Are you feeling blue today?



Sometimes it's hard to be an adult. All that to-ing and fro-ing in the real world takes its toll. One minute, blindly rushing along the great path of life, the next huddled to the side, wrapped in your blanket, watching all the proper grown-ups go by.

Just so: one moment a person who does, the next a person who does not.

And, to make life extra creative, the does and does not can be as simple as not wanting to be somewhere or leaving a whole portion of your life behind because it can't be done anymore.

This can be the very hardest of things to explain to people who are not on the spectrum, that what you did today might not be done tomorrow. How can you explain that this person in front of them, same-faced, same-voiced, same-souled, can react so differently from one moment to the next?

I used to read a series of books when I was very small, where the people in the town were divided according to the colour of their hats. For some reason I liked these books, I liked what seemed a logical division of people and I most especially liked that you were never in any doubt as to who everyone was. You just had to look at their hat to know.

The problem in real life is that hats come off and we change colours, it's a part of human nature. What makes Aspergers so interesting to live with is that you change your hat a few times every day, sometimes every hour. Or you leave on that same old hat for weeks at a time, long enough for everyone (including yourself) to become used to you in blue, only to walk through a door one day and emerge wearing a bright red cap.

The change can be so immediate, you have no idea it is coming and have to learn to go with it. No good telling yourself to act like you're still wearing your blue hat when the red one is already there. If you do that then you're lying to yourself and, sooner or later, you will have to admit there has been a change.

The trick is in knowing how to react when this happens. For a long time there is the temptation, egged on by your nearest and dearest, to cope in a certain way so that you can get on in normal life. Please insert the curse of your choice here. Normal life knows what it can do with itself. The only reaction which brings long-term peace is to bend your life to suit yourself - and this very rarely turns out as anything resembling normal.

If you can go to work every day and stay there for the whole day and earn your monthly wage without going insane, then I applaud you. But if you do all of that and are withering inside or screaming in your own head while smiling at the people around you, it could be time for a change.

Sometimes the screaming bursts out of your own head and happens in real life. Or you stop yourself from making any sound and leave, quickly, efficiently, letting the door close behind you on your way.

This moment where you feel you have failed again, weakened in the face of life, is not necessarily a bad thing. Take a look in the mirror and see which hat you are wearing and if it looks at home on your head.

Screaming, panicking, leaving, slamming doors, walking out on whatever it is that makes you bend too far and too often, can be the first step to finding what really suits you in life and making it yours.

Here's to the yellow feathers and damask, the flowers on straw hats, the black and shady trilbys, the top hat in glossy purple, the white, silken creation made only for you. Here is to the hat you make for yourself and never have to take off, until you make another one.

Amanda




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