Which is a weird thing to say, I guess. How it feels for me is not the same as how it feels for others. We’re all alike and all different. That doesn’t mean we can’t connect to each other, otherwise the support-group I go to for women with autism wouldn’t exist. So it’s more what it feels like for me.
As with all things, the best way I can explain this is by way of fiction. I’ve long since suspected that I use fiction, either visual or written down, as a way to find out how to deal with people. But we all have our own ways of getting to know the rules that hold our society together, and I do that with books.
If there is one book, or series in this case, that I would use to explain how, for me, being autistic feels, it would be J.D. Robb’s in Death-series. Let me make this clear: I am not implying even in the slightest that Lieutenant Eve Dallas of the New York City Police and Security Department is on the spectrum. But I do recognise a lot of myself in her.
- The need for rules, and order.
- The trying to figure out what the rules are for social relationships, romantic and friendship. Eve tries to compile lists of Friendship Rules and Marriage Rules, wondering what to do when, and suspecting somewhere they’re all written down and they just forgot to give her a copy of them.
- Having trouble with idioms and figures of speech (though Eve, though being a native English speaker, not knowing a lot of expressions always makes me wonder how much people talked with her when she was growing up. Not a lot probably, given her childhood.) and taking them literally and/or questioning where the hell they came from.
- The feeling that you can’t connect on some level with the people around you, though Eve is getting better at that. For me, I am not so sure.
I’ve read a load of the series over the past years, and I think this, the seeing myself in Eve, is why I keep coming back, more than the detective-element or her relationship with Roarke, splendid as that may be, or the dancing around on the legal/illegal line that she ends up doing once Roarke starts getting involved in helping her do her job. It’s that we’re alike in enough ways that makes her almost feel like a friend. Or a mirror.