I’m inadequate. Yep, I know it’s hard to credit but I am.
And I’m very pleased about that.
I spent years working in a complex and intellectually demanding profession, all the time wondering when they would find me out, call my bluff, see through the thin veneer of certainty that I learnt to portray. I knew that one day my woeful, my chasm deep ignorance would surface and make itself known.
But I have an ego – let’s call him Tarquin because I see him as a primped up, know all dandy who stalks my subconscious telling me I’m better than the lot of you and I shouldn’t waste my breath trying to please or appease you. And Tarquin, if he had his way, would make me swan into meetings or social gatherings, holding forth like a latter day polymath. He knew I knew everything there was to know and that all I didn’t know wasn’t worth knowing. But Tarquin, like many a grumbling former flatmate, is constantly disappointed with me. Because I learnt not to listen to his chipping and chiselling.
I have a lot to learn. That’s the truth. So much that as I grow older it feels like I’ve pulled myself ashore on a little island of knowledge, out of an ocean of ignorance. And having regained my breath I look around and realise my little bit of dry land, my certain knowledge is tiny. Out there, across those turbulent murky seas I can see other little islands, other patches of understanding. I can vaguely make them out but, as yet I haven’t found the bridges, the causeways to link me to them. So I have to work, to build, to remain open minded. And every time I create a wonky sandbar and go across, all I see is yet another dangerous whirlpool and distant safety.
And this state of being – of grace in many ways, because now I wouldn’t have it any different – provides me with many new horizons (have I beaten this metaphor to death, do you think?).
One such has been to learn a little about autism, living with it. Up until very recently, autism happened to others, or was portrayed on TV and in films. Then I started at a youth club where one of the groups included youngsters with autism and Asperger’s. And shortly after, through the #1000 voices initiative I met Autism Mom.
One comment led to another and before you can say ‘spectrum’ we met in the flesh, when she and her family travelled to London on a long planned vacation. And she asked me to write a guest blog about what I learnt. So I did.
And it’s here.