I was going through some of my old writings the other day and I discovered a few common themes woven throughout it all. For context, these notebooks were post-college and pre-mother: mainly 2003-2005.
I wrote a lot during those 2 years and I didn’t have the time or motivation to read them thoroughly, but I skimmed through enough to catch several things.
My story ideas from that time period all largely centered around the idea of the main character being different and having to blend with “normal” people. I didn’t write as much directly about being different, but my indirect writing about it is pretty clear and there are some direct things as well.
Many of my entries contain confusion surrounding other people who passed through our lives during that time. Housemate situations gone sour, co-workers who wouldn’t say what they meant, and just a general bewilderment about why other people responded to me in the way they did.
The third theme I noticed was fatigue: I was always tired after being around people. I wrote about it quite extensively. I’d write about how relieved I was that I didn’t have to go anywhere or see anyone. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy seeing people, but it took (and still takes) a lot out of me to be around most others.
Lastly, my writing then was filled with my old interests. My research, my thoughts about what I’d read, my wonderings about why everyone else wasn’t researching those things too. I copied out excerpts from books by hand so that I wouldn’t forget the important parts and could easily find them again in my notebook. I still do that. It’s just harder to see my interests in my current writing because it’s so much a part of myself that I don’t always recognize them as interests until I’m looking back from a bit of time distance.
I don’t remember why I didn’t go through these notebooks when preparing for my evaluation last year. I went through my college notebooks and those were much more difficult to read because it was a darker time in my life.
But I’m glad I went through them this week. If nothing else, I see that I’m still the same person and that I didn’t make any of it up. It’s all right there in black and white (and other colors because I like making my notebooks colorful with a variety of pens).
I knew I was different. I wrote about it. On some level I knew I had to fit in too, which was always a difficult thing for me in multiple ways.
I’m still me. I was Autistic then and I’m Autistic now.