Maybe, Someday, Somewhere, Sometime

[Sleepless nights come all too often lately. I just cannot shut my mind off long enough to get to sleep. All the tactics I learned over the years to defeat the beast of insomnia do not seem to work. In the past, I’ve tried music, I’ve left the TV on, I’ve even had a white noise app installed on my Apple TV so there’a some ambient noise in the background. None of it works anymore. I don’t have any medications to rely on anymore to put me to sleep and so I stay up thinking. I think…]

As I continue to explore this new realm of perception and understanding of the world around me, no longer considered an NT, but an Aspie, I spend time thinking about the church and how my experiences, my research, my thoughts, my reading, and the people who have comprised the only family more dysfunctional than my immediate family: the church. The church is a whore and has more than sold herself out as we have found out over the past couple of years as their true colors bleed red along with white and blue nationalism and Exceptionalism in long streaks from their self-inflicted, self-righteous wounds.

Go lick them. You’ll get no sympathy from me.

I should back up. That’s really not the point I’m trying to get at (if I’m trying to get at any point at all; I’m not sure yet).

I’ve been thinking a lot about church lately and where my place is. It’s not just that the mere thought of stepping into a new church filled with a bunch of people I don’t know sends my anxiety through the roof. It’s not just that I don’t like small talk and shallow conversations. The one thing I want, the one thing I’ve never found for more than a short period of time at any church I’ve ever belonged to is acceptance.

I want to be accepted for who I am. Why has that proven to be so difficult?

Admittedly, before I found out I had Asperger’s I was insufferable at various times because of my rigidity and stalwart stances on various topics on which I, admittedly, had done a lot of research on. In the case of the Bible, I have a degree in Biblical Studies where I had hermeneutics and exegetical methods pounded into my skull for the 2-3 years I was taking classes that were aimed towards the focus of my BA. In short, I spent a lot of time not only the word but doing comparative literature and a ton of reading and research on various topics I’m convinced nobody but an aspie would find interesting. It’s what we do.

I had several discussions with my pastorfriend about speaking truth in love because I pissed a lot of people off in my tenure at my former home church. It was never intentional, though; it was my standing up for what I believed was right, whether it was a biblical topic or calling someone out on what was certainly flying in the face of what I read and studied in my Bible. I was to the point and blunt, something I found out when I was diagnosed with Asperger’s, was how I communicated truth. Blunt and honest. I value honesty still.

Sometimes, it still gets me in trouble, though.

The truth is, I long For time spent with people whom I have some common ground with. As much as I like the people I spend a lot of time with (mostly coworkers), the ability to keep up the facade of being content and comfortable, even with my anxiety in check, is starting to wane. It’s draining to try and be a people person when you’re not one by nature.

I’ve found it’s harder and harder to find people I’m comfortable around all the time. I can probably count on one hand the number of people who currently fall into that category. It’s what Foy Vance refers to as a “closed hand full of friends”. Even with my tight grip on those people, I feel like some of them slip away because I honestly do not want to be around people. It has taken a day, sometimes longer, to recover from a day of work. There are certain days where I run into a mental roadblock when asked about going out.

It’s similar to the roadblock I run into when I think about going back to church. There’s a new church plant near here affiliated with another church I attended and enjoyed for the most part until a huge fiasco involving people (go figure) and things they said about my family. It’s hard for me to forget those things. It’s hard for me to forget a lot of things. It’s why I can’t sleep some nights. Too much thinking.

Then there’s love. I’ve found I do not process this like a Neurotypical, which is not uncommon based on the reading I’ve done on the subject. Aspies love differently and so how I show what some people call “love” may take a different shape or form than what an NT is used to. Only in the last few years have I even thought about uttering the words, “I love you” to friends I care about. Even then it’s extremely difficult for me to compound the deluge of emotion, empathy, compassion, caring, devotion, and everything else into the loaded three-word portmanteau. It often seems like it’s not enough but, for me to explain every facet of it is truly impossible. There’s too much going on in my head at once for me to elucidate the complexity of it all.

