The Conscious Coma
This was the chapter that started my dream of being a presenter even before more than a dozen people had read any work of mine. As I wrote this chapter I had dreams of maybe someday being on a stage, perhaps in Germany, and traveling from town to town presenting to anyone and everyone about this concept. Alas, this concept isn’t in my presentation as it’d be too difficult to describe orally, but there’s more to this chapter than that.
A week prior to writing this Temple Grandin was in Saint Louis and my dad took me to see her presentation. I must admit I protested because I still was proclaiming that there was no hope and blah blah blah. My dad didn’t give me a choice and I went under protest, but we met her before the presentation and then, in seeing how many people attended the presentation, I began to wonder if someday, maybe someday, I too would present to just a least a crowd 1/20th of that size.
That night was monumental because that was the first time I got any outside information about the autism spectrum, first time I heard a speaker, and first time I saw how many others were interested or affiliated with the autism spectrum. A few nights later I wrote this chapter.
The Conscious Coma is abstract and I have no way to quantify its existence other than to say I experience. The night I wrote this I put the song “Zero” from the video game “Ace Combat Zero” on repeat and I wrote the most difficult chapter to this point. I’d written things that were more personal, yes, but I felt as if for the first time I was getting to not just the “what is” but the “why it is” in terms of my ways of being on the autism spectrum. This scared me in a way as I was diving into a world that was new and foreign to me.
It’s fitting that I mention that I dreamed of giving a presentation in Germany because on this day that this post is up I’ll be passing through Germany (pure coincidence, I swear!) but this chapter allowed me to dream. It wasn’t just a dream, though, it was a dream that could be realized. From recently seeing Temple Grandin present I knew that there was a chance that could be me someday. Was it a large chance? No! I was shy, quiet, and had the public speaking skills of, well, I don’t know how to end that comparison but standing in front of a group terrified me, and yet, just four years after writing this chapter, I would be in front of groups and not only that I would be on a panel with Temple herself!
I can’t add anything to this chapter than this back story. I still feel this concept is not only valid but is something I struggle with and can be a cause as to why I may be apathetic to a change one minute, day, or month, and then at one moment down the road care with all my heart.
This chapter was written after having a night of vivid dreams. I do mention in the chapter, and I’m still reminded of this in presentations when people ask me about dreams, in that I remember them in realistic detail. I thought everyone had this.
There is an update from when I wrote this. I explained, when I first wrote this, that I felt this to be a curse because there was no running away from a memory. However, I feel this is one of my biggest blessings now because so many of my future chapters in my upcoming books, or some of my greatest blog posts, were born in my dreams in the middle of the night. I guess my brain is always working on ways to better describe the autism spectrum.
I’ve heard from others that have this and unless you have dreams to this level I doubt you can appreciate the fear that going to sleep can have. When I have repetitive dreams, and it’s been a long time since then, thank goodness, the moments before sleep are terrifying as I’m sure I’m about to lose a person again, or relive a scary or socially awful event. Now though, as I mentioned, I wouldn’t give this up as I’m the writer and presenter I am because of this.