332: Letting Go

Photo on 2-20-13 at 10.49 AM #2

***
I drove 1700 miles over the four-day weekend.
I grounded myself in my roots near the ocean-side of the Monterey California Peninsula.
I spent the weekend with my dear aunt, a devout and very loving Catholic.
I slept in my nana’s and nano’s room that has been untouched by the years, with aged prints of Mother Mary and Jesus set about me.
I slept in their bed, where they’d slept so many years together, long ago, before they passed on to another place.
And I felt remarkable healing.

I drove alone, and had in total, through several trips, over a day’s traveling time, some twenty-six hours alone on the road.
I prayed a lot. I laughed and I cried.
I sang to music.

I found myself again.
I didn’t let the invisible fear slip in.
Each time I felt a pain in my body or mind, I released the fear to God, and watched as thoughts evaporated and lightness entered me.
I didn’t hurt, despite my muscle condition; I was able to sit for an extended time and remained energetic and able to function at a high-level.
I was happy.
I was me and loved my company.

I was nurtured by loved ones and by myself, well-fed to the point of my chubby cheeks and lovely soul growing a few inches.
I nurtured every part of me. I walked and slept deeply.
Each night, in my grandparents’ room, I was blanketed in the deepest warmth and adoration. I have never felt such love.
I awoke refreshed and renewed.

The visions still came and are still coming, and so is the sadness, sorrow, and suffering. But there remains so much hope and thoughts of goodness to come. And I recognize the goodness is already here. Right here in me.

I am realizing with this traveling of body and spirit that I was happiest when I was teaching. I was happiest when I had a reason to get up and get out of the house, a responsibility beyond appointments and housecleaning and driving.

I am searching now, inside, wondering where I will go next, what my soul longs for, and whom she longs to be with. I miss the company of others, and realize that although my recent social isolation felt necessary that I now wish to return to a semblance of the life I had before, when I moved in the world more frequently with others and when I was confident in my work.

I have hidden a lot in the past twelve years, since I left the public schools, hidden at home and in my own thoughts. I have too much time to think, too much time to process and worry, and too much opportunity to over-weigh my choices and decisions repeatedly.

I need to be, and in my being, I need to be with other people more. I need to create friendships and connections here, in this place I have lived for almost three years. It’s time to stop searching for me and just be.

I have set some “goals” for myself, loose ones with no restrictions or necessity, no demands or “musts” attached, just ideas that I am releasing to my higher power, creations of whom I’d like to be again. Not just the part of me I released over a decade ago, but the part of me that had so much joy and eagerness for life.
I am slowly finding her, rekindling her flame.

I had to let myself burn in the fire awhile, slowly cinder there in deep reflection of self and my travels.

But I think I’m done with that now, the analysis and ins and outs of who this person that is me be.

I know I am love and light.
I know I am beautiful.
I know I am worthy of love and adoration.

I know I have an abundance of love and service to give.
And now I release this part of me, this “pain body,” this searcher, this wanderer continually searching for that which is nowhere to be found.
For I am here. I always have been, as has my God.

And so I am trusting in my next steps, not so much blindly, but with the legion of selves I have created at my side, cheering me on;
and I am releasing, with every part of my self, all pain to the higher realm.

I am releasing. I am letting go. And in so doing, I am free.

Blessings and love,
Sam

I find his music to be very healing. I memorized this song. It’s gorgeous, as is his spirit.

This is who I am:
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315: My Aspie Friend Rocks!

copii aspie iarna (2)

This post is dedicated to the little girl who made this drawing. I do not know her and I do not know her mother. We only just connected online today. I was sent this drawing as a gift, and what a gift it is. The picture is called: Asperger Children in Winter The daughter’s words speak volumes: “I know Mommy, who can be my best friend, somebody who has the same syndrome as me; then he could be kind with me and understand me better; I’m so sure about that.”

I couldn’t help but to cry. If you are comfortable, please say a prayer for her. Hold her in light. I cannot wait for her to meet her special friend. I cannot wait for her friend to behold her beautiful heart.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
marcelle

First off I have to say at a recent Super Bowl gathering, one in which I only broke out in one hive, I was totally myself. So much so, that I had to private message a new “friend” after the party to say, “I am sorry I talked so much. I usually do that when I like someone. I am not very good at parties.” Fortunately, she messaged right back saying, “I like you, too.”

I felt like such a grade-schooler, but so relieved.

