August 11, 2019

Writing clarifies my thoughts. Talking feels messier.

When I’m drafting a post, I often ramble a bit before stumbling on the main idea. Then I delete the first half of the draft, move the last sentence to the beginning, make some final adjustments, and post it. I usually continue to tweak it even after it’s live.

Now, just imagine what that sounds like when I try to do it verbally. It can seem like I’m jumping all over the place! But it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like one coherent idea – an idea that I’m refining, expanding, and improving.

It feels good to summarize my thoughts after untangling them, like taking a snapshot of a finished puzzle. When I do so, some people react with frustration: “You’ve already said that!” Others react with relief: “You lost me for a minute, but now it all makes sense.”

I never know which reaction I’ll get, but it feels worth the risk. That’s true for all communication, too – I may not always be understood, but I’ll keep trying.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.