Words are difficult.
For the past several months, I’ve been experiencing some kind of burnout with respect to asexuality-related activism. Writing has always been hard for me, but it’s become much more difficult for me in the past several months. I’ve felt very guilty about being unable to contribute to the asexual blogosphere, and I hope that this post will offer a partial explanation.
While I’ve had a lifelong difficulty with translating my thoughts into written or spoken words, it wasn’t until a few days that I was able to express details of this difficulty in words.
My thoughts are partly in words, partly in images/impressions/emotions and partly in concepts. I’m not sure how much of my thinking falls into each category–I just know that I have thoughts in each category. A thing that frequently happens in my translation of thoughts to words, and in the translation of words-I-understand to words-others-understand, is error. Often, it will happen that I’ll use words that don’t convey what I want to express, and I’ll know I’m using the wrong words, but I still can’t figure out the correct words. Several other autistic people online have informed me that they relate to this experience.
Up until I was able to describe this process a few days ago, I had thought of it as a moral failing in myself to be knowingly using the wrong words like that. Now that I know it’s part of my being autistic, I’m working on letting go of the very deeply entrenched feelings that making these communication errors constitutes lying or deliberate deception.
This difficulty in putting my thoughts into words for writing is why writing takes a very long time for me. (With speech, I often settle for the erroneous words or say “I don’t know.”) Due to autism, organizing my thoughts into writing involves many extra steps, even if it’s just writing in my private journal.
For now, my contribution to asexual discourse will be in the form of reading other asexual blogs to stay as current as I can. I am also going to focus on self-care more, so that I won’t get to a point of needing to totally abandon asexual discourse.