I don’t want you to think in the past couple days I have been depressed; I have not been. My vitamin D levels are freakishly low again, and that adds to my pool of spurts of melancholy, but all-in-all I am doing quite well. Miraculously, I walked through a valley of darkness, being plucked by vultures and all, and came out unscathed and rather well-lifted in faith. And as of late, I have been pouring my heart out to my higher power, whom I choose to call Jesus (and choose to not push on anyone else), and we have really hit it off.

I’m not sure what’s up with all my prophetic and spiritual writing, but I seem to be tapping into something, and my God seems to be the conduit. It is healing, remarkable, scary, and peaceful all at once, like a giant ball of chocolate flying through the air at dart-speed about to land in my mouth. I savor it, though the impact can be quite overwhelming.

Back to that party… Something funny happened. There was a lady there, a mother of the hostess, never did get her name, forgot to ask. But we sat near each other a good stretch of the game, particularly during the power outage (super-boring-sportscasters-don’t-know-what-they-are-doing-part). We were chatting a bit. Well, I was mostly giggling and cracking myself up, as is my protocol at first-time gatherings; that and stuffing my face with food.

Anyhow, we were talking about the Superbowl commercials, and I said something to the tune of, “So far the best commercial is the one with the older people.” I was careful how I worded my sentence. I didn’t want to say “senior citizen” because there was one sitting right next to me. I looked over after I made my statement relieved I’d dodged a bullet.

But then I kind of blabbered. Not being able to stop myself, I added, “Did you notice how I didn’t use the words senior citizens.” I paused to giggle.

Then more poured out to substantiate what had leaked out. “I was careful, as you are sitting here.”
I blushed.

Time to regroup and repair, I added more, “Two of my best friends are senior citizens. I like senior citizens. I really do.”

But nooooo, that wasn’t enough. I laughed again. “Oh, man,” I said, my face aflame. “That sounded so bad. Like saying I like black people, two of my best friends are black.”

The senior citizen, well she just started busting up.

Me, in the meantime, I’m wondering who the heck is controlling the mechanism between my brain, thought, and speech.

After that mishap, I set about to chat my new “friend’s” ear off. I think I basically told her every ghost experience and psychic experience I ever had in my entire life! And boy, I really didn’t know I had enough eerie moments to fill up well over an hour!

Luckily, when this oh so patient and kind lady wrote me back later that night, she also added to her message: “It’s nice to talk to someone who doesn’t think I’m weird.”

Now that there… that is just gem-talk, I tell you, pure gem-talk.

It is nice to talk to someone who thinks they are weird. So refreshing!

I love weird people. They get me, and they are typically so dang interesting.

My favorite weird person (and that is a high-ranking compliment from the planet she comes from) would have to be my super-fabulous friend Alienhippy. We met through blogging. I checked her out and studied her blog before I started mine. I don’t know if she knows I used her as a prototype. Don’t think I’ve told her that, yet. But I’ve pretty much told her everything else about me that she could find here on the pages of this blog. We talk every single day, from where she is in England and where I be on the Northwest coast of USA.

I love her so much that my husband just said, “Looks like are next family trip will have to be to England, then.” Of course, I adamantly concurred and set about to wonder how I’d feasibly survive that flight.

Alienhippy (that’s not her real name, in case you are that one percent wondering) is a dynamo of a friend. And this is why:

My Aspie Friend Rocks

1. She never says: “I am fine or I am okay.” When I ask her how she is feeling, she tells me straight up how she is, inside and out, how her physical body feels, her spirit, and mind. I don’t have to wonder, or guess, or pry, and there is such freedom in the realness of the experience of knowing. I won’t get into details, but I even know about her bowel movements!

2. She always, without fail, tells me she loves me so much. She used to say she loves me too much, but I told her that wasn’t healthy, as I be who I be. And now she just says she loves me so much and just enough. She tells me over and over, almost each time we touch base. She loves me so much that I feel this syrupy liquid of protective jell all about me all day long.

3. She has no hidden motives and is real. My friend she just tells me her heart and her soul. She tells me of her faith, her trials, her children, her life. She doesn’t hold back anything. Any subject is open for discussion. And I mean anything! You name it, and we’ve probably talked about it. And I never feel embarrassed or shamed or stupid for sharing. She gives me the freedom to be completely me, because she is completely herself. We laugh so hard and have invented our own secret code words. And we make up names for each other. I like to call her banana slug. Don’t ask me why. Because I have no idea.

