out.  They wish to be a priority in others' lives without placing any priority on responding in kind, resulting in a parasitic sort of drain on personal energy.  Very few relationships can survive such imbalance.  If I go so far as to invite someone to become a member of my inner circle of family-like primary relationships, I quickly begin to build my life around those persons.  If the relationship is unbalanced, however, one person's issues can consume the other's integrity.  Curiously, however, when asked about their primary relationships, it seems that most people will describe themselves as being the one who gives more than the other person does.  What that says to me, is that significantly more open and honest communication is needed.  A problem with noticing who is giving more than the other, is that the focus shifts to what is not shared instead of to what is shared.  None of us lives or dies alone, so each of us must consider carefully within relationships just what exactly our contribution to others' lives is.  If we focus upon accomplishing and maintaining a particular state, however, we slip into battling life itself--which must always grow and change in order to be what it is.  As the oft-repeated witticism instructs, "life is a journey; not a destination."  To render life a destination is to force it into a stagnation that is analogous to death.  Autistic though I may be, I want to live.  Will you journey with me into all of the changes and challenges the future holds and become a bigger and better person thereby--or will you instead request that I move into your world, pretend to be your idealized fantasy of myself rather than the person I truly am, allow myself to stagnate in order to avoid changing anything, and ultimately shrivel and die?  Please, I want to live the life that is my own and that has its own unique place within the rainbow spectrum of human experience, both making my contribution and also knowing that others will stand by me.  Is that too much to ask?  I am not your Frankenstein monster, assembled from diverse pieces to be paraded around the room as an example of your accomplishment of creating something indistinguishable from socially described normalcy.  I am here to do the creative work that no one except myself can do; all I need is for others to give me a real chance to shine.