519: By Default

A relative of mine once said:

‘Everyone is selfish, even saints, because even if you are serving others, but ultimately you do it because it feels good, then that is selfish.’

I am pretty sure he is an Aspie.

People with Aspergers, particularly females with ASD, sometimes fear they are self-centered, selfish and/or narcissistic. The fear of self-centeredness is indeed one of my mental fixations—meaning I sometimes obsess about the fact that just being a human makes me a little narcissistic.

When entertaining thoughts of selfishness, I go into this weird cock-eyed, inertia state of over-analysis. Nothing new. You can find me on the couch in my Sheldon-like spot, staring into oblivion, biting my lip, and sighing deeply as I turn around conjecture-corners of reason, fearing once again, I am hopelessly self-centered. Tears come, then, as I further punish myself thinking this is just another exhaustive performance of ego, feeling bad about feeling good. And that maybe I am a genius narcissist in my ability to feel bad about maybe being self-centered.

Once the narcissism trigger slaps me, this whole looping-grasping tango starts, a looping process I have previously bleated out in abundance through metaphoric-saturated analysis, a state of mind in which I once again gather all the ‘truths’ from my memory banks in a futile attempt to decipher what is indeed fact and what is not fact, knowing all the while there are no endpoints. Thusly, the modifier ‘futile.’

This analysis of aforementioned subject matter involves bungee jumping through deductions, including thoughts of: a) life is an illusion, b) DSM-V is largely controlled by pharmaceutical purse-strings c) most ‘conditions’ overlap one another d) family dynamics, diet/nutrition, depletion of our natural nutrients in soil, pollution, chemical-poisoning, infection, mutated swelly-breasted chickens, etc. affect our minds e) genetics f) quantum physics, multiple universes, string theory g) the fact that electrons and living bacteria in yogurt respond to an observer’s thoughts and emotions h) and if the statement near letter A listed above is true then the rest points listed are a moot point

Then I start to over-analyze me, knowing far too much about the literature in the mental health genre-bowl in general, and knowing far too much about me (see previous 600 pages), and having housed psychology and counseling as my special interest pocket for most of my life. (My mother worked for the family therapist Virginia Satir; and I was pretty much swooning at the thought of emulating her since the age of nine.)

I think I have been paranoid about the possibility of losing my mind since I first sat hunched over in a bush (literally) at the age of eight, contemplating the vastness of the universe and what was outside the universe. My son with Aspergers is similar, but ripened earlier than me; he asked me point-blank while twirling his toes in his car seat (age three), “Mommy, who birthed God? And who birthed that person? And how do you know?” So there’s that.

My point is that I have concluded over and over that there are (infinite) murky areas in the realm of mental health; so if anything had the capacity to drive me batty, based on the subject’s lack of pinpoint-ability in regard to conclusive evidence, it would be this psychological mumbo-jumbo matter.

Of course, I realize, some people, regardless, require medication for their safety and the safety of others, and/or to function in life. And yes, I have empathy for those people, some being my friends. But I wonder where the lines are, as everything seems to bleed into the next, and so many people have their different theories, answers, and remedies. It’s very much a disaster for anyone with a mind like mine to even consider all the loopholes and unanswered questions in regards to mental health. I guess I am glad I have a neurological condition, and not a ‘mental health’ condition (yet), because, as we all know: neurological conditions are so cut and dry! Hahahaha!

(I am wondering what cut and dry means, and for some reason picturing a pioneer woman hanging raw meat on a line of string. Beef Jerky! Gasp. We are so much a conditioning of our environment.)

Anyhow, if you are an Aspie Chick or an Aspie Rooster rest assured you are likely not narcissistic. I don’t know for sure, but I’d say if you are constantly worried about it then there’s a good chance you aren’t. Chances are you harvest far too much genuine love for people not based on your own self-gain, and that you over-think that you are too self-centered. Also, there’s a possibility, too, if you are like me, that you get down on yourself, not because you aren’t elevated in status, or not performing well, or not gaining attention of peers (narcissist’s idea of failure), but because you are or might be! Goddess forbid if someone pays attention to me in a positive way! It’s like we have this humble-stinger stuck in our butts! Oh crap, I feel a little good about myself, someone noticed me, someone complimented me so……..something must be wrong with me. Self-inflicted gluttony commenced—whip, whip, whip.

