My husband said, “God was telling you right away at the door to the building. At that point you could have said, ‘You know, this isn’t the place for me.’”
I think he was right.
Last night, I stood back observing myself in the mini-van, ironically right along the same place on the road I’d earlier been laughing in rapture, and watched myself reach the depths of sorrow. I wasn’t depressed in the slightest, I was hollowed out by pain and left aching from within: the place of emptiness which was once my beating heart. I’d been cleaned up, shook up, messed up, and restocked, all of me screaming for retreat. Sadness doesn’t give what I experience justice, not even close. It was a deep affliction in which I was sobbing uncontrollably, and felt entirely at the mercy of my God.
I stopped mostly by the time I got home; I tried to gather myself. I prayed and I asked for guidance; and just then, as I was about to leave the van and exit to the dark outdoors, I spied this oversized animal. Something very wide and very dark; he (or she) was approaching the van. Straight at me, like an arrow. I soon figured out it was a raccoon that we think has built a nest in our tree. It was the first time ever since we’ve lived here that I have spotted him on our property. He just happened to wobble along in plain sight, right as I asked for a sign. Just like my God to send me an over-sized raccoon. He came straight to my van, straight to my door, and then dove underneath. Chicken me, (raccoons eat chickens), I dialed my husband, whom was a mere hop and skip away, upstairs in the house. As who knew if the beast, as cute as he be, was lurking beneath the van waiting to attack.
Bob came down and sat in the van, and he watched and listened as I wept. My youngest, bless his empathetic heart, flashed a note from the upstairs window that read, “Are you Okay?” I gave him the thumbs up. My middle guy, with ASD, he flashed a flashlight, overly concerned about spying a nocturnal raccoon, and having no interest in me whatsoever.
Luckily, I had listened to my angels, because about twenty minutes into my weeping in the driveway to Bob, about the time my youngest held up a new sign, in the same read marker that read: “Hurry up, I’m bored,” I needed that roll of toilet paper to scrub-dry my tear-ridden face. Eariler in the morning, I’d heard distinctly at 7:30 a.m. (in my own interior voice) to take the roll of toilet paper to the van. You’ll need it later today, the voice had warned. I figured my angels were speaking about food spillage or bloody-nose incidents from the boys; little did I know that they knew I would be a blubbering mess. Indeed.
In concerns regarding the symbolism of the raccoon, I think it reflects my desire to accept what is and to adapt to what is happening in my life. Also, I think it is a direct reflection to the way I interpret people donning various masks of protection, and my inability to understand what they are protecting themselves from. I like how the raccoon came straight for me, right out of the dark, appearing in my line of exit; for I could not take another step, literally, until I confronted this masked creature. I think his arrival enabled me to have a private talk in the van that wouldn’t had occurred otherwise. And I think, too, he came to pull me out of the sorrow momentarily and re-center me back on the straight path.
I explained to Bob in the privacy of the van that I was so completely confused by most of mankind’s behavior. And that I felt alone and isolated.
We continued the conversation the next day, which was this afternoon. I have combined the experience into one clump, (because it would bore me to go back and weed out the separate elements of the discussions at this point).
Basically, several things happened:
1. I was reminded of how frequently people judge and categorize other people
2. I was reminded of how differently I tend to think than the “average” person
3. I was reminded of how much I pick up on others’ energies and emotions
4. I was reminded of how much I still long to belong and be seen
5. I was reminded that most people seem more unaware of self than me
6. I was reminded that just because someone says they adhere to certain principles doesn’t mean he or she does
7. I was reminded that people lump collective thoughts into a theory and then generalize about a set of people
8. I was reminded of dogma
I felt a lot of things I’d rather not list, as to me it seems unkind.
My husband took some time (and more time…and some more time) to explain this NT behavior. (Neurotypical; aka, what I use and other people sometimes use instead of “normal,” as no one is normal. In other words “typical-brain” as is accepted by modern day standards; in other words: NOT MY BRAIN.)
He was quite good actually, in his description. (Ladies, shall we pause briefly, and clap at once, as I tell you that I trained my man well.) He gave this great analogy. I could see it all in my head. He said that he believes most NTs, himself included, walk around in these bubbled layers of walls. There are several, at least three. (News to me.) And that when they first meet their bubbles kind of touch each other, and that this is their ‘line of defense.’ They (some of the NTs) like to bump and met several times before letting down the first wall. Therefor they talk about things (boring, surface-level stuff) that isn’t personal or doesn’t seem risky at all (safe, boring, surface-level stuff). They do this to make sure the person is safe, not a threat, not someone to fear, or someone who is after them. Also to see if they share common interests and viewpoints.
By this point, I have interrupted my husband several times and drifted in and out of my imagination, as the bubbles were fun to picture, and my husband is very used to me “interjecting.” Here are some of the things I asked:
2. What do you talk about?
3. Isn’t it boring?
4. What is in the last bubble?
5. What are people hiding?
6. What are people afraid of?
Answers, from my bubble NT husband:
1. We have been trained not to trust. Think of all the messages you hear. For example: “You let him into your house? You told him what? You let him do what? You gave him money? He is just going to buy drugs with it…People basically don’t trust other people.
