Symbols, Signs, and Sparkly Things

Close-up photograph of finger with ring on it. The ring is shaped as a gold infinity symbol with small rainbow-colored gemstones.

Is there anything more awkward looking than a finger out of context? I’ve never once been able to photograph a ring without it looking like it’s on an alien’s noodly appendage.

Today I was wasting time in a store and decided to look at the tiny jewelry display. I don’t know why; I wasn’t looking for jewelry, I was ready to go home, I didn’t want to¬†buy jewelry, this store rarely had anything I’d want even if I did. But I looked anyway. And there it was: a rainbow infinity ring. Why? What bizarre twist of fate brought what was very definitely an autism advocacy ring to this store?

Of course it was my size. Ten dollars. A metal that wouldn’t make my finger break out.

I’ve been wrestling a little with what I want to do or say or think or try in regards to autism. My head is spinning with all of the controversy and plans and treatments and kindergarten options and everything else. I’m crushed between the realities of being an “autism mom” and being an “autistic mom”, between being “one of them” and “one of us,” between being an idealist and having to actually find a way to live a good life.

There’s no clear answers on any of this. Maybe that’s especially appropriate since we’re talking about neurodiversity.

I didn’t know until recently that some of my strongest personality quirks — the ones I’ve really tried to hide as an adult — were common symptoms of female autism. An example would be personification and the attribution of feelings to inanimate objects (which can lead to hoarding). Another example is what some call “magical thinking” — the belief that I can somehow affect physics through sheer force of will or something (or that what I wear impacts a sports game, etc.).

Another is the seeking of and accepting of signs. I, a professional highly-educated adult passing for “normal” (ish) in a “normal” world, rationally acknowledge that a piece of costume jewelry is just an accessory, and its sudden appearance before me is a neat coincidence at best. But I, the real me underneath, feel like The Universe Is Trying To Tell Me Something.

So I bought a $10 ring, and I’m wearing it, and it’s very pretty and I love it, because I love some people with autism, including but not limited to my firstborn and myself. And I’m obeying the impulse that came along with it to “take this as a sign” and actually begin writing down some of the things that I’ve just been ruminating about, or posting on Facebook where they ripple away in hours. Ergo: a blog. That I will probably abandon. But at least I’m trying.