Day 49: The View From Atop the Triangle

Last night I was up until 1:00 am worried that I wasn’t good enough.

Some of my worries:

I’m ugly

I’m fat

I’m aging

I’m weird

I’m obsessive

I’m not a good enough mother

I’m not a good enough wife

I think about me too much

I don’t do enough to help others

My blog is stupid

I care too much about what others’ think

I’m lazy

I obsessed on the computer most of the day, fluctuating between a social network page, YouTube videos, and this blog.

There is something extremely calming about my blog. I just click on the main page and stare, reread, and peruse the comments. My blog connects me to another realm, to another part of myself, and to other people who know my journey. The writing offers me a reflection of me: my uniqueness and beauty. My blog is my passion, my talent, my creativity.

Beyond the computer, I felt frightened, somewhat like a little girl running outside the protective circle of her guardian. When I pulled myself away I was nervous and I overate. I grounded chocolate-pudding brownies into mocha-almond-fudge ice cream. I had bread rolls and garlic bread, hash browns, and other carb-filled delights. All the while feeling worse and worse about myself.

I felt entirely alone and useless, despite my family being home. So much so that I googled: Why it’s okay to be lazy and Why it’s okay to do nothing.

I felt extreme guilt about being ME. I analyzed why I had this guilt, but the analysis made things worse. I knew all the things I should have been doing, such as: exercising, showering, drinking green tea, taking my supplements, getting out of the house. But I couldn’t do anything. I was immobilized, trapped, frozen. I couldn’t even change the stained shirt I was wearing or bend down to pick a crumb off the floor.

These types of days, where I am overcome by grief, fear, and fatigue, are nothing new to me. I’ve had these days since I was a teenager. The challenge is that now I’m not a teenager, I am a mother and a wife, which comes with responsibilities beyond my own needs.

These roles’ obligations add to my guilt, my feelings of low self-worth, and my inability to fully retreat, regroup, and reenergize.

Yesterday wasn’t the easiest of mornings for our family. There was some turmoil. This spike in the energy of the household left my brain sprawling. Any type of unexpected event causes me to feel unease and fear.

No amount of reasoning, cognitive tools, or talk can dissipate the fear. I have to go through the fear. Then, once on the other side—whether within minutes or a day—I have the clarity of mind to process and release.

Yesterday the fear stayed with me.

Yesterday I hated myself for starting this stupid blog. I thought for certain I’d never ever have anything to write about worth interest. I hated myself for thinking I was making a difference. I hated myself for my lack of willpower, my messed up emotions, my inability to relax, my constant, constant challenges. I hated life.

My life felt like poop, so much that I even Googled poop. I watched a YouTube on crap—and then wondered whose crap it was.

About midnight, I began preparing for the next day, hoping I’d awake in a different mindset. I wrote a poem about how I’m okay, listing everything from wearing pajamas all day to overeating. I started researching self-acceptance. Starting telling myself I am okay.

I understand with further clarity how I’m trapped in a cycle of perfectionism—always have been, and imagine I always will be. It’s something about the way my brain functions. My strong analytical ability and extreme fluid intelligence enable me to have complex thought processes and to produce quality work; however, those same abilities put me into overdrive of self-analysis, worry, and remorse.

My own thought processes set me up for failure.

I understand with further clarity how a well-balanced person experiences the ABC’s of Acceptance, Belonging, and Confidence. And how having Aspergers evokes feelings of Rejection, Not Fitting In, and Timidity.

 

I understand with further clarity how Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs relates to this female with Aspergers.

My physiological needs are being met.

My safety needs are not being met.

There is no security, stability, or freedom from fear. There are moments of relief from fear, but they are fleeting, always temporary, always changing.

My sense of belonging is limited.

I feel continually that I am not upholding to the rules, expectations, and norms of others. I question my actions, my motives, my own belief systems. I upset my spouse; I neglect my family; being a lover comes with its challenges. I have friends that love me unconditionally, but I worry that they will discover, at a deeper level, I am too odd, too strange, too much to deal with, not enough.

My self-esteem is limited.

I achieve mastery sometimes in my writing, in my thinking, in my ability to love others; but there remains an underlying doubt and fear about others’ judgment and rejection. I like ME most of the time. I would choose ME as a friend. I’d be happy with ME as a friend. Yet, at the same time I doubt my ability to be enough. I achieve recognition and even respect, but I over analyze both. I question am I worthy to receive recognition and respect? What if I disappoint, offend, and/or fall short? What if my faults are singled out? What if I am ridiculed, judged, and rejected? What if I become prideful?

My self-actualization is intriguing.

This is where my triangle is top-heavy. I do pursue my inner talents. I do pursue creative endeavors. I do feel fulfilled by my endeavors. It appears my self-actualization is reached from a different avenue than the norm. I do not progress up the triangle. Instead I take a ladder, lean it against the triangle, climb up, and bypass the center of the triangle, to reach the top. I pursue my talents because that is my refuge, my retreat, my coping mechanism. In this realm, atop the triangle, lies my freedom and power. Atop the triangle sits my obsession, fixation, passion, joy, and extreme love.

