Getting over myself

I am more black and white in my thinking than I’d like to believe/accept, and it’s come to a point where I am going to cognitively fight back, primarily by ignoring the non-stop running commentary in my head that seems to think by exploring all avenues an endpoint answer will readily arrive.

Here are some simple observations and what I will do about them (or try my best to do).

1. I know too much (a lot) about religion and spirituality, as it was one of my many special interests, well my primary special interest since I was a small child. Being such, I have analyzed and critiqued each and every spiritual practice and religion I have studied. I have reached a point in my life where finding community and support is of primary importance, and the fact that a section of people may adhere to some beliefs I do not adhere to, even practices, is no longer a reason to segregate myself purposefully from others’ support and companionship. Therefore, I am thinking outside the box, outside the rigid rules I have set upon myself about where I can and cannot go based on opinion, fear, and exaggerated expectation of what might happen. I am going to take care of myself and use caution, but at the same time dare to make some new friendships, and hopefully a pseudo-family in an arena that before now I have made so black-and-white that I preferred extreme isolation over breaking my own rules of what other people should be like and/or what practices ought be practiced.

2. I pick apart friendships. I make expectations. I want everyone to be my best friend. I want to have a friend that is basically my twin, attached at the hip. I want a neighbor friend who walks with me and has tea with me everyday. I kind of had this once, for a year, and I miss it. But it was a blessing. And it is a rarity in this world. I pick apart my friendships and find what parts are not enough, what parts hurt me, and get lost in a dance of what I want and deserve. For now on I will cherish the time I have with my friends, openly aware that my needs are my needs, and that most are not going to be able to fill this need. I will cherish the aspects of my friendships that I do have. And if I only talk or see a friend once a year, or once more in my lifetime, that will be enough. This is hard for me to admit. I don’t consider myself a judgmental person, but I do think I pick apart everything and everyone into parts and attempt to rearrange and reassemble, and in the rebuilding I lose aspects of myself and that person, and I hold onto the hurt. I am tired of holding onto the hurt. From now on I will try to appreciate what I do have while building new friendships in which there are commonalities we have so we will have common time to spend together, such is community gathering or hobby.

3. I destroy romantic relationships. I obsess. I control. I try to figure things out. I dissect. I create and recreate all the worse case scenarios in my mind and then I do it all over again. I hide a lot of this inside and torture myself. But of course it comes out. I am also hyper-alert, hyper-aware, and at times hyper-critical. I know this is part of the way my mind words, and part of how I dissect and over-analyze everything. But I refuse to let my Aspergers/mind processing/outlook be the reason to cause myself and my loved ones harm. I am tired of making pros and cons list in my heads. I am tired of wondering about the future. I am tired of thinking ‘if only’ or waiting for things to get better. I am going to enjoy this time, this now, this day and stop waiting for a better tomorrow and a more-perfect partner. I am enough and so is the person I love.

4. When I look back, I don’t have regrets, but I mourn. I mourn that almost every moment of my adult life has been anxiety-ridden, that my moments of joy have been torn down and constricted…limited by my mind over-thinking and over-worrying. I have a constant fight-or-flight mentality that makes each day a battle and each memory a previous day of exhaustion. All things good become white-washed by this fear and fret. I don’t want to, in fact I refuse to, look back ten years from now and see the past decade as the same as the decades before this day. I refuse to see myself in constant wonder of ‘when will things be okay.’ Of scoping out the bad in the good. In thinking of the alternative ways of improvement. I am missing my life by pre-planning for betterment. This is as good as it gets. And I am going to embrace this. I am tired of the pitty-parties. I am tired of the waiting. I am done standing in line for my own life to begin. Now is now. And that shall be enough. I don’t want to die a sad lady, who wasted her days fretting over when happiness would come.

5. Life is hard. PERIOD. It’s hard for most everyone. No one is perfect. No one is normal. 99.9% of people struggle daily with hardship of some sort or another. Hardship of a stressful relationship, a broken relationship, and severed relationship, a sense of isolation. A sense of no purpose. Health issues that hurt and that cause various challenges. Dooms-day thoughts. Anger at the current healthcare system. Anger at the legal system. Anger and/or sadness at the world. Financial woes. Body woes. People woes. We are all pretty much in the same sinking boat. Fact is we have one another. And usually it’s not as bad as we make it out to be. I am tired of whining, of complaining, of highlighting what is hard, what is a battle, what is difficult. Truth is that yes I might feel things more intensely than others because of who I am. Truth is I likely have had a few more hardships than the common person on my block. But truth also is that we are all human beings experiencing suffering, let down, fear, pain, and a path to eventual death. I am not that important. My pain is not better than another’s. It’s not about proving anything to anyone anymore. Especially myself. I will not feel worthy through my pain. And I will not feel worthy through my suffering. I will feel and know that everyone else for the most part is feeling, too, and that every pain I have another has had. I will understand I am not alone in this pain and in this agony. I will understand that there is no more learning to be done through my pain, only through my awakening to the truth that life is hard and that’s okay. There is no silver lining, there is no vacation from life, there is no spaceship coming to beam me up. So I will do what I can do. I will embrace my attributes that give me purpose and meaning, and I will love me for me. I will love me through the pain, and take the waves as they come, attaching less meaning and worthiness to the acts and happenings that bring what seems to be chaos and accepting this is life. In the end that’s all I have: Life. And it’s still worth living. Worth trying. If only to touch another and for her to know she is not alone.

