You know those hanging sculptures?
The ones in spacious modern art galleries?
They’re made of all sorts of bits and pieces, hanging from the ceiling.
When you walk in to the gallery
All you see is a load of stuff,
Suspended on a bunch of wires.
Nothing makes any sense
And you wonder what crazy person decided to hang all their junk up from the ceiling and call it art.
But you walk around the room.
And you can see that the stuff is actually somewhat organised
And forms a picture.
You stand and look at it for a while and you are about to move away and leave the room, because the picture really isn’t that good.
It’s all out of focus. Bits randomly appearing where they shouldn’t be. Gaps where you might expect to see continuity.
Then somebody says something to you,
Points to the outline of a pair of feet on the floor, previously unseen.
You place your feet over the outlines.
And you look at the junk, hanging from the ceiling…
Except that it is no longer just junk.
It is no longer a picture out of focus.
It is clear.
And it makes sense.
Each individual thing, contributing to the whole. Each tiny piece of junk is supposed to be there. Nothing is out of place any more.
Because you are viewing it from the correct spot.
And it’s a beautiful piece of art.
Now imagine that you have spent forty-five years in that room, looking at the stuff that forms your life and trying to make sense of it.
And then you stand on that magic spot.
And you finally see the picture in focus.
And your entire life makes sense.
And you get a little bit of hope that it might even, one day, be a tiny bit beautiful…
You need time for your feet to recover from standing in the gallery for so long. You are exhausted.
You need to get used to seeing the picture clearly because the detail is overwhelming, and seeing it like this for the first time is new and unfamiliar.
And you need to show everybody else how they should look at the picture.
Because they won’t all understand what you mean straight away.
And maybe some never will.
But now you understand.
Your life makes sense.
Now you know where you need to stand, you can safely move around the room again, examining each individual piece, hanging from its wire.
You can analyse how each item fits, and you can see why it is there.
You move your feet away from the marks on the floor.
And you see that they are no longer outlines of feet. They are now words.
You bend down to take a closer look.
And you read the words that are written on the magic spot, the words that give you the information you need to make sense of your life.
They simply say:
You are autistic.