Day 113: Goodbye Dead Man’s Beach

Goodbye Dead Man’s Beach

In the late spring of a bitter windy day, I wiped the grits of sand from my face and stared down below to the foggy beach. This would be the first time I’d see flaccid bodies all lined up in a row, bloated and an almost-blue.  I hadn’t wanted to watch or even glance a little.  I’d wished to run away or at least close my eyes, but I had to see.  This was another coming of a dream.  Some seven days had passed, seven long days of waiting and wondering who would drown.  I knew enough from my past and the way my dreams played out to realize death would be arriving on a Saturday—on a cold, cold Saturday.

I wondered as the workers desperately pressed and pumped on the already dying flesh, why life, or God, or whatever essence gave me these glimpses of future events, wouldn’t also go one step further and allow me to serve some purpose and exist as more than a detached helpless onlooker.   Had I had a magic button to stop the dreams, I thought at the time I would have.  But then I thought I would have missed the dreams in the way I would have missed my arm, or leg, or eye; the dreams were so much a part of me, a needed part, something I’d been born with which had served me in some sense; even though I couldn’t comprehend the reason, even though I cursed the visions and the following reality, I knew enough, innately or perhaps spiritually, to know the dreams were necessary.

The dreams would serve a higher purpose someday, I was told.  Not directly, but in whispers, gentle reminders to be patient, to be watchful, and to wait.  I would cry then, in my teens, in the same way I cry now, when the weight of the world is so heavy upon my shoulders that I wish for nothing but silence and the unknowing, to be like the mother across the street satisfied with her scrapbooking and classroom volunteering, and yearning for nothing more than the simple.

That’s what I longed for:  the sweet simple.

Those dead bodies below on the beach had been a family, the emptied vessels now covered in black bags on the sands below had been minutes before living tourists who hadn’t heeded the warnings posted at Dead Man’s Beach about the dangers of the ocean currents and under-tow.  One boy had fallen in off the rocks, and in response, each family member had leapt to their own death.

I have been terrified of the ocean, ever since the tragedy at Dead Man’s Beach. Add this to the horrific flesh-eating fish dreams I’ve had since I was three, and the time my mother’s boyfriend saw a shark take a chunk out of his best friend. (His friend died.) And I’ve been able to justify not going in the ocean for about twenty-five years.

Yesterday, I overcame my great fear of the sea. As I paddled out into the ocean on my surfboard, I was terrified. I trembled. I almost cried. I almost turned back. But I paddled onward.

I wasn’t planning on surfing at all while visiting Maui. But there I was, regardless of all my fears and misgivings, flat on my belly, in a borrowed, rather-stinky surf shirt, paddling over the waves. And I got up on my surfboard, not once, but at least five times and rode the waves.

They may have looked like little waves to the observer. But to me they were the biggest darn waves of my life.

I’ve realized I have spent much of my forty-some years living on my own Dead Man’s Beach. I’ve been counting my days. Worrying about lurking dangers. Terrified to be happy.

This evening, as I sat in a local bar having yet another fruity rum drink (a new thing for me), the musician played Here Comes the Sun, and I was brought back to a summer day in Oregon, when at the age of nine I was riding in the back of a pickup truck listening to that song. I remember at that age I had an intense feeling of happiness and freedom. It was one of the last times I remember feeling so elated.

Yesterday, when I rode the waves, I returned to that sunny day in the back of the truck. I walked off of Dead Man’s Beach and I found my sun again.

A wise man once told me that he asks everyday: “How can life get any better?”

Day Seventeen: You Rock, Aspergers Girls

It’s 7:00 a.m. and I’m wide awake, even though the chickadees (my kiddos) don’t have to go to school today—which means no hustle and bustle dance this morning. I love the night before school holidays or the weekends. As my head hits the pillow, I let out a huge sigh of relief, knowing I will have no restrictions first thing in the morning. But, I have to be very careful (and I mean very), because without a schedule, I tend to turn into a dog, or more liken to a cat, and I develop this keen ability to lounge around the house all day. Oh, I still stretch, and move from one piece of furniture to the other, eat some kibbles and lap up some water, and even partake in minimal grooming. And when I’m in my true element, I try to look all cute and cuddly, in hopes of acquiring a backrub from my hubby, after he returns from a long day at work. I know…super bad kitty!

