480: Isolated

I am feeling very isolated tonight. Probably, being sick for most of a month is contributing to my sense of discontentment. I have done a lot of soul searching in the last days—nothing new and nothing finished—and I have made some headway into an increased awareness of my behavior and events and stimuli that affect my behavior. Nonetheless, this prevailing underlining of isolation remains. Certainly, some is an environmental causation, that of being alone in the house too much, in recovery, and there is a likelihood because of the fact that my body is out of equilibrium, e.g., increased pulse with decreased blood pressure, that my mood is altered. Yet, even at my best, this interlocking chain of impossible refuge binds me. Increasingly pulling back to the truth of what I am: the fact that most of what I experience has nothing to do with me, and I am some player made to watch the world around me.

Tonight I felt dropped down into the center of a short film, the semi-cute brunette in the dark corner at the table with other ladies ranging in ages, amid a noisy collaboration of loud music, numerous conversations, and clanging dinner wear. I was the girl with the hollowed eyes, appearing lost in herself and far away, never quite sure of her own place, her own whereabouts, or even her own needs. My facial expressions varied to remembering to wear my forced smile to catching myself with expression relaxed staring off into space with furrowed brow and scowl. The act of remaining in a state of appearing semi-interested was effort in itself. The company was kind enough, sweet enough, and nothing to complain about; it wasn’t anything to do with anything else, but me.

The fact that I can be somewhere and be so separated from all that surrounds me is something that has prevailed my life since a small child. I have moments, cherished moments of gleefulness and carefreeness, but there is always, always a price. I lose myself if happiness enters me. It is a type of giddiness unfamiliar to most, a place of childhood like giggles and extreme silliness, a place of over-zealous eager sharing, wherein my actions resemble those of a kid let loose at summer camp about to splash into the pool.

I jump into people or I hide from them as far as I can. I escape entirely in thought or imaginings or I collide with that which is adjacent to me. I am these two variables, and it is painful. To be me in equilibrium is to be connected to my source, to my God, to that which is the All, but to do this requires elements that are not always readily available and a continual focus on love and light that in itself can deplete me. It is akin to holding up a suit of heavy armor all day to push out that which is attempting to invade me.

In the middle state I am content; I am essentially free. I am calm. I am quiet. I am mild and at peace. However, each and everything has the potential to affect my state, anything from a person to the phase of the moon. I become that which is a part of the collective, subjected to a constant wave of transitioning, whilst stepping back and watching this someone I recognize as self carry on through that which is not real. I cannot explain where I go then, except to perhaps a watchtower of sorts, high up above what is happening down below. I am myself but I am not. I am aware but I am not. And I am entirely uncertain if the person who is processing and thinking is the exact personality I am or if I will shift at any minute.

I can be for two hours the constant traveler with rosary partaking in walking meditation around the lake and think that this representation of self is truly me. But then, in the next phase of the day, I am no longer this person at all, and worse I no longer identify with the one I was moments before. It is as if I put on coats of identity all day long. At one moment the quiet librarian-type reading in the quaint cafe, preoccupied by her aging reflection in the window. Another moment, a younger version of myself, perhaps twelve, over-inflated and elated over the prospect of something discovered or overheard. I fluctuate like the weather; moving clouds I am, transitioning in shape and identity; at times in true form blending across sky, at other moments found in the dew drops of daisy’s eyes.

I cannot find myself, because no self exists, and this frightens me. I am what others are around me. I reflect what others project upon me. I become their feelings, their desires, their interests, even their wishes, transforming myself to fit into the groves of their energy. I cannot help this. I become what is in front of me, what I am facing and processing. If one be smart and an elitist, I become this form. If one be cynical and begrudged, I transition to this state as well. Some ways of being are easier than others. Some I want to be, especially those states of unconditional love and acceptance. Other states are hard for me; challenging the most is the waves and vibrations brought on by distrust and anger. Essentially those elements don’t exist inside of me. None of it does, say the love I try to transmit. Yet, I am constantly contaminated. Constantly bombarded with elements of who I am not, even as I know not who I am.

Sitting at the table and playing the part of a fellow human being interested in the talk of the evening is beyond difficult. Difficult I could handle. I am strong. I am wise. I persevere. What is worse than the challenges of communication and presenting myself as part of the crowd, is the continued sense of being not where I am, but projected backwards and away from the situation, analyzing what is there instead of experiencing life. I am pulled backed, in my thoughts yes, but more so out of the arena about me, put somewhere else, or rather I was never there to begin with.