I mean seriously, I don’t know how many times I have cried about how afraid I am that I might be too self-centered. I mean I know I am self-focused, because I hyper-focus on everything, e.g., other people, special interests, fixations, pending danger, the fly on the wall, the speed in which I type, the grumble in my tummy, the octave of the fridge hum, etc. And I just happen to be another focal point, and also a case subject (guinea pig) for my own HUGE special interest: Aspergers. So following the logical dots, then yes, I am my own special interest, but by default. Seriously, I’d much rather jump into your mind and write about you. Any takers?

Trust me, I go into these weekly fits of self-loathing and wanting to stop writing in which I wish to cash in my creative hankering for the life of a meditating (naked) Zen hermit who does nothing but focus on light.

On the same topic, interestingly enough, my fifteen-year-old Aspie son, no longer in his car seat, said to me a few days ago: I think I might be slightly narcissist because I realize I care more about the enjoyment I might feasibly gain from a new gaming system than the other things we are talking about that other people would think matter. But that doesn’t bother me.

I gave him a reassuring, logical response.

I wasn’t doing him any favors.

He’d already concluded, within seconds:

“Narcissism is part of the human condition and without people who were hyper-focused on their own self-interests nothing would get done in this world. I find it best just to accept the illusion of life and enjoy it as much as I can without purposely causing harm. I see it. And I accept it…The world doesn’t really have any antagonists.”

Okay, so I definitely think he’s smarter than me.

518: The Barbs

I can sense fear, well enough. It doesn’t come in needle form. It isn’t injected by an outside source. There is no fluid that enters through a prick or an invasive probing. Fear bypasses exterior layers, rooting from within, expanding and growing as seedlings do. And I am but host to the cyclic process.

For most of my days, I wasn’t aware of the fear inside. Even as I was always anxious and scared, I couldn’t readily identify my emotions of fright, basically because I was fright. Even as new fear entered, there was no obvious change inside of me. There was no alarm system in place. Fear was my normal. If there were trespasses against me, there was no way to tell, because I was already overcrowded inside; one more pair of prodding footsteps made no difference to a well-established colony of thousands. Ironically, in a state of fear-equilibrium, I felt perpetually balanced.

In regards to the fear I housed inside, I don’t know when I started to shift. It was sometime between the start of my public writings and the times I had delved deeply into spiritual studies. I’d been searching for answers. And something had clicked. Something inside of me. And in those moments the fear became recognizable. Wherein it had been invisible before, this fear now had a voice and had taken form. It arrived aware of itself, pushing up and growing in a making-room-for-more manner.

The fear was real then. It always had been, but now it was set outside the shadows and staring down at me. I could feel it everywhere, a monstrosity. I knew of it, too, as if an old familiar friend had reappeared for fellowship. Foe, he was, true, but more so a companion, in the way he meandered and made himself at home, opening and closing whatever compartment he fancied.

Seeing him move this way, amongst the others, amongst the piles of pain, in the conglomeration of fear, baffled me. A visibility granted where once there had been utter blindness, seemed miracle. In this way, fear itself, in manifestation, became an element of transformation. In this way, fear was part of my breaking and making.
With my new awareness my body was liken to a musical organ, each key being pounded in by some unknown trigger, and in response piping out this obnoxious vibration, the sounds penetrating my interior and leaching out of the exterior: a lost song let out into the open.

Wherein before I might have survived in a state of saturated fear, my stagnation birthed through a tangible blindness, here, in this new awareness of continual pounding, I could not live. In response to the discomfort my instinctual nature took over. And at a subconscious level I began the process of sorting through and categorizing the discomfort. Later, again, quite instinctually, I established a way to eradicate the unwanted tenants. I’d rely on my own body. Recognizing that I was contaminated by fear, I would remove each and every cause for pain, my body an informant, verbalizing through careful unspoken word.

