Letter about doing a little better and how much I love my balcony

1st of May 2020

To whoever reads this

I’m not sure saying that I am doing better is the truth. But I do have the feeling that my body and my mind has settled into this current, hopefully temporary normal. I am calmer about being alone. Going to the ruin last week reminded me that I am not as trapped as I feel. And I focus a lot on what I can control and the choices left to me in this time when I am stuck, unable to go to work and unable to see friends.
I feel as though the worst of my reaction to the new circumstances has left. I am so fortunate that my life is changed this little. But it still feels huge. And change is one of the things autistic people aren’t good at. I am not really an exception to this. I handle it well, but it still feels very overwhelming and sets off a lot of reactions that I have no control over. But I know them well enough now and can act accordingly.
I’ve been doing the work. Reaching out to people I can reach out to. Remind myself of the importance of staying home and not exposing myself to more risk than necessary. I try to keep busy. Fight the depression that still threatens to get worse all the time. It’s not gone. It’s there. Poisoning everything. But I fight it. And that is all I can do at this point.

I’m trying hard to sound hopeful. I am not. But I guess that is how I fight the depression at this time. I feel untruthful when I sound this hopeful. I don’t mean to lie. But I guess I am not sure how to name the things that would give a clear picture of how I am really doing.

About a month ago I think, I don’t really know the date, I had a lot of trouble sleeping. And I was doing a lot worse than I am not dealing with the loneliness and the isolation. And this night I gave up sleeping for a while and went to sit outside on my amazing balcony (that I still love so much). It was past midnight and there was so many stars above me. I love the night and the dark. And the night was cold, but not too cold. I sat out there for a long time and noticed lights in the windows across the courtyard. The building across from the one I live in is made of red bricks and has red balconies.

It’s the kind of building where every part of it is the same and when you look at if you know every apartment has the same floor plan. I don’t think I would like to live in a building like that. Whenever I visit that kind of apartment they always feel unkind, cold and like they are the opposite of a home. Not because of the people living their lives there, or the way they decorate. It’s the way these places are build to store people instead of build to give them warm cosy homes.
But there is something comforting about that building across the courtyard. I’m not sure what it is. I don’t want to live in it. I’ve never been inside it and I have no desire to go there. But there is something about it that feels nice. And not even because it reminds me how different my own home is. Maybe it just feels different and unique because the other buildings around the courtyard are different and unique, with different architecture and different feelings and uses. I’m sure I wouldn’t feel this way about it if had been surrounded by similar buildings.
Last summer I saw how every evening kids came out and played in the carpark that belongs to that building. And I could see people coming home from work and shopping trips or going to their cars to drive to somewhere else. That too made the place feel so alive.

But this night, I noticed all the lights. And it was so amazing to see how many other people were awake at night. I am night time person through and through. But most people around me aren’t. There was something nice in knowing that so many people chose to be up this night. I counted at least seven different apartments with lights on. At 2 am.

I’ve also noticed the light in those windows. None of it is cold white. It’s almost always yellow or orange. Sometimes there is some changing blue or purple lights, from a TV or a computer screen. But mostly it’s just this beautiful golden light. Reminding me that there is life all around me. That although so much is shut down, though I feel so alone and know no one in any of these buildings around me, there is still people, living ordinary lives doing ordinary things. Just there. Across the courtyard. In that golden light they cook dinner and eat and work from home, they watch TV and make phone calls, they are happy and sad and their lives go on.

I don’t know why but that night I felt so moved by that light. By sitting there alone with golden light telling me other people were also awake and alive and right here. I felt connected and so much less lonely, when I have in a long time. And one goal for this month is sitting out there every day for at least 30 minutes. That balcony is the best part of this apartment. And deciding to live here, where I can sit outside at night and still be home is one of the best things I have given to myself. When I sit there (and especially if I leave me phone inside) I feel so Here.
I don’t know why I am grateful for the golden light or for the red brick building that looks like the kind of building that has no personality and no room for humans being humans. Maybe it’s that contrast. Maybe it’s because it feels like it has personality and room for humans, in this setting in a way it could never have if there were only buildings like that around. Maybe it’s just nice to feel small and insignificant and knowing there is life right there, when I can no longer stand to only be able to reach other humans through a screen. All I know is that I am so grateful for those things. And my balcony is one of those places for me, that helps me be Here. And that is after all what I am trying to find.

I hope, whoever you are and wherever you are, dear reader, that you are safe and healthy. I hope you find ways to be Here. Thank you for being here, in these words with me. Thank you for your time.