I have recently formed a friendship with a woman with Aspergers, and I have to say, it is the easiest friendship I have ever had. Though it is long distance, we chat every day, sometimes for hours. What I notice about her are the same traits I notice about me. Our lives and our thinking are so parallel, it is almost creepy.
Essentially, we think and process the same way. We have the same worries. We see things in the same light. We both require the same security in conversation. We need validation, and we give out the whole of ourselves. We are able to focus on one another entirely. Everything else can stop. We become priority. Talking to her is the easiest thing I’ve done in my life. She is genuine, open, and entirely honest. She analyzes everything she says before writing, and then analyzes it again after writing—just as I do. She frets over her words, as I do. She wonders whether she is good enough for a friend, too intense, too different. She over-compensates with love and compassion to be certain I feel safe and understood. She offers advice straight from the heart, only because she has a calling from God to do so. She sits on every word, measuring the potentiality for miscommunication and the probable consequences of her message. She spins and loops about what she has said, and how the words might affect our relationship. She thinks about me often throughout her day; I am never an afterthought. She loves me whole-heartedly. She knows when I need her to sit and be with me, and puts aside everything else in her life to show me she cares. She takes the time to write to me, no matter what is happening in her life. As soon as she knows I am available to chat, she comes my way with a smile, heart, or message. She is my soul-sister, mirroring me in every way, and I so love what I see.
Through my friendship with this special lady and through her comforting words expressing her own experience with friends, I am just beginning to understanding the difference between the way I communicate to friends I am passionate about and the way people without Aspergers communicate back to me. I am realizing that many times in my life, I was ultimately not rejected, but that my friends didn’t understand my communication style, misinterpreted my words and actions, and were actually incapable of duplicating my enthusiasm and dedicated attention.
I find this true today with another friendship I have formed with a very kind and loving person. Though this person is one of the sweetest souls I have met, at the same time, we communicate so entirely differently. This is no fault of anyone’s—and is solely the result of our brains being wired differently. Where I am as eager as a puppy to jump all over the conversation, day or night, anytime, anywhere, my new friend prioritizes, plans, evaluates, and places me within a schedule. Aspies generally don’t do that! We have this gift of focusing entirely on what we are interested in and what are hearts want at the moment. Everything, and I mean everything else in our world, disappears when we are wrapped up in our passion. Bills might not get paid, beds not made, pets not fed—we don’t neglect, we just forget as we are sucked into another realm.
To me this is a form of escape. I can do this with certain people, and my communication with them becomes my temporary haven away from all the stresses of the world—away from the constant overload of sensory input, and worries of everything that is shouting to be done, the continual spinning of thoughts, ideas, emotions, and need, the pounding fear of the world’s expectations and anticipated actions. In having a special friend, I am able to forget myself momentarily and be only a part of his or her world: just me on a stage with them, with everything else on hold. I’ve done this my entire life. And I do believe this aspect is a primary part of me, nothing to be fixed or changed; this is just me. Living on this planet, if I did not have opportunity to escape, I would surely hovel in a corner and never leave. This world is ultimately a very scary place for me.
I am also realizing that I hurt much more inside when I talk to people than when I talk to my new friend with Aspergers. This, again, is no one’s fault, and purely reflects the dynamics of two people with like minds joining verses two people with very different minds connecting. It does not matter how sensitive, caring, loving, pure and honest a friend is, if he or she doesn’t have Aspergers, he or she will never truly get me. That’s not to say I can’t have very fulfilling friendships with all types of people; it just means I know deep down inside that unless a person has a brain that functions like me, there will always be this piece about me that the other person will not understand. Whether he or she is aware of this makes no difference, because I am aware of this.
I am working through some hurt now. Trying to understand why my needs are entirely different than most people’s needs in a relationship. Backtracking through all the past times I overwhelmed, confused, or was misunderstood. I am acknowledging that broken relationship were not because of whom I am as a person. Broken relationships were a result of me communicating the only way I knew how.
Some of the things I’ve noticed happening in the new relationship I have with someone that does not have Aspergers:
1) I am sad that my friend is not always able to talk to me at every moment of the day.
2) I continually worry I over-shared, and at the same time cannot help myself from over-sharing. I get this overwhelming urge to share. And have this urgency about me to expose my truths, as if the world shall end tomorrow and if I don’t get my thoughts out, I shall die unknown and unheard.
3) I want to know EVERYTHING about my friend. Every fear, love, past event, thought, experience.
4) I wonder why the person has not answered my message in a timely fashion. (For me that would mean within a second of when I wrote the message, because I ought to be number one priority! Insert laughter here.)