It whispered its tellings,
listen, stomach would say, I am tight,
listen, heart would say, I am pounding,
listen, hands would say, I am clenched.

And from here, the whys came forth. Stomach was sad from the way the stranger had frowned. Heart was upset in the way the word ‘stupid’ reminded him of the past. Hands were scared by the loud boom of the car. And I listened. Day after day, I listened. Until, with much patience and practice, I began to hear less and less. Now, new spaces opened where none had existed before. Now when a stranger appeared, when he rooted himself in me, the fear was no longer cloaked by the masses. Now when the fear came, it came with a loud blow into an empty room. Now when fear arrived I knew immediately.

The tables had turned. Instead of housing the fears that had used me for room and board for decades, now I removed the newbies, the ones that had hitchhiked in hopes of permanent residency. Now I gathered the barbs and released them—their freedom, my freedom.

517: Is-ness

There’s an is-ness inside me, some rumbling engine that feeds and creates, that both demolishes and builds simultaneously, the gnosis itself living and breathing within. The trouble is the is-ness wants to come out. As much as I push or shove it down, it swells evermore. There is no dousing out the flame. I have tried days, and once a decade, to remain silent in my ways, and the longer I wait the longer the bubbling-wanting festers, liken to a boil that won’t shrink unless exposed to the elements.

How often I have longed to be that one, that quiet one perched beneath the tree, without a word to offer, just her silence as a reckoning of sorts, her example of fragility and strength established in her stillness. Just once, I have wanted, without effort, to not desire to burst out of the semblance of self into something naught—to not wish to plunder, as I do, as pirate gone sporadic spilling her gold and jewels about.

I have established this is the way I am: harbored into myself.

I am the dock. I am the boat. I am the sails. I am every inch of vessel, and what holds this vessel. And I rock, as I am the rocker, moving myself in isolation. Here is where the trouble comes again, in the want to move beyond aloneness, for nothing seems real or substantial until shared.

And yet there is the catch, the net, so to speak, the daggered questions and the pounding answers. The fingernails to my chalkboard—nailed and pierced at once.

We are told of the worthy ones. The ones who hold their tongues. The ones who are stoically silent. The ones who don’t whimper and complain. The ones that don’t monopolize conversations. The ones who know how and when to stop. The ones that don’t overthink, overrationalize, over-process. The ones that know when to let go and be.

So what does that make me, if not some rigid anomaly?

I can’t surrender to this world because I don’t have the means. I don’t know how to be quiet. I don’t know how to shut out what I see, what I feel, what in a way I seem to somehow ‘know.’ And yet I can’t really blend into this place, either. No matter how much I try, through practice or restraint, or a combination, or by some means of much-studied technique, or even in the gathering of all the circumvented readings, observations, conclusions, and discoveries, I can’t understand where I am, and how to be in a place I do not comprehend.

And that is the trouble as well—for am I built to control how I am to be? Am I supposed to stop who I am? And if I am to stop who I am and be this other form and representation of self, then whose rules and recommendations do I follow? Whom do I uphold? Who is my savior in this world? If I am to follow this someone or even this saint, if he lives, or has died, then still what is the exactness of how I should be? If not me, if not this natural, born-to-be me, then who is it that they at once forbade me and make me be?

Is it not within reason to wonder how I am to move in a strange world, if indeed the way I move is not accepted or understood? And even as I pass often as this extremeness of normalcy, even as I mix and mingle, and bleed into the mass, am I not some ghost on display set out to appease the gathering? Are my ways mere means to escape shielded eyes?

I do not understand the judges. I do not understand the manner in which I am told the right and wrong of things. I cannot. I am incapable. I am not wired inaccurately. I am not misfiring. The truth is that I am not wired at all. I wasn’t programmed to begin with. I don’t have the data institutionalized within my infrastructure that instructs this someone of where and when to jump. I don’t even have the means in which to understand the jumping itself.

I watch, some legless tadpole, in awe of the springing frog, unlimited in its depth and breadth, capable of leaps and bounds that seem a lifespan away from me, an imposter of impossibility without preprogrammed metamorphosis.