I can watch the people and know things, see things, observe and wonder. There isn’t judgment, not even discernment, just a detecting of varying misgivings, emotions, insecurities, wants and needs. The desire to be heard and seen. The desire to prove one’s self and to reflect back kindness. The desire to get along, establish connection, to share. None of it need be bad, or weighed as this or that. It is at is is, but I am not. I am not this way, and in not being this way I feel rather invisible and unmoved, untouched and extremely isolated. I know that every word out of my mouth is a collection of something or another that is not me; other’s theories, other’s views, a temporary truth spawned from a collection of my previous life times of living. I know that in one way it is only ego sitting there sharing and deliberating. I feel the motivation behind words. I feel the effort, the burden and the heaviness. There doesn’t seem a point to being where I am. What am I learning? What am I doing? Where am I going? Aren’t I supposed to be just enjoying myself leisurely and taking in the scenery? But how does one do that? I have never been able to do that. Nor will I ever.

I am not a casual participant in life, streaming through the river of discourse. I am the observer above, once removed, cautiously aware that every move I make is a representation of someone I am not. I am not comfortable in my own skin, in my own ways, or in whatever I choose to do, least I be out of equilibrium, that giddy opened-up child, who is too often ridiculed, put in her place, and told how to act. The little one who overwhelms new friends and pushes them away. For who am I to invade the space and privacy of another? Who am I, indeed.

There is a fracturing of self I have come so familiar with that I spend my days watching myself transform and transform again. Waiting to see who I will seemingly be next. Wanting to hold on to one state longer than it lasts, and wanting to rid myself of a state sooner than it expires. I am the person who longs to be a person, but who also longs to be somewhere else amongst people who only reflect back to me a currency of truth and trust and unbridled love and acceptance. That is the only place I wish to be.

The tears come, but they are not the batter of depression; they are instead the tears of remembering. The tears of knowing that though I travel decades I remain very much the same wandering child, still adrift in an ocean of nowhere, watching life pass me by, and wondering if ever I will taste what is before me.

479: Aspie to Aspie: Relationships

These are my personal observations about the Aspie to Aspie relationship

A relationship between two people with Aspergers, whether platonic or romantic, can move at a very high-speed when in comparison to relationships between one person with Aspergers and one person without Aspergers (Neurotypical: NT). I believe this is because both individuals are able to be more themselves, without the societal rules and restrictions they are used to either adhering to, struggling to understand and follow and/or adamantly rejecting. When two Aspies meet to form a new relationship, a space is created that allows an open understanding to occur that oftentimes neither participant has experienced before. For the first time an Aspie might feel seen, heard, and/or understood. This can be intoxicating, reassuring, and/or frightening. For some the experience can resemble finding home for others the experience can resemble being forced out of hiding.

Typically, there is an initial spark of excitement and energy, with one or both partners, when he or she realizes that there is ‘finally’ someone who not only speaks his/her language, but provides the freedom for him/her to be authentic and real. In some cases there is also a sense of dread in having been exposed for what seems to be the first time, uncloaked in a manner of speaking.

In referring to a situation in which both parties are pleased to have found another Aspie who ‘gets’ him or her, at first glance, one might assume that such freedom to be ones true self without societal-inflicted boundaries would enable the participants to have a very open and easy, free-flowing relationship, without qualms and without restrictions. Yet, because both participants are in a new and unexpected situation, there exists a high probability that each one will be confronted with certain triggers. New experiences and unexpected happenings trigger most Aspies. The unknown will bring up questions for both participants, and because of the high-intellect and character trait of over-analysis, both will begin to process the friendship.

The processing can take on different shapes and forms. Much of the processing will be centered around analysis of the self and analysis of the other participant’s behavior. Different attributes of the relationship will directly affect the behaviors of the participants. Variables of the relationship include the frequency and duration of conversation, participants’ past experiences in relationships with other Aspies, any romantic thoughts or feelings housed by one or both of the participants, any tendency for fixations or obsessions about new relationships, the propensity for fear to arise based on past perceived ‘failed’ relationships, recent and past hurts from relationships, and exaggerated hopes and expectations based on projecting into the future. Variables also include other factors that are found in mainstream relationships, but tend to have a higher occurrence in relationships with people on the spectrum; these include: the temperament of each individual and the fluctuation of mood, the presence or absence of medications that affect cognitive or emotional responses, sleep patterns, confidence-level, self-awareness, processing speed, environmental and conversational triggers, adapted rules, patterns and structures, and any comorbid psychological or cognitive conditions.

At the onset of a new relationship, some individuals might fall into a state of high-hope, even bliss, based of a type of self-projection into the future, in which the highly imaginiative Aspie can logically recreate a realistic fantasy relationship in his/her head that does not mirror the current relationship but interjects his/her individualized hopes. This fantasy relationship can shift and morph along the same wave pattern as the real relationship, only extending further out into the realm of non-reality. For example, one might start fantasizing about the first time the friends fly across country to have a cup of tea, and in so doing visualize the tea house, the waiters, the menu, the conversation, and such. This can happen in both platonic and romantic relationships, and tends to remove the participant from the here and now and may or may not cause false hopes and expectations.