So, like speaking in a language that others can understand, I hesitantly use the phrase my dear friend Heather tried so hard to force me to say.

I love you.

Off topic again. I must finally be running out of steam.

At the current moment I’m at a loss as to what to do. In therapy, we talk about how I need to be more social and learn how to better respond to standard social cues, especially small talk questions like, “How are you today?”: a question I often get asked at work and to which I rarely have a decent answer.

Lately, I’ve learned just how hard and for how long I’ve been trying to she social actor. This is something else that I run into often in a church. The forced socialization and the people jumping into the shallow end of the pool of conversation. I keep to myself mostly at work, focusing on counting by multiples of five while I am filling prescriptions. I sometimes wonder if anyone really notices but most of me doesn’t care.

I think I’m worn out. I’ve been praying for guidance on this issue off and on. Where should I go? What should I do? Why does everything have to be an uphill battle? i can only hope it’s leading to something that puts me in a position to use the strengths I have to help others.

I realized long ago, and constantly have it reinforced, that I was not put on this earth to fit in. I have always been an outsider, always on the outside looking in. It’s depressing sometimes, and difficult to maneuver but that’s me. Finding out it was because of how my brain developed and that there’s a name for it was just validation of what I already knew.

I think my biggest problem is that the church is supposed to be a place for everyone, especially misfits and broken people. I often feel that’s me all over. Yet I’ve been maligned, gossiped about, and insulted by people who believe in the same God I do. The cognitive dissonance this causes has been enough to keep me out of church more or less for the last couple of years. Nobody seems to have a good answer to my question and God seems to want me to figure this one out on my own.

I just hope I find a home somewhere. Sometime.

Now Playing:
Artist: Blaqk Audio
Song: “First to Love”
Album: Materials

Emily, what did you say when he said, “Follow me”?
What would you give to live your tragedy?
There is no price he needn’t pay
You give yourself away

She said, “No one’s ever sent me flowers”..
As the tears filled her eyes
With the tears, she denied them
She said, “No one’s ever sent me flowers.”
“You’ll be the first I leave
Because I’m always the first to love.”

Emily, what did you do to become part of me?
I’d do anything to be your tragedy
If only my thoughts could bring you to break
You’d give yourself to me

“I’m always the first to love…”

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Why I might have lied about not being able to come out tonight.

Social situations just continue to confound and confuse me. I could have gone out tonight and I could have seen friends I haven’t seen in months but I didn’t. I would almost say I couldn’t. There was this sinking feeling, this anchor causing anxiety and rooted me here reading the Fountainhead or watching wrestling.

The truth is, I was anxious and, in my brain it didn’t seem correct for a Sunday evening. Like I would never go out to a bar on a Sunday evening and listen to music and hang out with people. Maybe that was the large part of it: people. I just haven’t had the stomach or the nerve for being around people lately.

Part of it has to do with work, I think, and all the people I have to deal with. Not to mention being under the watchful eye of my coworkers and bosses all the time. At least at my last job I could go hide in my cubicle and, if I really wanted to, could probably get away with doing absolutely nothing but what I wanted as long as it didn’t make too much noise or raise the suspicions of my superiors.

The beta blockers have helped a lot with my ability to be social but I still have that conditioned response that tells me it’s going to be awkward. Or maybe I’ll go and no one will talk to me. They’ll be so wrapped up in their ridiculous conversations about nothing, their small talk that is just so uninteresting, that I’ll just end up at a table by myself as I usually do. I’ll have a Jack & Coke in my hand, stirrer standing like the mast of a sinking ship between my pointer and middle finger and I’ll just get lost in the music.

That’s not really a bad feeling. If I can attenuate to the music and the pictures it creates in my head I can forget about pretty much everything that’s going on around me. There are times when people have caught me like this and checked on me as if I was having some sort of crisis. I’m not always depressed, I’m just practicing silence and listening. It’s what I do, I guess.