And that explains where I was yesterday. I was seated on the top-level of the triangle. High out of reach. I retreated to my place of comfort.

Today, I climb back down the ladder, back to the ground. But I carry with me a greater clarity, a clarity only found because I sat at the highest peak and viewed my world.

“We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do.” ~ Ethel Barrett

“I was a personality before I became a person – I am simple, complex, generous, selfish, unattractive, beautiful, lazy, and driven.” ~ Barbra Streisand

“I would step into a place of being lined up with a sense of purpose and my inner compass, and everything was going in the same direction. Then I’d get lazy and get off the track. And then things would start to fall apart, and I’d back up and get it together again.” ~ Kathy Mattea 

Kathy Mattea in 1994 Teach Your Children Well

Okay Poem Below

It’s Okay

It’s okay to be lazy

It’s okay to get off track

It’s okay to take a break

It’s okay to sleep in

It’s okay to wear pajamas

It’s okay to avoid the mirror

It’s okay

It’s okay to lounge on the couch

It’s okay to overeat

It’s okay to get off-balance

It’s okay to eat ice cream

It’s okay to obsess

It’s okay to ignore the laundry

It’s okay

It’s okay to gain weight

It’s okay to cry

It’s okay to make mistakes

It’s okay to get angry

It’s okay to be afraid

It’s okay not to like yourself

It’s okay

It’s okay to worry

It’s okay to over analyze

It’s okay to stay inside

It’s okay to fixate

It’s okay to do little

It’s okay to disappoint

It’s okay

It’s okay to frown

It’s okay to complain

It’s okay to shout

It’s okay to fail

It’s okay to have guilt

It’s okay to surrender

It’s okay

It’s okay to feel different

It’s okay to feel alone

It’s okay to want change

It’s okay to share pain

It’s okay to come up empty

It’s okay to be you

It’s okay

In everything you are

It’s okay

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15 thoughts on “Day 49: The View From Atop the Triangle

  1. wow,…..there are just a “few” words for us to ponder!!!!!! lol!!!!!,..good morning to you young lady!!!!!!!!!,…….you googled poop?????,…….i like that one!!!!!!!…….i have a folder labeled “bad ass!!!!”,…in which i plae everything that i want to read over and over again!!!! this letter is going in there!!!!!……….so much i want to say right now! but???? not yet!!!!!…………….
    autism is a funny thing to me,…i had written something about our labels defining us,…perhaps in a bad way???,….i liked your picture of the elephant,…it seems that i remember him??? from disneyland, perhaps???? (it’s been a few years!!!!!!!)……..on top of the triangle?????,….it’s very difficult to find balance there,…without growing very tired, very quickly, i have found.
    much food for thought here today!!!!!!,…as i said,…so much that i would like to say about what you have written here,…as i relate all too well!!!!!!
    i am working on a piece now called THE MOUSE IN THE COCONUT………….i hope that you give it a read when you see it pop up,…………..i am not sure when it will be, though!
    blogging is an amazing thing, i find. in good and bad ways, to me. as it makes me feel alive,…it also makes me feel rather dead. i know that i hide behind my computer,….i feel safe here,…but i can can still speak here (i have a very difficult time speaking to others in person,….whether it’s the aspergers, or not,….i do not entirely know??????…………hhhhmmmmmm………..more later……….toksoon

  2. But isn’t it nice to know that strangers are reading and you’re being heard? It sometimes helps to have an audience, to keep motivated. You have one now. Keep on at it.

    1. Yes. It does help to be heard, especially by others who truly “get” the Aspergers part, and also by others without Aspergers who offer compassion and support. And also to hear others’ journeys, and to know I can help another. 😉 Sam

  3. Don’t worry so much, Sam! I think you’re doing well! It’s normal and even healthy to examine who you are and where you’re going in life. Just remember to take deep breaths and relax occasionally while you’re doing this! I’m glad you choose to blog!

    1. LOL! Okay! You’re too funny. Actually today we went for a family walk in the forest and then listened to Irish music at a cafe. I had a grand time. But when Melancholic Me and Phantom get together—watch out! I’m thinking you like Crazy Frog the best. lol. Thanks for your support and words. Deep breaths it is. Thanks for the encouragement. 😉 Sam

  4. Ah, Sam, I understand. Deeply. I struggle with such fits perpetually. When you are in the grips of worry it is hard to take action or else the action is frantic and obssesive.

    I get that.

    I am amazed by your daily writing. You can pull yourself together, sit down and write. Reading about overeating, feeling blue, purposeless– I get you. Last week. i stressed over my family’s health and our neighbor (her mother is dying).

    The weekends are always the hardest for me, since I have both my husband and my son to care for. It is important, vital work that I feel I fail at. This is not realistic, but when I look out the window and see our cute, slim neighbor with her perky normal children, I sigh and eat another chocolate malted easter egg.