The initial state of a relationship between two Aspies, including platonic relationships, can produce behaviors indicative of Obsessive Compulsive Behavior, over attachment, over-giving, and what could be named smothering. It resembles codependency, but is not as long-lasting as codependency behavior, and trickles down and dissipates with time. The frequency depends on each individual. This obsessive state could last weeks or feasibly a year or more. The feelings might mimic feelings of what is believed to be the concept of friendship- or romantic-love. But on close inspection there is no evidence of love. Rather there is an over attachment and a high-need to be part of that person’s life. It resembles an addiction. Typically the participant is highly aware of his/her actions and feels a type of euphoria. Even as he or she is aware, he or she is often unable to stop the feelings, thoughts and resulting actions. As a result participants might partake in impulsive actions including detailed queries about the relationship, long dialogues written or spoken, a preponderance of over-giving and/or sharing. The actions are a result of an inner drive to alleviate the stress inside the psyche. The mind wants to release the obsessive thoughts about the other individual and pushes the participant to react. There is a sense of entrapment until the participant acts out. When the participant attempts to instead stuff his or her emotions and actions, the consequence is further anxiety, angst, and confusion. This can lead to grandiose acts of over-sharing and giving of self or to a strong impulse to run and flee from the relationship all together.

If neither participant is aware of these behaviors and the reasons behind the behaviors this can be the end of the friendship or romance, even before the relationship has really had a chance to start. If participants are aware of the behavior, having an open discussion about what is happening has the potentiality to bring growth and understanding to both parties. However, there remains a constant need to reevaluate the standing of the relationship, in order to keep the relationship from getting out of hand. The management of the relationship can feel tedious and exhausting. Both parties have to have the energy and resources to continue onward in order to avoid potential burnout and frustration. Primarily self-awareness, open communication, boundary setting and adjustment, and self-acceptance can assist during the process of building a mutual beneficial relationship. Still, the complexities of the relationship and effort required to maintain a semblance of normalcy and stability can overwhelm one or both participants, no matter what strategies are initiated.

Between two Aspies, a relationship can progress at high-speed. Typically, both participants will share the commonality of higher-level thinking, keen logic, and the ability to connect ideas with ease. There likely will be a mutual understanding of how the other works. This might be very uncomfortable or very refreshing, depending on the state of mind of the participants. The intellectual abilities will lead to a rapid progression through the stages of relationships. More than likely the initial stage of ‘small talk’ or ‘getting to know you’ will be either skipped entirely, happen over a quick amount of time, or be skimmed over lightly. Aspies will tend to jump into the thickness of conversation rather quickly, rather eloquently, and without much consideration for time or outcome. They will be enjoying the moment, not focused typically on interior motives, goals, or what comes next. The time between two Aspies can seem to go ‘magically’ fast, for each has found an active and attentive audience in the other that finally ‘sees’ the person.

At first both parties might truly enjoy the time together; however, sooner or later, one of the participants realizes he or she ‘has a life’ and needs to pull back some. This tapering off period can be very painful for one or both of the participants. The instigator might feel mixed-feelings of guilt, a sense of release, and a sense of great loss. The individual who is not the instigator might feel abandoned, forsaken or jilted. At this juncture, the participants can choose to talk openly about the experience, and realize that setting structure to future encounters can enable them to continue the relationship without the relationship leaking over into the rest of their lives. In some cases, both individuals will come to an agreement about how to continue the relationship with restrictions in place. In other cases, one of the partners may be too hurt and/or frustrated to continue onward. Sometimes Aspies have a hard time grasping the concept that friendships and/or romances transition. Sometimes an Aspie will equate change to rejection and failure. This is not the case. Merely, both parties are readjusting to fit their current lifestyle, comfort-level and needs.

If the relationship continues to monopolize both parties lives there is a high potentiality for burnout on one or both parties parts. One might reach a point where he or she sees no way to escape the intensity of the relationship without ending the friendship/romance. In addition, all relationships bring up individual’s ‘stuff’ (baggage), but the Aspie relationship will tend to bring the stuff up much faster and from a much deeper level. This can be painfully uncomfortable to look at. Again past hurts from the lack or loss of previous relationships can surface. As most Aspies have suffered great loss in terms of relationships, this can be a tumultuous time of self-inquiry, self-doubt, and a sense of hopelessness. Again, open communication and honesty can assist in alleviating some of the pain. Being frank about what is coming up cannot only take away some of the interior angst but additionally provide opportunity for further growth and self-reflection.

