The first question asked in the life inventory is, “What inspires you?”
My response was a big, fat, “I don’t know.”
And I didn’t.
There’s a lot about me that I still don’t know since I haven’t been able to take the time to think about any of it until now.
I needed to make the time to know.
I ended up breaking down the word “inspire” because the Miss America and Senate hopefuls’ answers came across as what they thought people wanted to hear rather than their truth.
My truth was found as I considered “inspire.” It comes from Latin and means “breathe in.”
Since breath is life, I realized that what inspires me is what gives me life. There are many things that I love that sap my energy daily. I love people, but I’m an introvert’s introvert, so I prefer to love them from a distance. I think that my autism contributes to me being overwhelmed by being around people, even people I love, because the constant barrage of sensory data (to borrow a movie title, it’s like “Everything Everywhere All At Once”) is overwhelming. It’s even worse if people expect eye contact, because it means that I’m being hit with the eyes’ microexpressions so fast that I literally cannot focus on what the person is saying, especially if I’m already stressed.
There are things that I do that I love to do, and there are people with whom I enjoy spending time, but they don’t breathe life into me. I give to the activities and to the people I love, freely, and after that, I need to recharge.
I don’t always get the time or space to recharge, though, and that’s when other emotions creep in, especially anger. It’s hard to control my emotions sometimes, and I end up expressing my anger in a way that is not helpful or productive.
But that’s a blog for another day.
What inspires me? What gives me life?
Nature, first of all. Being surrounded by greenery and the whisper of the wind in the trees, that brings me life.
Water is life, and it gives me life, too. This is why I hope to have a tub big enough to soak in, and maybe even a swimming pool big enough to float in someday. It’s nice to be weightless and give my joints a break.
Solitude that I choose also gives me life. Solitude is not the same as loneliness, because I choose it. I need the time away from others, away from electronics, away from distractions to just breathe and be and recenter myself.
The process of discovery is another thing that gives me life. I love being able to explore, whether it’s in a game or in real life. Having an adventure is a joy of life, and I wish I could have more adventures.
Sincere validation also breathes life into me. To be validated is a gift, whatever I am expressing. I need more of it. When I’m validated, I feel like I can do just about anything.
And there we are. I’m sure there’s more that breathes life into me if I think even deeper, but I’m certain that’s plenty without delving into minutiae.