Sliding Doors

I was about to tell you one thing, when suddenly, something else occurred to me. So I'm going to tell you what I was going to tell you then tell you what happened after that. 

I was going to start this post with the title 'guess where I'm going next week'.  Then proceed to tell you, so I'll continue. 

On Wednesday I had a lovely surprise when I was driving away from the place I had been walking, out in the countryside. I saw a sign for an air rifle shooting range and I felt a movement of energy within me. I soon realised that it was curiosity and excitement at the thought (or vision) of being there, having a go. 

So I went on line and looked the place up and found the prices and terms and conditions etc to be very much to my liking. What happened after that, after I decided I was going to have a go, was so unusual, it caught my attention. 

I decided I would tell my daughter in law about it and ask her if she would like to go with me. She's very similar to me in that she's an adventurous type of person, so I thought she might like it. 

This was shocking to me. 

I NEVER want to do things with other people, if I want to enjoy myself and even if I did, I wouldn't do anything about it, I wouldn't ask somebody if they would like to go with me. Yet here I was, not only considering doing this activity with another person, but I was thinking how great that would be, and because it's my daughter in law, I was thinking that maybe I really could be a part of my son's life? 

This was great and extraordinary, for me. I got right on to it. I messaged her and told her about it. She said she wanted to go and I said I would phone them today for more info. 

That's when all the fun and games stopped. 

Who was I kidding? There was no way I was going to phone that place. I had already forgot about it. I think I probably knew (deep down or up there in the head), the instant that I said I would phone the place up, that I wouldn't, and that is probably why it went clean out of my head the moment after I said it.

Anyway, all excited and happy to be at my autism group today, I told the boys all about the shooting range. One of them was interested in going himself, and within less than 10 minutes, we were booked on the beginners course (I did this), we had arranged the time I would pick him up and his address (and the date and time) was stored in my phone!!!!!

This, my friends, is a miracle! I simply do not do things like this and yet, it felt so natural that the full significance of it, didn't really occur to me at the time. 

When I got home, about half an hour ago or something, I started thinking about it all and about how excited I was feeling, with no sign of anxiety. It felt great, but odd ~ and a few minutes ago, all the pieces of the jigsaw fell into place.

I suddenly realised what I've been doing for the past eight months. I have created my very own world of autism, here, in the midst of the nt world. I'm surrounded by autism. I no longer, or very rarely, see or maintain contact of any kind, with my family or other friends, I simply do not spend any of my time with anybody who is  not autistic or if they aren't autistic, they are helping me with mine. I suddenly realised, that it wasn't that I 'couldn't' do all of those things, such as spend time with people, make phone calls, organise and sequence things and do them without tons of planning, effort, preparation, stress, fear and anxiety, etc etc, it was simply that I was living in the wrong world! I didn't realise it until now, but I've stepped into aspie world and in doing so, I've become normal!

It's like a miracle. It's like I've somehow, silently and invisibly, passed through a sliding door and I've come out in aspie world! 

If I was to look at my life as it is now, through the eyes of the person I was prior to May 2016, when I first realised I was autistic, it would look crazy. My best friends are three, very different, nothing like me, all younger, autistic guys. I love them. Next week I'm going shooting with one of them and I've just received a message from one of the gang who wasn't there today, to ask if I'd like to meet up with him again, in town, next week. I was terrified of doing this the first time I did it, a couple of weeks ago, as suggested and encouraged by my support worker, and now I can't wait to see him! It's insane. I'm living a completely different life in a completely different world. I have no television or radio, social media, newspapers, magazines or anything like that. At the peak of my burnout, I had to shut the whole of the outside world, out of my life and I've found, I don't want to take it back, so I'm not. 

And what happened after that, without me realising that it was happening, was that I was given a new world. A world where I belong. My world. And rather than feeling disconnected from the rest of the world, like how I used to feel, I feel at one with it, I feel part of it, I feel normal, just like them. It's just that my world, on the whole, looks a bit different to theirs, but who the hell is looking at another person's life, on the whole anyway? Nobody. Which means, in actual fact, my life won't look any different to anybody else's because people only see snap shots and they might see me hanging out with younger guys or something, but that's just a snap shot and that's what I've been doing since I was a kid anyway. I always played with the boys. As I got older, this, much to my confusion, got more difficult to do. Girlfriends and wives and that sort of thing came along and everything got confusing. 

