A Violent Reaction

152197-049-AAAE168ALife has a habit of showing you patterns, especially if you make use social media.

Some years ago, I was admittedly going through a rough patch where I was angry about a lot of things. Some of it was depression and some of it was social isolation, I guess. I don’t know, the timeline is a bit fuzzy for me; my memory has never been that great, anyway. There was a patch of time where I would get in constant arguments with people who called themselves my friends. These were people I sat up talking to, people I lived with, advised through relationship issues, and shared meals with. As life moved on, so did they, but they all seemed to start harboring a lot of anger towards me and the way I expressed myself. I didn’t understand it then and a large part of me is still really confused about what happened to turn what I thought were good relationships into online squabbles over nothing; in most cases it was because I am, in fact, very blunt about a lot of things.

This was all pre-Asperger’s diagnosis.

Life has a way of changing people and I understand that very well. I’m nowhere near the same person I was even two years ago. Stress, illness, loss, isolation, insomnia, and many other factors have played into the differences I see in myself when I look at the luggage I carry under my eyes. I know people get married and have kids and everything changes. They move and everything changes. Change is hard to deal with and I deal with it very poorly, even moreso now than ever. I have anxiety responses to surprises and changes in routines that I didn’t used to. For instance, I’ve been working so much overtime the last few weeks this morning I felt like something was wrong because I was going into work at my normal time of 9:30am instead of 8:00am or earlier. I live a very weird life.

That’s not really the point I’m getting at.

What I’m getting at is a lot of people have been less than kind to me over the years because I have a way of communicating – and opinions as well – that apparently inflame the sensibilities of most of the people who haven’t been around me for the last 5 years or so. I noticed a trend after reviewing old posts in the wonderful “on this day” feature on Facebook the past few days and a very explosive conversation I had with someone who had the same overall message I had seen years ago and it has me questioning myself despite people telling me I should just brush it off and realize there are always going to be people who react negatively to what I have to say. I tend to agree with this sentiment but, at the same time, there’s this nagging sense of doubt telling me I’m doing something wrong.

Over the years, I have been accused of using my mental health diagnoses as an excuse to be terse or for being perceived as a bully. Even when I was still being treated as Bipolar II, I can recall a very heated back-and-forth with an ex-roommate and now ex-friend, I guess, about things I had to say about political conservatism. I don’t really know where the conversation went wrong but it ended with my being accused of “playing the victim” because I would say I was dealing with something or that I would claim I was being attacked when I was being completely civil and expected the same from other people if they were going to express their opinions.

Rewind even further back when I was ratted out by someone who was on the outs with someone we both knew. I had the “audacity” to call him a drama queen. Some time later I would get a series of three voice mails in a row berating me over and over again and then accusing me of using my then almost consistent bouts with depression and anxiety that came along with Bipolar II disorder for my behavior. I was incensed, of course, and left a voicemail of my own with some very unkind words.

Fast forward to a few days ago when someone, seemingly out of nowhere, blew up at me for posting an opinion about an article that I thought presented a shoddy argument. I said as much and thus ensued a verbal onslaught I was not expecting. Let me be clear: I don’t hold anything against this person because he’s entitled to his perception though I detest the idea of “perception is reality”. My communication style online is short and to-the-point just as it tends to be in my day-to-day. I don’t like to waste words (except when I blog, apparently). Many have interpreted this as my being hostile or argumentative. Granted, there have probably been times when that was the case. I have my bad days just like everyone else and I had to learn some self-control when it came to deciding to respond to certain things or not.

It’s at this point I start asking questions because, apparently, this has been an issue for this person for 3-4 years and only now am I finding out this has been a problem through what ended up with this person being very angry and my being very confused. It’s difficult now to explain to people whom I have not seen since before the beginning of last year the difference between living with what was believed to be a chemical imbalance controlled by an ungodly amount of medication like Bipolar II and a pervasive developmental disorder that affects the processing of things most people take for granted like sensory information.

It’s even more difficult to explain to someone who doesn’t want to listen and thinks you’re using your diagnosis as an excuse which is interesting considering part of the conversation had to do with the stigma of mental illness but that’s not really the point I’m aiming at here. What is puzzling to me is that I can explain until I’m blue in the face that my means of communication is part and parcel of being an Aspy. Especially without all the medication I was on to slow me down, the words come out as I think of them a lot of the time. To me it reads as polite and diplomatic but it seems to inflame the sensibilities of a lot of people. I’ve been accused of insulting multiple members of someone’s family and bullying them for their views. For the record, I do know I’ve had some disagreements with people and I’ve tried to keep it as civil as possible, but I have very few memories of getting in to verbal sparring matches with those mentioned. As I said before, though, my memory is terrible.

