Memory is a scheming demon. A strange and warped aperture, altogether tinted more in dolorous hues, monochromes, quicker to drain itself of color and hollow itself down to dampened bark and snuff out the obvious verdure.
There are many hard days in autism.
And coupled with hypercriticality, hyperintrospection, and a whopping dose of imbalance toward scathing self-talk and distorted reflection — we often misremember every single day as a hard one.
I know I do.
It doesn’t take much for my mental oxen, resolute and routine creatures, to be veered into a ditch—cart, goods, wheels, and all—at the slightest daily shakeup, misconstrued feedback, tonal ambiguity, cloudy days, sleeping in 4 minutes late.
And there we are, up from the shallow crevasse I peek, hearing those horned beasts low confused, grimacing at skidded furrows as far as the eye can see. Never mind the many days in which the path was narrow, trod firm and straight.
Don’t mistake me for an optimist: there’s a lot of ‘not good.’
But I’ve become better at mental optometry: there’s a lot of ‘not bad’ either. I’m getting better at this in my old age.
Seeing others succeed where I do not: these are not the slights they used to be. Furiosity and frustrations within my orbit: these are not always intended for me. A bad morning-afternoon-evening: these are just the days that feel longer. They are not longer.
Thus far, at each day’s closing bell, whether it took a minute or a millennium, I realize I can tell myself this one thing.
“I did make it through this day.“
It’s one of the harder things in the moment for us autistic people. I’ve had ‘patently normal days’ where minor subterranean quakes to routine foundations send pain up my spine and attack with exclamation pointed PANIC! Honestly, I still get derailed by the dumbest things too.
But thus far, I’ve made it through every day. Maybe not always at 100%, and sometimes perilously close to 0%, but I have made it through 100% of my days on this terrestrial plane.
I’m hoping to start working on my long memory here with this. To etch even the simplest day’s successes in stone. Notch those rocks.
And though my autistic critical self often wills the iron quill, I should more so scribble and write off the bad days in the inky puddle, where I’ll reminisce far less, remembering that there bad days I’ve penned away here.
But they don’t compare to even the milder days, where I survived and did much better.
To learn more about autism from an autistic person’s perspective, follow & subscribe to The Life Autistic here and on YouTube — or follow the more whimsical, spontaneous, and amusing content on Instagram.
Oh, psst, hey, if you missed my latest video, come check it out! I promise it’s worth thirteen minutes of your day – or else you can have your money back: