That date is correct as of the end of this line. It is currently Tuesday night, the 22nd. The prompt for tomorrow: the connection between my high semantic intelligence and my (comparatively) low working memory, and the way I organize the world around me to free me from having to remember anything as I move. If everything is in its natural home, then I don't have to remember where anything is: I just have to conjure up my body's knowledge of its essence, and that will guide me to its home, every time.


It's tomorrow. I can't write about that. I have to write about where I'm at this morning. Inhale exhale. At least I must release what I just inhaled, and perhaps after I can return to the thing I was excited to explore.

I'm historically prone to the sensation of poignancy. I haven't had cause to re-examine this, now that I have an Autism/Asperger's diagnosis. I suppose now is as good a time as any. (Please don't let this be a deep dive, though. I accept it if that's what must be, but I would like to not do that today.)

The chapter I just read (still from Braiding Sweetgrass) talked lovingly of an old woman, and the things she knew of the woods, and of the way she loved her children, and of the yearning she had for the home she left, and of how her neighbors (the book's author, and the author's daughters) met and loved her and one winter brought her home to the home she left, which they'd cleaned and lit and warmed and prepared for a Christmas party. It's a fully beautiful account, and I have memories that connect to many of the details shared -- all memories that one would make at an old house in the backcountry, home to family that I only ever knew to be old themselves. Old like the kitchen woodstove, and the blackened coffeepot in permanent residence upon it.

I only ever knew the surrounding farmland to be in regression to forest. The barns were only ever ramshackle and beginning to visibly tilt. The houses were only ever overgrown, their occupants either gone or fading. The energies that interpreted the land as farmland (for their own reasons, I wasn't there and won't assume) have largely faded too, and the woods was making obvious progress in filling those gaps back in.

God it was so sad.

To me. To me to me to me to me to me to me to me. I know now that I'm autistic. Before I get carried away by the feeling-memory, let me try to evaluate this again.

  • My brain assembles a picture beginning from small details. I have to spend a long time in a place to collect enough details to form a picture of the whole that would resemble a picture drawn by a more neurotypical brain.

  • My brain has trouble telling my emotions apart from others'. If I'm not careful (and I didn't learn to be careful until here in my 30s), my experience will be precolored for me by those around me.

  • Unless I'm in autistic overwhelm followed by autistic shutdown, which I learned (via my diagnosis) generally feels like depression. (Looks like it, too. Major depressive disorder was my first diagnosis, fifteen years ago.)

  • There were agents of joy in those places (I remember my grandma singing, always singing). I'll lead with that. But even I can tell that I'm trying not to think about the slowing bodies and stiffening joints, and how everything was clean and cared for, twenty years ago, when it was last touched.

  • My psychotherapist tells me that all of the following sounds like autism: registering that there's too much detail around me to process, and feeling therefore that I am committing some kind of crime against love by not honoring each and every detail as it lives, a crime that there isn't time to remedy before those details die and pass, because everything is changing, in every second. Everything is dying, and I don't feel any need to save it, but I do feel a need to see it, to ensure that each thing (each being, as previously discussed) is properly known and loved and honored with mutual presence. I spent years living in a sensation of constant tragedy. (My parents recall me sobbing, undone, at the thought of my brother growing up. I was a child.) The passage of all, before I could get my bearings and be with it all, was my greatest fear and my greatest lament.

    This is obviously only half of the picture. (And I probably don't have any right to be assigning percentages like that.) Also present is the constant state of birth and emergence. Everything is passing, all the time -- fine, yes. But everything is also new, all the time. Newness abounds, and the world is in an eternal state of bloom. I couldn't see it then; my emotional haze was too thick. I can see it now, and it dominates my perspective. Not to the exclusion of acknowledging and honoring endings, though. On reflection, I think I can perform that act of honor better, being rooted now in a wider spectrum of life than I was then.

So. What am I doing here.

*taps keys lightly, idly*

I'm trying to retcon balance into my emotional memories. My heart was tipped to one side, hard, then. And I had plenty of fodder for that direction -- silent rural decay makes it easy to ache. But I don't want this to be the only way that I can ever see or remember those places. Can I take my present mind back there? Can I see past the details I collected then, and celebrate the people? I process what is still and silent before I process what's noisy and in motion, so I know I missed the stuff that someone else might only remember.

Maybe I'll leave this as a wish, for now. An educated wish. A hypothesis-wish, formed by a heart that has rediscovered its emotional fulcrum, like an infant discovering it can hold up its own head if it chooses.

I wish to bring balance to the pain I remember. I wish to hear accounts of the old and the poor, and especially the old who are poor, and be present for joy and celebration. To some beings, I am old and poor, and I know that. When they visit me, I hope that ... god, is this the way to go about this? I feel like I'm pushing back against this, and I know that's not the way to do this. Am I rationalizing? Trying to get outside of it? Have I not done my time? Do I have to go back in and complete something?

Mm. I don't know. But: a wish is a desire and a direction, and one that accepts peaceably that its fulfillment is not now. I won't rush this, but I will wish it:

I wish to move beyond fear of the pain I remember.


I just scanned up to the prompt I left myself for today, up at the top. Maybe in light of that desire, I can contextualize this wish as one of finding a natural home for that pain, so I can set it down, and allow it to fade from my awareness, knowing that it is home. This specific sensation of pain always feels unfinished, like something is waiting to be done, like something is hurting until the thing is brought to completion. I'm not one to leave something undone. I've learned that I can often manipulate my perspective so as to find an angle from which my role appears "done", and this allows my mind to move on peacefully from the scene. I haven't quite found that yet, here. It always feels like a jagged edge, and then numb.

I'm remembering now that just being with a feeling can be healing. Perhaps writing about this is enough? Expressing it with a mind that is more whole than before -- maybe that's the way to bring this home. Maybe it had to hurt one more time, because I had to go back to the pain-memory to bring its contents into a mind that can experience it as more than just pain. Maybe the next time I am presented with the same stimuli, I'll remember sitting here in the sunlight, with my tea and my tablet, wishing to heal, and believing that I can.

I think that will do for now. Am giving myself a big hug, and a wry but confident smile. I have passed through enough to have confidence here, and to trust it easily. I am grateful for those I've known, in those farmhouses -- for the coffee I was too young to drink, for the songs whose words I was too young to remember, for the puffy paint shakily drawn onto balsa wood hearts to say I love you, child of my child. Grateful for the sound of maple sap dripping into an empty metal bucket, and for the sight and smell of the great metal vat it boiled in -- sugar and woodsmoke. I am grateful for the autumnal celebration, the thing we did while the rest of the country did Halloween: the handmade pinata (I have no idea how to do an accent on this keyboard), the scavenger hunts taking us from the crik (I have literally never tried to spell that word) to the old cars grown over with grass and vines to the haymow in the barn and ultimately to the cache of candy in a ziploc baggie. The wordplay that went over my head, but I know was a mainstay of the wickedly smart matrilineal heritage. The music, on guitars and tin whistles and old pianos. And, oddly, the largest collection of VHS tapes I've ever seen. Hah!

There was joy. There is, still, in that place and in the present day. I have family there who live by it, as a byword. I am grateful to them now, in this moment -- thank you for living with joy, because I remember you from back then, too, and I remember the laughter well, swinging on the front porch, all in joy, all together.



This is not how I anticipated this would go. In any way, lol.

Mm. I think I may have found a home.


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