During the relationship, one or both Aspies might counter or question the other partner’s implementation of rigid structures. This scenario can present in numerous ways. For instance, one participant might have adapted a survival tactic of not making plans, not making promises, and not making commitments. He or she might be entirely steadfast in this outlook and unwilling to budge. To him or her his adopted tactic could very well be the life-preserver which enables him or her to get through day-to-day life. Asking someone to change or adjust a rigid structure can be detrimental to the relationship. Here is an opportunity to work on individualized self-esteem issues and question what is about another’s actions that affects insecurities and doubts. In a different situation, a partner might have strict rules in regards to how they wish to communicate, indicating that certain words or mannerisms irritate or frustrate him or her. In this case compromise might be in order, or at minimum a deeper look into where the frustration stems from and how the two can work together to assist one another.

In any situation, both parties must be willing to not only build a relationship but discuss the relationship. Wherein some couples or friends could go years skating on the surface of a relationship, the chances of this happening with two Aspies is highly unlikely. The in-depth mind of the Aspie will analyze and dissect. In previous relationships with NTs, the Aspie likely sometimes felt judged, boxed-in, and unable to always be him or herself without consequence. In an Aspie-Aspie relationship these aforementioned feelings are replaced with a sensation akin to being dissected or put under a microscope; this is a result of the other partner’s over-analysis and need to find his or her bearings. This can seem very unnatural to the Aspie, and invasive, but if he or she takes the time to reflect upon his or her own behaviors and ways of thinking, he or she will discover that Aspies have a natural tendency to dissect.

In some cases, of course, two Aspies, particularly a platonic male-male relationship, as opposed to female-female or female-male, might not face any obstacles of communication. In other situations the perceived obstacles might seem too daunting, and one or both parties might choose to end the relationship. In the case where two individuals are open and willing to move through the Aspie-Aspie relationship, with eyes wide open and with an open mind, there is the capacity for extreme growth and extreme connection on multiple levels. As in all things, with great sacrifice comes great reward.

…………………………………………………………………..

Afterthought…

“I attach without conscious willingness to one individual sometimes. It is as if I am some type of outlet, and instead of plugging into something, I grasp and try to get this person to plug into me. Like I am some vast void of emptiness that needs another to feel alive. I dive into another reality then, making the person into something he is not. And live there most of the day, as a form of escapism from this existence. I feel safe there, playing out the scenarios and replaying potential outcomes. The imaginative interplay preoccupies my mind and provides an outlet for logical processing and disentanglement of ideas and concepts. I enjoy the reasoning to a degree, but more over I am trapped in a torturous sinking muck of angst. I long to reach out and explain over and over my intimate meanderings and details to the one, and check for accuracy and find myself closer to reality. I long to ask for reassurance that I am okay, that this is okay, that we are okay. But I cannot, for I will ruin the situation further, claiming my thoughts aloud to the other and sounding like a foolish child, burying the both of us in my heaviness. Instead, I stay trapped in an immobile state, over-analyzing the reasons why I can’t stop the inner trappings of my cyclic thoughts. I have revisited my tendency to attach to one, trying to edge my way out and figure out the reasons behind my clinging to this false fantasy. The only thing I can surmise is I long to return to Source, to something that I was removed from, from someplace not here. I long to feel whole again, within the circumference of another’s arms. This someone or something that I long for without limits.”

478: Off or Amiss

“I have the hardest time when I try not to be me. When I collect all the dos and do nots from the world and then try to act as if I am okay. To pretend and hold in my truth. I can do it for awhile; I take on this false persona and carry on, some strong soldier who is above it all and will get through. But then I collapse fast. Spiral downward and weep. I become lost and confused by what I had held onto as truth. I get tired of talking so much, of seeing so much, of frankly knowing too much; and I try to pretend my way out of it. To lie to myself and think I am like everyone else, and can make my way through, if I just release parts of who I am. And that is where I fail myself miserably. Yes, fail–in refusing to honor my authenticity and in imagining I am innately flawed and in need of alteration. In truth, in my true inner truth, I am perfectly me, and loved for me.” ~ Sam Craft

Distinguishing between who I am and who I am not comes down to my core values.

When I am in a mental fuzz, processing through something I deem rather important, which occurs on average a few times a week, I always confide in my friends. For part of me must process aloud with another person to reach an understanding of my own thoughts. I don’t process out loud to hear myself speak; I’d rather be a quieter person than I am. I process out loud because I am driven to, almost to the degree I am driven to eat when I am very hungry or drink when I am parched, only with a pulsing demanding urge in my brain.

I have often thought and desired to talk less. I have tried to repress my words. I have tried to remain silent. But whenever I do, my need to process comes out as some form of angst.

I don’t just process with one friend about one event. I usually process the same event over and over with three or four friends through the stretch of one day. It is amazing to me that I can ‘hash’ out the same information repeatedly, sometimes the exact same phrases and sentences, and not get bored, overwhelmed or exhausted. This act of processing aloud is a direct way to lubricate my engine, to reboot, and to get my chain in my brain unstuck.

