When I was young, I was born from an ‘imaginary’ world, where trees spoke, giants stood tall, and the sky glowed with the pleasant warmth of two suns. I kept to myself, spoke less than most anyone you’ve ever met, and enjoyed the company of one for most my time. Now that I’m older, I write about that same place, enjoy my solitude, fear crowds, and am still one of the quietist persons many have ever met. I turned blue when I was three weeks old, which has played a heavy hand in much my life, in particular my dyslexia, yet I was never told what hand it played in the way I was, apart from the mere statement of general identity.
This year, this last year, this period of years has been rather blue to me. I commonly feel as though I struggle with grief, yet I do not know what grief for. Picasso seemed to have been in grief for his blue period, yet there were so many reasons to give him such. I do not know me. This blue period, however, this unanswered grief, this second period of turning blue, has helped me to know why I am the way I am in so many ways, for it has given me the diagnosis, which I should have been given decades ago, of autism.
Whether it was my standoffish quietness or my lacking social comprehension or a tendency to stare, I’ve so often been tossed to the rubbish because I failed to act the role of a socialite. I’ve been scolded at work, passed up for jobs I was heavily qualified for, and generally assumed incompetent, irresponsible, and lazy. In all truth and honesty, I’ve made plenty of mistakes and have flopped about life as a sea ridden fish; I’m a flawed and broken human like anyone else, and nothing changes that. However, I am all those less common things not because of incompetence or laziness or that I am a creep who ignores social cues; I am this way because I am autistic. The world has treated me poorly because of that, and I believe that is wrong. The world should be better.
Now, my brother has aspergers and would like to be, or rather expects to be treated special for it most the time. In a certain sense he should be, as he’s far worse off than I am in many ways and doesn’t respond to anything as most others do; yet, there’s also always a limit to that. Is it ethical or simply decent to pin a special badge on anyone with autism, just for the sake of identification? (This was a literal proposal by city law enforcement here.) And of course, it’s not okay; the Nazis (not to compare) also believed this a great idea, and look how that turned out. Autism is not a broken leg, but it’s also not a yellow star. This is to say, I don’t believe it is the correct response for people with autism, or any different mentality, to be treated heavily different: kinder, more lenient, ect. It’s simply unrealistic and too difficult to always know. Let me further explain.
Life is a dance, a series of movements, of postures, of shapes and structures that we exist within. If most people shake hands, yet a few prefer a simple hello, then should either be treated differently, or should they come to a common agreement of a respecting bow instead? I, personally, very rarely say hello to anyone with my mouth; in fact, since I was seven or so, I would always bow my head to acknowledge anyone, as a sort of respectful kneel to kind faces. Some seem offended at times, others take it with acceptance. Those are the faces, the postures, the shapes I most appreciate: the kind ones. You understand, I do not believe we should treat people kinder because of their mentality, I believe because of our human mentality of kindness, we should treat all others as so. Why do we need the excuse of autism to treat others with respect and gentleness? The world seems so heavily angry and scornful now — it mourns me — and so this hard world needs excuses to be soft for a moment: albeit, it shouldn’t. I am blue because the world is red. And these blues have made me so many things, so many forms and postures, and I thank the red for bringing out that dying blue; yet, still, what good does a red world make, but only burnt toast and a house to ashes. I am grateful for the hurt I’ve experienced, yet I also wonder if all this was better, would I be better. Darkness can sometimes draw out the light which is hidden, yet midnight also brings wolves. I so wish it all would be yellow, be kind, rewind and tear off its crown of honking horns and booing crowds, to dance that ballet of gentle hearts. There is no need for anything otherwise.
I bow my head to that kind world out there, wherever you may be, those of you who are kind, who do care, who do not flip your slow moving neighbour off along the highway, who do not shove against the world taking its time. I bow my head to you who slow down, who smell the lovely roses, who make the grieving smile, and smile at the cashier having a bad day. You horrid, wretched world, please let me bow my head to you as I pass, and please never forget that even a giant must always be careful about the mice around its feet.
- Picasso is believed to have had tendencies of Autism: that hyper focus, solitary obsession, which demands no other way.
- Pablo Picasso, La tragédie, 1903
- Pablo Picasso, Le Vieux Gutariste, 1903
- Pablo Picasso, La soupe, 1902–03
- Pablo Picasso, La chambre bleue, 1901