Exploring Uncharted Space in My Life as an Autistic Adult

Sul Wynne-Jones
Man in the desert looking at the stars.
Man in the desert looking at the stars.

When I was asked to write about being autistic, I was not sure where to start. Recognizing that I am autistic is new to me, but one thing I do know is that I am different, and if you are reading this, maybe you are too.

One of the ways we are different is in the way we perceive the world. Autism is a word used to describe a “spectrum” of people who don’t fit the box of “normal.” I am one of these people. What is true for me is that I am different. I desire something different and normal reality is not enough for me. I will do my best to show you through my eyes how I see the world. Do not buy it as automatically true, real or significant. It’s all just an interesting point of view.

For me, being autistic is questioning everything — even questions. It’s knowing that normal reality is not all there is. Being autistic is using the way you sense the world to go beyond normal reality where no one has been before. It’s everything defined and everything undefined, pulling it apart and looking at the space between the lines and linearity. It’s delving into these spaces and exploring uncharted space. Being autistic is an acknowledgment and a celebration of the unique gift you are in the world and the contribution you are willing to be, know, perceive and receive. It’s the communion you have with the molecules of the universe!

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Autism is like undefined spacial awareness. Information comes from everywhere as energy and there are few to no filters. It’s not always clear where the information is coming from, whether it’s past, present or future, whether it’s from the person next to you or from miles away. When the information comes, it comes in waves and the intensity of so much information at once is like trying to pass an ocean through a pinhole in less than a second.

Autistic people can often seem like they are not present, extremely overwhelmed, agitated and withdrawn. More often than not, this is actually when autistic people are perceiving more information than usual. They will be aware of what everyone is thinking within and outside the room. They will sense the other bodies around them. They will be aware of what is going to occur next and often they will be exploring multiple ideas simultaneously.

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For many of you, this may have seemed like a burden as you do not fit in this reality and people are intimidated by what they do not understand and what does not fit this reality. You may have also chosen to suppress your awareness in order to fit the order of this reality. That doesn’t have to be your reality anymore. There are different possibilities available for you to choose.

Something that has helped me tremendously is reminding myself, “You are not wrong. You are just different.” Many people have also had to remind me of this countless times and I admire their patience! When you don’t fit in and you see things differently, it can be easy to invalidate your reality in favor of others, but that doesn’t actually work. You are aware of energy and you can turn down your awareness, but you cannot make it go away. Your awareness of energy has always been there and will always be there. You can run, but you can’t hide.

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Usually one piece of information is not enough for me. I like to have the words, the pictures, the energy, the senses and the awareness of whatever it is past, present and future. When all of this information is delivered when communicating, it creates a sense of ease in knowing what is going on. For example, if someone is giving directions by telling me left and right, I get lost easily. But, if someone is also communicating using senses, visual cues, an energetic awareness and words, I can receive the information with much more ease.

Some of you reading this might be looking for how you can have more ease with your child, friend or partner. I will speak to what brings ease for me. Sometimes the vastness of space is nice. I often try to define all the information I receive to figure out what to do with it all, but it can be nice to just let it all pass through and not have to define anything.

Talking and engaging with people can be tiring as I am constantly trying to figure out if what I am perceiving is relevant to that person and the conversation. Allow yourself or the person you are with to have space. There is a sense of peace and ease that comes when you expand your sense of space. Ask the person you are with what works for them. For me, being in the ocean, in nature and touching animals are the easiest ways to get a sense of peace, ease and space again.

All of us are connected to everything, whether we like it or not. Being autistic, in my experience, means receiving more of everything that comes with that — the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s also the creative capacities you have to go beyond this reality and create something entirely different. What if everything society often sees as wrong about you was actually what is strong about you? Remember, you are not wrong. You are just different.

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