As an autistic individual, I often find verbal communication challenging. Crafting the right tone, pronunciation, and word choice to express my thoughts is a task requiring considerable effort. Clarity in communication is not just a preference but a necessity for me. Unfortunately, this is sometimes misinterpreted as arrogance. Artificial Intelligence has become an indispensable ally in honing my ideas for my audience. It's a dynamic process, involving constant adaptation to understand my audience's perspective and establish a potential connection.
Take, for instance, my collaboration with AI in refining my thoughts. I start with a free-flowing stream of consciousness, which AI helps me shape into precise, articulate expressions. This process often enables me to create mental images with my words, mirroring the visuals in my mind. When AI translates these words into images, it offers a visual manifestation of my emotions—a truly enchanting experience.
Consider a poem I wrote in 2019, during a period of intense burnout, when expressing myself was particularly difficult. Sharing my inner chaos with my family and therapist was a struggle, and I often questioned my feelings. Writing became my solace, a way to release something deep within me. Today, I reinterpreted the poem, viewing it through a fresh lens of self-awareness and a newfound understanding of my identity and life. Regardless of which version of the poem you prefer, both reflect the evolution of my emotions over time.
This poem dates back to three days into my sobriety, long before I understood my autism. Revisiting it after five years, I'm fascinated by the words I chose, almost as if I was foreshadowing future events. The importance of journaling is exemplified here; I have years and thousands of journal entries and poems that chart my personal growth—a truly invaluable self-gift. When I began writing, I didn't know where it would lead, driven only by an intense need to express myself. Even when I doubted my ability, I persisted, often writing extensive, unstructured thoughts. Eventually, I realized that creating something tangible from my thoughts was therapeutic. Words on paper are a form of creation. My vocabulary, writing skills, and fluency in writing have improved significantly since then. Practice has been my greatest teacher.
Here is the original poem, accompanied by an AI-generated image.
It’s on my back
So heavy yet stealth
It’s not supposed to be there
I saw it in my dream
It does exist
Like a virus that controls me
How have I carried it this long
You have been located
Now the extraction begins
You are no longer in control
You better watch out Alien
The second poem, a collaboration with AI, more accurately reflects my current state of mind. In it, I adopt a compassionate and accepting stance towards my 40-year-old self, transforming the initial dark and intimidating theme into something more ethereal and beautiful.
What's intriguing is the distinct style and focus of each image. Five years ago, I was lost in a haze of confusion and identity crisis, feeling controlled by external forces. This poem was inspired by a dream. While we could explore archetypes and other concepts, the key lies in the second image. Here, elements of compassion are woven into my writing. Light, hope, and clarity prevail, and the alien figure becomes distinct and comprehensible. I recognize the shadow but am no longer under its sway, having reconciled and made peace with this part of myself.
A foreign presence, lurking unseen,
A burden, silent, yet extreme.
An unwelcome guest, in dreams it crept,
In shadows of my mind, it slept.
A spectral force, an unseen blight,
Like a puppeteer in the dead of night.
Long it clung, with a ghostly grip,
A sinister passenger on my life's trip.
But now you're spotted, your cover's blown,
The time for your unmasking has grown.
The reins of power slip from your grasp,
Beware, oh alien, for you've met your match.
Yet in this dance, I've come to see,
The hidden strengths you've gifted me.
In every challenge, every plight,
You were the dark to my inner light.
With gratitude, I now embrace,
This journey shared, our intertwined space.
For in your shadow, I found my might,
And in your darkness, my own light.
No longer a foe, but part of my tale,
Together we traverse, through each storm we sail.
With acceptance and grace, we coexist,
In this life's journey, an unexpected twist.
Rewritten Poem: 1/24/24
To those who feel they can't write, I want to say that using AI isn't cheating; it's a valuable tool and accommodation that helps overcome the cognitive difficulty of translating emotions into a coherent viewpoint. This technology serves as a means for self-expression and improving communication, something I deeply appreciate. While it requires some practice to get the hang of collaborating with AI, it has effectively become my editor and thesaurus, all rolled into one. Thanks to this tool, the days of struggling to understand myself are behind me; it has significantly clarified and enhanced my visions.