“I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.”
― Walt Whitman,
Almost all my friends are autistic: this wasn’t deliberate choosing on my part. No, there’s a deeper reason. My friends are the people I feel most comfortable around, the ones with whom I don’t have to hide or tone down aspects of myself.
Equally important, we get each other. We rarely have to ask each other to explain anything because we just know, our experiences are similar enough for us to easily relate.
It’s empathy: it’s that resonance between two people where the thoughts and feelings of one induce a resonant echo in the other. We are on the same wavelength, reading the same page, dancing to the same tune.
It makes for very relaxed, comfortable communication. We can focus on the what, and the how and why are self-evident.
Most of my interactions with people while I was growing up were characterised by the amount of effort it took to interpret what they meant–to discover the implied context, to try to understand alien experiences.
When you’re neurodivergent, when your mind functions differently, that happens most of the time. You really notice those few people who are similar to you, who dance to your beat. They’re kind of family: neuro-siblings as my beloved calls them. Related not by blood but by the mind.
The people with whom this empathic connection exists, the people I understand and who understand me, are my people. My tribe. We have the same song in our minds, we dance to the same tune. We are in step. We resonate.