5) I question why the person wants to be my friend, as I am so intense, so prone to having my feelings hurt, in continual need of validation, and questioning my worth.
6) I worry beyond worry that my friend does not see the purity of my heart. And when I am misunderstood a thousand daggers pierce my soul. For if my friend sees me as mean, manipulative, a liar, lacking compassion, closed-minded, angry, vengeful, demeaning, or the like, than I know he or she is not seeing me.
7) I want to be seen. I want to open myself up like a book so the friend can read every single page and know my beauty. I want to shine so bright that my friend believes me when I say I love unconditionally.
8) I try constantly to say the exact word. I fret over every sentence. If I am chatting online, I reread everything I wrote ten times, wondering if I chose the wrong words, wondering how the person will interpret, wondering if I am expressing the heart of me.
9) I want to delete most of what I say. I sometimes have an odd sense of humor, or don’t get something, like a simple word, or simple explanation. My friend’s innocent comment can send me off the deep end, send me spiraling down to earth, with a heavy landing, so that I feel deadened and crushed inside.
10) I find that I am so very innocent and naïve compared to other people. In conversation, I feel as if I am about the age of ten or even younger. A little girl still searching the eyes of the person I adore and wondering if he or she adores me. A little girl needed to be swept up and hugged and told how beautiful she is, how special, how loved. To know that I am unconditional accepted and very much appreciated. I long to be told, I love you, every few minutes, in order to feel safe, in order to understand I am not being judged, misinterpreted, or thought about in a “bad” light.
11) I am just realizing I don’t really understand love at all. Love to me means something entirely different than to most people. I don’t understand the degrees of love, how love builds, how friendship starts out at one level, and then grows into love. I love all at once. This huge bundle of love. And I plop this love right down at my friend’s feet. If I didn’t feel that bundle of love, I wouldn’t be the person’s friend. It’s very simple to me. Of course I love you, you are my friend. What does like you a lot even mean? Does that mean I like you for now, and might always like you, but if you prove to be more special, I might consider loving you? That hurts me. The word like hurts me. If love is the end point, then why am I placed at the starting line? Why wouldn’t a friend love me from the very beginning? Can he or she not feel the same connection, bond, and love as me?
12) I sometimes say things, hint things, and describe things that are very clear to me, and the other person doesn’t get what I am saying at all. I sometimes do things that take the whole of me, take so much risk, preparation, and forethought, but my actions aren’t met with the same extreme of emotions. Speaking to my friend sometimes is akin to tearing out my bleeding heart, setting my heart pounding on the table for my friend to see, and my friend casually walking by and saying, “Oh, that’s nice.” Only to then continue walking. I take out my heart and think the person will know, but my friend does not. My friend does not know that everything I say is a dynamic risk.
13) I don’t know how to turn down my intensity. I don’t have light and carefree days. I don’t have a way to shut me down or dim my emotion. I don’t even have waves of love. Everything remains level at a very high extreme. Nothing is little or unimportant. Nothing downplayed. Nothing forgotten. Everything remembered and brought back up to the surface over and over for reanalysis. Scenarios are played out in the mind of how I could have said something better. How I could communicate clearer. How I should communicate less. How I should be less enthusiastic. I swing a harsh whip at my mind, slash and slash with should haves and could haves.
14) Simple statements from my friend can send me spinning. What does that mean? Did I do something wrong? Did I blow this friendship? Was I too intense? What does my friend want me to say? How should I say this? What if I am wrong? What if I am misjudged? Did I say too much already? Should I laugh now? Should I offer support? Is advice okay? Am I a bore, a nuisance, a weirdo, too odd to keep around? Why is the conversation over? Why not talk more? Why am I not a priority? Am I not nice enough? Not kind enough? Not pretty enough?
15) I cherish my friend to no end. I would walk the end of the earth for my friend. I love my friend. I hold my friend up high. I see the light within. I see the purity of heart. I go straight to the soul and relish in the beauty. I see the love within. I see the potentiality for greater communication and connection. I see so much, but am standing across a bridge with a cavernous pit between us. I long to cross the bridge, but the bridge is broken, and I can only stand alone and stare out into the distance, reaching, and longing to touch.
The crows are among the world’s most intelligent birds. Crows can be aggressive, quarrelsome, and sometimes playful. The voice once heard is not easily forgotten. They have an astounding range of calls. There language is complicated and still being discovered. They are excellent puzzle-sovers, have good memory, and quickly learn. They live in community, support their own, and love for life. They hold the spirit of kings.