Battles & Arrhythmia

I am loathe to use metaphors involving war because war implies violence. It conjures up images of bloodshed, death, and things so horrible I was not sure how to start describing my current state of affairs. Or are they ongoing? Ones affairs never really cease to be going, so I suppose ongoing is a better word. Anyway, I have been feeling this conflict rise and with great ferocity for quite some time and I’ve pushed it away.

In mindfulness meditation you are taught to label things and gently push them aside. They don’t tell you what to do afterwards when they come back.

There’s this increasing feeling of violence between my desire to live within the moment and try as best I can to adapt to my neurodivergence with humility, strength, and a strong sense of self, and this feeling of weakness, sometimes helplessness, when it becomes overwhelming. In short, I don’t think I’m a weak person. I’ve been through my share and probably other people’s share of bad times. I’ve been treated like I’m not even on the radar by a lot of people I thought were friends and, as previous posts have certainly illustrated, I have been just been treated like shit by people I thought were like family. It is in those situations I feel the most vulnerable and it’s starting to bleed into the shred of confidence I had in myself.

By many standards, what I have is a disability. I don’t look at it like that, though I have taken advantage of the accommodations afforded to me to make my day a little easier. I guess I thought I was unsure of myself before. Now that I know my perception is not always on target and, though I hate it most of the time, I have to explain why certain things are the way they are, I find I am often unsure of myself, how people really feel about me, sometimes if they really mean what they say. Stack that on top of pre-existing issues with trust and you have my recent state of anxiety. The methods of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy have not even been the greatest of help lately.

Imagine, if you will, every time someone said or did something even slightly out of the ordinary you questioned the motive behind it. Again, not necessarily out of lack of trust, but because your mind is so locked into routine that any deviance becomes suspect. I feel like I’m becoming paranoid and it’s a feeling I do not like because it’s an all-too-familiar feeling from about five years ago only now it’s almost everybody. I almost miss the days when my mind didn’t move in 8 directions and with such great speed it can be hard to keep pace. My stress level has gone up enough that my atria have begun fibrillation again. No serious runs of it, but I can feel the thump in my chest when a beat is missed.

The greatest obstacle is the explaining. I think I’ve said this more often to people than anything. I am so tired of having to tell people I didn’t mean to come off as sounding blunt or with some sort of moral superiority. I don’t mean to completely miss subtle social cues. I can’t help that crowded, noisy places must be avoided or I will likely spend most of the time covering my ears because I can’t block out the noise. I am tired of self-advocacy. I wish people would just shut up and listen so I only had to explain it once. I wish people would just accept and not ask unless it really doesn’t make sense. I wish a lot of things right now.

At this point I’m exhausted and the week isn’t even over yet.

I suppose I should report things are not all battles and arrhythmias. For the first time in several months i was able to see my big sister. One of the few people who listens when I need an ear to try and make sense of the garbage I have to go through. I also reconnected with the one I call my twin. It’s been a few years, I think. It has brought joy to my heart. I spent most of my weekend with one, the other, or both and it did my soul good to spend time with both of them.

As with any social interaction for this introvert, there is a price to pay and it probably has contributed to my current exhaustion but it was worth it. Now, to fight for the weekend.


The Box You Put Me In

img_0908-1There 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.

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:



Dismantling The Method


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.


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:
“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.


On the Outside of the Outside, Looking in

This morning I experienced something that hasn’t really happened since I was in my teens. I thought I was awake and I tried to move my arms but I was still asleep. I felt like I had no strength in any of my limbs which is a bit disconcerting if you’ve never had sleep paralysis before. I panicked for a few seconds but eventually realized what was happening and i worked my way out f it by thinking about moving one limb at a time. I realized I was dreaming when I was finally able to sit up and open my eyes. What I hadn’t realized until afterwards was that I had been watching myself from the outside of the whole experience while I tried to wake my body up.

It’s always a bit uncomfortable being on the outside looking in.

I don’t know what it is about today but my mood has been strange. As thoughts have unraveled I’ve felt like I’ve begun to disappear. I was thinking about yesterday. I went to my parents’ house, they grilled burgers, and then they started lighting fireworks off to celebrate the 4th. I found, in my first Independence Day not overmedicated on psych drugs, that my oversensitivity to sound does extend to things like fireworks. One of the kids lit off a small pack of firecrackers and I could feel myself tense at every tiny explosion. I knew this would be a possibility before I decided to go and I pre-warned everybody that I would probably leave before the celebratory explosions began. It didn’t really bother me leaving before the sun had gone down to retreat to my apartment for something a little more quiet.