Now, I’ve backed spaced, and am sitting here wandering… I confuse wondering with wandering; probably because I am always wondering about something or another. Maybe I’ve hit upon something: mainstream people wander about and Aspies’ wonder about. We just got the words mixed up; that’s all.

I need to think of a word for when I digress, and then return to what I was saying, back to the time before my brain peeled away from the curb (image that is confusing this brain), and left me standing with huge bags of groceries (filled with a lot of information). Mean brain.

Backspace won’t work, because when I backspace I delete all the ingredients simmering in my mind—or fermenting like old fruit. Picturing the green and white moldy fuzz I often find on oranges at the bottom of the fruit bowl. Wondering/Wandering if you ever find old fruit.

The word Back up could feasibly play the part, except when I picture the word backup, as I do picture most words in my brain…(Brain=big squishy mass like those stress balls you squeeze. If you have one. But with carved out ridges on it. And I mean if you have a stress ball, because I’m assuming you have a brain. But you know what they say about “assume.”)

I still remember learning the ass-u-me trick from Felix on The Odd Couple. I chuckled at seeing the word ass on television. The word was written on some board I think, or paper. Oscar and Felix were interesting characters to study. But I liked to study Mr. Rogers, the most. Hey, one time I heard that Mr. R was a navy seal. That was tough because that image, that of Mr. Rogers all dressed mysteriously-like in black, or some other secret-tough-awesome-guy outfit, very much jangled my brain—that squishy stress ball.  See, I can go full circle without even trying.

And you thought I didn’t have a point. The jokes on you. Another one of those sayings!!! Irks me to know (no) end, because my stress ball is now thinking where is the joke actually stuck on you? I’m thinking your shoulder and there’s an archetypal wad of gum there signifying the joke.  No offense. At least I didn’t put the gum in your hair, like the time…

Now I want you to know, that I purposely rambled on so you would see my vital point about requiring some sort of way to Back Up.

And if you believe that, then the joke is on you, and you probably haven’t read any other parts of my blog! This time, the gum on your shoulder is watermelon-flavored Bubble Yum. The flavor doesn’t last as long, but the smell is Yummy. As long as you don’t have food sensitivities and smell sensitivities like me, then the watermelon-gum smells all-fake and chemically (that’s a word?); please back away. I can’t stand the smell. Thanks.

1)   If you can remember what we were talking about (aka: what I was typing about), then you have an awesome short-term memory and do not have dyspraxia!

2)   If you have to scan back up to the first line of the second paragraph and regroup, then you know what it feels like to live in my squishy stress ball.

Now, that I’m thinking about that whole self-manifestation/visualize your destiny mumbo-jumbo, (Not that I don’t believe in active visualization—I just like that word mumbo-jumbo, because I picture little clams playing the drums in a Cajun band. Don’t ask me why.), I’m wondering/wandering if I ought to maybe picture my brain as something other than a stress ball—like maybe at least transferring the image over to a squishy world ball or a water balloon. Any ideas on how I might visualize my brain? If you’re laughing, I don’t want your suggestions.

I don’t have to scan to the top of this post, to know what I was writing about in the very beginning, before I so trade-markedly transgressed, even though I have dyspraxia, because the remainder of my written words are still below this string of letters on my computer screen, from before I had to back up. (That’s a long sentence.)

Very conveniently my thoughts are still here in black and white. Very thankful, as I’ve long forgotten from whence (I like that adverb: picturing a stuffy old English, as in UK, professor. Not that I think your stuffy, if your English. Just stereotyping the professors, like I was stereotyped when I moved to Massachusetts and everyone called me surfer-girl. Still irks me that they didn’t even know what an OP shirt was.)

