498: Call Me Aspie: The first part of a thousand-page manual

I have Aspergers, and I tend to:

1. Fixate on a certain problem or puzzle, and process this for weeks, if not months, until some part of me reaches a solution. During this time, I may seem frantic, melancholic, elated, discouraged, confused, shattered, and exhausted. As soon as I have a sense of closure, I might feel bewildered and ashamed of my behavior. There will be a brief reprieve, until my brain latches on to another puzzle to solve.
2. Over-process certain events and happenings, particularly exact words used and sentences used by others, as I try to determine the underlying facts and supposed truth. This will reveal itself in multiple questions and inquiry on my part; sometimes the same questions over and over; the repetitive nature is involuntary and necessary, as it brings some relief to the messages circling in my mind. In such cases, it is best for me to confront a person right away and ask a brief question than to burden myself for a day, becoming incapacitated and virtually numb from all the over-thinking about feasible meanings and outcomes. The over-processing can and does burden other people, and leave them questioning their own ability to have patience. I will apologize and mean it, but will not be able to stop the over-processing, even as I am hyper-aware of my behavior and possible consequences based on my actions. Telling me to not over-think is not helpful and not feasible.
3. Lots of giggles. I will appear more childlike than most, and find humor in things that most adults won’t. I find the beauty and fun in many occurrences and statements, and can act a bit immature at times, focusing on little events that make me chuckle. I also will giggle nervously or crack a joke in an attempt to relieve tension and discomfort, even as it might appear nothing was said or done to cause unease. In times of nervousness, particularly when getting to know someone, I will make inappropriate comments, lacking the ability o filter my thoughts and having a desperate compulsive desire to share. On the other hand, others quite enjoy my company, and my smile can be contagious and enlightening. Cherishing the little things does have its benefits; and some will find this behavior refreshing.
4. Over-share. I will share more than most. It is part of who I am. It is difficult for me to determine what is appropriate to share, what is too much to share, and what is enough to share. I like to talk about myself, because I want to be seen and understood. I like to listen about other people, too. But if I am nervous or uncomfortable or preoccupied, these states of being will pull me away from the ability to focus on another. I have to be 100% there to listen to another; and if I cannot be, the attempt to be there seems a waste of time. It is better for me to get everything out and then return to my friend and support them fully when I am able, then to ‘pretend’ to be listening when I am on overload with thoughts. Initially, I might monopolize a conversation or become dumbfounded and not know what to say or how to relate. I survive, in conversation, by analyzing the other participant, and trying to match my style of communication with that person’s style. If I cannot see the person, such as on the phone, I might become nervous and uncomfortable, wondering how the person is reacting to my responses. This is not about people pleasing. But it is about adapting self, so that I do not drive people away with my tendency to over-expose self and trust fully.
5. Be Emotional. I am triggered a lot. Little things trigger me. A simple word, an expression, a reference, a link to a website, a song, a memory, etc. Because I am easily triggered, I might be very content and happy one minute and then turn morose and in deep reflection the next. These states are generally temporary and I can evaluate the trigger quickly. Once the trigger is noted, I have the capacity to take steps to analyze how to pull myself out of deep contemplation and to alter my state of mind. In other words, with practice and self-awareness, I can quite readily pull myself out of a ‘dark’ emotional state. If the trigger is extreme, I will need to talk and process the event to bring relief. Often a hug or human touch might help from certain people whom I deem safe; other times human touch is the last thing I want and any form of human contact, even attention, will actually cause me to retreat and pull away.
