Day Twelve: Behind the Curtain


This is an excerpt from a previous journal entry in 2009. I wrote Behind the Curtain before I realized that I had traits of Asperger’s Syndrome. As I reflect back to this time period of my life, I now recognize that I was searching  for any explanation, in order to attempt to sort out the disorder in my mind.

Behind the Curtain

I made a decision a long time ago, when I was old enough to venture across the street on my own and play in the open field, that I would try to be a good person.  I already knew more than I ought to have known about the world, I suppose.

I remember years back looking up at the wide-open sky and wondering where the universe ended and more so where I began.  I recognized I wasn’t just my flesh and skin, was so overly aware of the inner core of my being that I felt as if I were walking a narrow line between this realm and the next.  There was turmoil at home, which left me with a general uneasiness, but there was another more defining uneasiness building inside of me, piling one atop the other, an unsettling recognition that there was so much more than the grownups could explain, and more so, ever venture to understand themselves.

Such knowing, at a young age, carries with it insecurity and reckoning of the uncertainties of the world, an acknowledging that reality isn’t what one’s peer group believes.   There was a stepping out of sorts, a separating at this point of my life, a kindling of new insight that propelled me onto the other side of the street, so to say.  As if, I was standing alone, isolated and curious, observing my playmates across the way.  I could hear them, I could even speak and they would acknowledge my presence, but I couldn’t join them.  My thoughts were a deep canvas, a three-dimensional painting I could step into and live.  From my side of the road, I would watch with wonder and interest, recognizing my own separation from humanity, without understanding what in actuality I was experiencing.  It was then, about the time most kids were discovering the wonderment of above-ground pools and slip and slides, I was discovering simultaneously the limit of my mind and the un-limitness of the universe.  I had wanted desperately to understand where I belonged and where I fit in, for I wasn’t as the birds left to fly in the sky; I wasn’t an adult with the freedoms; and to me, I wasn’t a child.  The others were all different than me.  It was as if I had been given an alternate pair of lenses in the way I interpreted the happenings around me, in the way I analyzed the truth behind words, and the actions behind truths.

I knew too well already about death and dying, as I knew too well about living.   I knew when I slept my dreams would come like torrent winds and tear me from where I slept and carry me forward into another realm of consciousness.   And I knew well the dreams would sometimes speak to me and give me glimpses into the future.   I could tell my mother things, speak to her about the dreams, and then we would watch together to see if the  essence of my dreams was true, if in fact the dream had revealed an element of an event to come.   And often the dreams did.

Knowing a dream can speak, can whisper some form of truth, and can open a door and allow one to peek into another universe is most unsettling to say the least.  But then, as a child, when I stopped to analyze the happenings, to grasp why I knew things before they occurred, I felt a shudder of confusion, and further uncertainty about where I stood, where I breathed, where I actually dwelled on the planet.

And I knew things about people, I felt certain I shouldn’t ought to feel.   I could tell things about people, understand their intention, feel a part of their spirit. From early on in my life, certain people left me feeling heavy and invaded, while others, though nothing on the outside was perceivable peculiar or different, left me with a flowing sense of calmness and general well being.  Some people felt like gifts, a present I wanted to play with and keep close to heart, while others I wanted to return from whence they came.  I wondered what was in people that made them thus so.  Why some seemed so light and airy, and others weighed down by an invisible ghost of woes.  I wished to speak, to find out, and became increasingly inquisitive and interested in adults, for I secretly hoped one of them would have an answer for me.  I searched out a guide, even though I knew not what I was searching for, or even that I was searching, and I am certain they came to me at different intervals in my life as needed, though I did not recognize them.

As I grew older, the feelings inside of me also grew, filling up every inch of new space.  I was so abundantly filled with emotions that at times I often felt as if I were drowning inside my own being.  I could hear things by then, too.  See things.  See things no one else I had encountered could.  I continually felt more isolated and lonely, though I had people around me, I nonetheless remained isolated in thought and spirit.  It seemed to me that no one understood me.  For years I longed to be like my classmates.  I came to see them as narrower and straighter than me, like the letter “x,”so that nothing could fill them and leave them gasping for air; wherein I perceived myself as wide and curved, like the letter “o,” so that everything and anything could use me as a vessel.

