Friday, May 24, 2024

Autism Answer: There Is Nothing, Until There Is Something



There is nothing, until there is something.

When I was about ten I had a best friend named Rayna. We both strongly hoped to become wondrous writers one day. We had similar wants from the writing we imagined one day publishing. We wanted to be recognized as wise; as people who could use words to disturb readers into feeling and thinking differently; as writers who were special, spectacular, and unequaled.

Our reactions to blank sheets of paper, however, were drastically dissimilar. And her reaction, I confess, shocked and almost offended me.

I would stare longingly at the sheets, caress them first with my eyes, then my soul, then my fingertips. I would fall into the nakedness of those sheets, usually white or off white in colour, and I would imagine being someone who could provoke those pages toward brilliance; the one writer who could commune with the truth living within each unique page; craving to be the one author who could unearth it, coax it into the light. It would pain me, that desire. That need. Sometimes, when I was brave, I would find a pretty pen and draw a tiny heart in an upper corner, or a small tangle of vines, as is still my habit. (I am now 50.)

Rayna, by contrast, would take the strongest pen nearest and scribble angrily all over the page. Her passion was clear, her need was tangible, her pleasure mixed with pain was on display. “I have to, it’s mocking me, I have to,” she would be saying. Maybe not those words, but that sentiment. It hurt me to see. I couldn’t understand. Even as she explained, even as she matched the intensity of feeling I had toward the same blank sheets, her action was simply unfathomable to me.

But I wanted to write, and I wanted to understand, and I wanted to be all the characters.

So I tried.

We were best friends for only a year, but I remember our friendship often. I remember her need to scribble strongly, to take over, to take action on the intense feelings, often. I remember the size of my desire, my belief in an immensity waiting to be discovered, my fear of ruining it, often.

I recognize both of us in others, now. I see how we are offered a stimulus (something presenting itself, something happening) and how we reach into the same grab bag of emotions (desire, dread, joy, fear, anger, love, worry) and how we take an action in response.

We so often don’t choose the same reactions, and we so often don’t understand each other, and we so often don’t try or want to.

There is nothing, until there is something.

I think it matters that we pay attention to and reflect on the something we make out of nothing. 

Hugs, smiles, and love!