If I can’t process with friends, for whatever reason—perhaps I am very emotional or at a loss to what I am feeling or perhaps no one is available—then I process through writing. This is not what I choose to do. It is what I have to do. If I do not find an outlet for my thoughts, I feel for certain I will lose my mind. I have never experienced anything remotely as painful as bottling up my thoughts inside my head. As I have written on many accounts, the complexities of the ideas inside my head will overwhelm me and consume me, if I don’t have means of escape.

The very first point in which I find I am not being true to myself is when
1) I bottle up my thoughts and pretend I don’t need to process.

This stuffing process never ends well. I always end up in some type of breakdown, typically locked away in my room crying, pleading to God, and/or trying to sleep away my pain. In other words, angst manifested!

The second point in which I cease from being me is when

2) I take on for an extended period of time any negative emotion that does not resemble love, acceptance, patience, understanding, and/or letting go.

If I attach to any extreme emotion, for example anger over someone’s behavior, then I am not being true to myself. However, typically I have no idea initially that I have attached to an extreme emotion.

I have watched many people hold grudges and anger towards others, sometimes for a lifetime. I can’t do this. I don’t have the capacity. I have had reason to try; and I have repeatedly failed. I failed and failed, until I got to the point where I realized negative energy doesn’t suit me.

But I am still human, no doubt, and I experience disappointment, loss, rejection, and extreme hurts, like everyone else.

Just yesterday I was very upset with a friend. Normally, at my best, I can only hold onto upset over someone for a few minutes, if not a few seconds. But this was a painful experience. I became someone else briefly to process and escape the circumstance.

As I attempted to partake in my walking mediation around the lake, I had totally convinced myself of several things. I believed fully that:

1) My friend was unkind
2) I was worthy of more understanding
3) I would cut off all communication
4) I would not regret this decision
5) I would remain strong and steadfast in my decision

At the moment, which lasted a couple of hours, (long walk), I truly believed I was going to stay in this state of distance and judgment forever. That was it. I was done with this person. In order for me to think these thoughts, I become a version of someone else. I thought of myself as not having Aspergers. And I played random tapes in my head, in an attempt to rationalize my attachment to the feelings I was experiencing. Everything needs a logical reason, even emotions.

I told myself: “I deserve more.” “That person is a jerk.” “Get them out of your life.” “Stop focusing so much attention on this person.”

I morphed into this headstrong person that no one could touch or damage. A person who was damn straight in the right! I held this mental state for a while, but it took vast amounts of energy. However, I believed myself. I truly did. I had changed. At least for that moment, I was done being me, and definitely done being Aspie.

Yet, after exerting extreme amounts of energy, I absolutely crashed and collapsed. I broke down. I became lost. I cried. I, as one might say, ‘wigged out.’

For my true calling is not to begrudge anyone or hold ill-will towards anyone. I cannot house discontentment or hatred. I can’t even house regrets. What is is what is.

At the point of emotional collapse, I came to a sort of bridge of truth, wherein this falseness of being I created deteriorated and I was made to walk over the ruble.

I surrendered.

And then I did what I had to do: be me.

And who is me?

Well part of me is this very, very truthful spirit that feels driven to process through any sense of discontentment. And the other part is someone who absolutely MUST talk to someone when something feels off or amiss. If I don’t confront the person directly, thoughts take over, and pieces rattle and rattle in my brain.

After I reach the breaking point, I speak my mind. I generally message a person and ask a question or write him or her pages of concern. This is my way. People who I hold close to my heart know this about me.

Once I speak my truth, I feel like I am me again. But the truth has to come from a pure place of heart, without ego, without manipulation, without want or need on my part, beyond the desire for clarification and peace of mind. If I act in any other way, I don’t feel right inside, and have a tendency to circle back through a version of someone I am not. Perhaps choosing a whole new line of rationalizations and ways of avoiding the issue at hand: the source of the discontentment.

After I get my heartfelt thoughts out, I am returned to a balanced state and I can focus. I can finally get those random chores done or fill out that paperwork. Until I am done processing something vital, though, I am lost to the rest of my world, even my children at times, lost in my head and trying to swim out of the currents to safety.

I am learning to observe myself more readily, as I move through these channels of thought and transformation. Ideally, I would like to catch myself before I have a chance to begin holding onto anything that doesn’t resemble peace. Yet, I understand that my avenues of self-processing are uniquely set to the way my brain is wired. That of a person with a builtin ability and survival-need to process, evaluate and reach a perceived endpoint.

471: A Beautiful Morning with a Beautiful Mind

It was a beautiful morning.

My Aspie son and I have such deep and complex conversations; I swear he must be at least a thousand years old. He speaks philosophically, in a manner of viewing life that I have only discovered in the ancient wisdom of great scholars across the globe.