At this point, I realize I can’t win. Part of me wants to give up communicating with people altogether because, as frustrating as my daily life can be as far as communication is concerned, I don’t really enjoy being berated even when I apologize and try to explain myself. I’m actually really sick of having to explain myself. If I’m really problematic I wish people would be kind enough to tell me, “Hey, that came off kind of rough,” right away rather than sit on it until the most opportune time to explode. People have their right to be angry because I have no control over their emotional state and, to some degree, they will read what they want to into the things I say. That’s just how language works.

So, just to make it easy on everyone:

Hi, I have Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s a form of Autism Spectrum Disorder and, among other things, it affects the way I communicate. I have difficulty reading emotion in any form of communication. I do not generally notice non-verbal or social cues. Sometimes, I say things that sound or seem like I’m being rude, terse, or condescending. This is generally not intentional. I have difficulty making eye contact and I gesticulate a lot which can make me seem like I am aloof. This is also not intentional.

Hi. Stop fucking telling me I’m using my neurodevelopment as an excuse because, and I’ll make it real simple:

I
CAN’T
HELP
IT.

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Dismantling The Method

mask.halloween

mask.halloween concept

I was prescribed a lot of medication during my twenties. At 31, I guess I still am but not as much of it is mood-altering. As, one by one, the ones deemed unnecessary have slowly worked their way out of my system I (re)discover parts of myself that had either gone unnoticed, been underdeveloped, or had not previously existed. I wonder how much of it was covered up or augmented in weird ways by the chemical cocktail in my blood and in my brain. The veil lifts a little bit every day as those parts of myself chemically effected are cleansed by water, coffee, and the rest sweated out through my pores.

Everyday seems more like acting than the day before. There are times when that all falls away and barriers, filters, and facades don’t exist or, if they do, I don’t care. It brings me to times like these when I get into the deep existential questions of whether the day-to-day me is just a persona.

Did you know that the word ‘person’ comes from the Latin word ‘persona’ which means ‘mask’? So maybe being human means we invite spectators to ponder what lies behind. Each of us would be composed of a variety of masks. And if we can see behind the mask, we would get a burst of clarity, and if that flame was bright enough, that’s when we fall in love. (War Inc., 2008)

Is the me I am on a daily basis the real me or if I’m putting on the affect I spent most of my life constructing so I could appear to function normally in society? Is the external reactions to everything just a learned response to shield people (and protect myself) from whatever is really going on in my head? Is this one of the many methods in which I’ve instinctively learned to protect myself, to cope with the every day stress that now comes with navigating social situations I was oblivious to before, when I was a lithium powered automaton?

This question comes up now because I’ve begun to exhaust my energy levels faster every day. Along with that and by increments the part of me that cared about keeping the aforementioned illusion alive is fading. I am withdrawing from what little interaction I have with people, which is mostly at work, and retreating to the recesses of my mind where I analyze myself ad nauseam. I have been attributing it to the banal and meaningless things that people say; they feel just as fake as I am trying not to be and it grinds up against the very few nerves I have left that bear my patience for trivial matters. Right now, I’d prefer to listen to music at high volumes and not talk to anyone if I don’t have to.

Some of this just may be fatigue. I have been running myself into the ground working 50-60 hours a week and sleeping when I can. My bedtime seems to get earlier by the day and I wake up somewhat refreshed. Most of the time I wake up 4-5 hours after going to bed feeling wide awake. My therapist tells me I need to practice more self-care. Most days I can’t muster up the energy to do anything but work. I forget to eat most days which probably has not helped my mood. Food makes me nervous now, for some reason. I could cook but it produces the same pain response that homework does. Did you know the cause of procrastination is because the thought of doing whatever you’re putting off until later has a similar neurological effect as pain? With that in mind, it may be fair to say I am in a mental form of pain the moment I get home. I don’t move much so I don’t exacerbate it.

“what they don’t tell you about self-care,
that it can make you feel like you are the coach,
the captain, & every.other.player.
oh, & the mascot.
it can make you feel especially like the mascot.”
– Sabrina Benaim, Depression & Other Magic Tricks

At this point, if anyone is reading this, it may sound like I am depressed. It is that time of year when I generally sink into my seasonal depression. Thankfully, I’ve escaped that over the past couple of years. I’m not depressed. The best way I can describe it is thus: it feels like maybe I’ve been faking my personality for so long as a display of strength bolstered by pharmaceuticals. I’m learning to embrace the atypical means in which my brain works which is sometimes uncomfortable and strange but it feels more natural. The side effects to that, however, is a lot of introspection and intellectualizing what I’m experiencing because that’s the only way I know how to work through almost anything.

