I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today...
It's nice up here. No one around. Just me and Astro-cat.
I thought I'd drop in with a few words before I lose radio contact. Things are okay. Take-off on New Year's Day was a bit turbulent. But once I shook off the earth's gravitational pull, things began to feel better.
Day 13 without any form of mind-altering substances - except caffeine. At last, I'm beginning to get some clarity. I'm between planets job-wise - but I can see the light of the new one, twinkling in the near-distance ahead.
I went for a little space-walk yesterday, and what did I happen to see floating by? A DVD, long-lost from someone else's ship. It was one I'd been meaning to watch for many years, too, but never had. So I went back in and settled down with it...
The Hurricane stars Denzel Washington - my all-time favourite actor. It's based on the life of Rubin 'The Hurricane' Carter, the black American-Canadian middle-weight boxer who was wrongly-convicted in the '60s of a triple homicide and sentenced to three life sentences. The original trial was a travesty of justice, blighted by racial prejudice and police corruption. Many knew of his innocence, but said nothing, or told lies. It was a cause célèbre at the time. Prominent people fought his corner over the injustice. Muhammad Ali. Ellen Burstyn. Bob Dylan wrote a famous song, Hurricane, about the case. Rubin took on a different fight in prison. Knowing himself to be innocent, he refused to wear prison clothes, to take jobs, to eat with other prisoners. At night, he stayed awake in thought while the others slept. He kept to his cell. He took up reading, absorbing the classics of literature - especially the literature of struggle. W E DuBois. Frederick Douglass. Richard Wright. James Baldwin. Booker T Washington. He read Zola, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy. He read spiritual works, too - including Jiddu Krishnamurti's The Awakening of Intelligence. He had an awakening of his own. He found a sense of stoicism and a certain peace that enabled him to bear his incarceration. He 'escaped' his physical prison through the medium of his mind. He wrote his autobiography, too, on a manual typewriter he had in his cell. The Sixteenth Round was published in 1975 and remains in print. He served almost 20 years before the sentence was finally overturned in 1985, following the disclosure of fresh evidence that proved the corruption. Upon his release, he devoted himself to the cause of the wrongly-convicted. In 1993, he was awarded an honorary championship title belt from the World Boxing Council. It's an uplifting film. A timeless story of courage in adversity, and eventual triumph against the odds. A story of survival, and of hope. The moral is clear and simple: when you know truth is on your side, don't give up the fight for it. Persevere. A worthwhile thing for me to bear in mind right now.
I'm 60 in May. The last two decades haven't been the easiest. But they've enabled me to find out many things about myself - not least of which has been the secret I've had inside me all of my life without even knowing about it myself until 4 years ago. My autism. Since that diagnosis, I've had an ambivalent attitude to it. Mostly I've seen it as my gift. Other times, such as more recently, I've seen it as my burden.
I'm back to seeing it as my gift. Maybe the changes that have happened recently have enabled me to see the light in it. I'll try my best to keep it shining now. I want to get back to doing some writing, which I've been putting off for far too long. Some reading, too. I want to see what other secrets I can discover.
A new decade of my life. A new job. And maybe a new insight.
Here am I floating in my tin can
Far above the world.
Planet Earth is blue
And I've so much left to do...
Farewell for now, my friends. Go well on your own trips. And thank you for your support and friendship.
Bye Tom , see you back soon eh?. Cyclical springs to mind, each to his own , I wish you well, really, I do, take care and look after yourself and the cat, Be strong and be YOU,
Thanks, Lonewarrior. I don't think, somehow, that I'll be returning. I've asked for my account to be deleted, and this time I intend to keep it so. My planet is coming into sight, and once I touch down there I'll probably destroy my ship and settle back to being alone. It's my most natural state. I've come and gone from here before, and I've most usually gone feeling like I'm under some sort of cloud. A cloud of my own making, most likely. I'm very black-and-white with my feelings, and my regard for others. I've been wronged in my life and I do my best now to forgive those who've wronged me and put it behind me. I bear no malice or ill-will, for instance, to the woman at my place of work who has made my life so difficult in recent times. I have ample opportunity to get my own back on her, if I so wish. But that solves nothing. If anything, it simply compounds the misery. I have to accept that she has her problems, too. She has her reasons for being as she is. She is now, as I understand, making things very difficult for someone else - someone who really doesn't deserve to be treated badly. Well... as long as she can live with herself. I cannot change anything about that situation. I cannot do anything to get her to understand the upset she is causing. Maybe she'll find her own truth, given time. I only know that I can forgive her - but I have to walk away. I never want to see her again. I can forgive - but I can't forget. Some will regard that as a fault. Perhaps it is. But it's how I am.