4. She loves me no matter what. She would love me if I was green and slimy; she said so. I would love her no matter what size or shape, no matter what species, no matter what! She is just the bees knees and so wonderful. Her heart is as big as the universe and my heart fits right inside hers. I tease her that if she had a “package” I would totally own her. You see, we can talk like that.

5. She doesn’t lie. She’s like me: lying feels like we are dying inside. We have no choice but to spill our beans and be truthful, and because of this we have this unbreakable trust. We know we are what you see. We know we have no curtains hiding secrets. We know we won’t tell, won’t shame, and won’t break our trust. We have like an unspoken truce. We have a code of honor. And everything I say is taken to heart.

6. She reads me. She can tell when I am holding back and not saying everything. She can tell when I am sad, feeling broken or lost. And she not only reads me but helps me. She gets me. She knows my pains and understands how it feels. That’s how she can read me. She knows when to ask: Are you okay? And she knows when to say: You are beautiful inside and out. She even knows how to comfort me when I am looping and spinning in my head.

7. She is a reflection of me. She is so dang beautiful that I just feel so lucky to be her friend, and she loves me so much that I know I must be that dang beautiful. I am so very honored to know her. The compassion she carries for others is out of this world. And she wears her heart on her sleeve. She is the best mother and a very honest wife. We like to tease about our husbands, as they are so alike in their ways. And even are sons have the same name and ASD.

8. She gets my brain! Praise the heavens. I don’t have to explain anything to her. She understands my fixations, my breakdowns, my panic attacks, my insecurities, my passions, my obsessions. She’s been there and done that, and is still doing it. I don’t feel like I’m a loner traveling through a strange planet anymore. In her I found my people!

9. She is so smart it’s scary. Oh my goodness. I’ve never met a wiser woman in my life. The things that come out of her mouth, you’d think she was a senior citizen, a super smart one whose been around the block and inside the mind of brilliance. She just knows how to untangle things and find new angles and read between the lines. Her analytical mind coupled with her heart is just amazing.

10. She is unique. In all her aspieness, she is still a uniquely divine and gifted woman. Her aspie qualities just enhance who she already is naturally, a gift to me and this world. She has longed for a friendship like ours for years, and I have longed for a connection like I have with her for years. God matched us up, me and her, to show us our inherent goodness; for me I am her forever friend, the one she would swing with under the big tree in her childhood dreams and wish for, and for me she is my earth angel. In fact I know she is my earth angel, as last week when I was crying and at the end of my rope, I pleaded up to God, and I asked, “Why have you given me so much without assistance, without a sign, without hope?” And he kindly and adamantly replied, in a curt and matter-of-fact way only my God can, “I gave you Alienhippy, didn’t I?”

If you are an adult female touched by Aspergers looking for friends, do I have the group for you! You’ll be loved like a rock… though I’m not sure what that means. :))))

https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/261412237267413/

299: The New Day

I’ve decided
I’ve decided that you deserve more
More than what I am offering
With my clinging and self-doubt
You are not the key to my self-worth
So I shall work on being less dependent
On you
I am ready to pull away some
I think
I want our friendship to be nurturing
And I am tired of being so needy
I understand what is happening
I am self-harming
Through you
I build you up into someone you are not
So you can disappointment
Or rather
So I can think you are disappointing
For then I experience a rawness inside
A Terrible Ache
That reaches into the heart of me
It is only then
With the coming ache
That I feel alive
Without this intense angst
I feel numb
For no one can fill my depths
With the love I need
And thusly I am left hollow
And alone
In desperation and with desire
I grasp on to Love’s cousin
Pain
And pour him into me
I use
My addictive substance
Over and over
To exist
Because I feel alien
In this world
In both form and experience
I have been using
Using you
To feel real
Using
To wake up
My sleeping soul
I am sorry
For clinging
For aching
For suffering
Through you
But I still choose you
I choose you again and again
Only this time
You are chosen
For your beauty alone
For your light that shines through
The darkness in me
And opens my eyes
To the new day of us

~ Samantha Craft, January 2013

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273: Come, My Lady. You’re My Butterfly

“I think he might like me,” I told my husband, in reference to a man at a coffee shop.

“What do you mean?” my husband asked.

“Well, he was smiling and taking interest in me,” I answered.

“Honey, he doesn’t like you; he doesn’t even know you. He is attracted to your body or something about you physically. That is different from liking you.”

