There are pieces of me of late that feel torn away. At the very moment I have become more me and unfurled new colors, I feel more stymied by circumstance than ever.

More unable to fly free.

What people see me as, what they want me to be…it is all so much pressure. I just cannot seem to keep flapping my wings furiously enough to maintain the pace.

You see, as I mentioned, I write elsewhere. I even have a publisher.

I have what many dream of.

But, it all feels like such a circus of promotion and appearances and selling and things I absolutely despise.

Juggle a few more balls over here. Jump through a fiery hoop over there.

Be that confident, perfectly groomed picture of success so people will gulp up the bits of yourself you offer.

You got there through your honest struggle, but heaven forbid you stay that person.

Invite your folks, your neighbors, acquaintances, and, heck, even your enemies for a prolonged peek at your life.

Let them root around in the bureau drawers of your painful past and think they really know you.

But, ensure you always have a smiling present. Be their forever inspiration.

Endure your mom’s cloying and off-topic comments as she invades what used to be your private space. Let her preen and pry in her passive-aggressive ways.

Allude only slightly to the emotional and physical abuse she inflicted in your growing up years. Pretend you excuse it all. Make sure she doesn’t feel bad by admitting it still stings.

Deal with mother-in-law’s lack of understanding at how hard it all is. How speaking or pushing your work on others puts you in a cold sweat and sends your stomach in an endless swirl.

Not just a minor tizzy, mind you. But, an agonizing, darn near paralyzing state the likes of which wipes you out mentally for days on end.

Let her ‘fix’ your looks for pictures so you don’t ruin your image with crooked teeth or blemished skin.

Be the be-all end-all. Anything less is a profound disappointment.

Oh, but the cracks can’t help but appear. They spread wider by the day.

One day, I fear my newly blossomed wings might rip apart completely-leaving me grounded for good.

This is one of the more painful sides of autism. The one that doesn’t feature in the sweet stories of adorable, quirky children or inspiring tales of adults who “overcame”.

Those are great and all, though I don’t even like the word “overcame” in regards to autism. I like to say they “grew in” to who they are and found a way to soar.

I kind of thought I had, too-for a little while, anyway.

Perhaps, I will again. Who knows?

But, I think at this point I’d just be happy to stay somewhere above the ground.