The later years were painfully difficult.  When the teenage trials came, I felt bombarded and stampeded with emotions.  If there was ever a time I believed I was from another universe, it was then.  I played a game—that is how I saw it.  I pretended to be someone.  I was lost, lost on some stage, trying to find where I’d hidden my true self.

I still feel as if a part of me is hiding somewhere, afraid to come out entirely, for fear of misunderstanding and judgment.  The tender part of me, the piece of myself that doesn’t understand in the smallest bit the cruelty and harshness of this world, remains divided and alone, always hidden behind the curtain.

15 thoughts on “Day Twelve: Behind the Curtain

  1. This poweful post gave me a few quotes to take away and ponder. This one sticks the deepest:

    “My thoughts were a deep canvas, a three-dimensional painting I could step into and live.”

    That is, the crux of autism as I percieve it–the ability to profoundly and internally wander. The world at times seems a violation of that peace and serenity. Yet, some piece of me wants to show, to share with some other soul the magnificence of that world.

    Since this force is ineffable, it drives us to share our words, photographs and paintings.

    1. “That is, the crux of autism as I percieve it–the ability to profoundly and internally wander. The world at times seems a violation of that peace and serenity. Yet, some piece of me wants to show, to share with some other soul the magnificence of that world” Beautifully stated. Thank you.

  2. Wow. Still soaking in your words – the girl I looked up to in school and longed to be like, was a pretty good actress then. I’m filled with curiosity and compassion thinking about what seemingly ‘normal (whatever that is), happy’ people around me are actually going through.

    1. Profound comment. I think we are all acting “normal” to a degree to fit in, but that Aspies are hyper-aware that they are acting. If that makes any sense. It does make you wonder, doesn’t it. Was that girl in high school someone I know? : )

  3. So glad you directed back here! I think I felt somewhat similar from the time I was very young but I was unable to communicate it to anyone. I would often question my existence and ponder the very deepest thoughts from the time I was 5-6. I would be left searching as well but it would overwhelm me and I would run to one of my parents to be held for comfort, unable to explain the depth of the thoughts that ran through my head. I did not understand myself well then. You appear to have known yourself much better all along the life path than me. You are a great teacher Sam. Thank you. xoxo

    1. Perhaps I was led to, as those parents arms weren’t as readily available. I had to stand on my own from a young age. That is interesting that you understand. 🙂 I am sorry you had to experience this, though. Probably explains your smarts!!! Awe, thanks, I appreciate the compliment. Hugs, Sam 🙂

  4. I’m sensing that Aspie’s retain a certain childhood innocence. I certainly do, and I relate very much to your words: “The tender part of me, the piece of myself that doesn’t understand in the smallest bit the cruelty and harshness of this world, remains divided and alone, always hidden behind the curtain”.

    That ‘tender part’ is our soul, our heart, our inner being, Sam. I like to use the Romanian word ‘inima’, for it seems to have a deeper and more passionate meaning than our word ‘heart’ (and I like certain m/n combinations – like anemone, autumnal and animate!) Our inima can only ever be hiding behind a curtain, but it needn’t always be a heavy velvet one. I feel it’s the most personal and most important aspect of the psyche, and the curtain protects it. It’s what inspires everything else and steers the direction of our lives. Without its guidance all else is shallow and false.
    Like Truth, it’s ‘sacred’ and needs protection most of the time. But bits of it can peep around the curtain, and light up lives. They peep around your curtain and light up my own life. Xx

  5. Hey, have you ever published any of your writing? If so, I’d like to use it to compete in a forensics tournament. My theme is autism with a focus in Asperger’s.

Thank you for your comments :)

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