542: Self

self
self

I know what I am not but not what I am. I know when to stop but not when to stop starting. I can inch my way into the middle and get stuck in the molasses of neither here nor there. I don’t know how to swim upstream without pounding pain, and instead, in alternate route, float downstream away from the waters where all else abounds.

Somewhere I have forgotten myself, and I search to find her, thinking I have arrived, only to once more find I am at the backdoor looking into what was and thinking I had known then.

I cannot remember who or where I have been, anymore than I can visualize where I am going. I am lost, in a time maze of confusion, falling upon a self I cannot fathom or detect.

She is there, in the shadowed-tunnel, collapsing and reborn into another, faster than humanly feasible. She is multitudes unopened and reopened—an anomaly in form. To be and not to be. To care and not to care. To unravel into the very depths of reason and peer down into the pond of ‘me.’ Only to question what it is that stares back with such disregard and wonderment.

I am but enough and then I am unequivocally lacking, never measuring up to the enforced standards absorbed from the path I walk. I clamor for explanation and find a thousand books untouched, though in some fashion taken into the realm of reason. I can feel the words: the spoken, the whispered, the silenced, the ones that never came and ones that never speared the element that is I.

They make me. They form me. They penetrate me into something I know not. Clay to my mind. Dirt to my heart. Scattered residue of earthly wants and needs. Goods that I am neither capable of grasping or acquiring.

I am this existence that the observer watches. Reformed with the passerby. Morphed into their reality and then left, unscattered and splattered, broken and unbroken, in a pool of endless duality.

I am what I am—yet only for a fleeting moment; a chance to take glance towards the outline of my palm, the beat of my heart, the opening of a billion universes. Everywhere I am, and at once I am alone. Isolated. A loneliness no less easy to explain than the essence of what I have become. ~ Sam, 7/24/15

539: I Am Too

I am Too
Sensitive
Honest
Emotional
Silly
Sad
Excited
Despondent
Straight Forward
Detailed
I am Too
Affected
Exaggerated
Off Center
Realistic
Hopeful
Critical
Logical
Worried
Frazzled
Careful
I am Too
Serious
Anxious
Self-focused
Self-involved
Introspective
Deep
Frank
Different
Obsessive
I am Too
Open
Transparent
Real
Intense
Forgiving
Helpful
Giving
Understanding
Trusting
I am Too
Confused
Overwhelmed
Naïve
Nervous
Stuck
Controlling
Impatient
Impulsive
Invasive
Needy
Clingy
I am Too
Talkative
Hyper
Sick
Tired
Attached
Aloof
In hiding
I am Too
Quiet
Distant
Inside my head
Contemplative
Analytical
Repetitive
Cyclic
Fearful
Determined
Pattern-seeking
I am Too
Hard on myself
Mean to myself
Unforgiving of myself
Self-punishing
Self-loathing
Pretending
Aching
Hurting
Wishing
Feeling
Isolated
Terrified
Reaching
Wanting
Dying Inside
I am Too

524: “Stupid NTs”

Author’s note:
NT is the abbreviation for the word neurotypical. It is a familiar term to those on the autistim spectrum and was originally used to describe those individuals who do not have neurological brain differences. NT is generally accepted as a substitution for the word ‘normal,’ as the word ‘normal’ is subjective. For some, utilizing the word ‘neurotypical’ is an active choice, for the act of using the word ‘normal,’ in reference to those not on the autism spectrum, implies that those on the spectrum are not normal.

On numerous accounts members of the autistic and/or Aspergers community have been alienated, ostracized, and pointed out by the majority as inherently flawed or wrong. Individuals on the spectrum continue to site feelings of extreme isolation from mainstream society and times of repeated criticism in which observers offer out measures in which the person with autism/Aspergers might attempt to fix or adapt him or herself to be more ‘normal.’ In short those on the spectrum are often criticized and taught how they might better behave in order to assimilate. I know of many who have contemplated or attempted suicide based on the intense isolation associated with Aspergers, and had a friend, who took his own life, just last year. I, myself, am not immune from the critics who want me to behave more like them. Not so long ago, I received an extended email from a professor of psychology, who, having had just found out I had Aspergers, felt it reasonable and justifiable to critique my correspondence and give advice on how to act and function as a professional at the university.

In a broad sense, as a people, recognized as the same through common characteristic traits, habits/routines, neurological functioning, gene/enzyme variations, ailments, and the like, those on the spectrum have been singled-out as different from the start, even as they themselves might not recognize the differences. To some, we (those on the spectrum) feel ‘normal’ to our own selves, as how we function and experience life is all we know, and will ever know. Yet still, despite our own inability to change to suit the comfort-level of others, we are told we are somehow made ‘wrong.’ To be told you are flawed or inferior based on various attributes, such as skin color, race, sect., or religion, is harmful and undoubtedly can lead to hurt. Though while the effects of discrimination often create the breeding ground for cruelty, and cause much suffering, there still remains a means for the oppressed to escape psychological affliction through the understanding that essentially they are not the color of their skin or the ideologies they uphold. However, it can be argued, one suffers without means for psychological relief when the majority proclaims that the manner in which a person functions and thinks is wrong. For how can one eradicate self from self, and become that which he is not?