This morning we spoke about truth, and the idea that when one threatens another’s truth by confrontation through disagreement or differing opinion, how the other naturally, quite instinctually, responds with a fight-or-flight nature. We opted for the agreement that this human response is based on human nature, on the idea of wanting to protect singular intelligence and mentality. I scaffolded upon the initial points, mentioning the concepts of limited and isolated perception based on the singular collection of reality from a limited scope of an individualized sensory input. He understood entirely.

I elaborated that I don’t hold a singular truth, as my truths vary vastly compared to how I interpreted my world five years prior, and that I am continually changing. He concurred and expressed that I had made sense.

Of course, most of this discussion was a dissertation on my son’s part. His theories of human communication and outcomes are right up there with the geniuses of our time. It amazes me that he is Aspie, and yet years ahead of his peers in understanding the complexities of human nature and societal responses to multiple environmental stimuli.

I suppose I have taught him some by example, and he has sought out his own form of awareness and truth through observation of others and the intake of literature and films; however, the intricate ways in which he pieces the found knowledge into linear and detailed outcomes and conclusions is awe-inspiring. If ever an old soul exists, I see this as my son.

When I offer a gentle reminder to him, at anytime and in any genre of conversation, to keep in mind that he views the world a bit differently than others, and that him and I have complex ways of interpreting events, he is ever so humble, consistently reminded me that he does not enjoy the comfort of setting himself above or beyond anyone else, and that all can see and comprehend as he does, but that perhaps they do not understand what they are doing or in some way do not observe the connections.

He is insistent that his way is no better and that he is not superior by any means; to sit with the idea of being special is a great discomfort to him. And though my son may appear aloof, argumentative, and at the edge of his seat ready to engage in debate, he is at the heart of him a wise sage, insistent upon remaining humble. A concept I did not set out to instruct him upon, but one he shares with me.

I am continually fascinated by his mind. He grows in spurts that are ‘unnaturally’ fast; comprehending and taking in and retaining more than any student I have ever witnessed. And he reworks ideas in his mind to match his view of reality, a view that is extremely open-minded, whilst being seemingly narrow-minded. I mean to say that he comes across, to the typical observer, as strongly opinionated and limited in his viewpoints, but with careful analysis and granted the patience to listen, he is actually extremely open to reasonable and logical ideas that don’t initially resonate as truth with him. And, in fact, he will easily dislodge a chosen truth for a new truth, after taking in what another has shared. The barrier that exists between him and his peers (and some adults) appears to be that exact fight-or-flight mentality my son was theorizing upon. He speaks and if another interprets him as threatening to any degree then the other shuts my son down or out; no longer hearing what he is stating and instead closing off to possible connection.

We were weaving out of conversation this morning, and I found myself going down an interesting course. I had started a sentence several times, never truly completing the string of words, as my son was interjecting (albeit while apologizing for doing so) with his rapid-firing thoughts and connections. I enjoy the way he is ignited with ideas, and take no offense to his interruptions. I see myself a lot in him, and him in me.

I was trying to explain something to my son. At first I thought I was clear on my idea, but something inside of me self-corrected, in the middle of my thought process. I was speaking aloud. I had thought of the isolating factor of Aspergers. How we are so often misunderstood and ostracized. And on hearing my son talk so freely and blatantly, I imagined how this exact discourse might bring him further out of his collective circle of peers. (He attends a part-time academic school for children that are homeschooled). I began to speak from fear, but didn’t recognize what I was doing, until most of the words were out of my mouth.

“As you get older, son, I think it would be beneficial if you monitored some of what…”

The words came through at last, as one cohesive thread, and with that outpour I had time to recollect what I had shared. I immediately backtracked.

“You know what, I have changed my mind,” I shared. “I was originally thinking these past few minutes that you should be more careful around people who don’t love you unconditionally, so that you don’t live an isolated life. But I disagree with this. I think you should be exactly you, and that people will love you for you.”

We sidetracked for a bit to explore the concept of unconditional love. He didn’t understand the idea of choosing not to have someone in your life but choosing to still love them unconditionally: to hold them in love and light, to pray or keep them in thought, to hold no ill-will or resentment towards the individual and wish the person the very best.

He seemed to be taking in a lot more than I was saying.

My son looked at me, and gave me a sheepishly-wise grin. I knew that he knew. And we continued onward, back to the previous conversation, again.

I stated: “I mean, I tried the other way for years. To pretend and hold back myself and I was miserable. Why would I want that for you? I just want you to be free to be you, and others to appreciate you for who you are.”

He listened and answered. “I know. I thought you might change your mind once you said it. You realized you were contradicting yourself before you were finished. That is clear. I understand.”

I smiled. Still in disbelief at the level of this young man’s ability to comprehend others’ thought processes. I added, “I guess I just wish as you grow older that you can focus on being less injurious, if that makes sense. What I mean is there is a difference between choosing to say something that you are highly certain will hurt someone’s feelings and saying something and unintentionally hurting someone. If you are injurious, it will be harder to maintain friends. Does that make sense?”

