Adult Autism Hurts

An except from Twirling Naked in the Streets and No-One Noticed…


Childhood was fleeting. I’d entered the adult world, but try as I might to tread water the current continued to pull me under. The world around me was changing—swiftly.  Old friends were growing, beginning careers, and starting families while I floundered. Everyone had a direction, a dream, a focus—not me. I seemed to tumble where the wind tossed me, never truly recovering before the next gust sent me sailing again.

Yes—adult autism hurts.

It hurt when I raced to my car to make my next class, and lost my footing, tumbling down the side of a grassy hill, right after it rained, and rose covered with mud dripping from my hair. I was a real sight in my next class; that was memorable entrance.

It hurt when my high-heel got wedged in between the elevator shaft, and the elevator platform causing me to nearly break my leg and get hit in the head with the closing door on my way down to the floor. I worked the rest of that day with a limp, broken shoe, and torn stockings.

It hurt when I fell into the only hole in the street, the one everyone else slid over with ease. And when I slipped on the black ice and landed under the parked car.

It was painful when I took one step, and then tumbled end over end down half a flight of stairs and somehow ended up with both legs up on the wall. It is a good thing that townhouse was carpeted, it cushioned my fall.

I was not as lucky when I tripped over my own feet in front of my Brooklyn apartment, and flew down the concrete steps. The only thing that saved my face was the cheesecake it landed in.

Adult autism burned when I pulled my coffee mug out of the microwave, applying a little too much strength, and sent the scolding liquid raining down on top of me—or worse the times when my fingers failed to hold on to the mug altogether and it crashes into kitchen wall.

It hurt when I misjudged the weight of the door entering the deli up the street, and I crashed face-first into the glass, and when I pulled at the pizzeria door a little too hard sending myself sailing backwards.

It  hurt when my butt hit the floor and my groceries spilled out all over the sidewalk. Or, when I pulled at the cabinet door in my kitchen too hard smacking myself in the head with it.

It hurt last summer when I fell face first into a one foot kiddy pool on vacation—holding my son.

But most of all—as an adult with autism, it hurts to feel completely and utterly alone.


12 thoughts on “Adult Autism Hurts

  1. Yes, yes it does. I’ve done many of those things, including the pulling a door straight into my face multiple times. I can also add, it hurts when you don’t see the curb until after you’ve stepped off it, and felt your ankle snap and are lying on the ground. klutzes of the world unite and bring our ice packs!

    • Hi E,

      Ouch! Yes that has happened to me–often actually. I don’t know what it is about those curbs but I never seem to “see” them. Those (the curbs) and the darn holes…if there is one single hole in the sidewalk, dirt, anywhere, my foot will find it 100% of the time.

  2. I can juggle. Also, when I’m in shape, and not having a fibromyalgia related bout of fatigue, I can deftly scamper up and down narrow trails, on steep slopes, with a hiking group, dashing about to take photos while still keeping up. Oh, but then I can go home and crash into a door frame or give myself a nosebleed in the shower, while innocently attempting to wash my face.

    Trying to explain being so clumsy when I can be so coordinated at other times is very much like trying to explain being able, at one time, to get exercise, when I can also be unable to get up out of bed in the morning at other times.

    Contradictions, and the difficulties of dealing with others who don’t understand them, can also hurt. And that’s one of the reasons why, for example, really verbal Aspies like me can have such a hard time.

    • I definitely understand that! I spend much of my time dancing…no problems, until I was off the stage, then I was a mess. I never could understand the phenomena myself–until now.

      • That is an interesting point! I actually had a conversation with psychotherapist a few weeks ago, and he told me that when he worked with brain injury patients or stroke patients who lost their ability to speak, they were still able to sing–something about speaking and singing using two different parts of the brain. Makes me wonder about the dancing (music) and walking thing… lol

  3. Yes! While I don’t have a diagnosis, I have been berated – both by my parents and my husband – for being “a klutz”. I’ve told my husband that I don’t feel clumsy; it’s like I just can’t make my body avoid obstacles! I bang my hands and arms on the counters, doors, or anything that gets in my way not because I don’t see it, but because I just can’t make my hands move out of the way! I’ve also broken every toe on both feet at one point of my life or another for all of the times that I have kicked objects that were in my way without being able to avoid them.

    • Argh! Kicking things hurts, and I always have mysterious bruises on my arms, legs, hips…most of the time I don’t even remember running into things, but I have the bruises to prove it!

      Ya know what else always happens? I am always hitting someone in the head when I am talking, or turning and catching someone with my elbow. It hurts others too! LOL

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