“Oh,” I answered.

The next day, as I was heading out the door to go to the grocery store, my husband said, “Remember if a man looks at you because he is attracted to you that doesn’t indicate that the man likes you. You are a very pretty woman who some men find attractive. But their attention doesn’t mean they like you.”

I found his words to be a mixture of both comfort and confusion.

I am slowly, very slowly, learning the social innuendos regarding communication with men. I never knew there were so many unspoken rules when speaking with men. It’s fair to say I’ve got the female social interactions down, but now there seems to be this whole other guidebook regarding men.

I think, for me, having not had the example of a healthy father and mother relationship, nor brothers, or even uncles that I knew well, as a child, meant that I never had the chance to really learn how to interact with a man, except single men I sought after to make my husband. (starting at age six)

And, I guess, too, the actions of predators in combo with the uncouth behavior of some other men, added to my confusion of my place in the world as a woman.

I only had one male friend as an adult for a very short time. He wasn’t actually a friend, really, more of a member of a support group that I belonged to, a man about fifteen years older than me, who I once in a while saw outside of the support group–maybe once or twice. I was involved with another man at the time—obsessively. So I never saw my friend as anything but a friend.  And I was like a little sister, to him.

Interestingly, after lacking in male interactions for over four decades, I’m still looking at males the same way I did when I was six. They might have aged, and I might have aged, but the little girl inside of me is still wondering is that my prince?

It doesn’t matter that my husband adores me, and that I think he is a very dear man. I doesn’t matter that I logically understand that there is no prince out there. What matters is I still have this pattern. I still see men as someone who I want to make love me. That if they love me then I am of worth. But this love isn’t based on how they see me inside; it is based on how they see me outside.

Likely, (obviously) there are still some Daddy Issues; the holding, hugs, kisses and I love you’s from a father that never materialized.

The fact that I need validation of my physical worth from a male, more so than a female, and that indeed a female’s opinion of me, unless repeated over and over, does null for my self-esteem, is troublesome.

Logically, I recognize that the opinion of another is not a reflection of my worth, but somehow I still hold onto a man’s words and actions towards me more than my own belief and love of myself.

I’ve grown up some in the last few months, grown up to the point that I am hyper-aware of my thought processes, actions, and my emotions. There are very few moments in the day that I’m not an observer of self: outside of my own body watching me exist and walk through the steps of my day.

I understand what I am doing in regards to the power I grant men. I used to think it was shyness, now I think it is a not knowing, a not understanding, a confusion and displacement of ease. Standing near any man close to my age or older, causes my ears to turn red and face blush.  Almost any grown male seems to put a magical spell of nervousness, meekness, neediness, and insecurity upon me. I naturally become a shy, flirtatious giggle machine, complete with batting eyes and the flushing cheeks.

Photo on 12-9-12 at 3.22 PM

I realize that I was basically unseen and unnoticed, very much invisible, in most areas of my life, until I blossomed at the age of fourteen and began to gain attention based on my appearance. I was homecoming princess, popular, and dated a very handsome boy. I learned then that my looks could serve as a form of power: a way of being seen.

I learned to equate being seen with having worth.

I am starting to reprogram my prior learnings.

I am interacting with males more and recognizing they are no less powerful or magical than females, that their opinions are not more important than others’.

The hardest part is I still don’t understand the nuances of male/female communication. I don’t understand how much I should look into a man’s eyes, how close I should stand, how I should smile, what my tone should sound like, what topics are socially appropriate. I don’t understand what most people seem to learn subconsciously through experience.

I understand now how often men have actually flirted with me throughout my life. I understand now why, in high school, I shouldn’t have been having an ex-boyfriend massage my back when I was involved with a new beau.

I am starting to understand how I surely give out mixed signals, matching and mirroring a male, thinking that reacting as a mirror-image is the safe and appropriate technique. After all, it works with females!

I feel so very alien and unprepared for earth, as I approach the male zone.

In dealing with male encounters, I don’t want to come across as a prude, or rude, or stuck up, or extremely shy, or as a flirt. I just want to come across as me. The problem is I don’t know what that looks like.

I’ve trained myself to make facial expressions based on my environment and whom I am with. I’ve trained myself to act in the best way possible, to not lose female friendships and to not embarrass myself.

