I have been asking myself recently what is it exactly that I’m fighting, what is it that is pressing in on me inextricably holding me in place. The fear of this battle encourages stagnation, hiding from the enemy only to look up and see them staring down on me. I run, try again to escape and hide only for the pressure to build pushing me into the darkness, I look up and there it is staring down.
Each day the battle rages, I keep fighting keep running hiding until I have no choice but to push back. I prepare well put my armour in place and prepare for the upcoming fight, the moment I step out the assault begins. The shields go up and the noise of the war around me fades allowing me to focus on the other battles, I deftly sidestep and fend off the attacks but the waves keep coming. As I buckle under the weight of the charging horde I can feel the energy draining from me, my fight is nearly done, I need to use what I have left to retreat, to again find a place to hide until I’m found again.
So the war continues with no end in sight, I will rise each day pushing forward towards my salvation for that is how it has always been. I get knocked down from time to time but so far I have always gotten back up, often with help and always slowly but up I get beating the count. I am a contradiction both fragile and hardened, the war has made me both. I fear the day that I can’t get up and there isn’t anyone to help me regain my feet so I continue to devote energy to building my defences.
I am starting to question what it is I am defending against? What is this insatiable beast that feeds on my fear and anxiety? Over the years I have given it many names such as anger, pain and sensory overload. Surely this is a war fought by all autistics I’m not alone we all fight because we live in a world that is set up to deliver pain into our very cores, a world in which we must fight to be seen as “normal” if we are to be equal. The battle therefore must be against those who deny us, their very aim to eradicate autistics supported by the well meaning individuals following behind believing that what they do is for the good of all.
This is indeed I believe a worthy battle one for which I would gladly exhaust myself, give my all and pay whatever price is asked for this battle is not for me it is for my son and all the future generations of autists and neurodivergents. I have limited resources against the millions of pounds being spent on the project to erase autism. I am not alone in this war there are others like me, thousands if not millions of us. I believe there will always be someone to help me up if I fall or am being crushed by the weight of the fight. This is a battle but it is not the one I face daily.
I am starting to believe that the battle I face each day is my prejudice, “I didn’t grow up autistic I wasn’t different I was the same as everyone else I just didn’t behave properly.” That was my narrative the message hammered into me and wrapped in steel before more was added hammered in and again reinforced. I could do so well if I would just apply myself they said, but I never did. Apparently I just didn’t want to fit in, I was disruptive and bad I couldn’t be near “normal” people. The amour I have, maybe it doesn’t stop the beast from getting in, maybe it stops what I’ve learnt to see as the beast getting out?
Have I been hiding from what is the core of me, fearing that the part of me that has always struggled and felt different. I was programmed to eradicate those parts of me that didn’t fit or were not thought of as “normal”, I came into a world that attacked me and started life without a protector from this assault so I learnt to fight back and I was good at it. I took a world that I feared and went about making it fear me. It worked for a time but being a child I was ultimately overwhelmed, beaten (literally) into submission. I always thought I turned off feelings and emotions at this time, to get rid of the anger meant losing happiness, love and everything with it. I became a shell crushed under the weight of what I thought was armour. In truth I retreated into a prison, one that somewhere inside I believed I belonged.
When I step outside it is not an assault from a an entity from without rather it is my own programmed responses, fighting against my wish to become the me I am starting to believe myself to be. The battle is no less brutal if anything it’s more vicious, now though I know what I am fighting for and I know there will be an end. It’s time for me to stop fighting to stay in my prison. Nows the time to start the breakout.
Aspie and Proud