& The Sky Did Not Fall

There is a good reason that my mom calls me “Chicken Little”. She still likes to recall to anyone with even a passing interest in her eldest daughter (me) how I once stated calmly to a visiting relative that I would highly prefer that I die in my sleep – entirely outside out of any semblance of an even tangentially-related context and much to the bemusement (and concern?) of the visiting relatives around the table. I maintain to this day that that was a perfectly rational thing to bring up and discuss at the breakfast table at the tender age of four. It was irrefutably more logical than a chicken fearing that the sky will fall, at any rate – sorry, Chicken Little.

The first thing that I did this morning was ask my beau if he had yet been made aware of the appropriate scientist-approved protocol to avoid nuclear fallout. He hadn’t and so he immediately received a detailed verbal brief borne of genuine concern for our future and necessitated by my having had a particularly vivid dream several hours prior. We hadn’t even had coffee yet.

At 26, I am afraid of the dark because who in their right mind wouldn’t be?! I am profoundly disabled without my contact lenses and I’m supposed to be at ease in a situation with zero visual stimulation?! Even without a varied and vivid imagination like mine, it is inconceivable to me that the inability to access a sense wouldn’t be inherently terrifying. Shout out to my rather significant sensory-motor symptoms!

To be clear, I do not exist in a constant state of imaginary, imperil-driven panic. I am well aware of the probabilities of an inordinate number of specific and terrible events occurring but I will be damned if I’m caught with my proverbial pants down because I haven’t at least played out the scenarios in my head. As awful as regularly daydreaming about navigating doomsday circumstances may sound, I thoroughly enjoy both the mental gymnastics of gamifying (most of) them and the satisfaction of my imagined self making it out alive. Come at me, Sharknado.

The scenarios that get my palms sweaty on a good day and precipitate hours-long panic attacks on a bad day don’t involve apex oceanic predators hitching rides on freak wind storms, they involve interacting with neurotypical people in everyday life.

What I am here to say today is that I have told my intelligent, kind, warm, ad infinitum “safe people” that I have self-diagnosed autism

& the sky did not fall.




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