There is this word that keeps cycling around in my head. That happens sometimes even when you don’t have Asperger’s. My obsessive thoughts tested three standard deviations above normal for Pyschasthenia (the obsessive thought component often found in those with ASD) which is why I always have songs stuck in my head or maybe just a lyric or this line of thought that I’m just meandering through. Besides, you’re probably wondering by now what the word is I’ve been tossing over and over in my head like one would a cinnamon candy on the tongue; it has to keep moving otherwise the place it rests begins to burn. There’s also the curiosity of texture and effect on the inside of one’s mouth.
My synesthesia is salivating at the thought of it.
The word itself is not so savory. Neither is the feeling, nor the emotional wreckage it evokes in me because it just so sums up how I’ve felt lately. The word is pillory or, in the past tense, pilloried. As I am wont to do, I did some cursory research on the etymology of this particular word and found that the source of it is uncertain. It has the connotation of strong censure or criticism, often in a public setting, or abuse if that’s a word you understand or can relate to. Definitions in the English language are so fluid and words don’t always mean what we think they mean or want them to mean or even intend them to mean. Couple that with the Sociological axiom that you will be perceived as you appear—or “perception is reality” if you like brevity—and you have the cause of concern for which I, myself, feel I have been pilloried.
And it has happened more than once in two completely different contexts. It is the constant struggle of the misperception that I am trying to be the antagonist or I am the victim. I stand accused of “verbally crucifying” people and for “playing the victim”. It would seem that I should not be allowed to use the fact that my brain perceives and understands communication in a far different manner than most by someone who believes themselves to be an advocate for mental health. The irony is not lost on me. However, that person is entitled to the opinion they have developed of me though I fail to understand it. I do not understand a lot of things these days and this is instance one of two for which I feel I have been censured. With this person I feel I cannot be myself anymore because I do not want, nor do I want to learn how, to be someone else. This is who and what I am. I hate to say I am defined by it but to avoid that requires the mental gymnastics I am not even close to being able to handle.
Admittedly, I get tired of explaining to NT’s the things they find easy and are essentially instinct to them are lost on me. Today, I had to explain that I have to buy a specific kind of bread. My coworkers thought that was strange. Who is to say what is and is not?
This is where I have run into another area of life, recently, where I feel I am relegated to a minority for my inability and lack of desire to try to fit in at work. That is not to say I do not get along with my coworkers. That is actually far from the truth; I enjoy being around a lot of the people I work with but there is a difference between business cordiality and friendship. I would not hang out with most of these people outside of work which speaks more towards my attitude about it than anything.
Demographics alone would have me standing out as a minority in my team, being one of two males on a team of 10 or so. You can imagine, then, the great divide when the two males are both share similar aversions to unprofessional or more personal conversation that we are more or less forced to be exposed to. For business purposes, or at least as I understand it, we maintain an instant message group chat for our site. It has now become overwhelmingly unrelated to work and more about expressing affection towards one another: things I’m sure are supposed to be uplifting and encouraging to some people. I, however, do not pretend to understand this behaviour. When I express my displeasure I am met with feigned or even passive-aggressive hostility. This, in turn, grates what little patience I have because, not only do I not understand it, I innately burn cognitive function attempting to understand it. This quickly turns to frustration. Add on top of that, the condescension.of writing me off as a curmudgeon or a jerk and I become incensed. My ability to intellectualize and filter emotion essentially dies at this point and my patience is lost somewhere along the way.
It is at this point I have to find someplace quiet, meditate, and pray. People have pushed me to the point, lately, that I have had to put myself in a dark room and go through, guided meditation, novenas, and pray the rosary (I am not Catholic, per se, but I find the repetition and ritual calming and it’s less stress on my knees than stimming). I am tired of always having to be on the defensive because of how I am wired. It is not an excuse any more than I could say depression or anxiety is an excuse as I experience both of them myself.
Right now that is me. I feel pilloried and I am tired of it.