Switchboard, you. EQ, me.

It would seem I have had some problems navigating people lately. I’ve been called egotistical, a jerk, and I’ve been dealt with less than kindly by friends who should, by now, be used to method in which I choose to speak my mind. In fact, I’m not really sure what’s going on with me or with other people. Words just don’t seem to be connecting well or maybe they’re just connecting in worse ways than usual, what few there are.

My gut reaction is to blame myself. I am and always have had a tendency to place a great premium on words and have a great disdain for most social niceties when formulating responses to people. This is where the question comes in as to whether or not it’s my brain wiring and I can blame it on the fact that I have Asperger’s or I can own up to it and say it’s all me and I’m choosing to speak in ways that come off as curt, blunt, and maybe with a sense of arrogance. The problem with the latter is I don’t really make a choice. I don’t take great pains in calculating the ways I talk to people unless I’m trying to be diplomatic which usually only happens in instances where I have to address multiple people.

The former is something I have always tried to avoid using. I do it now because it does offer an explanation to people who may not quite get the picture that is me. At the same time it feels like a cheap excuse because I am a control freak and I think I should be able to control every facet of my behavior. This is in spite of the fact that the very thing that allows me to control my behavior (that would be my brain, folks) is developed in such a way the sum output of my behavior or the filter through which reactions to stimuli occur has become what it is without any conscious control. I wonder if people forget this fact as often as I do: not every reaction is controlled; it’s reflex or based on established memory through repetitive behavior. It’s both conditioning and a reaction to your environment, how you were raised, what you were fed. All of these things affect cognitive development. A lot of it is not within your control.

When I came to the point in my life where I had to be an adult, I had had been ill-treated by the world quite a few times already. You could say I have a chip on my shoulder. At that point I think you have to adapt your personality to the masses around you. Which I picture is kind of like having one of those old-fashioned telephone switchboards in your head with labels of things through which you plug your message into and each input is labeled for either a specific person, situation, or social group. There’s a man or woman (because equality means even your metaphors can’t be sexist) on roller skates rushing back and forth with cables in their hands trying to make switches as fast as you require them.

There is another way, though few choose it and, in my case, I developed this way, and that’s not to have a switchboard at all and your personality is either forceful, benign, sympathetic, or whatever adjective that describes a personality that seems amicable to a majority of the population. Rather than a switchboard you have a mixing board and, in my case, all the input comes in unfiltered. Input sounds like an smart phone recording of a concert: with increasing voices and volume comes an increased chance of overloading it. Output is EQ’d, volume adjusted but does not really change.

I’ve found most people react fine to me. I get along with my coworkers and the dwindling list of friends I have. They get it. It’s exhausting, physically exhausting, to go through my every day which is only compounded by a penchant for insomnia. It’s a natural method of conserving my energy (and sanity) to act the way I do. If that’s become problematic for anyone I can’t be sorry for who I am. There’s no malice or ill-intent behind my methods most of the time.

If you see me being quiet it’s because I want to be and even sometimes need to be.

If I give you a terse response, stop being egotistical and assuming it’s a reflection on you. It’s my brain taking the shortest and most efficient path from point A to point B.

If I’m covering my ears and repetitively tapping my feet you’ve overloaded the mic. Kindly turn the volume down or shut the fuck up.

If I look tired it’s because I am. Truly.

It’s cliche but it’s not you, it’s me. I need space and quiet to recharge. Sometimes that means sleeping most of my weekends. I haven’t found a way to make my energy last through the day and it’s one of the most draining things in the world for me to even try.

So ease up. Or leave me alone. Whichever suits your fancy. It’s what I’ve learned to do with people who stress me out. Look how well that’s worked for me.

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