6. The next time something happens (stuff happens a lot everyday) that I want to make into a big deal, I will step back and recognize the more energy I attach to the issue/incident/trigger/news/outcome, the more I will create chaos within and the more I will think it’s a big deal. In my mind anything can become a big deal. I could find a thousand things to worry about. I will not exhaust myself by worrying over and over about things outside of my control and even those within my control. I will choose to step back and observe myself go through the fear and fret, and will allow it without judgment, but shall not feed into the fear. I shall rise above, beyond, through, within/without the anxiety, and believe all is as all is. That this too shall pass and that more shall come. There is no calm coming. There is no storm. Just stuff. Just more and more passing stuff. And I the actress in the endless play shall survive. I shall even do more than that. I shall prevail. Not into a realm of happiness and joy, but into a realm of acceptance. Shits going to happen. More and more shit. Somewhere in my mind I believed this place would be a joyful place, and in truth there are moments, but for the most part, it’s just plain hard. But it can be a type of joy. It can be a calmness of the mind. It can be a serenity. It can be a sense of everything is all right. Even the extreme ‘This is not Okay!” can be okay. I am tired of feeding the monster inside of me who looks for discrepancies and disappointment and unwelcomed surprises. That’s LIFE! Get over myself.

Far

I still exist.
I am still here.
It’s just that I have slipped away, some.
Into that faraway, in between place,
of lost tomorrows,
and thrown away yesterdays,
of wondering and wanting to forget,
and of a thousand upon a thousand shards of pain,
entering slowly,
and staying,
far too long.
I see you still, amongst my daydreams,
In that distant corner,
My sister traveler,
My brother’s keeper;
I see you,
in the way I am,
And I ponder:
How did we make it this far?

I have Aspergers

I have been asked to write a brief summary for a handout/flyer for an organization in the UK. This is the final draft, I think:

“The challenge with identifying one with a label or collective group is the identification leads to an undeniable risk of an individual being categorized, compared and boxed into one of many stereotypes. I am a person first. A mother second. A lover third. Aspergers is a part of my neurological condition, but it’s not me. People who identify themselves with being on the autistic spectrum are often targeted by others offering unsolicited help, advice and comparisons. We, as a sect, are perceived by some as incapable, weak or ‘not-normal,’ and definitely in need of fixing. The problem is we are too often compared to an established societal norm of what is true and right, when in our minds no such norm exits. Within the autistic community, many, if not most, view themselves as entirely capable of striving. Many are filled with compassion, empathy, a need to speak the truth and high-levels of fluid intelligence and creativity. With proper support and acceptance, a person with Aspergers can lead a fulfilling life. I have raised three healthy teenage boys and have at least a dozen people I would call close friends. I am not weak or less-than, nor am I ‘unhealthy’ in my communication or thoughts. And neither are most of the people I encounter on the spectrum. We are just different in the way we take in the world. The misconceptions that abound about those with autism are shifting, as more of us who have Aspergers share our stories. Not all of us need do this, as we are each uniquely endowed with our own gifts and callings. However, I am happy to be included amongst those that say, without hesitance, “I have Aspergers.” ~ Sam Craft, Everyday Aspergers

sam copy

Empathic Aspie

I take on other people’s emotions and experience.  I become them. I am empathic. I am pure. And I am a blank slate. At times, most times, I am a mirror to whom I am with. My interactions and choices of companionship affect my being. I become that which is before me. Time and time again, I transform intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally into what I am exposed to. I am much like the yogurt cultures hooked up to electrodes that respond electronically and energetically to the thoughts of the observer. Or, akin to the frozen water crystals that transform based on the word written and prescribed to them. I become that which is. I see this in all my relationships. Whether across the states or face-to-face, whether up close or through a mode of distant communication, I am affected. It makes no difference my present state. In any form in which I enter, I exit transformed. I am not me, except with a rare few who see me as me. And it is this rare few, who too, are mirrors, who too transform, who too see and watch themselves become what they are not, or perhaps what we all are.

No matter who I see, they see what they are. In visiting a shaman, he said to me I was a powerful shaman. That I was previously a ball of light. That I carried no baggage. That I was powerful. In seeing an astrologist, she said to me I was here for a purpose, that the stars aligned, that I had a powerful calling: that of an empath, teacher and healer. That there was no denying this. In seeing a Buddhist psychologist, he said to me I was an enlightened genius. In each case, each without knowing, projected onto me the way they viewed their own self. I became a mere reflection. I became a viewpoint—that transcendental lookout.