Hmmmmm….. In analyzing myself this morning, I’m thinking, when I don’t have to get up early, and worry about all the sensory issues involved in starting my day, that I get sort of giddy and humorous, and fun to be around, and because of that I am more relaxed, and it’s easier to be myself. And lucky for you that means you get to read an entire post that never actually went anywhere, except in one big circle.

For you in the slow group, let me connect the dots. No offense if you were ever in a slow group at one point or another in your life. That was unfair for people to put you there. I’m visually patting you on the back…and pulling off the wadded gum. Do you want to chew it?

1)   For you in the slow group, let me connect the dots (Deja vu! Weird!): On the days my boys don’t have school, and on weekends, be prepared to perhaps read only the first and last paragraph of my posts.

2)   Unless you are in the advanced group, then you might figure out it is in your best interest to skip the post entirely.

3)   For those of you that are still confused, I give you permission to press the like button without actually looking at the words on any given page. Also, I give you permission to send the link to a relative—let’s say (since I already stereotyped) a person like your mother-in-law, and tell them: “This is the most deeply insightful post, I have every read in my entire life.” Say it, just like that. And then wait…wait…wait on it! And just see what festers. Kind of like the old fruit at the bottom of the bowl.

4)   And let me not forget the marvelous Aspies. You move to the top of the class! Yes, you do. Because you not only understand this post but you seriously get it. And you’re so happy because you found a new best friend!

For all you who have stayed with me this entire post, let us pause for self-applause, a little pat on the back, a little “You Rock!” aloud.

Say it. “You Rock _________.” Slow group: insert your name on the blank line. Okay, try again.

Finally, back to the dangling sentence from fifty minutes ago. As I was saying, (Dang, I have to scan up to see the other part of the sentence. Just a second.) All right, I found it. It’s in the second paragraph. (All right should be one word, already!)

I’m doing the cool walk, acting like this was all supposed to happen, this rambling on and on and on. I’m picturing my teenage son, who struts like he’s all that (odd saying), and wondering/wandering how I could think fourteen-year-olds were mature, when I was younger and kissed one.  Like super young, fourteen myself. Not an adult. Yuck!

Anyhow, so (I like the word so—leftover rebellion from my youth: SO? Accompanied by eyes rolling up and lips pressed together. Oh, oh, I know like that one multiple personality alter in that show The United States of Tara. )…Anyhow, so, right now, (in my head), I’m doing my inner cool strut, thinking I’m all that, to avoid the inevitable of appearing like a rambling fool, and seriously (another word I like. Won’t get into the visual), and seriously wondering/wandering how to put the pearls back on the string of this conversation.

Note how I called this a conversation. Because for an Aspie—This is a conversation! High-five to my Sista! (That’s Tara again. Watch the show, if you need to know.)

There’s just no easy way to do this. Here it is, the rest of my sentence from (let me count), about thirteen paragraphs ago. Look for IF.

{Here’s the sentence where we left off, from atop the post:} “Now, I’ve backed spaced, and am sitting here wandering… ”

“… IF super bad kitty” is some type of saying the mainstream uses to indicate the unmentionable on my G-rated blog. Pondering. Evaluating. Thinking, I’ll have to double-check with my husband. Just in case there is any confusion: super bad kitty, in my book (which is so darn thick) means extremely inconsiderate cat. There that’s better. I had naughty, and had to strike that, too. Oh, bother!”

Confusing. Isn’t it? I’m nodding, knowing the words came out of my squishy stress ball…I mean globe ball. I’m holistic and earthy now.

I was so excited to write to you this morning that I just now pulled out the earplug from my right ear. I couldn’t before, as I was caught up in this deep insightful prose! (Note this is the last paragraph that the slow group will be reading, as mentioned in number one above. So let them think it’s insightful. Don’t burst their bubble—or stress ball…or water balloon. You get the picture. And that’s why: You Rock, ____________!

(Slow group, insert your name on the line.)

