This is the second time I’ve used the checkered flag as an example and in the previous post I talked about the black and white thinking of a person on the autism spectrum, meaning we may be all one or all the other and understanding the gray areas of life may be difficult. The thing called the “gray area” has always troubled me though because I remember an optical illusion thing once that had black squares with white borders and if you looked at it there would slowly appear to be gray between the black and white. Yes, I’m sort of taking this “gray area” thing to a literal level, but to simply say gray area isn’t giving justice to the difficulty a person may have in handling this area.
There’s more color than just gray. To say gray is to simply say the area between absolutes, and most people not on the autism spectrum can operate in this zone. However, take this image as a visual example of what a gray area is like for me.
In seeing that flag could you easily take your eyes of the red? It was large, obtrusive, and somewhat random but try as you might I doubt you could easily ignore the red blotch on what would otherwise be a perfectly good image of a checkered flag. This is what the gray area is like for me; it isn’t just a small blend of black and white melded together but instead is a big blotch that can’t be ignored no matter how hard I might try.
This is the struggle; most people can operate in the gray area and be able to ignore it or understand it. What is a gray area? One thing I struggled and still do is the needi of everything to be right. I’d correct my parents, teachers, and classmates on any stat that was stated incorrectly. Was this right to do? If looking at the appropriateness of it most would say no, but if one is operating in a world of absolutes, of needing everything to be right, then the understanding of this bizarre color within the gray isn’t going to be understood, just like there really is no comprehending the pattern that’s going on in this checkered flag.
I hope this concept here makes sense because as I’ve thought about it the simple stating of gray areas just isn’t enough because it’s much more vibrant, distracting, and frustrating than just the merging of two colors. It’s actually much more than that as it has the makings to get us hung up on the subject as we try and understand something that isn’t concrete and isn’t clear cut. With things that are concretely stated there’s security and safety because there’s order, but in the wildly frantic and much more colorful world of the gray area there’s chaos that reigns supreme and most have the ability to make sense of it and navigate, but for us on the autism spectrum that area turns into the image I’ve shared. So the next time you may experience a gray area moment with a person on the autism spectrum it isn’t simply the mysterious place between two absolutes, but is instead a random, scary, frantic, hectic, and fear inducing place that we want to understand but just can’t make sense of it with the ease that others have.