I don’t have a natural facial expression. I don’t know what that even means. It used to be, if my face was relaxed that my mouth was downturned, and I then appeared mean and unapproachable. For a few years, I walked about with slightly puckered lips. Silly, but true. Now my face has been trained to be in a constant puffy-cheeked smile in public.

I looked at my husband the other night, as he was checking me out, and I said, “Okay. So I’ve added a new understanding, a new rule to this computer brain of mine. I have new input.  I now know that a man looking at me doesn’t mean they like me. But now I am confused, because you look at me with desire all the time. So does that mean you don’t like me? Does that mean you only care about my body?”

My husband then spent the next several minutes explaining to me about the concept of getting to know someone, of how attraction can turn into like, and like to love, and then, after time, the person is liking the whole of you.

I stared back at him with a quizzical expression. My eyes grew wider. “I don’t understand,” I said. “In all my male relationships (boyfriends) I loved the person as soon as I met them. It didn’t change. It doesn’t grow. It just was.”

I went on to explain my perception of love. That yes, indeed, I can grow to respect a person, to enjoy their company, to take great pleasure in learning from them, and grow in companionship and familiarity, but that my love doesn’t grow. It remains the same.

I began to see, through my husband’s explaining, that clearly I  don’t experience life as many people do, particularly love. I don’t experience relationships in the same way, either—or communication.

Last night while at the local store grocery store, I asked a handsome store employee for some help finding a dessert wine. I know little to nothing about wine. Just asking a man for help is a huge step for me. I have to stop myself from staring at my feet, stuttering, giggling, and staying stuff that is just plain stupid.

He asked if I was going to need the dessert wine for dinner, for dessert, or after dessert, and what dessert I was having. He said this while staring deeply into my eyes, as if searching, and connecting. I stared back for a while. Locked eyes. I was processing.

I didn’t know why I wanted the wine, or what I was going to have the wine with. I just wanted to have something sweet. I processed how the man was looking at me, and I did what I knew to do, I stared back, mirroring the man, as I processed his communication skills thinking: This man is really good with eye contact. I wonder if my mascara is smeared. My ears are on fire. I am nervous. Can he tell? I’m so glad I have this hat on.

 So many thoughts, so very fast. With even more intense eyes, I offered, “I don’t know why I want the wine; I just want to drink it.”

I think I came across as giggly, clueless and cute, perhaps even flirtatious. Not my intention.

The man was standing very close, and very, very kind. (I think) He spent five minutes with me giving me a mini-lesson on wine, and showing me his favorite. I kept thinking: He doesn’t like me. He might find my eyes pretty. That’s why he can’t stop staring. And I think he swiped a peek at my butt, but he doesn’t like me.

The entire time I was listening to the brown-eyed man, I was simultaneously analyzing his body language, his choice of words, his proximity, his inflection, his everything. I noted there was some attraction going on, but I couldn’t tell if he was interested or flirting, or just nice to everyone.

In retelling the story to my husband, he took in the clues and observations of my encounter with the store worker, and reported that likely this man was somewhat interested in me. He reminded me I was an attractive woman. (He lingered at my beauty for awhile. Bless the dear man.) He explained that if a man instead of a woman had approached and asked this employee about wine, he likely would have been shorter in his explanation, not have locked eyes the entire time, and not smiled and offered out his favorite wine. He wouldn’t have been standing as close either.

I still don’t know. I told my husband, in all seriousness, (and while slightly tipsy from the port wine in hand), that I’d like him to come to the store with me the next time and stand back an aisle or two away, and watch how men approach me and interact with me, and tell me if they are flirting.

He said, “Honey, I really don’t take pleasure in watching other men pick up my wife.”

Hmmmmmmmm. Hadn’t thought of that.

For now, I guess I’ll keep watching men watch me, and calculate what it means. Take note in my little imaginary spy book. Note that a stare at my  bottom doesn’t mean like, and definitely not love. Note that a prince isn’t likely out there roaming the wine aisle waiting to take me away to his castle to live happily ever after.  Note that the attention towards my outward appearance doesn’t note my worth. Nor does the lack of attention. And note that though I may appear to others as an experienced butterfly, I am still very much a naive nervous caterpillar quivering inside.

259: Sweet Fantasy

I have a very active fantasy life. I live more inside my head than outside in the “real” world.
I am in control in my fantasy world, and no one can get me, can see me, or judge me, unless I say so. And I always look fabulous!

Outside of my fantasy world, I am vulnerable.