In less formal meetings, I become, too, what is before me. If a friend is angry, spiteful, and holding a grudge, I take on these states of beings. I shift instantly, and having harnessed such emotions, I begin to apply the emotions to my own life. To piece together what I am feeling to make logical sense. Suddenly, when there had been no such thought before, I am remembering my own spite and upset, and I am connecting what is felt to what has seemingly caused the upset. I am reversing my typical logic and instead of going from A to B, going from B to A. In reverse, I am dissecting my history to make sense of my present. This is one way I know when I am picking up on someone else, and not my self—for I am not proceeding from cause/source to reaction, but experiencing reaction and then searching for cause/source. It’s the opposite of being triggered, in which there is a direct obstacle, event, or circumstance that has set me aflame internally. Here, there is the counter-experience, of having the flame, and searching within to understand the feasible reasons for the fire.

I, in being the way of the mirror, become more-or-less the subject before me. Be this through intellectual conversing, close connection, or something else, regardless I am penetrated. And there is no boundary. No protection. No barrier. Distance makes no difference, nor does the mode of contact. The instant messaging can affect me as much as a long, drawn out conversation. I can feel the other as pricks and pins. I can feel the other as a heavy weight on my chest. I can feel what is inside another and feel it on my body. I can take on the exact physical and emotional pain. I can develop symptoms: rashes, lack of mobility, acute pain, allergies. All which are that of the carrier who has crossed my path. I can pick up on the past, the present, and sometimes the future. I can see, at times, illness or malnourishment. I can see hopes and pains. And I can especially see fear.

The worst is the unspoken words I hear. The lines that vary from what is spoken—wave lengths of what I sense that are in contrast to what is shared. I can hear what is hidden and I can hear what is buried. I can feel the person judging me and feeling me out, as tentacles from the octopus or giant squid spread out, retracted and then flung forward into the depths of me. I can feel myself being dissected and observed. And I feel the thoughts of the one that isn’t me entering and exploring. I feel the argument before it is said. And I sense the contradictions before spoken. I know. I just know. And this knowing comes in gathered strings and unraveling twine; a web of sorts broken apart and about to reform.

I deny this all, in moments, as the happenings themselves leave me exhausted in the thoughts of how and why. It is easier at times to claim myself delusional or incorrect than to face such a process of living. Each expectation is felt. Each motivation. Each intention. I know the foundation of what the other is thinking. And some, more so most, are not ready or wanting to know. And I, for the most part, am not wanting to tell. It’s not my business. Nor is it my wish to see. And yet I am left spinning in a whirlwind of another, wanting to escape the ‘me’ they have made me, or I have allowed myself to become.

I leave not knowing myself, and at times feeling the worst over what I had become. I doubt my own existence and substance. I think I am what they are. Trapped in the illusion of the other, I wonder who I am. I doubt my genuineness and purity. I doubt I know the answers of self. And I begin to think I no longer understand anything about the being I am.

I come out of it untarnished, but exhausted. I return to my norm, which is very much level and at peace. I exist without the drama and without the immediacy and urgency that seemingly haunts most of humanity. There is no longer a rush, a need, a desire; there is just me. And I am at peace, returned to my self and state of being. Here I am at my best: in the alcove of solitude. Without the interactions of the world treading upon my esteem, here I am untouched and bathed in grace. Here I am free, until the next passerby touches down and finds me as himself. And I am left lost, running a race without realizing my legs are still.

me copy 2

Talkative and Tired

The Department of Neuropsychiatry at Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo found that individuals with Aspergers have higher fluid reasoning ability than typical individuals and have a superior fluid intelligence. I have a high fluid reasoning ability and fluid intelligence. Give me a random object and I will tell you 100 things you can do with it in a few minutes. Coming up with ideas and thinking out of the box is easy for me. I see things at multiple levels and view multiple ways situations and circumstances can be adapted and made better. I am an expert ‘fixer.’

As I see things so rapidly, I try to find balance and keep my mouth shut, even as my mind is going a thousand miles an hour with ideas. This is one of the reasons it’s hard for me to work for someone (work) or to problem solve with people (teamwork). And another reason I’d rather write than speak.

In a state of increased thought, if I open my mouth, I come across as a know-it-all. Or I am over-emotional and use the wrong words and may seem baffled, unclear, or unsure. I exaggerate. I speak in extremes. I forget all the communication rules of right and wrong. I become more and more ‘Aspie.’ I become frustrated. I become aggravated. I react and act in a way I am not proud of. I feel overwhelmed and I overwhelm.

Then some react to me, thinking I want attention or to be right, or they assume I have a plan or agenda or outcome. But I don’t. I am the way I am because I have to get the ideas out of me in order to function. In order to breathe. I let go of the toxins in my mind by verbally processing. If I can’t, something builds up within and I can’t concentrate.

I have slowly learned ways to adapt. I have stopped giving personal advice, almost entirely. I will gladly share my experience but not offer out solutions to others. I just don’t anymore. It doesn’t feel right or good. But I still run into trouble when I have a job to do, especially one that requires research, creating, or educating. I just don’t know when to stop, what my boundaries are, and what is really needed and not needed. Everything seems urgent and important. And all these cool connections and ideas formulating in my head seem necessary to share.

And so it is with much effort that I still struggle to understand the concepts of ‘too much’ and ‘overboard’ and the ‘last word,’ and so much more.

I grow tired again and again. ~ Sam, Everyday Aspergers