“Yes,” he said. “And I already do that Mom. Don’t worry. I understand.”

We talked further about the complexities of human communication and the limitations based on others’ interpretations and emotional responses.

As we approached the school, he looked at me and responded more, “Thank you for such intriguing conversation.” He nodded, sounding much like the little professor I have grown to adore in astonishing amounts. “It was quite a good conversation.”

I half expected him to add ‘indeed’ to the end of his last statement.

His voice was monotone, without hints of rejoice; he made no eye contact, and he mostly huffed away as I said, “Enjoy your day, Baby.” But I knew how he felt. We’d connected at an intellectual level without judgment, without expectation, and with equally open minds and acceptance. It was another freeing moment, the way in which the two of us communicate; this unabashed arena in which anything said is okay and doesn’t affect the other’s equilibrium or sense of self or worth.

It was a beautiful morning, indeed.

470: Past Twelve: Aspergers

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I have to say that twelve was rather easy. I was still very much a child, almost fairy-like, or elven, always into innocent mischief and adventure.

The turmoil hit at the age of thirteen. That is when my hormones shifted and life suddenly became bleak, overwhelming and unmanageable. I discovered a new form of escapism then, a more ‘difficult’ escapism than before; I became more observant of myself and actions, understanding complexities in a new degree that felt unfamiliar and frightening. Before, I would leap into my imagination quite naturally and without pretense. Now, it seemed as if I escaped to get away from some pending danger.

Wherein my world once felt light and airy, full of possibility, and all things magical and hopeful, it now felt dark, dingy and doom-filled.

I didn’t have an active social life for most of my teen years, choosing instead one girlfriend to hang out with and one boyfriend to adore. I had the same best friend from seventh grade until I graduated high school. I never thought to have many friends. I hung out with her, copied her, adopted her taste in music and clothes. I think because I was pretty (but didn’t know it), I easily found boyfriends. I tended to stick with one boy as long as I could or until circumstances forced a breakup. I too, copied what I thought he liked. I tried to appease. But with young men, I found myself continually lost and alone with a separation between us I could not understand or explain. While having a significant other brought me this sense of being less fearful in public and the ability to go out and do more, the relationship also brought me this deep seeded feeling of being complicated, misunderstood, too emotional, and never kind enough.

I could write a full book on the challenges of my teenage years. Here I have attempted to summarize some of the key points:

1. Suffering with feelings of extreme isolation and oddness, but not being able to understand or articulate why I felt this way.

2. Wanting to be like my peers but not wanting to be like my peers. Recognizing their character traits disturbed me, particularly manipulation, game-playing, deceit, cliques (groups of children that didn’t allow other children into the group), lying, cruelty, pretending and gossip.

3. Not knowing why, for most of my childhood, despite circumstances, I had felt happy and content, and that now all of a sudden I felt a deep sadness and a disconnection from the rest of the world.

4. Developing an over-analytical sense of self that encompassed all areas, including how I looked, how I moved, how I spoke and even how I thought and reasoned.

5. Developing a hyper-critical awareness of my appearance, wherein before I could care less. It was an extreme shift from being comfortable in my skin to wanting to change who I was. Along with this intensity of dislike towards my own image, I also did not recognize my own face in the mirror. I had no idea the size of my eyes, my face, my nose, or lips. Nothing seemed distinguishable, and every time I looked in the mirror the image seemed unfamiliar. I consciously did not realize this was happening. I did not understand why I looked at my image so much and analyzed it. I thought I was vain and self-centered, even as I hated how I appeared and assumed no one liked my looks.

6. It did not matter how many times someone told me I was beautiful on the outside, I couldn’t see it, and didn’t believe it. I twisted compliments in my mind. I took a sincere compliment about my appearance and truly believed that the observer was lying, blind, misinformed, tricking me or not educated.

7. I did not trust life. I began to see the unpredictable nature of adults and teenagers. No one around me changed, but suddenly an invisible barrier was lifted and I saw reality more clearly. I had seemed to be coated before, protected in some shield in which the world appeared wonderful and filled with love. I had trusted everyone and believed in everyone; yet now, I believed the world was a scary place, and thought that I had been born on the wrong planet.

8. I didn’t understand my own emotional intensity. I loved deeply. I longed. I was passionate. I was a poet. I was this exploding young woman filled with romantic intentions and the want to get married and have children. I didn’t have any interest in being a teenager. Some part of me wanted to skip from young childhood straight into adulthood. I saw young men as a means of escaping the destitute of reality. I jumped into a fantasy land of tomorrow, when I would be raising a family, and far beyond high school and all its pains.

