To many people I am a mystery. From an early age I was a mystery to my own parents. They tried very hard to solve me. As the detective, the chief witness, the prosecutor and the defense in my case, my mother searched for clues, she did her investigations, she questioned the suspects and she presented the evidence to the professionals. She asked for their help in solving the mystery of me.
I was a difficult case to crack. There were times when it seemed the mystery of me was close to being solved and times when professionals declared they had solved the mystery but in the end the evidence just didn’t fit together to form a satisfying conclusion. The poor fine motor and visual spatial skills were offset by the advanced verbal skills. My disinterest in my peers and my apparent inability to form relationships with them were contradicted by the warm, affectionate relationships I had with my family. My failure to pay attention to instructions seemed at odds with my great memory for certain details. My hand flapping, my failure to make eye contact, my talking to myself, made me seem as though I was off in another world but I could also express myself in a way that showed I was engaged in this world.
My mother was the chief witness in my case but there were other witnesses as well-my other family members, my peers, my teachers, my babysitters. Some of them had convicted me of various crimes in their minds- Of being rude, mean, lazy, indifferent or spoiled-those were the most obvious answers to the mystery of me. Yet my mom suspected that perhaps I was not guilty of those crimes by reason of disability. The type of disability remained a mystery.
I was sometimes called forth to testify in my own case and solve my own mystery but I remained a mystery even to myself and other people were a mystery to me. I could not tell you why I had no friends or why I flapped my hands. It was a mystery to me why other people did not flap their hands, how they managed to get through life without feeling the urge to do something that was so intrinsic to my being. It was a mystery to me how my peers seemed to make friends as easily and naturally as I flapped my hands, while I remained friendless. I did not know what I was doing wrong or how I could make things right.
Finally, when I was twelve a doctor seemed to solve the mystery of me. He came up with a diagnosis for me that made sense and matched up with the majority of my symptoms. It was a a little known or recognized diagnosis so it’s no wonder the mystery took so long to solve.
Yet the mystery of me had not been fully solved and my case was far from closed. It was a mystery what had caused my diagnosis and what could be done to help me, why some with my diagnosis fared better than me and others fared worse. Then there were the symptoms of mine that didn’t seem to be accounted for by my diagnosis. Perhaps another diagnosis would fit me better but then there were criteria for that diagnosis that didn’t seem to fit me.
The truth was my mom had given birth to a human being, not a diagnosis and not a mystery novel. My creation had involved the hands of fate, genetics and whatever other forces are out there. I had not been meticulously crafted in the mind of a writer with a clear introduction, plot line and conclusion. I’ve spent my whole life feeling like a square peg in a round hole and there’s no reason to believe any diagnosis could peg me perfectly. I’m a perfectly imperfect person who’s rough around the edges.
The mystery has continued throughout my life and continues to this day. When I started making friends it was a mystery to me why these people liked me so much because years of blame and low self esteem had made me suspect I was inherently unlikable. It was a mystery to me why I made such self destructive decisions. It’s a mystery to me why romantic relationships, employment and independence seem to come so naturally to other people but they just haven’t happened for me. It’s a mystery whether they ever will happen for me.
It’s a mystery why I can easily tell you the name of the dog of that kid who sat in front of me in seventh grade math class but I can’t remember the password I created yesterday. It’s a mystery why I take some things so literally and fail to pick up on things that others grasp naturally yet I’m also capable of thinking deeply and symbolically, of picking up on things that others fail to grasp.
It’s a mystery to many people why I flap, pace and jump, why I am the way I am. I can see the look of puzzlement on their faces. Sometimes they ask me about it but even though I’m good with words, it’s a mystery I don’t know how to explain to them.
Some mysteries are not meant to be unraveled or solved. They are meant to be accommodated, accepted and appreciated. I am such a mystery.