And that’s the trouble, the endless trouble:

I am who I am, endowed with an is-ness I neither understand nor recognize. An is-ness I long to share, a knowing I cannot tether to myself alone, in a world I do not recognize, in a place that makes no sense. I am birthed without the wiring or predisposition to comprehend the makings of others’ ways; and ever wondering if I was to jump without legs, if I was to be in this pool of mankind, and swim with my invisibility cloaked, to survive as familiar instead of strange, would I not then forget whom I was to begin with?

516: A Gallant Longing

I process everything. I am a processing machine. I even process the process of writing. Today I feel ‘guilty’ for yesterday’s writing, as it didn’t represent the ‘true’ me. Even as I search for the ‘truth’ of who I am, stumbling again into myself and not knowing where I fall, I somehow still manage to pinpoint who I am not. It’s strange, even to write. But seems to be the way of it. All so complex and bothersome. Like most days, I wish I was rather emptied of myself.

Yesterday my post ended with freedom, with the removal of ‘self’ and judgment, with the capacity to move into this world unseen and to be okay with that. Yesterday that was a true statement. Today it’s not.

I didn’t lie. I meant what I said. I was in a brief over-confident mood. I was in an I-will-will-myself-all-better-state. I get that way from time-to-time. I wouldn’t call me hopeful or resilient or ‘positive’ during these moments of zealous confidence. More so, underneath my skin somewhere, when I approach my writing with such voice, I am a bit perturbed at life in general. I guess you could say I was sporting an under coating of frustration and trying to paint over myself with some form of strength.

I tend to only feel good about the words I have scribed that provoke a soft appeal and gentleness. I tend to be attracted to my sharings which display an intense vulnerability and a vast uncloaking of self. Yesterday’s post wasn’t one of those posts.

I am not ashamed of the writing, and not regretting it, just, I guess, wondering how I can so easily shift and transform. It’s unsettling to say the least, when the person I was a moment ago isn’t the person I am now. Perhaps, I say in jest, I have some advanced multiple personality disorder in which I am both congealed and disjointed all at once with legions of aspects of self bursting into bits and pieces of everything.

Yesterday, I was PMSing. I ‘suffer’ from PMDD, endometriosis, and an autonomic blood pressure condition (closely related to POTS), as well as hyperjoint mobility syndrome, each of which are triggered by fluctuations in hormones. PMDD is enough in and of itself to drive me batty, but the physical pain sometimes leads to a week of being couch bound. This has been an on going event for most of my adult life. It’s not new, and it’s not strange or unknown. But somehow the debilitation is still rather scary and depressing, particularly, as I was hospitalized about a year ago from an extreme episode. Anyhow, I really don’t want sympathy or to rant or complain, just to explain.

I suppose in moments of couch-bound, sloth-mode, semi-hibernation, I get particularly prolific in my writing. One reason being that there is really nothing else I can physically do, beyond playing computer games, watching movies, and reading, oh, and the occasional romp to the kitchen to binge eat. Having the capacity to write during these hormonal nightmares most certainly brings me a sense of purpose. Also, I think the hormones, or what-have-yous, affect my thinking, in that I have more thoughts and that I am more vulnerable to outpourings. And too, to be totally truthful, sometimes I write during my PMDD only because if someone reads my words I will feel less isolated.

I force myself to write during these times, not because I have to, but because I want to. And that is the primary difference in the particular self-focused writings (like today’s and yesterday’s) versus the majority of my writing.

Most of the time, believe it or not, I don’t want to write, but feel driven to write. Usually, I don’t hear my own singular voice, but more of a collective gathering of thoughts. I have surmised, after continual coincidences, that I somehow tap into the collective Aspie condition. As silly as that sounds, this has been my truth for the span of over a year. It appears Aspies jump into my brain and stir me up. As much as they’d like to believe I am reading their minds, I tend to think they are invading my thoughts—little hitchhikers whispering. Or, rather, we are all just splashing is some giant heated pool of knowledge, and I, by some odd twist of faith, have been granted the capacity to spurt out what we are swimming in.

