First things first, I suppose a little introduction is in order. They usually make me uncomfortable but since we don’t have to guess who is going to go first this should be a little easier. Besides, there is nothing in this world I know more about than myself, the hard part will be keeping this short and sweet. I am 30 years old, and I just discovered a few weeks ago that I have Asperger's Syndrome. In the grand scheme of things this doesn’t change anything, I’m still exactly the same person I was before I figured out why I am so different, and yet at the microscopic level at which I examine myself it’s monumental. This has given me something I have searched my whole life for, perspective. I have found my voice. I hope to help others find theirs. Welcome to my world.

Monday, November 19, 2007

State of Mind

I have to be honest; I can’t do this any other way. I have to admit that I’m frightened of the shadows that lurk at the edges of understanding and acceptance where it was once my solace to hide and wait and watch. Now I’ve hurled myself from the darkness and into the blinding light of the fire where all the weaknesses I fought to smother for so long can be picked apart and scrutinized in the hopes that reassembled these tiny fragments can be stronger as a whole. I feel like a blind man who has learned to see, still fearful of stumbling and falling over the stone blocks that are scattered here and there that I now know are simply features in my garden and not the traps I once thought them to be. I can see them, I know what they are, and yet I can’t help but be wary that another will spring up that I have never seen. There are so many things I couldn’t see before now.

I am at a crossroads, and yet there are no other roads but for the direction I am already traveling. I started on this path a long time ago, and I have gone too far to retrace my steps now to become something other than what I am, a frustrated little girl who is locked in a struggle between wanting her turn for show and tell and fearing the class will laugh when she shares what she has found. Pockets full of sparkling pebbles and bits of beach glass, marbles and pennies, pinecones and buttons; she sits quietly at the back of the class endlessly moving them between her fingertips, hoping against hope that her name isn’t called. Hoping against hope that it is so that maybe she can think about other things and find the rest of the pieces she needs to put herself back together.

My desire to share of myself runs deep and contrary to my inability to take part in this sharing with others. Locked behind this screen of thorns there is a measure of safety, and yet what am I really sharing of myself without that human connection, I may as well be talking to a mirror. I wander through this amazing garden of ideas and thoughts that has always existed in my mind attempting to plot its twists and turns in the hopes that someday I can make the world understand, and yet somehow I know they never will. I can’t shake it, this desire to communicate; it’s the bane of my existence. Few and far between are the people who understand enough to spend time in my world and yet that driving need compels me to throw open the doors to one part or another of my soul and invite the world in, for better or worse. Most end up lost and bewildered in a very short time. Some few understand and respond, and for these I am truly grateful because every single person who understands makes me feel a little less alone.

I have accepted this into my life, but one detail remains, and there it sits again at one detail that locks my mind and my heart into this eternal struggle to define what matters. One person’s opinion and faith in my ability to see inside my own mind in a way that no other could fathom. One heartstring stretched to its limit and the rise and fall of unconditional love left hanging in the balance. One person, what matters their opinion in the grand scheme of things. Nothing, and yet everything when their acceptance is all you have ever wanted. Without it I have no idea how to move on from here.

Emotional Dichotomy

I have, through the years, been described as both over emotional and cold hearted, the former due to my tendency to melt down when under pressure to explain and burst into tears, and the latter because of my apparent inability to empathize with others. The fact of the matter is that emotion doesn’t affect me in the same way as it affects most. I can’t ever recall being a little bit happy, or a little bit sad, or a little bit angry. Its not that I feel these things intensely all the time, but rather that I usually don’t feel them at all.

At times I’m sure I have a better grip on reality than most NT’s, unblinded by all those little emotions that seem to dictate their every move. They seem like children to me in so many ways, unable to cope with reality in the face of the way it makes them feel. I’m not saying this to be insulting, this is simply my perspective and although that can sometimes seem harsh and critical I am just as critical of my own capabilities and weaknesses.

Of course this means that I’m not as “happy” with my life as I have led people to believe, but if you tell people that then they assume you must be unhappy so I used the words they understood. Most of the time I am neither. Most of the time I am numb. Most of the time people also interpret that as unhappy. The snake is eating its own bloody tail trying to explain it.

I have no problem with being this way, I can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would choose to feel that intensely all the time, it seems to get in the way of common sense so often. Even when emotion reaches a state that I feel it there is a core in me that screams that feeling this way is unrealistic, that I am assigning false value to things that have no meaning in the long run. When I am angry I know that it is serving no purpose, that calm thought could solve a problem that yelling will only exacerbate. When I am grieving for what I have lost I know that that changes nothing and it is best to move forward appreciating what I have. When I am sad I know that this too shall pass, and that acceptance helps me to move on. It’s intense but its brief and once I have moved past it I’m not concerned with it anymore and its time to get back to business. I guess that’s one benefit to living life in the moment.

Mini Documentary

As much as I like to talk about the way having Asperger's has affected my life, I think its just as important to hear other points of view. This is a very insightful and well put together little documentary.