Last week, my gage read empty. Drained so dry, I switched off. The only outlet I had was to write. Sitting in my car, after dropping my son off for school, I typed the excerpt of the events that sucked the last of my fuel. I wiped tears from my face, and the keyboard, as I gave you the honest play by play of what left me feeling isolated. I closed the laptop and went through the motions of the day, looking for things to cheer me up, faking a less than melancholy to get me from here to there without explanations.
Little did I know that when that post published, something amazing would happen. The isolation I felt began to crumble to nothing throughout the day. Everywhere I turned were words of support, comfort and understanding. So many hands stretched out to pull me up, to hug me, to walk next to me, nodding in a chorus of “you are not alone.”
I’ve read posts where bloggers worry that if they aren’t funny enough or happy enough their readers will fall away. But that does not happen here. This community, the community of special needs parents, adults, teachers, therapists, and friends, you are all different in a powerfully, beautiful and magical way.
You don’t judge, shame, smirk, or argue with me. You don’t pretend. You relate. You hold my hand. You raise me up. You explain how we all shut down as a defense mechanism. You give me encouragement. You nurture me to take care of myself, suggesting concrete choices. You give me support and understanding for “being human.”
I cried tears off and on all day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as each of you reached out to me. But those were not tears of sadness. They were tears of strength as you pulled me up. There is a place I belong. It is here, with all of you.
You know me because I am you and you are me. We are all components of something that springs from the word “autism”. We see hardships that others find invisible. Those hardships can debilitate us or be our power. I was completely defeated. I turned off my emotions. But you used your power. You saw what so many do not. And understanding defeats isolation every time. That power makes something as enormous as “autism” and all it entails, easier because I realized we all have each other. I reached out and an army of support reached back. You are all amazing.
I cannot see your faces but I know you well. I cannot hear the sound of your voices but I hear your every word. I cannot reach out and feel your skin, but I know your touch in my heart and in my soul. This is my thank you.
And when you hurt, I will be there. Just as you were for me. We are all one.