Home is not the building you live in: Home is where you are understood.

Home is not the building you live in:
Home is where you are understood.

Recently my wife and I visited the historic city of York. While we were there we looked at the new home of Anne, a former member of our congregation at Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield, and had our lunch there. (That is not the house in the above picture, their home was neat and tidy.)

We chatted over a few things.

The Christian author and poet Christian Morgenstern said: “Home is not the building you live in: Home is where you were understood.” Anne said to me that she used to be upset at how people in our church did not understand me.

That is all well and good, and I did not mind. I didn’t understand me either. The psychologists I had seen when at school in the 1960s had not found the reason that teachers had referred me to them for being different. There was no diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome in those days, I had not heard of the Syndrome until I saw Rain Man.

So I was thought of as a little odd, but I was accepted. People were sometimes amazed at the leaps in logic I would use to come to a conclusion. On the other hand, I could never get the subtle signs that show other people’s emotions unless they say something like, “That makes me sad.” Less subtle signs like crying I understand, but I cannot differentiate between different kinds of crying. I can empathise, sometimes too much, once I know what I am dealing with.

As I did not understand myself, I still don’t really, not being able to get a diagnosis leaves doubts, so others not understanding me is not my problem, acceptance of who I am is a great starting point.

So I would like to be understood, and I would like society to understand autism too. I am finding the hashtag #actuallyautistic on Twitter really helpful. Acceptance is a step on the road to understanding, I will accept acceptance.

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