Autism is My Passport
By Antonia Lidder
I love someone with autism and that has been my passport to a new and freer life.
Pre-him I worried about my career, about how I was viewed and received by others, about life in general. I worried lots, including about impressing people that I neither liked nor respected.
Then I met, and fell deeply in love with, a beautiful boy. He happened to have autism.
Beautiful Boy showed me beautiful things – the kindness of (some) strangers, the passion of the Special Needs community, the tender power of the tribe. Beautiful Boy gave me a passport to a new life. The ever-elongating career ladder snapped in two, the power of the hard-nosed, hard-humoured, hard-hearted disappeared in a puff of pink smoke. My ‘worries’ left me, so okay, they were replaced by real worries. But, to quote Dolly Parton, if you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain.
Best of all, when Beautiful Boy gave me The Passport, he gave me some travel accessories to help me on our journey. He packed me a case with a pair of new, clearer eyes, that focused more acutely on the magic in people, animals, stones, water, the cinema, the iPad, trees, running, kissing, roller-coasters, words and wind. His case had a new, thinner skin for me, one that was sensitised to the infinite textures of the world, from sand to carpet to stone, from jelly to custard to cornflakes, each causing a different thrill or shrill on my fingers and tongue and toes. The case also lent me the nose of a wolf, the ears of a bat and, best of all, the big, fierce heart of a bear. The new heart has a much greater capacity than my regular, old human one; yes, part of that capacity is for pain, but yes, it’s also for surging and singing and screaming and soaring with all the love, beauty and goodness of Beautiful Boy and the world he has shown me. Because of him, because of his autism, I see.