Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Of My Tribe

I had an interesting encounter yesterday.  I was introduced by a coworker to a younger man with Tourette's.  His is much more "visible" than my own.  After growing up "the only one" in my world, meeting others "of my tribe" still feels unique and a bit surreal.  

My tribe?  It may be a strange way of describing it, but it fits my thoughts quite accurately.  These are not friends or relatives.  I haven't met most of them.  We are "scattered to the four winds".  Meeting them is like meeting no other.   We know things, things about each other.  There's a shared history of strangers that's hard to describe.  Mere allusion to experiences that define our common identity yields knowing glances and an unmistakable sense of relief in not being "the only one" if only for the span of a brief encounter.  

In these brief moments, those of us on the Autistic Spectrum and with "spectrum related disorders" experience what it feels like to be the rest of you all the time.  We feel that sense of connected oneness with others that requires no effort or though.  Like the air around us, it's just there.

They are out there.  Beyond distance, irrelevant of introduction, they know me.  I know them.  Though scattered, we are one people.  They are "of my tribe".

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