I said I was both broke and i have to work tomorrow. Both are true but the ghost of anxiety and rigidity to myself, my interests, my usual way of doing things got in the way more than anything and I really don’t want to have to explain that to people anymore. I get tired of telling people I do things a certain way or I approach aspects of my life in a particular fashion because I have Asperger’s. It’s tiring and people don’t always understand or just don’t want to understand or just don’t have the capacity to understand. I HAVE to do things the way I do. Certain days are days I don’t do anything and changing that has become increasingly difficult as the Lithium has left my system.

The thing I’ve noticed is that I’m not one of THOSE guys. I’m not the person everyone thinks about when they’re having a get-together or even want to get out of their house. I’m not the person people think, “Oh, I should see what he’s doing. I haven’t hung out with him in a long time.” The difficulties I have now being social, even more than before, make it seem like I hate being around people. It’s not really that. I just don’t like being around a collective of people all that much. Me and a few other people in a public setting works okay. When there’s more, I’ve found that my senses have become more and more powerful and let a lot more information into my brain. Part of me is afraid to even try to go a bar where there are people talking or being loud.

I don’t want to make it seem like I’m just trying to get sympathy here. I don’t want or need sympathy. I need acceptance. I need people to realize I am miles away from being the same person I was 18 months ago despite still being me at the core. I am not the Lithium zombie that I was before. I have suffered bouts with the highs and lows as always and my anxiety was almost crippling for a while.

Nobody really knows this. Not a lot of people I would consider calling a friend knows what I’ve been going through because I don’t tell them. It’s not that I don’t want to tell them. I don’t even think to tell them because people, more often than not, fall off my radar completely when I’m by myself. My therapist says I should get more practice in being social. I need to work on being responsive to questions about me rather than just shrugging them off. I just don’t like talking about myself. I would rather talk about wrestling, or a book I’m reading, or politics, or the Bible. How I feel is more consequential to me than anyone else. Otherwise, I’d get asked more often and in more sincere means. I don’t care that no one asks, really. I have friends who understand anxiety and depression but no one really gets all my other stuff.

It’s nights like tonight where I want to be around people but am ambivalent about such feelings because there’s some mental wall there that tells me I can’t or I shouldn’t even though there’s no real good reason other than I can’t or shouldn’t. It doesn’t feel… right, I guess is the best way to try to explain it.

There’s a certain tiring quality to being this way. I sleep as much as I can and as often as I can now. It passes the hour better than watching TV. I read more now which is good, I guess, but it’s not much of a substitute for the intellectual stimulation of a conversation. I get that sometimes but mostly I just do what I can to keep my mind off anything else. If I find something, I absorb myself into it and the time just passes. Sometimes that just includes staring at the ceiling for a couple of hours before I have to go to work in the mid morning. I haven’t found anything else that really disrupts the pervasive thoughts of having to go to work so I just lose myself in my imaginations. I tell stories and I don’t write them down. Mostly because the thoughts are so fast and fleeting I can’t make anything coherent out of them anyway.

So, if you’re reading this, maybe you’ll try to understand. Maybe you’ll just stay in your own little world and I’ll stay in mine as it gets smaller and smaller. I’m tired of being left out of the game. I’m tired of not fitting the social norm or that I’m viewing everything from the outside looking in the window.

I’m tired of windows, closed doors, and fences. Now more than ever I’m aware that socializing is work for me, not necessarily pleasure even though I want to do be able to do it. I think I lost part of myself or unlocked something or closed something off.

Are you in the inside looking out?

Post Hoc


“When was the last time your heart felt wide open?” She asked.

I was at work. A strange place, I know, and it puzzles me still. However, the chance for random occurrences increases exponentially (or maybe geometrically. I’m never sure which one) when new people are constantly introduced into your environment. It’s like the cliche of throwing a stone in a pond and watching the ripples. Only, this is more like throwing a handful of gravel into a puddle of rainwater in a street gutter.

