In Search of Ancient Waters – Penultimate Thoughts on The Life Autistic

The Life Autistic is drawing to a close.

What began as a life-giving and bountiful stream has shapeshifted course; I’ve caressed the remnant beads of water clinging to this inert sand and have found the rivulets off snaking through rocks and feeding other waters.


When I began The Life Autistic, the lesser inauthenticities and profound depressions converged into a lightning strike from within my writing self to the written word and world. The blog, writing, storytelling, surged with purpose and propelled me forward — uneasy were the steps, but on we took them, and this resource blossomed.

The waters flowed.

But through it all, the passion had purpose, direction, a path not drawn out, but a course nonetheless.

Writing was my outlet. My outlet was autism. Autism was my writing. These trident points sharpened and cycled, the story carved out new banks, tunnels, curves, and rapids in “justifying the ways of autism and Hunter to the world.”

Yet as the echoes carried far and reverberant through this silo and bellowed meek and clear upon reaching the lip of the outermost edge, I’d hear the weak lipsmack of the shout kissing the sky and wonder whatever happened to the deeper sounds?

Yes, I’m mixing thematic metaphors here. It has been a while.


I’ve been overjoyed with how my storytelling has crossed mediums into YouTube, where putting my full face and force behind the camera has felt liberating as I share The Life Autistic. The new craft feels grafted and fit, the branches and fruit now budding, blooming, and bearing forth good.

But I think of the old bark of this gnarled trunk. I think of the deeper well within the silo from where the purest sounds emerge. And I run the beads of long-spent water through my fingertips, taking moments longer to dry than I supposed. And I wonder:

Is it time to find the ancient waters?

Writing and I have a complicated, compound-complex relationship — it was the raw, unfinished, and unrefined power I once thought I had, my last remaining and incipient skill, the primordial talent. And while I’ve been keeping fresh and staying limber with the pen (keyboard), I’ve refined and purposed it so much that it has come time to rediscover the propulsion, the power, the long-forgotten rushes of the old stream. The source.

I no longer want to be ‘Hunter, an autism advocate on YouTube, Instagram, or whatever, who happens to write really well.’

I want to contract that entire sentence: Hunter, write.


This blog is changing, but it’s already changed. You’ve seen it. You’ve noticed. The frequent waves have abated to a recurring but infrequent splash. The narratives less “informative” and far more personal. The autism narrative has already changed course: the stories flow elsewhere like springs.

But here on thelifeautistic.com, my writing on autism has run its course.

I am not going away; the writing is just going deeper, going back, returning to the more ancient source to find new paths.

Where I’m writing less for people to discover information about autism.

Where I’m writing less to fit everything into my autistic narrative.

Where I’m writing less to remind people that “hey autistic advocates can be skilled writers.”

Where I’m writing less for you.

Where I’m writing for me again.


But at this terminus of water, I find the paths more bountiful.

As I venture back, I need not shut out others from the journey.

I’ll still be writing, and I’d love for you to follow along. But it won’t be things for the occasional wayfinder, no. I’m taking the words from deeper in the mine. They’ll be thoughts, not totally polished, caked with dirt, and wrapped in the weirdness that I’ve been afraid to leave intact for so long — extended muses into phrases, thoughts, indices of possibilities, reflections from the full sides of myself (autistic and otherwise) that I have just not surfaced in ages.

In a way, this is as close to that ‘autistic inner world’ of mine as one could get.

Far less of “Oh, Hunter is autistic and has this great blog about the autistic experience.”

More “Hunter is a writer.”

As the title should convey, we are almost finished here. We’re heading back, and I look forward to beginning the return in earnest, where flow deep those ancient waters.

Worse Than a Weightlifting Accident: Autism and The Machine

I don’t have a lot of fears. But in my top five:

5: Uninvited guests

4: Getting called on to pray when I haven’t been writing the prayer requests down

3: My workout bench collapsing under me whilst hoisting weights overhead

2: Anyone asking me “Can we talk?” without any context

1: [REDACTED]

Number 4 ended up happening a couple weeks back, and after intense counseling, I feel I have recovered from the trauma.

Number 3 happened last week.

Every time I lift, I bear this latent fear and hoist it ahead of me. It’s the most likely cause of any critical injury and would be the odds-on favorite “freak accident” (freak as in rare, not as in ‘occurring to a freak’) to befall me.

But so it happened in a backward-hurled blur, falling flat from an incline to a sharp decline — arms and hands held aloft, bracing my pair of dumbbells in place so as not to fold inward and pancake my face into my skull.