    Typical people do not understand how deep and unescapable the anxiety is. Nor do they comprehend that you just can’t get over it. The best you can do is sail through the stormy days and find a passion.

    Your blog is an admirable passion. I would be here everyday to cheer you on, but I sink into my own sort of strange anxious despair that causes social seizures.

    Have heart. You are cherished out here in blogland. You help me feel less alone. You make me laugh when I need it and you give me courage.

    I think I used up my social reserve for the day. Warm happy tea-drinking thoughts! 🙂

    You friend,
    Lori

    1. Yep. You are a soul sister, indeed. I knew you’d get it. I’m sorry you stressed over your neighbor—and I know how family health can affect my state of mind. Weekends are hard for me because of the lack of routine and need to get the boys out of the house so they don’t fight. I only think an Aspie brain can understand the complexity of Aspie anxiety. Yes, “sail through the stormy days and find a passion” — perfectly worded. I’ll take your cheers sporadically—you take care of you. Thanks for your lovely words. As always you are such a bright, bright light. Your Soul-Sister ~ Sam 🙂

  5. I feel all these things that you feel. I especially like that you say you could not bring yourself to pick up a crumb. I had to laugh because I’ve been there… And to give the green light to over eat? I can love that and fear that since I have an eating problem… Coming from a harsh Asian mom, I would get a somewhat opposite poem. I have to prop the ladder up sometimes too to do my job in the outside world. Inside I feel what you feel. We’re human. You’ve put it so well here that you make yourself easy to relate to even if you think you’re not. You write well, my friend. I’m quite certain you will meet your goals. Maybe later, you will realize you weren’t really missing some of those parts of the triangle. They were just misplaced… 🙂

    1. 🙂 Always so sweet you are! Today was a much better day. I walked in the forest, listened to live Irish music at a quaint free-trade cafe.But days like yesterday are so very hard. A harsh Asian mom…I bet you have some stories you could share!

      Thank you for saying “I feel what you feel.” Yes, I think later indeed I will realize I wasn’t missing some parts after all. Thank you for connecting. Thank you for saying you understand. Chat soon ~ Sam 🙂

  6. Sometimes when I read your blog I feel like you’re channeling my life, my brain. It gives me such great hope that you write this. I’m not alone. I so appreciate your honesty and humility. Thank you.

    1. I much appreciate your comment. Thank you very much. At times, I do feel like I am “channeling” others’ journeys. It is so important to me that females with Aspergers no longer feel alone and isolated. Your words mean a great deal. Hugs to you ~ Sam

  7. Minus the parts involving children/motherhood, your list of worries is pretty much exactly what my own list of worries would look like. Which is exactly why I enjoy reading your blog– it’s nice not to feel so alone.

  8. I love this post. I love the ladder against the triangle analogy. I love seeing on paper that someone else functions like this, although it makes me sad to relate to the negative feelings it causes you :(. Seeing a chart, with a simple analogy of how I (we, you, others like this) think is super soothing because it gives me a “why”. I obsess over the “why”s”. Saturday I spent 7 obsessive hours on a pastel painting for a gift, while my dear hubs did everything I’d wanted done all week, including having fun with our 3 and 5 year old. I shunned the laundry, the housework, phone calls I needed to make, a social invitation, bills that needed paying – yet as I painted i obsessed over it all. But it was a darn good piece of art when I was done, and ohiamsoblessed that my husband took care of almost everything I was worried about. I wish simple tasks did not lead me to total fear and inaction, but it does, especially when the to do list runs off the paper, up my thigh and down my forearm (loathe the end of the school year). And your poem, the telling yourself (and us) that it is okay to be who we are was awesome, although my own LV is screaming at it. Before I read about asperger’s last week, I thought I had some sort of self help obsession – be a better mother, art director, wife, person, daughter, sister, friend – I spend way too much time making real and imaginary pinterest boards of what my life should be and trying to find normal.

    And speaking of over sharing…

    And over relating to your words and spitting out my version…
    (mememememeMeme) (did you sing it?)

    Yeah, sorry for that.

    But thanks for your blog. It is worth it. It does make a difference. And you are a beautiful, quirky (compliment, Ally McBeal style) person who in sharing your experiences has helped me to feel a hundred epiphanies over the last week (and to schedule one VIDA – very important doctor appointment). My goal is not an official Aspie diagnosis, it is to begin therapy, NO MORE DRUGS, to help me be ok with me. I don’t want to treat the symptoms like every doctor and therapist has done my whole life. I shunned anxiety meds and all the prozacs 5 years ago (after being medicated since age 11), and there’s a bottle of cymbalta on my counter that sits unopened and causes me much stress every time I look at it. What I want is to have the tools (neatly organized in little Rubbermaid totes with hand lettered, color coded labels) to file in my brain for use when I’m so far in my head I can’t function without pain and fear.

    Whew. And now, that I blogged all over your blog (selfish selfish selfish) I must go wake up my littles and go out in that scary world. Keep writing, keep discovering, keep inspiring, Sam. This blog means a lot.

Thank you for your comments :)

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