It should come as no surprise to any regular reader of my work that I’m a devoted enthusiast of that quasi-magical beverage derived from the seeds of the berries of the Coffea plant. I was savouring my daily dose the other day, (cheap and black, like my sense of humour) when it occurred to me; coffee is a lot like autism.
See, there’s a lot of focus on the challenges of being autistic, which shouldn’t be ignored of course, but virtually never have I seen the flipside touched upon; the pleasure of it.
You know that joyous rush of energy and excitement when a good coffee kicks in? Well, that’s what autism feels like to me when I think of a new idea for a story, or find a new book or documentary on one of my special interests, or when said interests come up in conversation. It surges through my body like hot molten chocolate; I want to dance, to flap my hands, to run in circles, cos I’m just so happy. My brain lights up like a Christmas tree, and it feels freaking fantastic.
It’s this aspect of my autism, this glorious frothy energy that allows me to power through a day’s worth of work in half an hour, or focus intensely on a single task for hours on end. I’ve talked before about how useful these abilities are as far as work and contributing to society go, but I neglected to mention that, perhaps just as importantly, they’re a source of immense enjoyment.
This is why I don’t see myself as “suffering from” autism. Sure, just like coffee, it can sometimes leave me feeling overstimulated and anxious, but when I think about how much fun I get out of it, I consider it a blessing, not a curse.