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Why I Write About Autism, Even When It's Hard

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I had a group of about 20 boys over to my backyard today for a sweet time of fellowship and fun. They come over about once a month, and I have really enjoyed observing their cute personalities and funny little quirks. They are all adorable and hilarious and messy and real.

I listen to their sweet little unchanged voices laugh and yell and scream in delight. But today, I heard a different voice. I heard one piercing scream above the rest.

I turned around and saw that one boy had backed himself into a corner and was sobbing uncontrollably. It seemed he didn’t like the silly prank games the boys were playing on each other, nor the multitude of hands fighting over all the snack bags, nor the chaos and yelling and grabbing and running.

He found the corner of my porch a safe place and wedged himself in and sobbed, asking to go home. His beautiful brown eyes were heartbroken, filled with giant tears. My heart just couldn’t take it. Holding back my own heaving sobs, I swept him up and ushered him inside to the quiet.

You see, in that moment, I recognized his struggle. I knew why he found the afternoon overwhelming. I knew what happened to his body and his nervous system and I knew why everything snowballed into an avalanche of hurt and frustration and anger and despair.

I write for him.

It is certainly not the coolest thing in the world to reveal your struggles for all to see. Being vulnerable is embarrassing and so humbling.

Yet I just have to wonder, if we were all a little more authentic about things — if we were more real with each other and presented a less Instagram-perfect life, perhaps we would be able to see each other for who we really are — flawed and raw and moody and messy — yet filled with great promise and hope and amazing potential.

And in our newfound authenticity, perhaps if we slow down and take a moment, we could recognize a struggling little fella and all of his needs and our community would embrace him as their own.

Little man, I write for you.

Originally published: June 26, 2018
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