* So far the main insight I’ve gained, by venturing to create this blog, is that I am particularly fond of the words: so, sort of, kind of, see, saying, anyhow, for, and wandering.  Somehow that doesn’t seem like progress?? Oh, and the words seem, like, and oh.

Day Thirteen: The Jokes on Me

 

It’s well known that people with Asperger’s are sometimes a bit gullible, especially when it comes to jokes. Here’s a special story for Day Thirteen…my absolutely favorite number in all the universes! Good to balance the deep and profound with some light-hearted laughter, every now and again. Enjoy.

I was a bit naïve when I was a young adult, very gullible, and easily confused by jokes. Those were my vulnerable-gentle years, where I feared life more than explored, and often hid in the house afraid of the stream of emotions I experienced when I was around others. This isn’t to say I didn’t appear normal. I was a good actress, after all.

While walking one summer day on the sidewalks of my suburban town with my dear college friend Jodie, my gullibility shined bright. We were newly friends then (soon to be best friends), with so much to learn about one another. I remember the exact place we were on our path, when Jodie fooled me. I remember because, even now, I still chuckle about the event.

During our stroll Jodie informed me that she was from Washington. On hearing her pronounce the word Washington, with a tongue-rolling r-sound (Warshington), I laughed. Jodie guffawed, raising her brow, as if I’d done something entirely incorrect and worth admonishing. “Why are you laughing?” she asked.

“Well,” I stammered. Not sure what to think of this inquiry. “I just thought it was funny the way you said Washington. How you made it sound like it has the letter r—there’s no r in Washington.”

Jodie was unmoved in her expression, if anything she appeared more stern. “What do you mean?” she asked. She hit her thigh slightly, and the crease of a grin edged upward on one side of her face. I watched with curiosity. Jodie continued: “Oh, you think I meant Washington D.C. No. No. No. I’m talking about the state of Washington. The one up north. You know there is a difference, don’t you?” Jodie faced me with a full smile, reading me with her green eyes.

I shrugged my slight shoulders, and debated about what to say. Before I could speak, Jodie continued. “Don’t you know the state of Washington is spelled with an r?” She spelled it out slowly and surly: W-a-r-s-h-i-n-g-t-o-n. And she said it again, but this time super slowly: “Warsh-ing-ton!”

I blinked quickly. “What? No, it isn’t,” I answered, with my trademark nervous giggle.

Jodie continued, stating her case in a matter-of-fact way. She was so sure of herself. So confident. So…..so…..experienced! I reasoned I’d always been a bad speller, mixing up letters, omitting consonants and vowels, why not now? And here Jodie stood, from the state of Washington; she’d had to know what she was talking about. Didn’t she?

Jodie continued. “A lot of people get the two Washingtons mixed up.” She winked.

“Oh, wow!” I said, feeling a bit relieved that I wasn’t the only one who’d mistaken the spelling. “I never realized that.” I breathed in, evaluating Jodie’s expression. She seemed pleased with herself, but there was this awful silence. I quickly added, trying to save face, “Good thing to know, since I’m going to be a school teacher.” With my last words, I settled back into the walk, glad to be corrected, and thinking more on my tanned legs than anything that had verbally transpired. It was nice having an intelligent friend.

Jodie nodded her head in agreement, and picked up the pace of our walk. She held her silence for some time, at least a few blocks, before, after a brief moment of noise that sounded like a toad caught in her throat, Jodie broke out in a husky, rip-roaring laughter. “Oh, Honey,” she said. “I can’t make you go on thinking that.”  She laughed some more, trying to catch her breath. “It was a joke. You were right before.  There is no r.  It’s just the way I pronounce it.”  She laughed some more. Her face equally as red as mine.

I took a second to evaluate the situation, before busting up myself and shaking my head in disbelief.

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.

Day Ten: 30 Random Thoughts (The Aspie Brain at its finest!…hey…that’s sarcasm.)




