Day Twelve: Behind the Curtain


This is an excerpt from a previous journal entry in 2009. I wrote Behind the Curtain before I realized that I had traits of Asperger’s Syndrome. As I reflect back to this time period of my life, I now recognize that I was searching  for any explanation, in order to attempt to sort out the disorder in my mind.

Behind the Curtain

I made a decision a long time ago, when I was old enough to venture across the street on my own and play in the open field, that I would try to be a good person.  I already knew more than I ought to have known about the world, I suppose.

I remember years back looking up at the wide-open sky and wondering where the universe ended and more so where I began.  I recognized I wasn’t just my flesh and skin, was so overly aware of the inner core of my being that I felt as if I were walking a narrow line between this realm and the next.  There was turmoil at home, which left me with a general uneasiness, but there was another more defining uneasiness building inside of me, piling one atop the other, an unsettling recognition that there was so much more than the grownups could explain, and more so, ever venture to understand themselves.

Such knowing, at a young age, carries with it insecurity and reckoning of the uncertainties of the world, an acknowledging that reality isn’t what one’s peer group believes.   There was a stepping out of sorts, a separating at this point of my life, a kindling of new insight that propelled me onto the other side of the street, so to say.  As if, I was standing alone, isolated and curious, observing my playmates across the way.  I could hear them, I could even speak and they would acknowledge my presence, but I couldn’t join them.  My thoughts were a deep canvas, a three-dimensional painting I could step into and live.  From my side of the road, I would watch with wonder and interest, recognizing my own separation from humanity, without understanding what in actuality I was experiencing.  It was then, about the time most kids were discovering the wonderment of above-ground pools and slip and slides, I was discovering simultaneously the limit of my mind and the un-limitness of the universe.  I had wanted desperately to understand where I belonged and where I fit in, for I wasn’t as the birds left to fly in the sky; I wasn’t an adult with the freedoms; and to me, I wasn’t a child.  The others were all different than me.  It was as if I had been given an alternate pair of lenses in the way I interpreted the happenings around me, in the way I analyzed the truth behind words, and the actions behind truths.

I knew too well already about death and dying, as I knew too well about living.   I knew when I slept my dreams would come like torrent winds and tear me from where I slept and carry me forward into another realm of consciousness.   And I knew well the dreams would sometimes speak to me and give me glimpses into the future.   I could tell my mother things, speak to her about the dreams, and then we would watch together to see if the  essence of my dreams was true, if in fact the dream had revealed an element of an event to come.   And often the dreams did.

Knowing a dream can speak, can whisper some form of truth, and can open a door and allow one to peek into another universe is most unsettling to say the least.  But then, as a child, when I stopped to analyze the happenings, to grasp why I knew things before they occurred, I felt a shudder of confusion, and further uncertainty about where I stood, where I breathed, where I actually dwelled on the planet.

And I knew things about people, I felt certain I shouldn’t ought to feel.   I could tell things about people, understand their intention, feel a part of their spirit. From early on in my life, certain people left me feeling heavy and invaded, while others, though nothing on the outside was perceivable peculiar or different, left me with a flowing sense of calmness and general well being.  Some people felt like gifts, a present I wanted to play with and keep close to heart, while others I wanted to return from whence they came.  I wondered what was in people that made them thus so.  Why some seemed so light and airy, and others weighed down by an invisible ghost of woes.  I wished to speak, to find out, and became increasingly inquisitive and interested in adults, for I secretly hoped one of them would have an answer for me.  I searched out a guide, even though I knew not what I was searching for, or even that I was searching, and I am certain they came to me at different intervals in my life as needed, though I did not recognize them.

As I grew older, the feelings inside of me also grew, filling up every inch of new space.  I was so abundantly filled with emotions that at times I often felt as if I were drowning inside my own being.  I could hear things by then, too.  See things.  See things no one else I had encountered could.  I continually felt more isolated and lonely, though I had people around me, I nonetheless remained isolated in thought and spirit.  It seemed to me that no one understood me.  For years I longed to be like my classmates.  I came to see them as narrower and straighter than me, like the letter “x,”so that nothing could fill them and leave them gasping for air; wherein I perceived myself as wide and curved, like the letter “o,” so that everything and anything could use me as a vessel.

The later years were painfully difficult.  When the teenage trials came, I felt bombarded and stampeded with emotions.  If there was ever a time I believed I was from another universe, it was then.  I played a game—that is how I saw it.  I pretended to be someone.  I was lost, lost on some stage, trying to find where I’d hidden my true self.

I still feel as if a part of me is hiding somewhere, afraid to come out entirely, for fear of misunderstanding and judgment.  The tender part of me, the piece of myself that doesn’t understand in the smallest bit the cruelty and harshness of this world, remains divided and alone, always hidden behind the curtain.