“Chaotic?”

Yes. That’s an apt description.

“What happened?”

I could not tell you for certain what happened or any sort of causal apparatus that could have attached itself to that particular moment in time other than the relationship between customer and the service we provide. It’s an every day occurrence; people come and go but I’ve never really thought about the reason why or the rhyme scheme contained within.

Anyway, I remember this girl’s face. There is something soft about it. She’s a regular and, even in the short amount of time I’ve spent working there, there are some familiar faces. Some people just stick out more than others in my mind, though I can hardly ever remember their names.

“What was so special about this one?”

There was this intangible quality to her at first. It takes a moment to process my impressions of people sometimes, I’ll admit. She had soft facial features, a gentle smile but there was a weakness about her. I don’t mean that in a bad way; maybe vulnerability is a better term. I Don’t know.

She smiled up to her eyes despite, maybe, seeming like she had grown weary. Her eyes were unmarked by age or makeup, which is astonishing anymore these days. She was soft-spoken and polite, though hesitant to ask for anything she wanted, like she was afraid of being denied some basic service, even the one she had paid for by coming to my store.

“Why did that strike you so?”

That’s an explanation I’m still searching for myself. I think about these kinds of interactions long after they’ve passed. It’s part of my wiring, I suppose. I just keep playing those few minutes over and over again in my head. I wonder what makes a person the way they are; how they develop their personality into something that seems so meek yet endearing in some way.

“Is there something that bothers you about the meek types?”

Not always, but often. Being soft-spoken myself, I don’t necessarily have a problem with it. However, I do find myself cringing at certain social faux pas. Those who are anxious or nervous, they have common speech patterns and give away their tentative nature through the use of “um’s” and delays in answering.

I guess it was about the moment this girl spoke to me that I felt that overload of empathy I don’t always understand. I knew there was something there, something that affected the social capabilities of this woman but, in a work setting, you can’t really ask, nor do you have time to, ask customers personal questions. Certainly not a long dialogue to hear someone else’s life story simply because you have the urge to hear it.

That’s the problem with having asocial tendencies, I guess. I deprive myself of human contact long enough that when something strikes my radar, I can’t help but let that empathy flood into every circuit of my mind and I want to know who someone is.

I wish I wasn’t so jaded and cynical about people sometimes.

“What does that have to do with it?”

Trust. It’s hard for me to trust anyone. Ever hand yourself over to the care of someone else’s hands only to have them ring the emotion out of it like a towel? Not only have it occur once, but over and over and over again until you really don’t know what to believe and who is being sincere? Most people who talk to me anymore only do so because they want something from me. They’ve lost all interest in me. Or maybe I’ve lost interest in them.

Maybe there’s no loss of interest on either side of the equation. Maybe I just don’t know what I’m doing anymore.

Dictionary Entries And Clock Faces


There’s not a dictionary in the world
With a definition for the word, “love”
Noun, verb, and sometimes expletive.
There are just too many uses
Explanations and excuses
For this semantic domain
That scrapes the the rock surface
Of my heart
The reason the busker sings a sad refrain

I try to stay away from staring
At the television screens
That teaches us all that
For every single guy there’s a bevy
Of swans that that were never ugly ducklings
With roses in their teeth
I need to find a little reprieve
From this cultural obsession
That we’re meant for indiscretion
It twists me up and forces my retreat

Remembering days going by
With the dismissing wave
Of the clock hands
Nevertheless, I try to understand
That time is just a countdown
And we’re never going to cut its pace

Construct to deduct life
Attached to dollar amounts
Useless things we spend
What we earn, how we live
I’m just reaching for
A lover or a friend

Yesterday is here again
You’re teaching me how to inhale
And exhale the emotions
I can’t calculate
Mirror or reciprocate
It’s clear as the cloudy sky
Outside my windows now
I can only see so far
But not the end.