2. I don’t know. Basic stuff.
3. No; I think we enjoy it.
4. Probably our deepest self that we think is unworthy; fear. (Let’s pause and clap for the extreme inner awareness my husband expressed about himself, seeing he was formally living in a mostly NT world and acting like a Vulcan.)
5. Their deep dark secrets.
6. Being found out. Being hurt, basically fear.
I kept saying, for quite a long while: “But what are you afraid of? What is there to fear?” We went round and round for quite a bit, and it came down to that most humans have an innate distrust for other humans and most humans think at a core level they are inadequate, and some people do things they think are terrible and could never share, or have had things done to them that they feel ashamed about. And there was some discussion about the “dark side” that people hide.
I couldn’t understand what the dark side was, and what people were hiding, and why they were hiding it. I tried. I asked, “What is my dark side?” My husband said, “I haven’t found one yet, and I hope I never do.”
That seemed silly to me; really. I don’t hide anything and have no places of hiding and no bubbles, so there isn’t any place the dark side can live.
But the other stuff, it started to make sense. Soon I asked: “Well then, if there are two different types of people, some that are honest, don’t manipulate, don’t hold back, don’t have these bubbles, but are trusting and loving and completely open, and try to see the best in others, and there is another group who lies, manipulates and plays games to protect an inner fear that stems from someplace about something they are unsure about, then it makes more sense to me that the group that lie and are in fear try to adapt and be more like the ones that trust and are open, instead of reverse, don’t you think?”
This is when we can really cheer for my husband, for having lived with the sincere challenges I sometimes offer out in a relationship, he had the honesty and sweetness to say: “That’s why I think at times that ASD is a new race of people come to help the world.” Then he chuckled, and added he’d been watching too much sci-fi. I took this as an NT immediately putting up a bubble, and I understood.
During the conversation today, I was able to process some of the events that had me gasping for breath as I cried in the van the night before. I asked Bob, “Then why when I am authentic and true and real, and entirely me, do I scare people?”
Bob responded, with several well-fitting answers, all of which made sense, but still baffled me.
1. People don’t trust people; so when you are honest, kind, and sweet, they question your interior motive, your genuineness, and your truthfulness. (aka FEAR)
2. People don’t feel comfortable having someone spill out their whole self all at once; it is too much and overwhelming. They don’t know how to respond, what to say, or why you are that way. (aka FEAR)
3. People are confronted with their own inability to not be authentic and real, and this reminds them of their own secrets and feelings of unworthiness and lack of confidence at the center. (aka FEAR)
4. People are thinking you are in your first bubble, the one on the farthest outside layer; and if you are, then they wonder what you are hiding; for surely there must be all these layers you are hiding; and if you are hiding then why are you faking authenticity. (aka FEAR)
This saddened me and intrigued me, all at once. So, I said, “Some Aspies love the company of other Aspies as we are real, and some NTs like the company of other NTs because they are “pretending” instead of being completely real, at first.”
Bob explained that many NTs like to spend a lot of time together until they trust; they build trust; and he noted that I don’t need to do that, I love instantly, share instantly, and trust instantly. I didn’t understand the need to build up trust.
This brought me back to where I was last night, at a local church event, and explained one thing for certain. One of the speakers, a well-spoken women of faith, who was trying hard to do her best, she explained that intimacy with God takes time, just like our everyday relationships; that we share are deepest secrets with people we’ve known a long time, not just a few days; and that in this way one must spend a long time with God to build intimacy. I found this entirely wrong for me; and stopped myself from saying so, as I stopped myself most of the night from speaking up; because me and my higher power don’t need time to build a relationship. I trust Him; I always have. And I don’t need time with my friends to build trust; I trust in reverse to the NT way, I suppose. I give the benefit of the doubt ahead of time. God gets that, too, from me. And He is good with that.
At this point, as I am reflecting, I am thinking there really needs to be a church for Aspies. Seriously. Because so much of what the lady said didn’t ring true for me. I wanted to add a few things to her speech that she forgot to mention. In regards to intimacy with God she suggested we need to trust, to feel worthy and slow down. First of all, many people feel unworthy in the light of God and that is okay, it keeps one humble. (My little opinion at this moment that I am not attached to.) In addition, there is a lot more to having a close relationship with God (or a person’s higher power). For instance, somethings that might help, include:
1. Humility. Above all humility. This requires the release of self-righteousness, pride, and piety…all things that people who cling to a dogma have.
2. The ability to bring up all of the stuff to someone other than God. My greatest freedom has been in risking and being all of who I am. I have nothing in my closet. Giving it to God and whispering secrets is not enough, in my opinion. Because there are still secrets. There is still fear.
3. Releasing fear (Including fear of other people)
4. Release of judgment. (Walk the talk…that’s all I’m saying.)
These are my truths. They make sense to me under the umbrella of what this church holds as Truth. Under another umbrella there exists other variables. They might not be my truths in an hour or in a week.
