I stepped into 2017 with the same unsettling feeling as I crossed the swing bridge on the Six Foot Track, except I was more excited to cross the bridge and even though it felt as though it could topple any moment, I was confident that it was strong enough to hold me, I can’t say that with the same confidence about 2017.
I started writing this blog about a year ago to state my case for moving to Australia and hoping for some advice. Over this year, I’ve read and followed several blogs and articles on autism and there are obviously some common issues that repeatedly turn up in discussions but I have rarely come across an acknowledgement that the external environment, our very living habitat, our country of birth or residence could be the very thing that is hurting our well-being! In this respect, I feel I have more commonalities with people who enjoy solitary walks in nature than people on the spectrum. You have no idea how envious I am of people who were born in countries with several states and capitals, urban and rural, cities and suburbs, wilderness trails that stretch for days, weeks and months (and I don’t need your reminder to think of those who are less fortunate). I was crying for help (and by that, I don’t mean having people around me who think they know what is best for me by society’s standards and try to dictate what I should do). I should have known better. The reason I haven’t really experienced a major episode of depressive meltdown despite my prolonged periods of depressive moods and lack of mental health support is because from the moment I chose to live on my own in a state of isolation, I have made myself inconsolable, I knew that in the event of a nervous breakdown, there is no one I could depend on except myself. There were some days I could have just rot myself to death at home but I have to drag myself out from the bed because I knew if I want to live, however reluctantly, I have to pull myself up eventually because there is literally no one else close by I can rely on to tell me, “You got to get up.” Besides, I’ve got a cat to support and feed. If you want to be strong, learn to live alone. It is what I’ve been doing. It is also not simply a case of no one being there to care or support, I didn’t want to raise any alarm or arouse any anxiety or worry. I didn’t want to burden others with my problems as much as I didn’t want to be burdened by others’ anxieties and worries.
I’ve said on my ‘About’ page that we should treat each other with kindness for everyone is fighting their own battle. This is true. One thing I learnt in 2016 is that the more people I tried to reach out, the less deserving I think of myself. If 2016 was a year I tried to reach out, 2017 is going to be the year I pull myself up and take control of my own destiny. I’m not sure if I could be counted on but knowing that there is no one else to count on, at least, I’m at the helm.
Ultimately, this blog exists because of a dream and I’ve promised myself that this blog is going to continue until I’ve found my Walden. What is going to be different? I’m no longer going to care how many reads my blog gets. In fact, please don’t read it if your life is tough enough and you don’t have the stomach for dark and negative thoughts, which I will not apologise for. For those few unfortunate followers of mine, this is also an invitation for you to unfollow my blog if it pleases you. I may sometimes talk about autism but if you are looking for advice or a blog that will give you an insight about autism and the positives, you are at the wrong place, there are far better, educative, articulate and positive blogs for this purpose. I may write about hiking, that is, if I managed to convince myself to get out of the house but again, there are far better, more adventurous, vividly written and photogenic blogs for this purpose. In short, I cannot think of a reason why anyone would want to read my blog. Don’t do it out of kindness. I know I’ve said be kind to each other but let’s face it, the truth is when we are kind to others, we are being cruel to ourselves (especially when you have more friends than you can handle). I would say be kind to yourself first and foremost, but be respectful of others. And a confession, I don’t read what I’ve written after I published it. This is one of the reasons why I’ve never kept a hand written diary, I would tear up every single page I’ve written.
To anyone who has ever read my blog, leave a comment or a word of encouragement, thank you for your kindness. As we usher in the new year, I thought it would be fitting to read what Henry Thoreau wrote in his journal when he was 34:
“Here I am thirty-four years old, and yet my life is almost wholly unexpanded. How much is in the germ! There is such an interval between my ideal and the actual in many instances that I may say I am unborn. There is the instinct for society, but no society. Life is not long enough for one success. Within another thirty-four years that miracle can hardly take place. Methinks my seasons revolve more slowly than those of nature; I am differently timed. I am contented. This rapid revolution of nature, even of nature in me, why should it hurry me? Let a man step to the music which he hears, however measured. Is it important that I should mature as soon as an apple tree? aye, as soon as an oak? May not my life in nature, in proportion as it is supernatural, be only the spring and infantile portion of my spirit’s life? Shall I turn my spring to summer? May I not sacrifice a hasty and petty completeness here to entireness there? If my curve is large, why bend it to a smaller circle? My spirit’s unfolding observes not the pace of nature. The society which I was made for is not here. Shall I, then, substitute for the anticipation of that this poor reality? I would [rather] have the unmixed expectation of that than this reality. If life is a waiting, so be it. I will not be shipwrecked on a vain reality.”
—July 19, 1851