on finding my tribe

“I’m pretty sure I’m autistic,” I told my godmother, Anna, a couple of weeks ago.

Anna was present for my birth. She has seen me through every stage of my life since then, exemplifying such humility and grace throughout it all that I trust her completely.

I was thus certain she’d greet this statement with curiosity instead of dismissal. It’s how she rolls.

“Hmmm,” Anna replied from the other end of the line. “You don’t match my picture of autism. This may mean my picture is wrong. Tell me more!”

I did. Continue reading “on finding my tribe”

the opposite of trapped

For months, one of my girlfriends has patiently had the same damn conversation with me.

“Okay,” I’ll tell her. “This shit that will never change is pissing me off and now it’s definitely time to bail. That’s it.”

“And will you have learned what you need to learn here, if you just bail?” she’ll ask.

“No,” I’ll grumble. “No, I won’t.”

Sigh.

The Tuesday before last, I was trapped. For hours. Continue reading “the opposite of trapped”

okay

A week ago,
K told me to
grant myself grace
when I make missteps
and mistakes:

“You learn fast, Deborah,
but mistakes are inevitable.
They aren’t a sign you’ve
failed to learn. Just …
that you’re still
learning.

“You will
make them.
And it’s okay.”

This evening,
I am grateful for K’s words.

Today,
I made many mistakes.

Thanks to K,
I have a chance to see them
not as my catastrophic failure
foreshadowed early,
but rather,
simply, as
faltering
early
steps.

None were a sign
that I’ve utterly
failed to learn.
Just …
signs
that I’m
still
learning.

(And it’s OK.)

signals

I have almost never understood my feelings.

Reading Susan David’s Emotional Agility┬áin October, I grew more perplexed by the page.

With rare exception, I’d always thought of feelings as noise, or “the random, unwanted variation or fluctuation that interferes with the signal.” Typically considering feelings to be merely distracting noise, I didn’t pay them too much conscious attention.

The way David described feelings, though, it was almost as if … feelings could themselves be the signal? And that, even when not themselves the signal, they could actually help find the signal?

When understanding finally dawned, I was flabbergasted: Continue reading “signals”

the code beneath

“It sucks to know there’s this whole arena I may never understand even passably,” I told my best friend a few weeks ago. “It’s so important to me, but I just don’t think I’ll ever get it.”

“I don’t think you’re giving yourself enough credit,” Nick replied. “You’re good at patterns. Now that you know this arena is important to you, I think you’ll start picking up its patterns in no time. In fact, I think you already understand more than you think you do.”

Nick is usually pretty accurate in both his assessments and his predictions, so I was inclined to trust this one, too– Continue reading “the code beneath”

metacognition

Talking with a dear friend a couple of days ago, we had an exchange that’s still got me chuckling.

HIM: Can you believe there are people who don’t think in words? They think in pictures or … something?

ME: I don’t think in words.

HIM: What?! How?!

ME: You realize you are asking someone who does not think in words to represent in words how they don’t think in words?

HIM: Mmmmm. Point taken.

For me, this picture from a London alley represents how I think; the closest words I have are “spatially” and “relationally.”