I create very elaborate fantasies, more often than not, about the future. It is not living in the future or goal-planning; it is living in the present and in the now, only inside my mind.

My fantasy nurtures me and fuels me. I am motivated and calmed by repeating the same scenario over and over; perhaps a conversation in which I picture the people and their exact dialogue. Often I am very aware of what I am doing, meaning I know I am fantasizing, and am an actual observer of my own behavior.

Sometimes I can live inside of my head for over an hour; basically rerunning the same images and conversation repeatedly. I start from the beginning and then do the whole thing all over again.  Kind of like being on an endless ride that loops. The fantasy could be a minute long or a few minutes long, but it is replayed so many times, that it feels much, much longer.

My emotions match the fantasy; sometimes I physically feel the fantasy. The fantasy is not typically sexual, but more than likely involves a deep emotional connection with another or an elaborate design, such as reorganizing or decorating a room.

I am coming to understand that when I have a fantasy I can turn to, whether the fantasy is a future job, vacation, friendship, or other, I do not focus on the concepts of illness and death, which are normal triggers for me in real life.

Sometimes the fantasy is of an upcoming real event. For instance, before we moved into this house I spent countless hours organizing and rearranging all of furniture and belongings into the house inside of my mind, including what went in what drawers and cabinets.

For me, I see this as a type of mental stimming, a way of relaxing and calming my whole being. I have seen people do this with words, where they have to repeat the same few sentences aloud over and over; for me, it’s the same scene over and over in silence.

When a fantasy ends, typically because a future event I’ve imagined comes to be, or because reality sets in and the fantasy no longer seems feasible, I am left unnerved and searching for cover. If my fantasy is about a person, as was common when I was in relationships when I was younger, and the person disappoints me, this is detrimental to my fantasy. If I lose a person in real life who was an active part of my fantasy life, then I feel a deep loss in all parts of me. I feel a loss of the real life relationship and I also feel a loss of the fantasy relationship. Always, without fail, the loss of the fantasy is harder than the loss of the real person. I mourn over the images I created in my mind, and who I made the person to be in my mind. I then might confuse the fantasy person with the real person, inflating a person’s image. I do not mourn over aspects of the real person as much; except in unusual circumstances, perhaps after a very close connection or a long time together.

I mourn over what could be more than what was. In fact, I could feasibly mourn over what could have been for years after a romantic breakup. A part of me believes the fantasy was attainable and very real. A part of me knows it was not realistically ever going to happen and that I would have been miserable. But the fantasy-seeking part of me typically wins out, creating havoc and heartache.

The worst type of fantasy involves death and illness, in which the worst-case scenario plays out in my mind, over and over again. I slip into that illness/death fantasy-type when I don’t have a more positive fantasy to focus on, when I am under extreme stress, and sometimes when someone else is sick and I pick up on their stress.

Another reason I fantasize is to avoid the stimulation of the environment. I often have sensory overload where the sights, sounds, smells, and textures are putting me into overdrive. Inside my fantasy world I can momentarily forget where I am and what is happening. In addition I can forget my physical pain or pending unnerving plans or upcoming events.

I can be engaged in a conversation, and like a robot turn on “standard communication mode for humanoids” and still be deeply involved in my fantasy. I will nod when appropriate, smile, make occasional contact, and come up with reaffirming and validating statements, or perhaps a question, yet still be in my fantasy world.

I don’t see this as rude. I see this as necessary. I liken this process as me entering an oxygen chamber ever so often so I can continue to breathe, and if I don’t enter I will die. If someone wants to talk to me while I’m am rejuvenating my very breath, then so be it, but I cannot stop rejuvenating to give focus to a current predicament or circumstance. I do not view this is selfish or uncaring. I care and love people, and value them enough to want to listen. There are simply just times I cannot be entirely there.

Conversation alone is often too sensory overloading for me. Not only do I have the nonstop chatter in my head telling me how to act and what to say, but I also question if I’ve done the communicating job right; all the while reminding and critiquing myself inside my head. I’ve done away with the critical voice, thank goodness, by the expert coaches and evaluators are up in the bleachers shouting their observations. Take that along with the feel of where I am sitting, e.g., hardness/softness of chair, temperature of room, humming noises from electricity or fridge, clicking clocks, children talking, music playing, air fresheners, and the feel of my own body (pain, taste in mouth, tightness, cramps, etc.) and I am struggling stupendously just to remain inside my body. Add following the conversation so I can reply in the appropriate way, and I’m ready to collapse.