6. Be extremely loyal and honest. I have high integrity. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I don’t take anything lightly. I have the ability to have fun and be light-hearted and to forget about my intensity, but my integrity and sense of being the best person I can be never falters. I carry extreme guilt if I try to deceive another and can rarely hold anything inside, particularly events that seem to demonstrate a semblance of betrayal or untruth. This inability to hide things can hurt another person without intention. Some things are perhaps better withheld. But secrets and lies eat away at my soul, and I can concentrate little if I feel I am not being transparent and authentic in my dealings with others. In some cases if I kept my mouth shut, I would feasibly come out ahead, with more gained than lost. Opening my mouth is risky, and can often lead to a loss. Regardless, I was born to speak my truth, and have yet to find a way to make this stop.
7. Love deeply and forever. Once I love someone, I always love someone. Once a friend, always a friend. I can pick up with a person I haven’t spoken with for years, and the reunion feels like yesterday. I don’t care why a friendship ended, if someone wants to come back into my life, my door is always open. I have learned to take some measures to guard my heart against those that might cause harm to me, but for the most part, I will love a loved one for always. There is little anyone can do to make me dislike him or her or to make me remove him or her from my life. I love easily and fully, and love to give. Receiving is sometimes difficult and feels uncomfortable to me, but I understand that the ability to receive is a gift to the giver, and work on this act often.
8. Get upset when others are emotional. Even as I am an emotional being and cannot stop myself from expressing my feelings, others’ emotions frighten me. It seems hypocritical, but the reality is I am not comfortable with emotions. I tend to overreact to simple displays of emotions, such as slight frustration, fleeting anger, or momentary confrontation on another’s part. While I long for passion and emotional connection, I also run from outward displays of feeling. I feel guarded, in a sense, to the deepest source of love inside of me that is afraid of being harmed or invaded. I would rather feel numb and dead at times than have to figure out what someone meant by their tone of voice, words, or actions. I will literally freak out from the slightest alteration in someone’s tone of voice or mannerism, if the upset appears to be directed towards me.
9. Second-guess my own statements and how I express myself. I re-explain myself and overcompensate for mistakes I might have made. I like myself. I like my mind. I am for the most part comfortable in my skin, despite my challenges, but I fear that I have come across the wrong way and represented myself in error. It is of upmost importance to me to clarify and to check for understanding; this action of revisiting a discussion to add clarification is a natural and instinctual part of my nature, as much as flight is to the eagle. I cannot suppress the behavior, even as I watch myself going through the process and doubting the effectiveness of said actions.
10. Dream and Imagine. I spend more time inside my head than outside of my head. Based on my intense ability and natural tendency to fantasize, I often create realistic scenarios in my head of what could or might be. I go down a thousand different avenues of feasible scenarios of a given situation. Over-analyzing each aspect and evaluating the possible outcomes. This is almost done at a subconscious-level, and continues practically nonstop until my mind has reached a conclusion that brings about some form of comfort. Uneasiness of mind is found in the ridding of possibilities, unknowns, and a state of limbo. If something is open-ended, my mind attaches to the concept of the unknown like one Velcro strip to another. I cling there, in this hyper-state of awareness, attempting, without much effort or detectable impulse, but tons of energy, to factor in each and every variable, in order to attempt to make sense of what seems to be the foundation below me slipping. I float here, in a dream state of possible happenings inevitably until closure is reached. During this time my ramblings, processing, and evaluation after evaluation is often processed aloud or in written form. These bombardments of thoughts manifested into visual or auditory form can cause feelings of discomfort to some. Yet, this is how I function.