But now, back in aspie world, I've got the kind of friends I always liked and we don't care about man made years old and genders and things like that, and we're starting to work together, to support each other, like real people do. 

Because I can't remember appointments etc to save my life, one of the guys, who likes the same things as me and who lives at home with his parents and who doesn't  work, gets to go to loads of things and now, he sends me messages as reminders so I can go to these things as well. Most of them are free, local, and interesting. I would never find out about these things if somebody didn't tell me and not only do I now get to know about them, he sends me reminders as well! How perfect and amazing is that?

Another friend, a self diagnosed female aspie, who I kind of knew, many years ago, (we were  in the same prison once, at the same time (or maybe a few times)) and then we had no contact, she wasn't really a close friend but we were into the same things, but now, by some chance, she's back in my life. She's a parent of a teenager with autism so she doesn't work but she knows what I love in terms of yoga and spirituality, which she is also into,  so she sends me information about all the things going on locally or otherwise that are to do with that kind of thing. 

I never asked either of these people to do this. This has just kind of happened and I'm thinking now, maybe this is what people do, maybe this is how most people live their lives, supported by their friends and family? My autism group is my new family, for sure. It's like how the hell did this happen? 

I've got friends now, in a way that I can understand and which suits me. I know that not one of these people would ever just turn up at my door or even want to spend loads of time with me or do small talk, which is so good. I love how interesting we all are. How different we all are yet how similar we are as well, even despite how we all experience our autism differently. 

We had a conversation today about lying. I just love how we talk so openly and honestly, without any filters. One of the older women at the group gave me a nickname today, which her daughter then told her, stands for fairy queen. She only gives nicknames to people she loves. She has opened her heart and her life to me. I now know that I'm also part of her family as well. Up until recently, I would have still seen her more as a client type person as I only had contact with people like her through my work as a social worker and mental health practitioner, and now, she’s counted amongst my closest friends!!! 

A couple of days ago, I was asking (myself) can this be true? Am I allowed to be this happy? 

Then today at my art group, my art teacher randomly said, it's your time to be happy now BlueRay, now go out there and enjoy your life. Bizarre! 

I'm just sitting here, taking it all in and I'm thinking, WoW, is this really it? Have I finally got a life? All I had needed to do, to get a life, was to stop trying to live in the nt world, stop trying to look and act like an nt and surround myself with people just like me! It sounds simple and possibly easy, but it took 51 years of trying, so I'm guessing it wasn't that simple or easy. But I'm certainly not experiencing any side effects, just a little tiredness still left over from the burnout. Or maybe it wasn't a burnout. Maybe that's how you get through the sliding door. Lol! 

I'm still processing all of this but it's undeniable, that I've stepped into a different world. What I find really odd, is that everything else still looks the same yet there is no longer a separation, even though I'm now actually in a different world. It's like before this happened, I thought I was separate from the rest of the world, like I was on the outside looking in or something, but now, there simply is no separation but at the same time, I'm in a different world! Bizarre! 

Thinking about it now, the whole frequency is different, and if it wasn't for the fact that I'm still putting off making a really important phone call to my energy supplier, and a few other things like that, I'm sure I really would think I was normal, normal. But then I take a look at myself and say, are you serious?!?!?!? It's like that thing where you're the last person to know that you're it! It's blooming obvious that I'm autistic (to somebody who knows about autism) but yet, I feel normal, not different to anybody else,  apart from the obvious difference, the fact that we are all different, individual beings. I was starting to think the word 'normal', was just that, a word, with different meanings for different people, but what I feel now, I can only describe as normal. Maybe this is what normal people feel like and that's why it's called normal. Now I'm in my world, surrounded by people who are just like me, I've got nothing to resist or fear or whatever anymore, I'm simply, just living. Now there's a thought! With the way my mind chatters on and on and is always on the go, I never ever thought there would be any space left to actually live! But it turns out, I just needed to get in the right world!

It kind of feels like what my life used to feel like, only this time, it feels real. Maybe the skin horse was right. We become real when we are loved but we can only feel love from others, after we have learned to love ourselves