It all started with a broken pen, a dirty piece of paper, a scribbled letter and an eager mind.
I sat at the edge of my bed trying to collect my mind, I kept shaking with anxiety. It was partly dark, a candle was lit and placed next to my bed. I tried to speak but I couldn’t — my hands itched. I scratched them but they kept itching even more. I felt my last breath of consciousness escaping. I reached for a broken pen, I breathed on it and it glistened, reflecting the light of the lit candle. I turned around searching for a piece of paper and right under my single bed I found a dirty piece of paper. I breathed on it but a sensational air of freshness filled my nostrils as if I was baptised by the paper. It breathed fresh air into my nostrils and nourished my soul. A faint voice appeared in the dark corner of my four cornered flat, it said “Dot down”.
I closed my eyes and recalled the day when my heart was torn apart, when I first was broken. I had a darkness I couldn’t control. It followed me around like my very own shadow. It was in 3rd grade when I came to a realisation that I was different, I was autistic. I had special needs and I needed special help. Since then I’ve been forced to live a normal life, “just like other kids”. I too wanted to be like them, but reality haunts us all, it haunted me too. I sometimes felt like doing things, but my mind won’t correspond.
I scribbled the first letter “I” and the boldness of it lifted my soul. I knew that I was about to talk about a mountain shifter, a girl in the dark waiting to be rescued. I knew that I was about to write about Everloved Mcimbi, the darkest autistic girl who lived in a prison cell called home. A home where she was convinced that she was normal when she wasn’t. A girl who held on to a not-too-tight string called hope, she held on to faith but that let her down.
I dotted down every feeling I had and placed a bold full stop at the end. The candle double flinched, everything started to make sense. I started sweating and feeling a heavy burden being lifted from my shoulders, I felt the chains of self-sympathy, anxiety and depression breaking. I never knew that a broken pen and a dirty paper would set one free from their dark prison cell. Ink goes a long way, don’t waste it. Write your story and leave it behind.
Tell us: Do you think people with autism are ‘different’?