One of the most famous forms of acting is known by many names and has existed for a long time. It is known by many names, as I have discovered:

 For centuries, cultures used different words and phrases to describe “good” acting: Romantic Acting, Emotional Acting, Divine Inspiration, The Muses, Feeling the Role. These terms merely described an organic process of creativity that talented actors used, often times unconsciously, to accomplish what audiences experienced as a moving performance. This was the (re)experiencing of life by the actor within the fiction of the story as if it were true and happening now. Aristotle said that the secret to moving the passions in others is to be moved oneself, and that moving oneself is made possible by bringing to the fore “visions” of experiences from life that are no longer present. Aristotle was stating the core principle of The Lee Strasberg Method™ — the creative play of the affective memory in the actor’s imagination as the foundation for (re)experiencing on stage.

This idea was first called the ‘System’ by Konstantin Stanislavsky, and later, as further developed by Lee Strasberg… trains actors to use their imagination, senses and emotions to conceive of characters with unique and original behavior, creating performances grounded in the human truth of the moment. (The Strasberg Method)

In short, the method means drawing from personal experience to create a believable moment. My method was similar but a lot of it turned out to be mimicry or reactions that I had observed as socially acceptable. I feel that part of myself is melting away and I’m becoming even more stoic. It doesn’t make sense to laugh at much anymore. My analytical abilities remain intact; I am able to analyze reactions a lot of the time to glean the information from social situations but I’ve become much more literal in my responses to people. My filter has become even less controlled. Most of me just doesn’t think about what’s going on around me anymore and I’m so tired at this point I don’t really want to make the effort.

My guess is this is some sort of hammering process where the unnecessary is being struck away and molding me into a more coherent form of myself. These last two years have been chaos and have done some strange things to my psyche. Perhaps I am becoming more comfortable with who I am without having to put on the mask that I thought made me socially acceptable. I have never been fully accepted. I have always been on the outside. Am I just wearing myself out until my true self is truly prevalent? Part of me hopes so.

I have grown weary of faking for the sake of others even when it’s not intentional.

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.

You Think I Didn’t See That.

Trimethyl_Borate-flame

Despite what some may think, and maybe what some have intimated, I am not jealous of others or bitter about the fact that I am 31 and single.

That word, “single” has such an ominous tone like the toll of a bell or a big read scarlet letter “S” that besmirches the chest of my hoodie. How dare I live past a certain age and forsake yet another cultural requirement that I be attached to someone in order to be more like everyone else. In Christian circles it’s almost a sin for someone to be as old as I and not be married or close to it. Hell, most of my friends are already entangled in family and children and all of that garbage because it fell into their lap at an earlier age.

Good for them. At that age it didn’t suit me. At this age, I’m not sure it suits me. I’m honestly not sure what suits me right now except the solitude I inflict upon myself because the world has become too loud for me to think in. It doesn’t help that, for almost the last two years I have felt my voice has disappeared. It is even less helpful that, one by one, I can chop names off what was already a short list of people I could be around or talk to for more than a moment without getting bored or actually having that feeling like I had something to say. Did I always do this and I’m just now noticing?

That seems to be the story now. Things are the same but maybe not; maybe they’re more magnified now that the lithium has all but worked it’s way out of my body. There’s a chance I’m more cognizant of my proclivities and less inclined to act on what some would call loneliness out of an even stronger desire to be left alone. Yes, I will admit that when I see people getting into relationships a part of me is so very angry. The heat of my body ignites barium but not for the reasons you would think. I’m not jealous because someone else is in a relationship and here I sit, tapping out my emotions to an empty room, listening to the cars go down Leavenworth Street.

I’m jealous because I’m alone. I don’t mean now, in this moment because, yes, of course, I am alone right now because it’s almost 10pm on a Sunday night. Even though tomorrow’s a holiday, I wouldn’t be out and about. I feel less sociable on Sundays than I do any other. This kind of alone is the outside-looking-in feeling I’ve lived with my entire life and only recently have given it a name. I have had girlfriends but never really been on a date, per se. The one date I did go on was just the one date and then she ghosted me. I don’t blame her. I was so wound up and nervous I probably seemed certifiably insane.

