Content Warnings: Neurodivergent (autistic) perspective, implied ableism
That time of the year again. Your time. That cushy little month where the winter days begin to
fade and the sun comes poking out, when everyone gathers together to share their
experiences with you. They tell stories about how you brought them together, completed that
part of them they hadn’t even realised was empty. Stories and memories of that precious
significant person, something straight out of the pages of a romance novel.
And yet, when I look at you, I can’t even begin to understand you.
When others talk about you, they describe you seemingly to a tee. You’re this perfect little
cupid, a matchmaker, going around all happy and shooting heart arrows into people, which I
could never get. Arrows hurt, right? But for me, you’re something else. You don’t have any
clear shape to me, just a tangled mess with no rhyme or reason for being. Sometimes in life,
I think I get a handle on you, but then you shift and you alter and I’m right back to square
Paying you heed and trying to understand you is endlessly frustrating, and I used to like
‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ so I don’t say that lightly. You’re never direct or to the point, you’re
always so vague and never clear. It’s all about the little things with you; the way somebody
looks at me or their tone around me or how their body language is around me. It’s about text
messages and jokes I don’t get and all these little intricacies that, for whatever reason, you
just expect me to know. I never get it, but rather than explain it to me, you leave me to try
and figure it out for myself. I try to, but then before I know it, you’re gone.
I’ve seen you a few times over the years, and each time you looked different, but no less
strange. The first few times I’d seen you, I didn’t even really know what you were supposed
to be. That was okay, though, I figured I’d learn better as I grew older. That never really
happened, though not through lack of trying. I had understood others like you; the ones who
helped me grow and make connections with friends, or the ones that helped me spend more
time with family. And yet, despite all of that, you’re still an unknown to me.
The last time I saw you, for a moment I thought maybe we were finally coming to some sort
of understanding. You made things easy enough, kept things flowing well, and it was all
starting to look up. That’s when you decided to take on a shape, but not the one I figured
you’d finally take. You weren’t some kind little cherub who was going to seal the deal and
finally let me in on this experience that seemed to come so easily to everyone else. You
were something else; something colder. The tangled mass of your form grew malicious and
prickly, you took my hand and gripped it so hard it hurt.
I could hear you. You were telling me that I needed to change in order to receive this grand
gift of yours. I needed to be less of myself, I needed to make myself understand all the little
things that you’d toss my way. I had to not be some “old man who couldn’t have fun”, to take
jokes that didn’t feel like jokes, to take charge and instigate every conversation. To be less of
myself, and more of what this person you’d found wanted me to be.
That was then, and this is now. I still sometimes think about that, wondering why you would
do that to me. The first time I ever felt like such a central part of who I am was burdening
people around me, all in pursuit of you. This impossible thing called Love. Maybe one day I’ll
understand you, and in turn one day you’ll understand me. But for now, just leave me be.
Content to enjoy the company of friends and family, watch my silly little shows and enjoy my
favourite little things in life. Let me love myself first, fully and truly, before you come back to
me and bring me toward someone else.