This continual bombardment of judgment of another based on his behavior, whether the bombardment be indirect, direct, or implied, wears down the spirit—chips away at the person’s understandings of self and the way in which he or she relates to the world. In essence, destroys the foundation of his existence. The confusion brought on by criticism brings about a distinct feeling of being misplaced and plopped down on the wrong planet. In addition, often people on the spectrum can’t recognize or do not know others that are like-minded, and therefore, don’t even have a company to retreat to for comfort and support when feeling judged. And if another, on the spectrum, did know such a people akin to himself, he might shy away for a variety of reasons related to the challenges of Aspergers, e.g., distrust, frustration, embarrassment, social insecurities, sensory- and processing-overload from being in a crowd.

Accordingly, as a collective, we are thusly isolated twice: once in our tendencies to be publicly noted in a not so positive light for our unique behaviors and attributes, and secondly in our tendencies to instinctually self-isolate for what we believe is necessary for our own protection.

Throughout history it is evident that people who have been oppressed and isolated eventually reach a point of having had enough. At that junction, two outcomes can occur: an oppressed subgroup can crumble—resulting in multiple scenarios of further oppression and breakdown. Or an oppressed subgroup can rise above the oppressors through the process of connection and action, such as action based on a collective-reckoning as a result of a people coming together and sharing mutual ideas, support, awareness, and so forth.

Singling out others as NTs and attaching attributes to the subgroup of NTs is an example of the Aspergers community rising above oppression through action to avoid further oppression and breakdown. The act itself enables a previously ostracized isolated sum to reclaim a sense of power and self-worth. In theory, when a collective recognizes the existence of another group beyond their ‘own’ group then the group they are a part of becomes more real. By merely creating further separation, between ‘them’ and ‘us,’ the existence of both groups becomes more substantiated. The stronger a group becomes in existence the more members sense their group is real; and accordingly, the more a member senses a group is real the more he or she feels part of a community, and the less he or she feels alone.

Naturally, based on repeated years of isolation, if presented with the chance, many with Aspergers gravitate towards the opportunity to feel less alone and more a part of something. Feasibly, before knowing others that are similar in our making, we have spent most of our lives thinking we are the anomaly and therefore alone on this plane. Finding a ‘clan’ so to speak, provides means of much healing and growing. Because of this, when supported within the makings of a group of like-minded people, a person with Aspergers might subconsciously reinforce the ‘realism’ of the group in order to build up the feelings of unity and tear down the feelings of isolation. In so doing, he or she might reinforce this realism of the group by perceiving others beyond the group as outsiders, and then perhaps accentuate the substantiation of his or her group more by creating or partaking in opportunity to claim the others as less-than, different, or not-enough.

Thusly, through the aforementioned, there is a justifiable reason (psychological sense of belonging), behind a person with Aspergers actions when he or she points out differences between his/her established sect and another. In this light, the use of the label NTs makes perfect sense. Furthermore, using the term NT in a derogatory manner also makes sense—as defining another outside the group as inferior brings about more distinction between the two sects, and as a consequence reinforces the subgroups realism further. Perhaps, along these lines, the creation of two subgroups, that being 1)Aspies and 2) NTs, was inevitable. However, arguably, a justifiable action does not equate a just action.

As mentioned before the breaking point of the oppressed usually leads to a crumbling of self or proactive action; and often, when faced with continual insult and injury, a person must swing to one side of the pendulum or another in order to eventually find balance. As a collective subgroup, we do the same. We swing upon the pendulum—we respond and hide or we respond and retaliate. Part of retaliation is in pointing finger and blaming others. Part of hiding is pointing the finger at self and blaming self. Neither is beneficial in the long term, and can wreak havoc on multiple psyches and relationships.

Regardless of the cause, clearly, there is evidence that through the act of calling others NTs and attaching derogatory meaning to the name NT, discrimination is being recreated in reverse.

People with Aspergers know what it is like to be ostracized. Perhaps to turn around and do the same with closed eyes is understandable. And perhaps, too, to do the same to gain a sense of me-ness and union, and that long sought after feeling of being a part of something, is completely justifiable. But to repeat what was done to us through reverse discrimination with eyes wide open is to start a new type of war, one in which we set out to be the victors and the others the oppressed. This mentality of ‘we verses them,’ or even the simplicity of ‘we and them,’ creates more waste—increased harm and debris that will need to be cleaned up and rectified. Eventually, oppressors become blinded by their own hate, as they fortify their creation of sect through a cyclic self-feeding process based on various means of separation. In the end, by choosing to separate from others, we create a world that is the exact definition of what diminished our worth and standing in the first place.

