I’ve always known I’m different.
As a young girl, I sought refuge in the forest, talking to trees, creeks, fairies.
I lived within a rich world, teeming with imagination so tangible, I could touch it. Taste it. Feel it.
Like magic, stories flowed out my fingers into notebooks.
I drank words as though they’d offer an elixir, protecting me from the sharp awareness of how I didn’t quite fit…
…with my family, at school, and in the way I gently—yet intensely—lived in the world.
Looking out the window of the car, I’d track the moon, the stars, and feel lifted out, magnetized toward somewhere—anywhere—other than where I was.
I especially loved my grandfather on days the air felt thin and harshly sucked dry; he’d tell me stories and I’d comb his snow white hair.
Grandma said he “always had a soft spot for the underdog.”
I believed in magic, revived dying bees, made friends with the neighboring cows, and ached to feel crisp, blistering wind on my face while standing in the middle of the naked field, oaks bearing witness.
That’s when I was free. Liberated. Allowed every cell in my body to feel electric. Wild stirred me out of the hushed quiet … and always would…
That slightly-set-apart feeling stayed in my bones, set in deep, affecting the way I walked, moved in the world: My head, never held straight—slightly tilted—from all the vacillating between slicing shame of being different and yearning to be noticed, seen, accepted.
I’ve become a master cloaker, easily hidden, able to disappear and ghost whenever I don’t believe I belong.
That’s an old story. It’s run its full course: Not belonging. Not to my family, not to a circle of friends, not to any one culture, not to any one thing.
…Certainly not to myself.
Because: I didn’t belong, I was too much. Too much to handle. Too sensitive. Too weird. Too much. Then: Not enough. So, I’d hide, go deep.
…Oh, how many times I’ve gone under, gone to the dark for cover. For safety.
So done. So complete.
And, frankly: b o r i n g.
With few exceptions, I’ve kept my diagnosis quiet.
I’m sharing it now because it has kissed me with the greatest gift: Seeing myself.
Understanding who I am. Realizing I don’t need to change. Embracing me.
I’ve found the wild within—that slithering wind, that call of an intense storm, the bright sky blackened with pink and gold, bruised with purple—the lightning-fire that resides in my spine and moves up my heart.
It’s always here.
I’ve come to welcome it.
Love it whole.
If you read this post, you know my daughter has Asperger’s—or high-functioning Autism.
Girls are rarely diagnosed. It shows up differently in us. The m/f diagnosis ratio is an astounding 4:1.
I, too, have Asperger’s.
Fiercely independent and sometimes rigid/stubborn.
Hyper-sensitive to sensory input.
Requires extensive time alone.
…amongst other things…
I’m aware of the challenges. I live them.
I’m aware of the gifts. I live those.
And I’m finally, finally, finally free.
Just like the little-girl me who revived and saved dying bees, so, too, I’ve revived and saved myself.
The Real me.
The All of Me, me.
The Whole, Complete me.
The one who refuses to hide in a dark cave. Ashamed. Tired. Different.
See, I am different.
I am made of wild, ecstatically fierce and loving neurons. They light up, fast, sparking new pathways and webs of connection.
Revealed, I’m clay-faced, raw, present.
You feel it in my poetry, you’ll see it in my gaze.
I revel in freedom, unveiling myself, dancing, trilling, welcoming you to my world: lush, thick and voluminous, knowing the drumbeat of my soul and the wings that touch the cosmos.
When I feel all of me, I feel all of you. See all of you … and ask you to meet my gaze and let the electric wind pull laughter from our throats … eyes bright, alive.
And if you don’t get me, if you can’t meet me here, if you are afraid and shake: I don’t care.
I’m liberated in my wilderness.
I’ve merged and married my succulently sweet, round and gently, erotically crystalline, catalyzingly soft, wholy-holy Self.
I’m home—embraced—in the edgy grace. I’ll hold you, there, too.
Here I am: Muddied.
Soil under my fingers.
Stars in my hair.
Eyes of lightning.
Fingers of love.
Soles of diamonds.
Heart of fire.