This is no good. I have breakfast at John Street Cafe twice a week: Sunday, when it’s busy and loud, and Wednesday, when it‘s the opposite. My regular table, my regular meal. Yet I am having a strong anxiety reaction to something, possibly just the fact of being out.
There still is a part of me that believes that what Whiterose showed to Angela was proof that while their world is real to them, it’s only a fiction to us (something Elliot instinctively understands, hence us being his “friend”), and fictions can be rewritten to be better—something which would appeal to Angela given her mother’s death at the hands of Evil Corp. It’s going to be particularly disjointed for a show to spend so much time playing with the narrative nature of reality (Elliot talking to us, the severe framing of shots, the sit-com dream, an entire sequence shot from above an office set with the ceilings removed) only to not have it mean something to the narrative itself. I’ve suggested before, in a post no longer online, that perhaps it’s simply meant to be a kind of Brechtian alienation, and I’m still willing to accept that, but if Mr. Robot’s intention had been to admit overtly its fictionality, I do wonder whether they’d stick to that plan given the end of the second season of The OA, although that would be a pretty severe thing to have to change. It’s also possible, given the fiction of my first forty-six years of life, that I’m simply as drawn to the idea of being able to force a rewrite as was Angela herself.
Meru joins the author as the daily fatigue sets in, accompanied by the weight of a midlife birthmonth general depression.
The psychodiagnostic evaluation paperwork which three years ago established me as autistic was given to me in mid-November, but was dated just one day before my forty-seventh birthday. It’s taken me nearly three years of both acceptance and struggle to find that I am a heretic: were I able to wave a magic wand over the past fifty years and erase my undiagnosed autism, I would do it. Arguably, many other things would be erased along with it, including Portland Communique, Can’t Stop the Serenity, and perhaps even The Belmont Goats (at least as we know it). Then again, each and every one of these things left me with nothing. I’m a middle-aged man who not only is not successful, but in fact is—by any measure relevant to someone about to turn fifty—a failure. Were I to erase the autism I didn’t know I had from my life story, who would I be? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be this.
An accidental photographic misfire expresses the long, unshakeable, autumnal shadow of a major midlife birthmonth.
Self-portrait of the author on a Sunday in his apartment with all the blinds drawn, not yet even one full week into his fiftieth birthday month.
Meanwhile, I have just sent messages to both the general surgeon and my primary care physician putting my lymph biopsy surgery on indefinite hold, because two surgeries in a six-month period (my bladder surgery was in July) just isn’t an idea I can handle right now.
While I recognize almost everything in this Pete Wharmby thread about late-diagnosis, masking, and identity–I’ve written, in fact, about diagnosis as retcon—it ended up being the last straw for me in terms of autism Twitter. Today I shunted my autism follows into a list and unfollowed them all.
I’ve written before about feeling like a failure and a fuckup both before and after diagnosis, and in the end today I accepted the fact that following even a selected portion of autism Twitter doesn’t make me feel better. It makes me feel worse, because all of these people I follow are out there being, in one sense or another, to one degree or another, successful. Or, at least, let’s be honest, financially self-sufficient. I fully admit I almost didn’t share the Wharmby thing anywhere out of the sheer petty disdain for him not only having a career but having not only an actively-supported Patreon but Buy Me a Coffee page, too.
Meanwhile, here I am, still incapable of offering anything to the world of sufficient value to support myself.
(While I was at it, I unfollowed reporters and the like, too, and also shunted them off onto a list. I’ll only look at either of these lists if i feel I have the wherewithal to be made to feel depressed about everything around me, and most things in me.)
Wharmby is right that the late-diagnosed autistic can feel as if their entire life up until that point was a kind of fiction, if not an outright lie, but what about when the late-diagnosed autistic looks at their life after that point and wonders why all those other autistic people nonetheless seem to have successful and meaningful lives.
No more “autism community” for me, then. It’s just not making my life as an autistic person any better.
Small but major moment this evening, as after Meru casually sniffed the tail of the passing Willow, Willow casually sniffed the tail of the passing Meru. I suspect the fixed meal times that came with the end of free-feeding is making Willow feel a bit more commonality?
Every rare now and then I wonder what my late father would have said or thought about my autism diagnosis, which didn’t come until almost a decade after he was gone. I don’t think it would have been like the psychological pummeling I took overnight from the dream in which he sprung a major surprise on me, I complained that he can’t do that to me because I need advance notice in order to adjust, he angrily said I really needed help with this autism thing, and I said maybe the help I needed was for people to just listen to me when I explain how to help. But who knows. Either way, I woke this morning feeling pretty roundly defeated.
Self-portrait of the author reflected in what in retrospect might have been some sort of scrying mirror at John Street Cafe in St. Johns, Oregon.
Meru and Willow, the women of the house, who at the most tolerate each other. Both were adopted from the Oregon Humane Society.
If two-hundred or so people were to buy me a coffee for my 50th birthday, I could take great iPhone 11 Pro photos like the rest of you instead of fighting the single-camera XR I cant afford to upgrade because my Sprint lease has another year on it.