I have been asked by neurotypical relatives and friends, “I don’t understand! Why you can’t just…?” I don’t like the question because I don’t have an answer that would satisfy the one asking. Maybe that person would be surprised how many times I’ve asked myself why can’t I just do what so many people do without a heavy dose of anxiety.
I don’t understand why I instantly become the silent observer when I find myself with more than one person. I don’t understand why I have anxiety pangs when my phone rings or I have a voice mail message. I don’t understand why I need to talk to myself as I do to breathe. I don’t understand why I wring my hands and pace the floor when excited or anxious. I don’t understand why I repeat out loud or in my head the same senseless phrases every single day. I don’t understand why someone playing music on the radio or some other device can upset me to the point of a meltdown. I don’t understand dating, sex, and marriage. I don’t understand parenthood. I don’t understand grieving and funerals. I don’t understand why it is easier for me to show my affection for others in writing than to display affection or speak of it. I don’t understand why I have this constant daily need to live in two worlds: the real world and my imaginary world.
I don’t understand why people enjoy being with others rather than alone. I don’t understand why social gatherings, such as club meetings or church services, can be enjoyable or uplifting. I don’t understand how simple it is to give or receive a hug. I don’t understand why it is just a simple thing to ask a store employee a simple question such as if and where they keep an item I am on the hunt for. I don’t understand how anyone could look forward to going out on a date than to dread it terribly. I don’t understand how the phrase “I love you” can come easily and often off of one’s lips.
I sincerely don’t understand what comes easy, natural, no big deal does NOT to me. I don’t understand what comes naturally for me to do doesn’t enter the minds of others.
I’ve heard it say those who have Autism can’t fully explain it and those who don’t can’t fully understand it. Although I don’t understand, it is of such comfort and relief to know there are many others who don’t know understand why they just can’t do whatever either.