Of the stanzas of poetry I have read, forgotten, and re-remembered, there are few.
This one, from Richard Wilbur’s most notable verse, stands out today:
the beautiful changes / In such kind ways
I often cringe at change, as is the predilection of autism and my experience. It is far more brace than embrace.
But many things have changed since I last wrote. The time away put distance to my eyes—and despite my physical nearsightedness, I’m a farsighted soul, and the steps away sharped and focused things both outward and inward.
Here are three changes that came into view.
Fatherhood is a changing endeavor. Now with three kiddos, I at last embraced that I’m less in control of the routines. It is OK. Where I more often found comfort in control of the minutia, I had to reframe my autistic experience to find peace in the larger parts of the map.
“Sleep? This might not happen at this time, but it will happen at night.”
“Breakfast? Ugh, it’s late, but at least it’s happening.”
Even the good things are stressful. Can I confess a thing? I stopped all my blog work for the last four weeks and it vaporized my stress and magnified my peace of mind.
I enjoy creation, but the stress of delivering for and on a time was more impactful on my autistic psyche than I thought. In a way, this very blog is its own stressor.
Obligations are taxing, and I’m in a higher tax bracket than I thought. But now I know.
My autistic experience is comparatively easy. Since the murder of George Floyd, I’ve had a bit of a reckoning, a sobering one:
“What about the black autistic experience?”
My perception changed for the better, where I realized more clearly that I still benefit from some privilege being a generic white dude, despite being patently autistic.
I don’t want to leave that change as is, and I’m more earnestly exploring ways to be a better ally, and a better one for people of color, especially on the neurodiverse spectrum. While I might suffer a bit from a bias that kicks in once people interact with me, I can’t imagine it kicking in as soon as people see or hear me.
And that needs to change.
The Life Autistic will change, too. It already has. There are plenty of topics yet to explore. Challenges to confront. Causes to support. Cadences to adjust.
But from here, perhaps it’s time to brace less and embrace more these beautiful changes, in such kind ways.