This post is dedicated to Lisa, Alyce, Jennifer, David, and Ryan… fellow Aspies who never give up on me. Thank you. ❤

494: 10 Ways I Can Spot an Aspie Girl

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10 Ways I Can Spot an Aspie Girl

1. Deep, soulful eyes which perhaps dip down slightly and/or are very distinguished and large. There is someone in there with a story. There is truth.

2. An uncomfortable smile that cannot find a home which fluctuates between a chiseled, serious frown and the most amazing genuine smile, wherein the whole self and soul lights up—a childlike expression, too pure to be mistaken for anything else than authenticity.

3. Continual statements of second-guessing, checking for understanding, clarifying self, and offering out extra information in an attempt to be understood. Indications of never reaching a full conclusion, as there are limitless possibilities. Questioning self, harvesting advice, and then tossing everything out and starting anew. Having the kindling of multiple thoughts about multiple directions, all at the same time.

4. Fleeting, unnatural eye contact, that is either over-intense and attempting to linger or constantly moved about to find an object of focus. Unusual gestures whilst conversing, and seemingly never fully engaged in the speaker, unless strongly intrigued; and even then the imagination takes over and causes a drifting appearance. Unless overtaken with a special topic of interest; then all mannerisms and ways of being become forgotten, and all that exists is the spoken word.

5. Eyebrows that raise up when a smile is formed, or a distinct maneuvering of the facial features, as if to represent who they are, even when smiling, as to not distort a truth.

6. Unnatural appearing stances and movements; never quite comfortable moving in body unless preoccupied and/or in the midst of strong emotions or a special topic of interest.

7. A sweetness that isn’t outgrown entangled with an enchanting childlike nature and naiveté. Swirling within a constant flux of varying emotions, and heavily influenced by the happenings of everything and everyone.

8. An undeniable unique way of self-expression in all forms: in thought, in writing, in art. All is an extension of the greater self. Spread out with an openness lacking self-need and wanting; and instead represented by an honest soul in search of connection.

9. A flowing nature with undercurrents of stability and predictability. At first glance the person may seem unstable, but with careful observation she follows the ebbs and flows of life, much like the tides to the moon, and the flowers to seasons. She rises and falls. She opens and closes. She is a manifestation of the greater good of cosmic unity, of togetherness, of the interwoven web of us.

10. Her deep reflective state, no matter the topic or situation. The way in which intensity is brought into the room, even as a lightness of being remains. There is a quandary of sorts, an advanced duality, in which she is powerful, yet she is meek, she is substantial yet she is invisible, she is love yet she is fear. She carries the badge of courage in her heart, the white dove of humility in her hands, and everywhere she goes she is either touched or touches down, leaving a trail of fairy dust, or a slough of mud, either way, the path altered.

 

I invite you to take a look inside of my book Everyday Aspergers.

Take a look here.

(I just deleted an entire paragraph explaining why I am uncomfortable with self-promotion. I’ll spare you the details!)

My publisher, Your Stories Matter, took great care to provide this ‘book-to-look’ version of the second edition of Everyday Aspergers.

(I’ve truly failed at promoting my own book. I usually promote Steve Silberman’s book in my travels and teachings. Typical me!)

Over a year ago, I decided to move my memoir from one agency to another. I made this decision to ensure the paperback was available outside of the USA. Here are ten facts you might not know about E.A.

The second edition of Everyday Aspergers : A Journey on the Autism Spectrum can be purchased on Amazon in several countries. It makes a great gift!

The new book cover is by a talented autistic author and writer. The pages, of the new edition, have photos and images from my childhood. I added a new end chapter. The layout, pages, and style are different. It’s the same story in an enhanced casing.

