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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Whats Missing?

They say I can’t be happy unless I have lots of friends and acquaintances with which to pass the time. They say I can’t be happy, spending most of my time hidden away in my apartment from the rest of the world. They say I can’t be happy locked inside my head thinking away the afternoon. They say I need more. What do they know? I wouldn’t know how to be happy any other way.

I tried it their way for years, all it did was make me anxious and miserable. All those friends and no time to get to know any of them, a full time job I hated, and me faking a smile when I could be half assed bothered to concentrate on it. The days disappeared one after the other with never enough time for the things I needed to do and needed to think about. It was all too much so I stopped pretending but now that I have everything I need they tell me it’s not enough. Why do they only see the things I don’t have, and never the things I do.

I have a beautiful daughter whom I have raised well. She is a shining example of acceptance and tolerance. I can’t remember the last time she threw a fit, when she wants something she approaches me calmly and rationally. She knows I am almost always willing to negotiate. I know we will have our rough spots over the next few years as she becomes a teenager, but we have excellent communication skills that should serve us well.

I have a wonderful, caring, understanding boyfriend. Although he doesn’t always get why I feel the way I do, he is willing to take it at face value that I do and accommodates me to the best of his ability. He values my honesty and candor about the things I need, and communicates his own needs very effectively as well. He is my social buffer when circumstances warrant a trip outside. He nurtures the little girl that I am inside and yet respects me for the adult that I am. He gives me my space when I need it and understands that it’s not a slight against him, that I am just preoccupied sometimes and its best to let me be. Many of the things he loves the most about me can be directly attributed to having AS.

I have a quick and attentive mind to the things that interest me. I don’t jump to conclusions without doing my research, and I don’t open my mouth unless I have something valid to say. I am the first to admit when I am wrong and the last to back down when I am right and it matters to me. I can be stubborn and hard headed but only about the opinions I am sure of, and I have no desire to force those opinions on someone else. I am willing to share the information that I have, but by no means do I expect blind compliance, I prefer for people to take what I say and come to their own conclusions. I often see the connections between things that others are missing in the big picture. My advice is well respected.

I have a best friend who understands me in a way no one else does. She also has AS so we are able to bounce problems and ideas off of each other with no worries about judgment. We don’t chat about the weather or spend hours on the phone discussing our crushes. We do have each other’s back no matter what, and when no one else understands its time for a visit.

I have a phenomenal grasp of the English language, and the ability to inspire emotion through my writing when I am in turn inspired to do so. I can just as easily write a professional business letter as a journal and I also write poetry and other creative pieces. I have been receiving high quantities of praise from respected individuals about this talent for years. Having a computer allows me to share my writing with a much greater audience without the pressure of having to socialize face to face.

I have friends who don’t expect anything beyond our friendship. We care about each other and even if we go weeks, months, sometimes years without speaking we know it doesn’t change that. If they need me and there is something I can provide they know where to find me, and vice versa.

I am happy and fulfilled. What exactly am I missing?

To the music in her mind..

She dances alone in a clearing full of eyes all alight with wisdom and understanding if only they could see her. They cant, she covers her own eyes to keep it inside thinking that if she cant see them they cant see her, and she’s right. What they see isn’t here, its nothing but a shallow veneer wrought of lilacs and ivy woven tight with thorns to prick the unwary and keep a million tiny pieces trapped inside. Pieces that she has painstakingly collected through time untold and clutched in the tiny fists that beat against the chest of humanity.

Its not a simple as they think nor as hard as they imagine to dance beside her, but the vision they behold blends and wavers between this world and another baffling their concept of reality and truth. Frightened by what they can’t understand they watch on and the whispered songs they should have heard from the dawn of this act vanish beneath the din of observation and judgment. Still she dances, uncaring that lines are blurring and unmindful of the storms that are brewing overhead. This is her time, and her place, and they cannot really see her after all. They could dance beside her but the very nature of their world holds them back.

She falls exhausted to the dirt at her feet and carelessly they rush to her side, words of solace and pity that grate through her veins, burning her with the intensity of their desperate advice. Clenched fists that they would see this fall as weakness, this need to stop and catch her breath as impairment, did they not see her dance? Surely if they had they would know she deserves this moment in the dust, the sweat that glistens on her skin, the pounding heart that threatens to burst from her chest. They didn’t, they saw nothing but the tears and anguish of a child too afraid to reach out and take their hand, too lost in her own dreams to even see that they only want to help her understand. They cannot see that its not she that needs to understand.

Why can they only see her here she wonders, when she lies in the ashes of her own humanity too weak to rise and greet the song that plays endlessly through her mind, and her tears begin to soak the fallow earth that cradles her prone body. Mired in a net of judgment and evaluation she could drown in her own thoughts as they try to surge past her lips in a torrent of explanation, only to be lost in the stream of labels and opinions that pour from their mouths. Careless definitions cast forth in an attempt to find a way to keep her here, in this world, where they can see her. She rises to her feet and though she still cries she smiles and turns away, shrugging off those hands that seek to bind her to this reality. There is nothing for her here but dust and ashes, and so she starts to dance again, hoping against hope but knowing better, that this time they will finally open their eyes and witness the peace this dance brings her.

Suffering From Judgment

Floating around on youtube this morning I came across a video discussing how we do not suffer from Asperger’s we suffer from society.

This is something I have thought about many times over the years, even before being diagnosed with AS. I have never suffered from my differences, only from the judgment of others about the value of those differences. When held up in contrast to their own needs my life seems hollow and disconnected and so it’s easy for them to jump to the conclusion that there must be something wrong with me. They fail to see how full and rich it is when compared to my own desires.

30 years of being told there is something wrong with you takes its toll, and I feel it through secondary mental disorders. As time passed and I was increasingly expected to take part in society as a “normal” person I developed anxiety and a social phobia. Although I don’t imagine I would have either of these were it not for AS in my life, I’m quite certain they are not a symptom of the AS itself but rather a symptom of societies reaction to my differences. The social phobia is almost a benefit now; I feel much less guilt about my inability to function in the outside world when I’m not making constant attempts to do it. Still I hear on a regular basis that this is no way to live my life, that there must be something wrong, that I ought to be looking for a cure.

Am I angry about it? Not really, I cannot blame the vast majority for not knowing any better, it is after all not something they have been prompted to think about. Those that should know better but don’t are another story, but I am happy to know their true character and even more happy to leave them out of my life. I just think it would be a vast improvement if people stopped trying to decide what was “right” for everyone else.