Within a second it was over.

I’d fallen, shocked, and rose unharmed.

But not unhurt.

One of the clips on my weights had snapped from the impact, rendering it unusable.

And yes, folks, I missed the forest for the tree here.

I wasn’t upset at the bench collapse.

I wasn’t upset at the fall.

I wasn’t even as upset about the broken part.

I was upset because I couldn’t complete my workout routine cycle for the day.

“Hunter, how absurd can you be about getting upset by THAT?”

Ok, first of all, it’s “How AUTISTIC can I be” and second, yes, I can be patently absurd about it.

Autistic routines are finely tuned machines.

It doesn’t matter how flexible I make them. I doesn’t matter how much slack I leave in them. Wide berth, narrow berth, consequentiality, inconsequentiality, life, death — even when I’ve found ways to adapt.

The brokenness of a routine still stings.

That’s how I know I’m still autistic.

Behind the many masks, counter-routines, adaptations, self-talk cycles — the hollow at the core still bellows back in this recalling and reverberant echo. There is a hole here.

Yes, of course I have a counter-routine. Yes, of course I make contingencies. Yes, I’ve learned to bypass a lot of the defeat and desultory feelings that come.

I weathered the accident pretty well. Falls happen. Breaks happen.

But of all the things that broke and snapped in sequence, I was left most smarting at the smallest routine thing.

And that’s The Life Autistic.

To learn more about autism from an autistic person’s perspective, follow & subscribe to The Life Autistic here and on YouTube — and follow the more whimsical, spontaneous, and amusing content on Instagram as well.

The Only Way You Learn about Anything – even Autism

Last summer, after the rains abated, it was time.

I searched for the same video I’d been using to turn my sprinkler system back on. This is one I watched only once a year, if lucky. I usually needed to reference it more than once. Not because I’m terrible with retention — which can be true — but because, inevitably, something would break.

I’ve learned a lot about my sprinkler system and sprinkler systems in general. It’s not a special interest. I’m not particular keen on it.

When things are broken, I learn more about them.

My sprinkler turn-on ended up being a summer school, with humiliating coursework. Things broke. Things I couldn’t name, with parts I couldn’t explain, with pieces that fired upward toward my brain. Literally.

I’d adjusted the test cocks, turned the screw heads to what I thought was perpendicular, parallel, or whichever — I’ve still yet to learn the difference, which is awkward when I end up perpendicular parking in crowded downtown confines — turned off the main shutoff valve, and sent the vacuum breaker skyrocketing into my frontal lobe. Thank you, skull, for taking a shame-inducing hit for me.

All those italicized terms — those were just thing A, thing B, doohickey C, and whatevertheheck D in my mind. But they all conspired to break.

And as they were broken, so I learned.

I did repair those things, after vain and errant hunts for parts. Off we went to find that video, re-open all the valves, ensuring my dome steered clear of the potential blast radius —

We were clear — until a sprinkler head rocketed off behind me, propelled by a spectacular geyser, cold arc of water gushing and glorious, unbound and unyielding to that former node.

And as this was broken, so I learned.

This was far less injurious to both my pride and forehead, so the endeavor of sprinkler head replacement came with far less shame, far more digging, much more dirt.

I’ve come to similar learnings in autism.

I’ve surveyed the things I found broken.

Empathy.

Relating to others.

Masking.

Social graces.

Saying “the right thing.”

Inflexibility.

Sensory overload.

Devotion to routines.

Meltdowns.

It has been a year of learning.


This summer, after the rains abated, it was time.

I learned more about my sprinkler valve assembly. I’d learned to keep my bell from being rung. With a harsh whishhh, the vacuum breaker held.

And again, malady. My backyard sprinklers defied my clocks orders and sprayed without beckoning.

As more things were broken, so I learned.

My wife insisted I do a very unorthodox thing and read the manual. After sitting on that for days, I relented. And so I learned. I learned about resetting my sprinkler clock. I learned about how to adjust and test my valves manually.

Once my system ran, I noticed an errant head midday, laid shattered upon the dry grass.

Something must have broken.

But using what I’d learned, I’d made a key discovery. It wasn’t MY sprinkler head that broke this time. Sorry neighbor – this was yours.

Things weren’t broken, so I learned.


I discovered the same exact thing in my autism this past year.

Things break.

But I am not broken, so I have learned.

To learn more about autism from an autistic person’s perspective, follow & subscribe to The Life Autistic here and on YouTube — and follow the more whimsical, spontaneous, and amusing content on Instagram as well.

Latest episode, enjoy.