Dance Wit Me

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A tenuous thread of fallible memory is all that connects the grown woman sitting here writing these words to that child: how do I begin to explain the path I took? So much time was spent simply drifting along on favourable currents. Nobody handed me a map with my route helpfully pencilled in, or planted signposts to guide my steps. Nobody taught me that there is an emptiness inside that you carry every day following the death of a loved one. That all the things you wish you could have said and done would continue to haunt you down the years.

That missing someone so much kicks the breath out of you and leaves you gasping for air through your sobs of anguish. I know now, as a parent, the strength of the drive to shield your child from the pain and hurt. To protect them from all the things that have hurt you.

Dance Wit Me Lyrics

But I also recognise the futility of that. Indeed, I understand how such experiences are a normal part of life and open us up to much greater empathy for others. While joy and love and sadness and, yes, even grief all form part of the richness of life, trauma has no compensations. So much wasted time, spent in fear and being made to feel that I was to blame.

The effects—the scars—run deep and heal slowly if at all. My mind was reshaped by it, leaving me much more susceptible to anxiety and depression, and less able to cope with some everyday situations. Recently I found myself in a church.

Dance Wit Me

In the crypt church there we sat in contemplation, and as I reflected on my life I found my tears were flowing. Not a religious moment, but certainly a spiritual one: I felt a release as if a weight had been lifted from me. When we moved on to the adjoining crypt with its ranks of votive candles I found myself in front of a board on which I noticed a single word: forgiveness.

Feeling a resonance within that moment, I decided to light a candle as a way of marking it. When talking it over later with my friend, they said something that seemed to fit: forgiveness is something we do for ourselves, not for the other person. I have other things I carry with me: the burden of bad choices. Times when I acted out of anger, frustration or selfishness. Hopefully in time I will be able to forgive myself for these too. The lessons of life hopefully teach us the knowledge and skills we need to survive and grow.

I have learned no hidden secrets, no mystical arcana. What I have learned is that making the world a better place most often comes down to small kindnesses rather than grand gestures, and an important part of that is being kind to yourself. Yonder is one of those words that I love for the memories and feelings it evokes. For me it has ties to childhood and family, to places heavy with significance, and to lost loved ones.

Looking back through my school reports recently prior to my autism assessment, I was reminded how seldom I used to speak to anybody. One of the earliest labels I acquired was shy , and my teachers in comment after comment expressed their belief that I could go far if only I would talk more. Or, indeed, at all in a lot of situations. The contrast between that and my assessment report which mentions my tendency to talk too much and go into too much detail is remarkable.

So what changed? Rather, it has been a combination of changes in my life, the most obvious of which has been my gender transition. My new-found freedom has enabled me to get out and about, spending time with friends. As my support base has grown, so has my confidence in my own ability.

I believed it, and so was trapped in that situation by my lack of self-esteem and self-belief.

Rufus featuring Chaka Khan

But even so, I am definitely better off than I was before getting out. Most of all, I can be myself. It took a long time to get here, but I found out who I am. For years I tried to be the person I believed those around me wanted me to be. When at last the chafing became unbearable, the woman who emerged from behind that mask into the light of day needed a little time to find her feet.

To find her own voice. And I have.

A voice that draws from all my experiences, all that brought me to where I am today. My voice. Many of you will know that I am on the board of Autistic Inclusive Meets, an organisation run by and for autistic and neurodivergent children and adults to provide services and support, as well as actively campaigning to improve lives. Commentary on human rights, conflict, teaching, life as an aspie, and whatever else strikes my fancy. And you?

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Not the trauma though, never that. Twenty five years ago I tried to kill myself. This is by way of an explanation. Older posts. From Obscurity thoughts and experiences of a young autistic woman.


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A Thousand Signs Autism, blended family and trying to keep together. Will Opines Commentary on human rights, conflict, teaching, life as an aspie, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Just said it. It was out there. He was waiting. The other guy, tall and pretty awkward, wearing an ill-fitting sweater and now sweaty and probably equally uncomfortable, looked at me blankly. This was a guest-heavy Sheryl Crow , Chuck D.

I had to say something. My five minutes was shrinking to four and change.

Dance With Me 3

Yeah, that one. It hung there for a second. It was the least flashy, just a slow-grindy, yearning gospel plea for peace in the bedroom and the world. That one had the laser keyboard thing and snaky "Purple Rain"-ish guitar.


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  • Legitimately funky. Lower-to-middle high-end Prince. Hard to tell, but there was a bit of a sly smile. The guy tried to give him a magazine and then the publicist was right there showing him out. And I have a crap memory. You get lost in his gaze, which never leaves your face. He's measuring you, sizing you up and poking to see if you're for real. You let the talk of the divine ride as the sweat accumulates under your shirt and you fear it's all slipping away into nothing.

    The high sign is only in my sight line, but he can surely sense it and see it too. Six and a half minutes, maybe seven and change. I pretend I have a follow-up and squeeze in the third out of nine questions I had unrealistically prepared. He bites and winds out a second response.


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