When I write, I see images and sense words. I don’t actually hear anything. There isn’t a voice I can describe or even an intonation. There is more of a feeling of what I believe is a type of communication I don’t readily recognize as familiar. There is no emotion beyond love. And an easiness and comfort exits without effort. There isn’t a questioning of what I wrote or a judging. There often isn’t much editing involved. It just kind of IS. And I like that.

The process of writing in most cases takes away some of my Aspie thoughts—those perpetual queries that ransack my brain.

I believe the intention behind ‘my’ words creates the overall feel of the work. Much like a painting, my heart is reflected in the renderings. If my intention is to share and nothing more than the words are light and airy, filled with a sense of hope. In this manner there is a radiating wellbeing resonating from the writings. A knowing everything will be okay. A connection, a reaching out, a holding and a holding ground, in which travelers come and visit, and find a place of respite.

I miss that peaceful flow, that rescuing-retreat. I missed it yesterday. I miss it today. I guess I’d rather be part of a collective than this ME. I’d rather sit with a gathering of us than alone—a gallant and worthy longing, indeed.

515: Invisibility

I don’t mind when someone challenges me, as I don’t take things as challenges anymore. As soon as I feel a rise in myself, whether that rise be quantified as anger, fear, sadness, or some deep powerful emotion, I stop and ask ‘why’? I don’t take the time to sit with the pain. I don’t think the pain is caused by another. I know all emotional pain is triggered by me. Triggered by my exact reasoning and in the resulting ‘truth’ I create based on what I choose to believe and what I choose to tell myself.

I lack the ability, anymore, to blame anyone for my own response and feelings. I own up to how I feel. It’s me. No one else is in control of me. No one.

I have learned that I can accept everything anyone gives out. I have learned, also, that I have the right and power to release what another gives—to kindly return it with a “thanks, but no thanks.”

No one’s thoughts, or words, or perception represent who I am. I know this fully. It’s not a concept I have to convince myself of, or remind myself of.

In many ways I am much more free than I was two years ago, during a time period wherein being in the public spotlight I held onto every stranger’s belief of me as truth. Had you told me five years ago that I would care about people but not care about what they thought of me, I would have thought you crazy, or at minimal an idealist who didn’t know me at all. How could I, so sensitive, so attune, so empathic, not ALWAYS care what people thought?

The truth is there came a point where I didn’t have a choice but to let go, because the two camps, my only options, were clearly marked: 1) Care about what everyone thinks about you and constantly yoyo back and forth in your self-perception and self-worth 2) Realize no one’s perception of you is accurate.

The latter took some hard looking and soul-searching, and some help from above—call it collective unconscious, angels, God, or aliens, no matter. There came a point where I was truly shown the light. I was given the vision of a room full of people, each standing on a soapbox and taking a turn to talk about me. Each was pulling from their random memories and past, from what they had chosen to collect, and then again chosen to remember. It was subjective to the third degree. Everyone’s view of me was first, and primarily, based on their own lives and gathered ideologies, belief systems, personalities, experience, etc. I was merely a random interpretation. I was a flower being dissected by multiple viewers. Some loved me for my sweetness. Some adored my beauty. Some merely saw me as a weed to be plucked. Some thought I stunk. Others inhaled and couldn’t get enough. Still, regardless of the onlookers, I remained a flower. Or at least that chance name I’d been assigned by society.

I theorized, in reviewing this vision, that it wasn’t just the loose interpretations of me that sporadically changed (and were skewed based on the onlooker and all the onlooker brought to the table from his or her past), but also the onlooker him/herself. Everyone’s view altered in any given random point of time. People were affected by their past (foundation they’d built up as truth) and by the moment in time they drew conclusions.

I realized also that any word, action, or subtle way in which I lived could bring about an altered interpretation. If I left my husband. If I abandoned my children. If I joined the circus. How would this audience interpret me then? And if they, the viewers, made any life changes, or faced crisis, or shifted consciousness or outlooks, how would their view of me change?

