Autism and Expectations

Demand Avoidance and Katherine May

Skip to content

Autism and Expectations

De-Mystifying Autism

Demand Avoidance and Katherine May

I spend a lot of time trying to get one over on myself; sneaking around the back so I don’t work out what I’m up to until I’m too late. As soon as I feel like I have to do something, I run in the other direction.

The worst thing about it is that the ‘thing’ can be something I really want to do. I have books on my shelf that were on my university reading list twenty years ago, that I long to read but can’t because every time I reach for them something inside me rebels.

I should have known I would ruin Katherine May’s book by adding it to the list of books I should read. I thought I’d be safe, I was already halfway through and loving it. I was already deeply envious of her beautiful turn of phrase and entranced by the gentle unravelling of her own autism alongside her coming of age travels as she approached her fortieth birthday. How could deciding to write a review on it get in my way now? That would make me truly ridiculous.

I met Katherine last year when we worked together on Sonia Bouè’s project Neither Use Nor Ornament. She smiles a lot. She has one of those smiles that has an electricity to it – that’s probably the right word. She gave me good advice that I haven’t followed, and widened my sphere of autistic women.

Her book seemed all the more poignant because this year I turn forty and I share that desire for adventure. I told myself I should run a marathon, or a half one, or a 5k, or maybe go for a nice jog, or a walk – I could go for a nice walk – or I could just sit here with my nice cup of tea. Yes, that’s what I’ll do, that’ll work.

I feel I should be achieving things and telling the world about the beauty of The Electricity of all Living Things. I mean, just that title, isn’t that stunning? Isn’t it a twisted untangling of patterns and people and minds? Isn’t it beautiful and clean and light?

Instead I am cheating. I cannot finish that book because I feel that I should, but if I write this then maybe I can free myself from those shackles of expectation. Maybe I can know myself the way my husband knows me – the way he plays music in the background several times before mentioning the artist, because it doesn’t matter how much it suits my taste, if it’s too new and you tell me I should like it, I will pull away and lose out again.

I want to know where Katherine walks to, I want to follow her around the coast, both literal and metaphorical, I want to see who she finds as she pulls back the layers of a late autism diagnosis. I want to share her mind and her footsteps. I know what it is to get lost and take the wrong path, and to get frustrated with who I am, and I want to share in those moments. I want to know I am not alone.

Her new book, Wintering, is out now and I’ve already heard such amazing things about it. I won’t be telling myself it’s a “must read”, but I will be doing my utmost to find myself alone in a room with it, a large armchair, and perhaps a roaring wood-fire sometime soon. Just a gentle coincidence, a natural happenstance a sideways step towards being who I want to be.

Share this:

Like this:

Like Loading…

Published by Rhi

Writer, poet, playwright and blogger, and as of a few years ago, diagnosed as autistic too. Just one more label to add to the multitude. View all posts by Rhi

Posted on by RhiPosted in Ageing, NeurodiversityTagged Autism, book, demand avoidance, electricity, Katherine, living, may, pda, thing, wintering, women, writer.

Post navigation

Previous Previous post: Imperfectly AutisticNext Next post: I can’t

Popular Posts

Follow Autism and Expectations on WordPress.com

Follow Blog via Email

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 10,623 other followers

Follow

Follow me on Twitter

My Tweets

Follow me on Facebook

Follow me on Facebook

Categories

Categories Select Category Ageing (7) Autism Awareness (32) Belonging (21) childhood (28) Diagnosis (21) disability (15) Labels (22) Masking (21) Misunderstandings (41) Neurodiversity (34) Poetry and Plays (20) Positivity (41) Relationships (37) social exhaustion (30) support (53) work (11)

Translate

Search for:

Archives

Archives Select Month May 2020 April 2020 March 2020 February 2020 January 2020 November 2019 October 2019 September 2019 July 2019 June 2019 May 2019 April 2019 March 2019 February 2019 December 2018 November 2018 October 2018 September 2018 August 2018 July 2018 May 2018 April 2018 March 2018 February 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 Create a website or blog at WordPress.com Original Article

Tags
Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Close