I dropped a raft into a sea
Of salty tears and sweat
Rolling rapids of my regrets
Avoiding rocks left to run me aground
My heart still pounds everyday
At the thought of the sound

I don’t believe in fairly tales
But I watch a lot of movies
Where the weird guy
Gets the girl and she upturns his world
I thought I had that once
But I flipped only to land
On my chivalry with shivering hands

My skull is a glass case
Where you can see the jumbled
Chains and cables
Wrapped around crystal balls
That only see the past

And some of them still show your face
I thought I loved but
Upon reflection in the mirror
I realized I despised
The man that I had become
My goal is to leave a smoking gun
In case you return for evidence
Of your past crimes

Burn it to the ground like a barn
Gather the children for the ugly swan song
We’re just livestock in a small pen
And I don’t think I’ll feel that way again

“Molding pillows to your shape in hopes of catching rest.”

Alone? I know alone.
People? I know fewer of those
As the days drag on into nights
Where the lights to the East
Coat the skyline like stars
That have yet to die

It’s lonely here, between these ears. From my patio, there is a car parked between two empty spots: numbers 9 and 11. These numerals are spray painted in stencil on the pavement so that every time I step out onto the patio, I’m one space away from being stuck in an emergency, so I stay between the lines and let the nicotine buzz.

There’s solitude in the songs that hit me like hammer hits nail. I don’t bend to its will but it makes me malleable in my introspectie space where, in the dark, there is no one but me and the background noise of my TV as I play the same song over and over again. I’m trying to make sense of this heavy burning in my chest; sometimes my emotional state escapes the rate of my cognitive abilities and so, sometimes I dwell in the miasma a moment to soak up the scent, to plug myself into that outlet. Or maybe an inlet. Depends on your perspective, I guess.

There are songs that make me miss people even though people aren’t exactly on my radar. When I’m running low on sleep, which I have been for days it seems, I think the doors open a little bit easier and I’m a little more susceptible to being set loose, but not set free. Emotions are sometimes an escape but, more often than not, a ball and chain and I’m chipping away at the stone around my brain to see what I actually think.

Tonight, I struggle to keep my eyes open and my heart steady.
These nighttime hours are the times when I miss people
When they’re the most inaccessible.
Maybe I miss them for the very reason that they are.
If that’s the case I would miss them all the time, though.
It’s the magic and solitude found only under the spell of night
Where I wander.
I wonder.

Now playing:

Artist: Sixo feat. Ceschi
Song: Christmas Past
Album: The Odds of Free Will
Fake Four Records

Lyrics:

Grind my bones up,
snort ’em through your pretty, big nostrils
’till your stomach expands from cuts to your guts.
I wrote a lot of bad from the depths of your insides
To sing you sweetly to sleep as you cried at night.

I’ll be your ghost of Christmas past
On a pillow of feathers all soaked as rags.
In a thunderstorm over skid row we’ve danced in dreams.
But in reality, I don’t dance or dream.
In reality, all my laughs are screams, emotionless,
And half the man I’d ever hope to be.

So, promise me you’ll pawn my guitar on a Fair Haven Street
And buy yourself a diamond ring with the hundred bucks you recieve
Near the crack spot near the bail-bondsmen there’s a gas station hest.
I swear to fucking God I tried my best.
But my best will never be good enough for a perfect guy that’s mess.
But as long as I’m alive I will be drenched in my regrets.
Tonight I’ll sleep in sweat in another bed
Without the warmth of your flesh
Molding pillows to your shape in hopes of catching rest.

Let’s make it through the winter
Without peeling off each other’s skin.
Let’s grow our hair and learn to live again
‘Cause spring is right around the bend
It’ll melt away the bitterness
It’ll grow new trees and pollinate the land

The king and prince are both dead
Drift away quick as snowmen
With frosty powder still in noses
Nobody left to hold them
Through the blizzard that left them frozen
I’m hoping that I meet a better end.

They’ll be our ghost of Christmas past.