No one shares this brain and no understands this heart I have been given. My kindness regarding others has been met with intractable hostility. My belief that people should be treated like people has been met with the plague of murderous violence. I am of the belief that, as a society, we have outgrown, nay, evolved past Lex Talianis but my fellow human beings seem hell-bent (quite literally) on telling me I’m wrong. I am the wartime man who, at peace, makes war with himself. I have seen the depths of hell and never the heights of heaven and if you asked me if I have ever been happy I’d more than likely tell you, “No, my heart doesn’t beat that way.”

If I can’t understand myself most of the time I certainly don’t expect anyone else to. My existence bears no explanation for itself other than a drive to be something better than I was yesterday and, even at that, I’ve been failing at that a lot lately.

So, am I really jealous that you’ve got a girlfriend? No, not really. I’m more pissed off at myself after being reminded that I haven’t figured out where I belong on this ball of anxiety we call a planet. Or maybe that’s my anxiety and I think the rest of the world feels it. I am reminded of everything I ever had in the palm of my hands and had it stripped away because it didn’t belong to me, I wasn’t meant to have it, or it felt too human and I pushed it aside. I don’t have the answer to any of this. I just know these are just the triggers to a lot of bad memories and a big tent, old emotion revival where I twist and turn against myself, doubled over, and turned inside out with the ache I remember and can’t seem to shake.

It’s been as many years as I can count on one hand and still my heart impales itself on a dagger for every reminder that the world moves for most people but stays stationary in my own little world because I just can’t breathe or speak normally around people anymore. It’s like I’m always fighting my urge to act. I would rather be the real me and be miserable than fake a smile any day of the week. So, if I’m angry you’ll know I’m fucking angry and I’ll use the language I deem fit because words only have the meaning you give them. That’s the beauty of speaking symbolic language. If I’m depressed, I’m depressed and I’ll do through my day quietly in my head but I’ll be damned if I let you shame me for it.

Just like I’ll be damned if I let you shame me for being me. I don’t give a fuck about you and your relationships. I just wish people could be more real and putting smaller distances between what they say and they do. Don’t come down on me because of my heart for the truth.

The truth is I don’t want to have to rely on someone else for happiness or sadness or any other emotion I may desire out of life. I have the brain, I have the neurons, I have the neurotransmitters or the drugs that inhibit their reuptake. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t understand how relationships are supposed to work down to the everyday dynamics of a couple because most of what I see from others seems pointless or stupid. Truthfully, I think the same thing about a lot in life. However, this does not preclude what I presume is instinct or conditioning or something else that I can’t rationalize or intellectualize (which I have to; I can’t understand it any other way). It boils down to a simple fact and I will admit it:

There is a large part of me who desires relationship.

But that’s all I know.

Now Playing:
Propagandhi
“Lotus Gait”
Failed States

I have this recurring nightmare:
flailing pigeon, her broken feet
frozen solid to the freezing pavement.
I turn away as if I do not see.
I have this childhood memory
of my old man screaming from the driver’s seat
to turn away from an unfolding horror,
but he could not undo what I had seen.
We never spoke of it again.
Two more hapless citizens of

the new post-traumatic stress worldwide disorder.
A stockholm syndrome fifth estate,
desperate to batten down the mounting horrors
and shuffle on in a global lotus gait.

Content to marinate in the plasma glow of the
home entertainment prisons we
commune before like dime-store shrines.
Are these but votive lives?
It’s a strangled, twisted truss
that shores-up each of us.
Anything to dull the pain
of a splintered lotus gait.

As for me a filigree of psychic police tape
tends to cordon-off the darker scenes.
But the wandering mind stumbles through it
and relives them all eventually.

Pries open wide your eyes and shines a painful light
on the guilt, the fear, the shame.
The courage never came
from the plasma glow of the
home entertainment prisons we
cling to like dime-store shrines.
Are these but votive lives?
Conservative at heart.
A conformist from the start.
A stockholm syndrome fifth estate.
A staggering lotus gait.
It’s a strangled, twisted truss
that shores-up each of us.
Anything to dull the pain
of a self-inflicted, crippling lotus gait.

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.

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

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…”

Long Lost Letter

I wrote this letter 7 months ago and had forgotten it existed until now. I’m sharing it because there’s a lot in here that I don’t know if I’ve ever shared. Those that know me will likely know who this was written to but the name has been redacted anyway.


I don’t know if this is something I’ll ever shake completely.