& 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.