The Tragedy of Living in a Garden Level.


The thought occurred to me that this will be the first Independence Day, the one upcoming, in well over a decade where I have not been heavily medicated.

I’m not talking about self-medication—though many people do use the day as a reason (or an excuse) to drown themselves in celebration-–I’m talking about the years I spent more numb than I understood. The slowdown encapsulate, tablature, etc. The times when my senses were tuned down to a low hum and everything felt like a fast motion shot with a slow motion centerpiece, me, in the middle, staring at the concrete from the womb of my apartment. My old apartment was on the third floor of a highrise and, from the windows, vehicles of all kinds would fly Westward  and pass me by.

Kind of like life feels like most of the time.

Holidays are never cause for celebration for me. I haven’t had much fun during any of them and I can’t say I’ve ever superlatively referred to any holiday ever. That’s just me. But, what I’m wondering now, is whether or not I will be the dog under the bed, back in the bedroom with his ears covered. The sensation of loud noises, chaos, surprises, they all bring about this sort of welling-over of anxiety. It’s like many children screaming or a single baby crying. I can’t handle that. My perception has felt far too sensitive just like I can’t look people in the eyes when I speak. It will break my train of thought and I’m trying to put the words together so they stick in some form of sense but I have to leave some sense behind and not attend to it. I cannot see and speak to you. I cannot hear you all and think. Sometimes, I can’t think without tears and, since I rarely attend to my eyes it’s odd to me that I notice them but that’s not the point. I don’t think that’s the point.

Living on the first floor of an apartment building is a tragedy to me.

In my mind I’m sitting on the fire escape of an apartment building I visited. There are no buildings behind it but a building of equal height to the South. It’s like being mentally in a corner which is far more comfortable for me. I’m on the fourth floor on the 4th of July and, to the East, there’s a skyline that is not bright enough to outshine the stars. I’ve got a cigarette in my hand and maybe I’ve asked if I can just sit out here or maybe I’ve separated myself from the pack. There are endless possibilities when I shoot these scenes in my head. I can see the sky from the concrete corner just as the fireworks begin their phantasmagoria, their bright flashes of life before dying, the odyssey of faux-Phoenixes that will never again rise.

And it’s all silent. Someone has joined me, and we are sitting with our legs sticking out between the bars in our perch and maybe that’s what I feel like I need right now and that’s why I can see it so clearly in my mind. We don’t say anything because silence suits us or you at least understand, in the moment, it suits me. My eyes are focused on the rainbow barrage and patterns in the sky which may be why I don’t notice you at first with your head against my shoulder. This is what I see when I close my eyes for a moment and dream.

In my mind’s eye there is nothing but silence as we are silhouetted against the city lights and the fireworks. And I wonder now if any of my thoughts and daydreams have always been this silent.

Welcome in

 

One of my biggest obsessions: pro wrestling. Pictured above: Team PAWG, LuFisto & Jordynne Grace

Someone once said, though I couldn’t readily find the source, that a child with autism is not ignoring you but waiting for you to enter their world. Even though I don’t ignore people in social situations, I do tend to stay away from social interactions where the topic is either uninteresting or too surface-level for me to want to engage in. This is contrasted with the times when I talk too much about topics I care about and want to try to interest other people in it so I’m not alone in my, admittedly, niche interests. I think Buddy Wakefield said it best:

I talk too much
If you see me being quiet,
Don’t ask me what’s wrong
I’m just practicing

This is me most of the time. People ask me what I’m interested in and I end up overwhelming them with the overwhelming amount of emotion and cognitive input I get when I experience something like a 5-star wrestling match or listen to a really good song that touches me down to the guts. I don’t share out of selfishness or to dominate a conversation but in the hopes that someone else will be able to experience the elation I feel when I get involved with my favorite things. There’s an excitement there for me and, as a lot of people know, I’m not a very excitable person. I hate surprises, I don’t really like going out, and it can take me a really long time to process emotional content.
This happens outside the ASD community. Everyone gets excited about something or has a passion for something that maybe not everyone shares. Just yesterday I was throwing some things in a recycle bin at my apartment complex and, out of nowhere, this perky red-head gets all excited and tells me about the outdoor patio she discovered on the premises after living here for a year. Being very poor at people being excited about much of anything, I just sort of nodded and stammered my way through a response. I then retreated to my hobbit hole. Upon reflection, I wish I would have been more responsive. After a long day at work, I just didn’t have it in me, I suppose.

It’s something to remember, though. It really is. I don’t try to dominate conversation with my interests but it’s one of the only ways I’m really good at welcoming people into my weird little world. It’s one of the few ways I can show people how I’m really feeling when words get to be too little; music does it so much better. I think part of being Autistic is sometimes not having the words to describe what you’re feeling when you’re feeling every facet of something at once. Sometimes, you share what you love in hopes of gaining an ally and someont to talk to. It’s not just Aspies. NT’s do it too. However, I can say from my experience that no one exhibits a passion for things so strange and off the wall than I do among what few friends I have.

They all think I’m weird. At least they are the people who are wiling to step inside and accept my invitations to this little world.

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Artist: Paul Kelly & the Messengers
Song Title: “Dumb Things”
Album: Same Old Walk