Something that happens after a midlife autism diagnosis is that you spend years discovering ways in which it impairs you, or at least ways in which you can adjust your life to mitigate its more problematic aspects. In recent months, I discovered that all of the dark, heavy, pedestal-style furniture I had was creating a kind of weighty sensory environment for me at home. Last month, I got to perform something of a reboot, in which almost everything in my living room got replaced by light, natural wood tones mostly from IKEA. The difference is profound, although I admit that now that cat tree in the back corner grates at me with all of its dark brown presence.
In my quest to simplify or reduce aggravations, because when life is a constant autistic fight between resources and demands, every little bit you can shave off makes a difference, I might even be abandoning Kobo and returning to Kindle, despite all the reservations we of course should have about Amazon. Ever since Rakuten, the owner of Kobo, sold off Overdrive, library loans increasingly have become problematic, while over on Kindle there appear to not be any similar issues. I’m also increasingly disenchanted by the poor build quality of Kobo; my Clara HD feels like a child’s toy in comparison.
With the most recent versions of the Paperwhite adding warmer lights and even a dark mode, my Kobo increasingly has less going for it that can’t be found on a Kindle, other than simply not being from Amazon. I just don’t think that’s enough of an argument against it anymore, just like it’s easier and cheaper for me to buy some bulk grocery items on Amazon because they take EBT online and give me free delivery through Prime, which itself costs me less thanks to being a SNAP recipient.
These sorts of simplifications don’t necessarily come to you immediately after a diagnosis. It’s taken me five years to realize some things, and there’s no way that process is anywhere near over. The other thing you learn is to work your way out of shame, whether an ableist shame you’ve soaked up from the surrounding culture or even the shame of choosing as a consumer what will make your own life better, or easier.