My path is a circular one.
It often brings me back to places I have been before, where past mistakes were made, in the hope that this time I succeed and put them behind me.
In reality, my Autism is a series of circles, each connected but also separate. Perhaps there are nine of them and I find myself on Dantes path, and this is hell, for I find myself trapped by my past, repeating the same mistakes and feeling alone, and an outsider.
I never accepted Autism was a linear path. Using the word spectrum, did, perhaps, imply that it was. But even as there is a fine line between genius and madness then there is a fine line between Autism and Neurotypical. Some attempt to draw a distinction. A clear “them and us” ideology is established yet this is a dangerous path to tread. The line between us is not solid. It is blurred and broken in places. And it is that way because, genetically, we are all different and traits and mannerisms that can be viewed as typically Autistic do not, of themselves, restrain themselves from encroaching into Neurotypical lands.
And so our path goes round and round. It is ceaseless, always in motion. The neurotypical becomes the hybrid with traits that place them neither in one land nor the other and each increasing trait pushes at the imaginary division until the barrier is breached and they enter our world. And so it begins again.
But, you may argue, this is linear. A straight line. A journey between two points.
Yet for many of us the cycle begins again. Once diagnosed we reverse the process, we seek a mask of normalcy and learn, or recover, Neurotypical traits and blur the lines still further so our hybridisation is reversed. And the cycle repeats itself.
And as mine does, so to, do my mistakes. Knowing that I am Autistic yet being over Neurotypical or acting Neurotypical and hiding my Autism, being ashamed of who or what I am. Trying too hard to walk on both sides of the line, stumbling in the dark, wanting to embrace my Autism, yet fearful of the loss of traits which protect me in an unforgiving world.
And so, like Dante, I find myself in hell. A hell created within and the hell of those environmental factors which lash me with their cruel, barbed whips. A repeating cycle of self loathing, self doubt and recrimination. A cycle of harmful mistakes paved, as the road to hell, with good intentions.
But this is my path. And I walk it alone. If I do not learn from my mistakes, then can I ever face myself and be truthful to myself ?. Am I destined to walk this path until the end of my days, trapped in a cycle of wanting and hopefulness, rather than expectation ?. Can I find the path which allows all things to be true and accepted and allows me to be myself, to break free the shackles of conformity and to emerge, into the light, Autistic and free ?.
The journey has been long. It has been hard.
It goes on still.
Tread warily my friends, for the path beneath lies broken….