This is the first post in my April Autism Acceptance series. In this series, I am going to highlight various people and events from my daily life that epitomize what “autism acceptance” looks like for me.
I have had the same watch since I was 13. Before then, I had another watch. I don’t understand time very well, and I can’t keep track of it on my own, so a watch is essential to my functionality. I can’t really do anything in the “real world” if I can’t keep track of time. Sometimes this is fine, but when I have 20 things on my to-do list for the day, it just isn’t. So I use my amazing digital watch, with its timer, and stopwatch, at least 10-15 times per day, often more. Unfortunately, this watch is now 11.5 years old, and its band is failing. I had to replace the band once before, and managed to do so, but unfortunately, the company no longer makes the part. And they can’t recommend a suitable replacement band.
My watch is a constant part of my wardrobe, and for the past 2 weeks, I haven’t been wearing it, most of the time because I can’t destroy the band anymore. I am constantly on edge now, because every time I move my arm, I am reminded of its absence. This usually leads to a flap or a few rocks, or some serious finger stimming/wringing. As you can imagine, it is rather distressing to be missing my watch. I’ve been carrying it around in my pocket just to reassure myself that it is still there, and so that I can use it, but it just isn’t the same. Not having my watch on is more than just a small change. It changes the whole sensory environment on my arm. And it changes how I have to go about structuring and thinking about my day. It really is a major barrier to my functioning.
And that’s where the autism acceptance thing comes in. My friends have noticed that I’m more on edge. One of them even noticed my watch was not on my wrist, and she put two and two together. They have expressed concerns, offered to loan me a watch, and help me get it fixed. Not a one of them has laughed at me and my panicked sounding half-sentences about how I need my watch, and yes, it has to be this one! Every single friend I’ve talked to about this has offered to help me in some way, to make it better. Unfortunately, it isn’t resolved yet, but knowing that I have the acceptance and support of my friends, both in my attempt to fix my watch, but also to help me through the misery and confusion that the band breaking has caused, is really wonderful.