Spirituality Won’t Cure the Autism

A gorgeous, God-provided Friday sunset in Tanzania, photo taken by me

Ever since my childhood I’ve been obsessed with the supernatural. Spirituality, religion, astrology, magic—if it was difficult to explain or measure, I was geeked. With that interest, it was only natural that when it felt like my life was falling apart (as well as when my life was actually falling apart) I would turn to a Higher Power to help me get some control back.

Despite all my of previous religious leanings, plus my current spiritual leanings, nothing seems to make the effects of this new-found autism self-diagnosis go away. While I only recently, meaning yesterday, found out that there’s a 99.9999% probability that I’m on the autism spectrum, I didn’t just get on the spectrum. I’ve been on it my whole life.

Because I have the ability to look back on said life and see all the ways not knowing about this autism likely fucked me over in multiple ways, I can see how all of the prayers, the meditations, the retreats, the new moon salt baths, the ayahuasca ceremonies, the shroom trips, etc. did absolutely nothing to help me overcome the existential dread, social anxiety, random bouts of depression, communication blow-ups, etc.

I’m not saying that spirituality and religion don’t have a place in a neurodivergent’s life, because I love me some God. What I am saying is that, instead of approaching spirituality from a place of, “ oh my god, there’s something wrong with me, please help me fix me 😩,” I can now approach it from a different vantage point.

I have no idea what that vantage point is right now, but I think it’s probably somewhere along the lines of accepting this self-diagnosis, educating myself about myself and everything that seems to stem from the autism, e.g. masking, isolating when overwhelmed, emotional outbursts, lack of boundaries, etc., educating those around me, advocating for myself and others like me (to the best of my abilities), and using spirituality to give me the courage and confidence to stand firmly in my truth and the truth about who I am.

Another important piece is, now that I know the why of the reason I am the way I am, I can better manage and cope with the uncontrollable stressors of life, and have an unmovable rock to lean on through the storms that this world can stir up.

All in all, the gist of this post is this: spirituality is amazing. My relationship with those in the other realms is unmatched, and no I cannot see dead people. That would nice though. I do not, however, believe that it can cure autism. To be honest, I feel like autism is a gift in a way. It’s made me extremely resilient, open to other ways of thinking and being, curious, and able to self-soothe if need be. I’ve been able to explore so many different avenues to better understand myself, that I can understand others better, too.

This journey is about to get interesting, friends!

♾ Aminah Jamil

A Little Less Square, a Little More Round

Photo Credit to Erez Attias

Lately I’ve been feeling rather soft, like some kind of pillow full of fluffy stuff. Maybe more like the fluffy stuff than the pillow itself. That softness has become the core, the foundation, the essence of who I am. Or have I become the softness?

Have you ever shifted into a consistent state of being, a state of being different from states of being you existed in for the majority of your life, but one that was absolutely and undeniably familiar? You never want to leave this place, because you know if you do you might get swallowed up whole by an unforgiving world that is more unrecognizable the more you try to understand it?

Somewhere along the way of quitting my job, moving to Arizona, realizing I no longer want to work in tech, making the decision to become a life coach and writer, leaving Arizona and moving to Albania, settling into a life very different from the one I thought I’d be living around this time, deciding to move to Africa to join my family, and releasing every single atom into the unknown of what I thought I was and just allowing myself to be swept up by the river of life, giving it permission to take me to exactly where I need to be…somewhere along the way I found the feeling that I always want to exist inside of. The core, the foundation, the essence of who I’ve always been, but that was hidden beneath layers of the person I was told or made to believe I was supposed to be.

Not too long ago I entered the 33rd year of my life. I’ve known for a while that my 33rd year would be a catalyst for what the rest of my life would be like. It’s already begun. I’ve started to carry the weight of a person who has a large library full of esoteric literature, the kind of library that has two stories worth of books with worn spines, gold lettering, and stories hidden between the lines of written words.

That’s just how I feel. Round and like I have a large library with lots of esoteric books.

It’s almost like there was a particular timeline that didn’t exist until I entered the wormhole that opened up on my 33rd birthday.

Things that don’t make sense hold no realness to that aspect of myself that doesn’t speak, but only listens and observes. The square world, the world of capitalism and cold-hearted technology that does very little for the prosperity of the many, doesn’t feel real to me anymore. The more I distance myself from the Imperialist American Empire, the less I’m gripped by that feeling of desperation to become something that is foreign to the natural world.

Is it all in my mind? Maybe. Maybe I’ve drifted into a waking dream that only makes sense to me. Maybe I’m all alone here. But I’m absolutely sure that I’m not. I’m sure that you understand me on some level, and that you, too, are wondering the same thing as me.

Anyway, now that I’m here, now that I’m in year 33 and destroyed many of the ideas of what I’ve been told countless times life is, I’ve slipped into the person that I’m supposed to be. Maybe not fully, but I’m close. Like I’m pulling the pants up of my waking self onto the self I’ve always been and will always be. Things don’t fit quite well just yet, but we’re getting there.

I feel a little like Alice, but I also feel like the Cheshire Cat, too. In this story, though, I’m not chasing the white rabbit; I’m chasing my own shadow.

– Aminah Jamil