https://www.book2look.com/book/KRksrIxTxr

483: The Void

Somewhere out there you are lonely. I see you. I feel you.
You have this compassionate void within, a great abyss, massive in girth and depth.
There is no end to it: your beacon home.
You grasp at straws, at significant concrete ideas, thoughts, and concepts, even people, in an attempt to understand this absence, this missing, this grand emptiness.
So grand is your space of void that you long to fill it with whatever comes.
Sometimes the comings are tragic, sometimes wild, sometimes fulfilling, sometimes long-lasting, but they always dissipate.
You are left with memories slathered in pain, no matter the causation. You are left abandoned to yourself and your doings, in a state of query and mishap, shaken and made awake. Further awake.
This happens again and again, this searching out with your great capacity, an opening of self to what is there.
You take into you this, this substance, whatever the measure.
And you embrace it there, in your deepest self, twisting and turning the angles, figuring out in your limitation what could be, and forgetting what is.
There is a dichotomy inside of you, in which you love yourself, the innate you, yet also punish yourself for false failings.
You long to be someone else, as you embrace who you are.
Deep within you honor and respect your light, your goodness.
But beyond that you become confused in this world, isolated, alone, burdened.
This is your journey, and my journey, lost in a way, and found just the same.
There exists an ache so substantial that you live to alleviate the agony.
Day in and day out such intense longing.
We mistake this longing for love, for future hope, for him or her, for this or that.
The craving is the loving search for source, for truth, for light.
And in here we bathe.
Reach not for what is there, but for what is within, and your answers remain, as always, readily attainable.
Turn not to another, for the other is not the way.
You are this ‘way’ in your effervescent glow.
I cannot remove such suffering, even as I try ten-fold to release myself.
The suffering stays, and only grows greater.
What I can do is speak my voice, my truth, and seek harbor in the safety of awakened awareness.
I can go to the core of self and bring up what is there beyond the mask.
This is your calling, too. This is the void.
To embrace yourself fully in all your perceived failings. To love yourself in completion, and in turn give to the world what you have found within your being.
Purge, die, renew your essence, and give back your true light.
I wait for you on the other side, my burden heavy, my heart pierced, my enemy awake.
I wait and wait and wait, until a thousand deaths fall upon me.
And then I shall rise, with us in the horizon, with us in the rising sun.
You are my answer and I am yours.
We must awaken to the dream that is us, and begin to live the dream that is now.

481: Sit with Me

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I don’t mean to scare you, but I know I do sometimes. Or maybe I don’t scare you, maybe I cause you concern or frustration. I don’t mean to do that either. I try to stay out of people’s way and just be me. But being me, well, that action tends to get in the way sometimes. Maybe you are numb to me entirely, kind of shut me off like you do the rest of the world; perhaps even more than the rest, because I am a bit different. That’s all okay, perfectly okay. I just wish you could sit with me long enough to see me. However long that might take. An eternity is fine, if you need that. You see I would stay with you that long. That’s the type of person I am: steadfast, loyal, loving. I am endless love. That is why at times I seem giddy and childlike, and I run loops around you, in conversation, in thought, in silly ways in which I move about. I cannot help who I am. In the sense, I cannot help but to be me. I can take measures, certainly, to provide you comfort, and if that means adjusting something in my approach towards you, I am open to listening to suggestions. But at my heart, at the core of my being, I cannot, nor do I wish to, change. I am who I am. And I rather adore myself. I love the way I see the world and accept the world and don’t focus on the pain of people. I focus on the heart. And in this way, everywhere I look is true beauty. That is why I got so very excited when I met you. To me, I had found yet another remarkable heart, another remarkable universe. And yours, my darling, had to have housed the biggest depths of them all. So enchanting, so filled with mystery and multi-dimensions. You see, I could jump into you right away. Straight into the depths of your very soul. I tend to grasp reality this way, by measuring life by the potency of souls. I cannot explain, nor feel the need to explain, but I know I can see you. Way down deep inside, in those places you hide, and in those places you shine. It’s bright in there, and I love you so. I see this and I want to celebrate. I want to shout: Look at you! And sometimes I do. Only it comes out in funny ways that perhaps aren’t so charming, and perhaps seem deliberately askew. Yet, I am trying. I am just trying to find a way to convey to you how much I love you all at once because I recognize your light. Because I know you. Because I see us as one in the same, in sharing so much distinction and awe. I peer inside of you, and I dance there. And here you show me images of before and after, and even of tomorrow. I learn of your heart-trials, of your passion, of your faith, and I learn of your devastating wounds. And I want to heal them, much like the mother to her pup. Only I can’t. There is nothing I can do but watch and take in you in all of your penetrating beauty. And I spin again, into someone you know not. Wanting to pull you into the all that is before me. Wanting you to see how much I love you.

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.