I’ve been thinking about autism a lot lately – how its talked about, it’s symbols. Specifically, the puzzle piece comes to mind.
I remember when the puzzle pieces seemed meaningful. I remember when I thought this disease was like a puzzle.
In a lot of ways, the analogy fits. Everything we have tried to help ease the effects of autism claimed to be the missing piece – the one piece that would make the puzzle whole.
I’ve come to learn that autism isn’t like a puzzle and there is no missing piece. Autism is most like a series of mountains. You climb up one side only to slide at light speed down the other side.
Into the valley.
People, guides, come into your life for one mountain, but not another. No technique, no skill seems to work twice. Every hurtle is a mountain. There is no runner’s form to prepare you for each coming uphill battle.
Perhaps the only way to survive is to adopt a posture of serenity and responsiveness. I imagine myself centering after each bump in the road, not engaging with the battle, but stepping outside of it.
The truth is that I have the ability to press pause while the battle rages. I can climb the hill and overlook the scene. I don’t engage in every fight like it is my life on the line or at least I try.
Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe not.
It’s the way I’ve found to cope – to carry this grief. There is no missing piece for which to quest. This isn’t a puzzle that can be solved.
This is the mountain range I travel.