9. I still trusted everyone. I trusted strangers. I trusted anyone who was an adult. I trusted children. I trusted my peers. I shared from the heart. I told my deepest secrets. I cried openly. And people did not respond in a manner that was beneficial to me. I was preyed upon in all ways: physically, emotionally, spiritually and logically. People could sense I was innocent, naive, and inexperienced. I was very much a victim without knowing I was a victim. I couldn’t tell right from wrong. Because I assumed everyone was good at heart, I assumed everything anyone did was ‘normal’ and ‘okay.’ I didn’t understand that concept of boundaries or self-protection. No one taught me. I didn’t know boundaries existed. I believed people.

10. Concepts that came naturally to other girls did not come naturally to me. I did not understand or follow fashion. I didn’t think to. It never crossed my mind to try to fit in and assimilate to the teenage world. I was still very much twelve inside, even as my body changed. I didn’t start dressing like my peers and learning how to apply makeup until I was ostracized, ridiculed, and singled-out.

11. I didn’t understand sexuality. I had a cute figure and was well-endowed. I did not understand how different ways I walked, sat, or bent over could be perceived as flirtatious and even labeled ‘slutty.’ I didn’t know that I had turned physically into a young woman who men found attractive. Even as they called out names at me, or shouted inappropriate comments about my body in the halls of high school, I didn’t connect the dots. I didn’t know what I had done. And in not knowing what I had done, I didn’t know how to make changes in an attempt to stop others’ behaviors.

12. I copied television and movie stars. I acted like my favorite stars. My role models were a brunette from Gilligan’s Island and a brunette from Charlie’s Angels. And I moved and acted like them, or some other dark-haired daytime soap opera actress. I didn’t know I did this, but I did it nonetheless. I needed a role model, and I found mine on television. Mimicking the traits of sensual and sexual adult females did not add to my ability to fit in; my actions instead served to highlight my inadequacies and oddities. I did things halfway, some very awkward child trying to catch up to her peers and changing body, and not knowing how to even begin, and not recognizing that her subconscious chosen methods were damaging her chances of fitting in further.

13. I didn’t understand my bodily changes and the monthly menstrual cycle. The change had been explained to me in various classes at school, briefly by a parent, and in review of some books, but that information was not enough. I think, in retrospect, I had needed someone to walk me through the process daily for the first year. To explain and reexplain, to reassure me I wasn’t dying or sick, to comfort me when the new and unfamiliar body pains and sensations came, to give me more advanced biological descriptions of what was happening to me. I didn’t do well with change. Change scared me. And here, my entire body was not my body anymore. It was terrifying. I didn’t understand the entire concepts of sex, of the ways I might get pregnant or how to tell if what my peers said was truth or lies. I didn’t understand how things worked.

14. I didn’t understand the concept of holding back. I said things like I saw them and felt them; that is until I was so shamed in school, I clamped up and hid in the corner writing song lyrics in pencil all over my desktop. I didn’t understand social rules and social games. I came across as overzealous, as immature, as goofy, giddy, and somewhat of a ditz. I didn’t understand most jokes. I laughed a lot, out of embarrassment or discomfort. I developed a nervous giggle. I seemed fake to other people, when ironically I was truly myself. People questioned me, especially my facial expressions and body language, and worse they criticized me. If I walked with my head down, with my eyes glued to the floor, my peers claimed I was rude and stuck up, too good for them. If I smiled, I was a flirt. If I avoided eye contact, I was showing disrespect or further showing I thought I was hot stuff and ‘all that.’ I didn’t know how to be. I wasn’t given the tools or the freedom. Everything I did was judged or deemed wrong. I quickly began to surmise the world was a terrible place in which no one was allowed to be herself. And then I concluded I didn’t even know who my self was.

15. I cried a lot. I isolated myself a lot. All the traits of Aspergers were triggered as puberty hit. I was overwhelmed with entirely too much for any child. Not only was my home life unpredictable and chaotic, not only was my body changing, my peers suddenly my enemies, but my own mind was turning against me. I couldn’t tell who I was, what I wanted, and had no idea where to go for help. When I tried to tell adults I was afraid to live, they claimed I was seeking attention, that I was fine, or that I was creating drama. When I went crying to the school counselor, he told me plainly that I was a beautiful attractive and intelligent young lady. And questioned what I could possibly have to complain about. I was attacked on all fronts. No one believed me when I said I felt different and alone. No one believed the deep pain and shattering of my life I was undergoing. I became suicidal, never able to go through with any attempts, but always wondering how it would feel to escape this life. I became more and more of a recluse and found small ways to make my life more manageable. I ate the same lunch every day. I kept the same routine. I knew what path to walk in the halls at school. I knew how to hide. I learned how to pretend to be someone else in mannerisms, dress and behavior. I became that which was nothing but a ghost of me, and I lived that way for most of my days.

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Everyday Aspergers the book available in 2016. Join our Facebook Clan or follow the blog for newest information on book release, including contests and give aways. 🙂 ~ Sam

poetry from my teenage years

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