that feeling of discovery
We have all had them, those “aha” moments when ideas and details come together to form a complete idea and we finally “get it”.
I had the pleasure of spending some time with a fellow rock and fossil collector one recent afternoon. We explored and collected specimens in a local area that is well known and were able to share finds, thoughts and ideas. We had met on the internet and shared finds, thoughts, and ideas in a local collectors group for over a year, and agreed to meet “in person” for the first time to hunt specimens.
I have found this is a great way to make connections and to “find my own kind”, slowly getting to know somebody through internet interactions, messaging and emails… shared ideas, through posts in interest groups, using photos, asking questions of each other.
The transition to “real life” interaction was painless and without as much anxiety as I would have experienced in a group activity among strangers. The meeting was well planned with location, time, and expectations we both had well defined ahead of time. My slower processing speeds work better online and of course allows for better understanding.
As my companion and I walked along, sorted finds, and talked, he would ask me a question, and after I responded would be silent for a few moments, then would say
“so that’s why”.
I was charmed. I am sure I was seeing autistic thought processes in fully engaged mode.
The use of that word “why” seems to me to be a dead giveaway.
Interestingly enough, we shared similar family histories and early life experiences, had similar outlooks on life, and similar views. Like seems to be drawn to like. Life struggles he described sounded familiar to me. It stands to reason that over time some part of our selves find others we identify with, understand, and who seem to be ‘coming from the same place’.
In a world full of billions of humans I find that this seems to happen over and over. Amazing!
The “why ” questions we both asked each other (and gave answers to) were basic information sharing, about our rock and fossil collecting specimens, about geology and about others we both knew from the group, as well as about each other’s life histories and situations.
Where so many people tend to hide their struggles, many autistic people are open, frank, and direct about almost everything.
“Why ” seems to be what many of us (autistic folks) base our interactions on. We need details surrounding almost everything in order to understand.
I loved hearing my companion say “so that’s why”.
It was great feedback that meant I was with somebody who understood me and who I was able to understand as well. Finding somebody like that in today’s world is like finding a ruby in the sand on the beach. Rare and valuable, and infrequent.
Listen to how others around you use the magic word “why”. My friend does not identify as being autistic (yet).