I saw how I had altered the way I looked at the world and others in the past years, and in so doing the people I thought I knew appeared different to me. It was only logical to conclude from my reasoning that I, ever-changing, would remain incapable of stagnant being based on continual transitioning. And that likewise others remained incapable of stagnant being, and thusly incapable of stagnant viewing of me.

In understanding I was nothing more than gathered evidence, and that the evidence itself always shifted based on the moment, circumstance, and the observer, I understood that I, this loose interpretation of I based on others’ viewpoints, was never stagnant in interpretation enough to be called factual.

With this, I saw that all opinions of me no longer mattered. Even the so-called ‘positive’ comments were not able to penetrate me. It made no sense to attach myself to fleeting ‘positive’ descriptors based on the once again random observers with their random viewpoints. Plus, if I was an information gatherer shifting my gathering, (what I caught in my positive net based on my shifting self), then how could I ensure what I gathered was substantiated by any form of non-stagnant truth?

Sure, I could know someone for years, and they could view me as consistently steadfast, sweet, and loyal, but what in that individual’s life made them an expert on those ‘virtues,’ and how much of me had she seen, had she known, and what had she missed? I could get a round about idea of who I was, but only based on a round about idea of who someone else was, (and where she’d been, what she’d experienced, and what ‘truths’ she momentarily upheld as valuable.) The complexities of attaching my being-ness to an outside source soon became an intellectual burden and a tiring mind-puzzle lacking any sort of sense-making end mark.

And beyond this, if I had latched on to semi-permanent, most-likely-true and reasonable interpretations of me, then how could I be judge and jury of self? How was I to decide what was me and what wasn’t me? How was I to allow myself to collect everything flowery and rosy and make this me, while disregarding and discarding the rest? How could that not be some extreme form of ego-lust and ego-building? It seemed logical that the only way out of the process and habit of decorating my self based on outlookers’ viewpoints was to disrobe myself of any and all doings and opinions of others.

From here it followed that in order to dispel the potential hypocrite inside of me, that if I were to discount others’ opinions about me in totality, then in equal balance it was essential that I discount my opinions about others. In other words, if others could not define me, I reasonably could not define others.

Next, the process became a matter of what to see, what to believe, and what to qualify as truth of those about me. And the only natural conclusion, that arose no further conflict or query within myself, was to apply love to all, to choose to see another being as another being and nothing more, to love the light in all, and to overlook the illusion of what appeared to be ‘wrong’ or ‘against’ me.

In a sense I had annihilated self through logic—the act of rationalizing no stagnant representation of ‘me’ existed. Without a true ‘self’ I had no true or stagnant opinions. In reality, my opinion couldn’t be trusted. My thoughts were just that: thoughts. Nothing more. Nothing less. Not bad, just not real.

If I had based my ‘wrong’ and ‘against,’ and the concept of me, on my limited scope of life, if I had based my judgment and view of the world on only what I had been exposed to, able to process and assimilate into memory, and able to recall with any ounce of reality, and then based all this recall on my current state of thinking, emotions, and environmental influence, if this be true, I was a constant changing judge. So to enlist my personal arsenal of evaluation on another was a form of temporary fallout and nothing more. It was adding illusion to illusion, and agreeing to be a game player in a game I no longer believed in.

And so the act of evaluating another became self-abusive. It actually hurt. It hurt because my mind was bombarded with this sequential reasoning that again and again reached the same conclusion, despite my ever-changing hypothesis: no matter what I thought at any given moment, it wasn’t permanent enough to remain true.

In addition, it is obvious to me, now, that I am dying off and I am regenerating. Some part of my body is digesting and decomposing, and another part is fighting and refueling. And just as the interior microscopic parts merge and shed, the exterior view of my life follows suit. There isn’t anything I can hold onto. And in this way there is no one I can hold onto either. I only have a fleeting moment in which I spot someone, and then he has changed as much as the rest. I cannot define self. I cannot define another.

And in this place of no definition and no judgment, I am freed. I am freed from the burden most of society carries. Freed from attaching to one ideal or concept or way of life. Freed from battling to make my opinion heard. But most importantly I am freed from needing to be seen.