  1. If A=B, and B=C, and A=C; then having Asperger’s feels like D.
  2. Q-tips; every health professional will tell you not to stick a Q-tip in your ear, but let’s be honest, 99.9% of the population buys Q-tips to stick in their ears.
  3. If time is manmade and calendars are manmade, then how old am I, really?
  4. Why aren’t Klu Klux Klan members subjected to psychiatric evaluation and put on medication, while kindergarteners are?
  5.  If Government=Subsidizes Much Corn, and Much Corn=Unhealthy Health Consequences for People, then Government=Unhealthy Health Consequences for People
  6. If scientists know that electrons move differently based on the observer and also know that water crystals respond in form and appearance directly to words and thoughts, then if we as humans are made of electrons and water, then why isn’t more effort being made in the study of thought and how it affects the human condition?
  7. If special interest groups, massive monopolizing meat and pesticide industries, and people with a lot of money influence the political makings of the United States then whom am I voting for? Say again?
  8. Why are certain words/letters that always string together to form a meaning not passable through spell check: like alot, alright and highschool.
  9. Why is front yard two words, but backyard one?
  10. Why do teachers make more tips hourly waitressing during the summer, than they do hourly in the classroom?
  11. Why is it that I have to pay thousands of dollars in order to get a piece of paper that says I have a higher education when I know more about certain subjects than my professors, and can learn the same thing in books?
  12. Why is it that the special interest groups (meat/dairy/corn) get a larger portion of the food pyramid? Where are the lettuce and spinach special interest groups?
  13.  Why is it that the FDA approves toxic drugs that kill people, but warns us not to take supplements?
  14. Why did the doctor tell my mother-in-law to steer away from all fruits and vegetable after chemotherapy because her immune system was weak?
  15.  Who is at the top of the clothes designer regime and gets to decide what is the right thing for everyone else to wear?
  16. Who decided it was a good idea to make televisions, refrigerators, and appliances that only last half as long as they used to?
  17. If people know the electronic industry is ten steps ahead of them and inventing new products to outdate the old products long before the old products are even on the store shelf, then why not wait a decade before purchasing something new?
  18. If teenagers need sleep to be healthier, then why does middle school start earlier than elementary school?

19. The government is in bed with pharmaceutical companies, and the pharmaceutical companies benefit by keeping us unhealthy, and I’m the one that is supposed to have criteria for making friends?

20. If bad and evil exist, then who is the judge of what is bad and what is evil? What are the rules? Is the brain to blame? The environment? The parents? The spirit? Who can tell? Who can decide? Where is the fine line? If someone shot a saint up with heroine and she killed someone while under the influence, is she bad? What do I base the reasoning of good or bad on? Whose belief system? Whose perception? What if everyone is wrong? Then who is right?

21.  How come (in America) it’s not all right to eat dogs, seagulls, and cats, but it’s acceptable to eat cows, pigs, and chickens?

22.  Why is it that if we know we are tiny specks (beyond microscopic) in the universe and that the chances of there being other life forms out there are high, that when someone mentions the word alien people think that someone is weird?

23. Who gets to decide the DSM-IV, and are they under the continual observation and treatment of mental health therapists?

24. If I have dyslexia and I accidentally called LDS members LSD members, what’s the harm?

25. If people are busy stacking up food in their garage for major natural disasters, but statistically most major disasters will cause people to lose or evacuate their homes (i.e., tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, fires, floods, war) then doesn’t it make sense to store all that food far from the house?

26. If there is a huge global disaster and 99% of the population is annihilated, and I per chance live, and still have the strong desire to survive, then I probably only would want to survive because of an animal instinct or a fear of death.

27. Who gets to decide what drugs are legal to pay money for and which ones aren’t?

28. If kids are raiding their parents’ cabinets for prescription drugs and dealing them on the streets, then are pharmaceutical companies to blame?

29. Why aren’t there large hazardous warning signs outside of fast food establishments?

30.  Why do all of these things pop into my mind when I’m trying to sleep at five in the morning?