Maybe if I'm truly a victim at all, I'm a victim of my own 'victim mentality'. I need to find a way past that. I need time and space to do it.
I return your good wishes. I'll get my strength back in time, and move onwards. But it will be elsewhere, I think. I hope beyond hope that the new direction I'm taking - the new job - will work out. If it doesn't... well... I'll deal with it when it happens. I want, eventually, to move away from this place where I've lived for my entire adult life. Go somewhere where no one knows me. Somewhere where I can put down different roots, and try to start again. A little late in life - but better late than never. True, I shall take myself with me, and I really need to get over myself first. But a physical move could be a good start.
Daisy will keep me going! She looks after me as I look after her. Perhaps that's what I should do. Surround myself with animals. Just maybe not the human kind! Not that I'm a misanthrope. I hold out hope for the essential goodness in humanity to triumph. I'll do my best to keep believing in it.
Good luck and if you leave I will miss you because you're one of the more sensible down to earth people here.
I hope you don't go Tom. Of course, take a sabbatical or semi-retirement by all means. Recharge the batteries and soul. But, I feel you've got too much to offer, and I suspect this forum has valuable resources for you too. It has a purpose.
Just don't judge yourself too harshly - or indeed, with the taint of 'neurotypio-normative' standards we're all groomed with throughout life, and which we can't help but unconsciously take on-board, unfairly judging ourselves harshly by the wrong criteria.
For instance: despite their finesse in social spheres, I've noticed that neurotypicals have far less friends than they like to imagine. The only difference is that their symbolic based thinking is able to gloss over the inconsistencies, fashion ego-strengthening narratives, and overlook glaring omissions.
By contrast, our often-starkly-linear and polarising neurodivergent mindsets will call a spade-a-spade... if we readily recognise someone as a colleague, acquaintance or associate, we will call them as such... whereas NT's will use the more ego-pleasing term of 'friend'. When a ND says 'friend', well... you know that's something special indeed; whereas NT's have simply cheapened it, mass-produced it and pumped the term full of ego-engorging steroids to yield more instantaneous and fickle results.
Even NT's often feel chronically and painfully lonely. And, they make social faux pas too. The only difference is in how they relate to those experiences... their weirdly fuzzy perceptions, and automatic narrative 'auto correct', gloss over the experiences, and re-weave them to regard themselves in a better light. For the NT, if they offend someone of meaning in their real life, well then, that's just okay - as they have 1000+ Twitter followers to give them the conditional validation they rightly deserve! ND's don't have the luxury of that self-affirming defense mechanism. Our eyes are too clear.
I think a significant challenge for you could be the sharpness of your mind and keenness of your own insight (both a blessing and a curse). You - like many ND's - see right through the cr*p, and I can't blame any guy's soul for feeling a little heavier for it. After all, it can be utterly exhausting and soul-wrenching to constantly see the mechanics of the deeply flawed (social) world of the majority herd... whereby you know it's hogwash, yet the human part of you - the part that so desperately wants to connect - still yearns to be part of the nonsense. So, you then beat yourself up for your perceived 'stupidity' and difference. It's no wonder the booze holds so much appeal - as it's a way to dull the senses, introduce a numbed and superficial state of mind, and relax your ever-so-wearisome defences. It's almost like the alcohol makes you more neurotypical - your magical (and insidiously tempting) golden ticket to their world!
I'm not gonna wish you luck. I'm gonna wish that you stay.
Of course, whatever you do decide, you have my unconditional support, and nothing but best wishes.