I began to see that the discomfort I felt at this place was so multi-faceted. It was a combination of my isolation based on:
1. My high-intelligence and capacity to study and analyze things, like the gospels that were hidden and buried by the church, the way truths are altered and suppressed to make persons of authority gain power, and so on.
2. My high-capacity to interpret the outcome of attachment; for example it is impossible not to judge if one is adhering to one narrow viewpoint, aka dogma.
3. My ability to see past the bubbles to the core, to not judge, but to discern what is there. For example, I don’t judge Fred my cedar tree, I observe him. I might say he is very tall, one branch needs trimming, and there is a small amount of ivy growing at the base of his trunk—better pluck that soon. This is not judging Fred, and that is kind of how I see people.
4. My ability to be bubble-free and completely me. This really rubs people the wrong way. I become like a bubble popper, and people just don’t like me for that.
5. My capacity to speak my truth from a heart of love without need, want or intention. A lot of people don’t get this.
6. My ability to have a very close connection to my higher power. Many people, if not all, at this gathering I was attending were struggling to reach and talk to God. I am struggling to find a way to turn the channel off or at least adjust the volume down.
I sat through an entire talk about how to get close to God, when I already am, using techniques for an NT, which I already ain’t, from a woman whom I discerned needed a few branches trimmed. I wanted to see Jesus on the stage. I wanted to see.
1. Extreme Vulnerability
2. Exposure expressed in humility
3. Unconditional Love
4. No judgment
5. No assumptions
I wanted to see outside of the bubbles. I wanted to be taught by a bubble-free person. I wanted to be surrounded by people who got me and saw me and wanted to see me; people who weren’t scared of me because I choose to not live in fear.
I am not trying to draw lines. Some of my best friends are NTs, (sounds silly, but is the truth), and they have many wonderful qualities and are very authentic and real and loving. It just seems like a large majority of people aren’t so real and I am living in a world with people who are pretending. I don’t think it bothered me to an extreme until last night. Until I went to a “House of God” and thought I would find the unconditional Love of the Light. Why? Because I am trusting. Why? Because I choose to look for the good. Why? Because A House Of God ought be a House of Love.
I don’t think I am disappointed. I think I feel poisoned and confused, and downtrodden. My angels have told me that like the gnostic gospels say, that the Light is within, and the temple of God can be found within. I get this. But man has told me to go to church for companionship, connection, and to be in the family of the Lord. Only they don’t feel like companions to me. I feel more at home in a petting farm or on a nature trail: animals and trees don’t lie, don’t pretend, and don’t judge me. Where am I supposed to go for God companionship, beyond self, when the community at large that gathers doesn’t want to see me or hear what I have to offer?
I scare people. That’s all there is to it.
My light is scary. And that’s why I cried. Not so much from the first sign, from the woman at the door who greeted me by looking me over and saying, “Oh, you must not be from here.” (I was dressed too nicely, for the locals I suppose.) I had answered, politely with humor, “What do you base that judgment on?” and she in return blushed and apologized. I might have known I was entering a house of judgment. What got me wasn’t the first sign, but the last sting of the night. When I approached a woman I was drawn to, because she was an authority of the church. When I confided in her she did none of what I would consider comforting.
As I was talking, with tears streaming down my face, of the great love I had for God and how I walked in peace and did not want to do anything but serve: She judged me. She warned me. She told me I was hearing the dark. She told me not to study the saints. She told me the best thing I could do was to meet with other women of faith and make connections. She was defensive. Did not trust me, and kept countering my experiences. She warped what I said and twisted my truth.
I had been searching for a woman of strong faith to guide me through this huge connection to God I have been feeling. I was asking her for guidance, for love, for comfort. I was asking to be seen, to be held, to be known. And instead I was treated like the bubble popper I am: Too real, too much, too me.
I am not meaning to lump all people into NT or non-Nt…. I don’t even think these lables exist..Just trying to make sense of my world and how I walk in it. No one created sect. is better or worse than another. 🙂 I know this.
“I am having a hard time connecting at a personal level with people who claim to love and embrace a certain spiritual practice but judge, act pious, fear, and accuse. I get very confused and start to weep. I do not understand how people can be blinded to their own ways of separation and I feel saddened for all the souls that are affected by their accusations and what seems to be suffocated hearts. I don’t know how to respond, and so I step back in observation, and wish that they could see their true beauty, and therefor open their arms to my authenticity and love. I feel a stranger walking into a room, entirely unraveled and undone by another, before I’ve spoken, and then in speaking, entirely judged, jarred, and classified, put on a shelf with a label before they have tasted my sweetness. I thought this would change as I grew older, and others around me did too, that others would “see” me and “understand” me, and possibly accept me. The aftermath, for me, is this intense yearning for interpersonal connection, intimacy, and belonging. The worst of it being the doubt of my own being, and the knowing that I have the capacity to judge and categorize those around me. And then I wonder if what I am feeling is indeed their suffering and singled-out isolation so evident in their withdrawing from authenticity, or if I truly be the wickedest, cruelest judge of all; and so I weep again; unburdening myself from my own miserly thoughts, and waiting and waiting to be seen.” ~ Sam (Everyday Aspergers)