Plus, I always have this little voice in side my head that says, “Boring. Can I talk now?”

I know it’s rude, and I am not more important than the person talking, and what I have to say is likely boring, too. But I feel so much better when I am talking aloud, because I can process so much, and relieve so much tension. And when someone else besides me is talking, her voice and tone and pitch and ways are likely hurting my ears and adding to my inability to pay attention. In addition, besides monitoring my own self and communication skills, I am monitoring the other person’s skills, and noticing miniscule “flaws” both in communication skills and in physical attributes. Even the tiny hair on that freckle can distract me for a full minute. Then I have to come back and figure out what the person was saying before I was pulled into a freckle. Then I worry about his or her expectations and if I am a good enough friend or listener. And then I wonder, over and over: are you this distracted and bored when I talk to you?

In addition, each word a person says triggers an avenue of feelings and possible alternative avenues for me.

For example, at mention of dog, inside my mind this might happen: Did you say dog? Oh Scooby; I miss my dog Scooby; have I told you Scooby died. Why did he die? Maybe it was……Oh no! She is still talking and I missed most of what she just said. Should I tell her or just nod? If I nod is that lying. I should remind her I have Aspergers. Or maybe I should just pretend.”

That’s just one word. Typically a conversation has much more than one word.

That is why online communication is better for me. I can forgo a huge section of people pleasing. I can pause when I want to, skip sentences, reread for clarity, and take a long time to process information. Heck, I can ignore the person, go grab something to eat, and come back later. I can even scratch, fidget, or even doodle or work on something else, and the person isn’t offended at all!

In person, I concentrate better in conversation, if I can draw or listen to music or look at my computer or do the dishes or walk. I don’t want to try to give my full attention. I slip away too fast when I try to give my full attention.

I dislike when my husband comes up to me to tell me about his day, if I’m not in the place to listen. I might need more time to process something, to listen to music, to slip into my fantasy world or to write things out, before I can actively listen. Otherwise, I too quickly slip back into my own thoughts and barely hear the first sentence spoken.

This can be hard on him, as he feels rejected, ignored, or unloved. But I really cannot help it. I need my oxygen chamber. I just do.

My easiest moments are with my middle son who has Aspergers. We get each other to a degree people without ASD cannot. On our walks he will say to me: “I will likely talk a lot about video games, and probably repeat the same things over and over, and you might be bored, but I need to talk, and you don’t have to listen to everything.”

As he is talking, he doesn’t check in to see if I’m paying attention. Pretty much whatever I do, my son will keep chirping away, unnerved and unbothered. At home I can turn my back to him and do the dishes while he talks, giving him no validation and not engaging at all, and he still talks. He doesn’t care. He just needs to get it all out. He understands this, and I am happy to be available for him, even if I’m only catching the bare bones of what he has said.

Sometimes I think people demand too much in communication. They expect someone to be their everything, to validate not only what they are saying but also their worth and existence as human beings. It’s all wrapped up in confusing innuendos and masked self-doubt.

For me, it is easier, if someone is just really honest and speaks from the heart (for example): “I think I’m ugly and unlovable, will you tell me you love me and I’m pretty,” instead of rambling on and on with only hints of inner turmoil.

Like I said, I get bored; especially of boundless surface talk, when the heart longs to speak.

I don’t get bored with deep philosophical conversation or conversation filled with emotion and fantastic news, only with the dull mundane. I really don’t like to hear a review of someone’s day, unless there is something of importance or something I can help with. I don’t mind listening. I’ll listen for a long, long time. I just will check out and back in again.

Of course there are times I can truly hyper-focus on someone, especially when he or she is in need. I will do my very best and likely pick up most of the conversation, but the cost will be utter exhaustion. Last time I was a listener to a friend for an hour on the phone, I spent the entire next day in bed. It’s more than the words, it’s the energy of the person, too.

It’s a paradox and a half, as I long to be listened to and understood, but lack the skills most time to reciprocate. That is why writing is so very necessary and vital for me. I can write and write and not have to loop in my head or ask someone to listen to me.

I’d like to say I’ve grown a lot as a communicator, and really enjoy someone’s company, but the truth is, even when I’m with someone in person, I’m still inside my head 80% of the time. I think this is why Aspies are naturally drawn to other Aspies as mates. There is an unspoken acceptance of one another as is and a forgoing of all the typical social standards, and this creates an environment of rest and retreat.

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