I realize, sometimes, living on your own can be hazardous in a way. You’re left with nothing but your own thoughts, calculations, and self-talk. It was in one of these moments when I was trying to go back to sleep that I really started thinking about just how outside of things I have become in the last 18 months and realizing just how much more insular my thought processes are now because of it.

Let’s start off with one fact: I’ve never felt like I’ve belonged anywhere.

With that always in the background I find myself very attached to people and I don’t really think about the social dynamics. Today, I took a different approach to the thought of friendships and I asked myself this question: “If I’m putting in all the effort and reciprocation is inconsistent to non-existent, what is the benefit of investing my time?” This hit me in the face and hard because I realized that there were certain relationships where I have (and sometimes still do) where, if I don’t make the effort to contact someone, I wouldn’t ever hear from them. Yet, I get called a friend which is weird to me because I’ve done the exact same thing to others because of various reasons, usually life, nothing malicious, and they just never want to take the time to talk to them again. If there was no reciprocity then what was the point?

Maybe I’m coming to this thought late in the game. I don’t know what to do with this information, these thoughts, but I don’t know if people realize they do this or if it’s some other factor. I have bailed on events I’ve been invited to for social reasons but I think I’ve been pretty clear with almost everyone I spend time with the social difficulties and the steep learning curve regarding my sense of self just in the last year as my senses reassert themelves.

In my reading, I understand better my difficulty in feeling like I belong. We do not perceive the social dynamic, especially in groups, like a neurotypical. I think i can best describe it this way:

In social interactions, a one-on-one is the most ideal for me. I am 100% there trying to use the skills I have to understand our interaction. The more people added to the mix the more I feel like I’m fading out of the picture. For a Neuro-typical this is easy as they allocate attention to whatever they feel they need to attend to in the moment. For me, I’m still just 100% there and my attention gets spread over the entire situation. This is not too difficult but, as the number of people grows, the harder and harder it is to decide where to allocate attention because it all comes in as a flood; there is no executive function directing incoming data to my brain. Upon reflection  it feels a lot like I’m disappearing; my social capabilities decline and my anxiety goes up. I withdraw.

Most people I know don’t understand this or don’t try to understand this. I had to fight myself constantly before I went to work because I didn’t know what to expect. There’s another stitch in the side: my anxiety wants to know everything about an event before I go. It can sometimes take a fair amount of self-talk to get myself to go places sometimes. This has, admittedly, led to a lot less social interaction on my part. I get invited to friends’ shows and I have to decline because the idea of interacting with that many people puts me on high alert even thinking about it. So, I’ve “flaked” on a few things I said I would go to. Some people understand, some don’t.

What you don’t realize is that I already feel like I’m on the outside looking in. Like there’s this great invisible barrier between me and the rest of the world because there’s just some stimuli I cannot perceive. The unknown can cause anxiety, anxiety drives a need to remain asocial. Then i stop getting invited to things because I don’t show up very often. There are people who I don’t hear from unless I make an effort, sometimes multiple efforts to get in touch and make plans. In retrospect, I’ve realized how this really makes me feeel and I don’t really like it. I don’t want to anything because I don’t want to come off like I’ve got the wrong idea and then everything just gets worse because I’ve upset someone. It feels kind of like a no-win situation and I don’t know what to do. I’m still learning. 

But when you’re in situations with people you’ve known for a long time you know they expect you. They’ve grown comfortable and conditioned to the you they’ve known all this time. The idea that you could, all of a sudden, have this realization, doubt, epiphany, whatever, about your relationship feels like it would introduce a seed of mistrust that I wouldn’t pick up on or they wouldn’t tell me about.

The story of my life: I solve one puzzle and it just creates another. I don’t know what to do with this.

Now Playing:

Artist: Poison the Well
Song: “Botchla”
Album: Tear From the Red

But I adore her
This will never happen
But I adore HER
That will NEVER happen.
Over my DEAD body.

Of course I think ABOUT it
Burn my path if it does
Shape my body as I FEEL

And if it happens
I’ll BURN and crawl deeper in my hole
Darkness ALWAYS says hello
And your BURNING BODY will light my way
Burning body LIGHT MY WAY