Feeling OK

I have pushed myself a great deal in the last week, used a lot of energy.

I am tired, my senses are not quite right, and my ability to discuss and to write what I want to is impaired.

I started three blog posts earlier, never getting further than a paragraph into each of them.

There is so much information in my head, and it needs organising but it is stubbornly refusing to yield to my efforts to organise it.

I have a list of jobs I want to do. Not even things that are particularly unpleasant, but I am finding them impossible.

My anxiety rises when I even think about them.

Fortunately they can wait until tomorrow without triggering disaster.

I still want to organise this blog slightly better and tidy it up a bit.

But today is one of those days when even making a cup of tea is difficult. One of those days where my mind will not be persuaded.

The consequence of pushing myself is loss of ability and function.

And a certain measure of frustration.

But, even having said all of the above, I am not feeling particularly low about it.

Even though I feel ill from anxiety, and it took until four in the afternoon for me to manage to eat anything.

Even though I haven’t achieved what I wanted to achieve and the jobs list has rolled over to tomorrow.

I am not beating myself up about it as I would have done in the past.

I am slowly learning that the standards by which I have been judging myself for the last forty or so years are not appropriate for me.

I need more time than most people.

I need more rest than most people.

I need to limit my contact with other people.

And that’s OK.

It is not my job to accommodate everybody else and to try to do everything their way – I already do so much of that and have been doing so for years.

It’s not my job to answer every single question on Facebook – even though I might know a good answer.

It is not always my job to be an autism advocate, correcting language that I know is not preferable, trying to explain everything to everyone all at once.

It is not always my job to fight ableism, not always.

Sometimes I remember that part of being autistic means I need time for me.

I need time to recover from social things.

I need time to stim and to watch the same film over and over again.

And I am starting to learn all this, starting, slowly, to learn to be myself and not to feel guilty about it.

Starting to realise that others are wrong when they tell me what I should be doing – because they are using a set of parameters that don’t work for me and others like me.

And letting that stuff go. It is not for me.

Because I really am different. And trying to fit in and be like other people all these years has led to constant disaster, because it was all an act.

And starting to process all this, starting to allow myself to absorb this information fully, is good.

So the jobs list remains intact, and the place remains untidy, and the memes I still want to make remain unmade.

The more “intelligent” blog posts will have to wait, and once again I am simply writing what I can.

I might be knowledgeable about what it is like to be autistic, and I might be able to help others understand.

But that knowledge comes from my being autistic – and having discovered I am autistic, and decided that I am going to allow myself to be as fully autistic as I possibly can, I need time to explore how that works for me and how I now interact with the world and conduct my life.

And I am still getting used to talking about it to those who don’t know, and might not understand. I am still finding the words to explain.

And that’s OK.

Because I am recovering, both from forty years of pretending and now from a busy week of pushing.

And I know why I feel like this.

And why I need more time.

And in some sort of bizarre way, I am just content to be me.

It wasn’t the life I expected. It wasn’t the life I trained for. But it is the life I got.

And accepting it and working with it makes so much more sense than the constant fighting of my previous life.

This is just a fraction of what being autistic and knowing about it means to me.

“Autistic” is not a pejorative label, nor a disaster, nor something for me to hide.

It is permission to be myself.

And to feel better.

Some days, like this one, when I’m not achieving, and I allow myself not to worry about it, and I start to accept this new and different life, it really does feel OK.

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