With this said, I ask you to keep in mind that a subgroup of any definition is at risk of adapting an elitist attitude. For this reason, as a collective community of people who support those on the spectrum, it is crucial to heed caution in the way we choose to see others in general, but specifically in how we choose to see and classify the collective group we name NTs.

~

Author’s Note: This post was originally composed when Asperger’s Syndrome was a stand-alone diagnosis. At that time, not much was written or discussed about females on the autism spectrum, particularly not the rules of semantics to utilize when referring to other autistic women. In the four years since my online writings began, much to do about semantics in relationship to Autism Spectrum Disorders has emerged. Even the word “disorder” is a trigger word for some, myself included. Today, I prefer to write “I am autistic” or “I am Aspie,” when referring to myself, instead of “a person with autism/Aspergers.” (People-first versus condition/diagnosis-first) Primarily, because I don’t have Aspergers—rather I amAspie. Aspergers is innately who I am as an individual and not some tagline—like a disease.With that said, while I am sensitive to the ongoing terminology debate and the growing trend (and need) to move beyond identifying one’s self with a “disorder,” in order to keep the authenticity and voice of the original works, including accurately reflecting how I experienced life and trends in the societal and psychological fields at the time, I chose to not make any specific broad-based terminology alterations in this post.

Samantha Craft (@aspergersgirls) compiled this page. She has corresponded with thousands of individuals touched by autism in their lives. Sam is the author of Everyday Aspergers, a revealing memoir, ten years in the making, about the everyday life of an autistic woman. More information can be found atSpectrum Suite LLC, myspectrumsuite.com

522: Outside the Isolation of Noise

I am much like a computer. I know that. I feel it. I sense it. I hear it. I take in more than most could feasibly comprehend, and spit out just as much. I need to process, both internally and externally. If I do not process, I will explode. Not literally, but definitely by means of emotional shutdown, spurting out, or losing myself in looping cyclic thoughts. I need to be heard by others, and indeed by my own interior self. I also need to reflect a form of truth.

I partake in communication akin to a hunter stalking her prey. I am in search. I am digesting the elements. I am preparing myself for future claim. I am reflecting, too, on past hunts, and bringing the memories forward for analysis. To exist is to hunt—to search for the meat of the matter and pull it outward from within, and to furthermore seek out that which is externally available for clues so that I might make my way through the forest that is my world.

Everywhere are trees. They are thick and mossy. They are stoic. They are alive. And each tree stands with a thousand secrets—some spoken and some hidden. And in this way I move about listening. I cannot be without the sense of everything bursting with input. There is a non-surrendering aspect in regards to my thinking. Gallant knights at the wheel of knowledge aching for an answer they know does not exist, and yet, they, these rouge-pages-blossomed, chase time away in a merry-go-round of maybes. I cannot stop them, and I, the someone beyond them, am left victim of sorts, incapable of surrendering for the lot of us.

The forest makes me blind. I cannot see through the trees. And the knights make me bitter because I cannot rest with them at the reins. I ache like none would know, unless too trapped in the wooded causeway, reaping what is taken in at high-speed but smothered by the incoming. I get trapped in overload. Trapped in a glass-bowl incapable of knowing what is what, what is important, what is true, what is necessary to process. A fish with no water, yet still swimming in this notorious muck of something deemed needed by some distant part of self. I can’t get out, but I want to. And part of me doesn’t even recognize I am there. Part of me can’t tell if I am even here, where I seem to live in this land.

I am nowhere, in moments, true. Essentially lost to my own buried selves—the multitudes of me who are shuffling through the debris of information. Each questioning the other for validity: “Is this the accurate representation?” “Is this a true source?” “What is beyond this source?” “What is truth?”

The knights battle inside as I move through the whispering trees—further aspects of self sprung up through the gatherings of words. They multiply whilst seemingly traversing into a battleground of truth; each contemplating while incorporating the strongest voice in hopes of victory. A win for the team. A win for silence. The totality of self pushing towards peace.

There is chaos, interruptions, non-stop contradictions, quibbles of sorts, and primarily confusion. Yet, no matter their futile attempts, brought up to the forum of exclusion, they waver away from the foundation of adequate representation fortified by truth. This nothingness of beyond bearing down its weight upon the galleries’ guesswork. And thusly, re-measuring occurs—long rulers and yellow tape stretched out in endless mayhem—judgment and discernment in regards to what is set out as evidence.

I cannot find peace here, and still I travel so. My only outlet found in emotional exhaustion, high-energy spurts of fixation, or the letting out of my soul in form of discourse, be it writing or speaking.

And so it is many times in words and tears and high-interest, I typically find reprieve. I don’t know why or how, or the ways in which I work beyond what comes forth as fragmented awakenings. I only know that I live most hours amongst the churning of selves in the shadows of the talking forest longing to be heard outside of the isolation of noise.

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?