• Understanding Autism from the Inside

    “Academics came easily to me. The rest of life—not so much.”
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Adult Autism Hurt

An except from Twirling Naked in the Streets and No-One Noticed…

Childhood was fleeting. I’d entered the adult world, but try as I might to tread water the current continued to pull me under. The world around me was changing—swiftly.  Old friends were growing, beginning careers, and starting families while I floundered. Everyone had a direction, a dream, a focus—not me. I seemed to tumble where the wind tossed me, never truly recovering before the next gust sent me sailing again.

Yes—adult autism hurts.

It hurt when I raced to my car to make my next class, and lost my footing, tumbling down the side of a grassy hill, right after it rained, and rose covered with mud dripping from my hair. I was a real sight in my next class; that was memorable entrance.

It hurt when my high-heel got wedged in between the elevator shaft, and the elevator platform causing me to nearly break my leg and get hit in the head with the closing door on my way down to the floor. I worked the rest of that day with a limp, broken shoe, and torn stockings.

It hurt when I fell into the only hole in the street, the one everyone else slid over with ease. And when I slipped on the black ice and landed under the parked car.

It was painful when I took one step, and then tumbled end over end down half a flight of stairs and somehow ended up with both legs up on the wall. It is a good thing that townhouse was carpeted, it cushioned my fall.

I was not as lucky when I tripped over my own feet in front of my Brooklyn apartment, and flew down the concrete steps. The only thing that saved my face was the cheesecake it landed in.

Adult autism burned when I pulled my coffee mug out of the microwave, applying a little too much strength, and sent the scolding liquid raining down on top of me—or worse the times when my fingers failed to hold on to the mug altogether and it crashes into kitchen wall.

It hurt when I misjudged the weight of the door entering the deli up the street, and I crashed face-first into the glass, and when I pulled at the pizzeria door a little too hard sending myself sailing backwards.

It  hurt when my butt hit the floor and my groceries spilled out all over the sidewalk. Or, when I pulled at the cabinet door in my kitchen too hard smacking myself in the head with it.

It hurt last summer when I fell face first into a one foot kiddy pool on vacation—holding my son.

But most of all—as an adult with autism, it hurts to feel completely and utterly alone.

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.