Response: Oh, I’m sorry.
My first thought: Why, it’s not cancer.
Response: No you don’t, you can look me in the eye.
My first thought: Ah, another expert.
Response: I think I might have Asperger’s too because I have this quirk.
My first thought: facepalm Never bring this up again.
Response: You’re not like that, you can do all kinds of stuff, and you have friends.
My first thought: I’m not going to argue, believe what you want, and I’ll take your denial as the highest compliment since I’ve managed to completely fool you, which was actually not my intent, so I’ll veer away from this subject before it affects another friendship.
Response: laughs You’re so funny, you’re fine.
My first thought: I spent years of extremely strong willed stubborn effort learning to overcome ridiculous challenges exactly like this one to reach out, accept, and not offend, and what I’d rather hear is “You seem to be doing really well with it.”
Response: That’s not an excuse.
My first thought: That felt like a slap in the face, and now I’m biting back a whole list of your own complaints I’ve tolerated about why your life sucks while you blindly self sabotage right and left.
Response: What that’s supposed to mean?
My first thought: Oh, nothing, just thought you had a brain in there somewhere.
Response: One of those people, huh?
My first thought: Yes. big creepy smile
Response: It wouldn’t be a problem if you didn’t dwell on it all the time.
My first thought: The reason it’s coming up is because you probably need to dwell a little before I eat you.
I’ll be honest- I rarely mention Asperger’s in real life because I rarely interact face to face with anyone any more unless it’s in a professional capacity like a checkout line or an appointment of some kind, but I am so different on social media than I am in real life that people on social media can’t even imagine what I’m like in real life.
I spent years being difficult, offensive, intolerant, inappropriate, and even hateful. Those closest to me have seen these things, even though they insist I’m a list of good things, too. I grew up under an extreme amount of pressure to hide my flaws and shortcomings, which turned out to be one of my most excellent survival skills, despite not being very good at hiding much. Still, even though I have a hard time finding a medium between what I am and what I wish to be, I have never regretted being different, a word that has been used around me so many times that I feel like I should have it tattooed on my face.
My first instinct reacting to just about anything is hate, because I find change and interruption of any kind so disruptive I can barely deal with it on the inside. Every day of my life has been about learning to redirect my thoughts away from hate. I believe this is a brain chemical problem not necessarily caused by my Asperger’s but certainly exacerbated by it. It’s a flaw I’m not proud of but count among my top survival weapons. This gut reaction has wrenched me away from the abyss of depression so many times that I credit hating with saving me from myself. I could have been my own worst enemy if I had ever fallen into the pit of despair or the swamp of sadness, but because I hate, I survive.
I know this is hard to understand, and I want readers to know I don’t condone hatred as a lifestyle. Self destruction is always a mistake, as is relationship sabotage. However, there are others out there who will understand every word I write because they live with similar taboo challenges of brain chemical imbalances, and will recognize that I have found a way to not only survive, but thrive, and go on to become someone capable of having friends and family around me, in spite of living with the added challenge of Asperger’s.
The hardest part of surviving is trying to bridge over to people we need in our lives who don’t understand the effort it takes to stay connected. Honesty is important. We try to understand that the people around us need time to acclimate to it, to accept it, to even embrace that this is a lifestyle for us, and that it’s no one’s fault, not something that needs fixing, nothing to be denied, it just is.
When I share that I have Asperger’s, it’s only part of the baggage I’m stuck with. I don’t need a response. I don’t need validation or understanding or empathy. I also don’t need rejection, being shrugged off, glossed over, told to shut back up about it. If I’m sharing it’s because there is a big hole between us that one of us is going to fall into sooner or later, and that information is hopefully going to keep that from happening.
Sooner or later, if you hang out with me long enough, you’ll be seeing stuff you don’t like. Some people call it arrogance, narcissism, egomania, exhibitionism, being stuck up, being a know-it-all, being different. What it actually is amounts to part of my hard drive being a little glitchy, and so the ways I think and interact and socialize seem a bit off, maybe even off-putting at times. It’s not about whether I am labeled with behavioral problems as much as I’m missing a sense of self awareness that lets me know I’m being a jerk, a prick, a turd, an asshole. I usually have no idea why people stop talking to me and even stop being friends with me. But I’m learning.
People who manage to stay friends with me in spite of me making them feel burned, spurned, forgotten, neglected, tossed aside, used at my convenience, and probably many other things usually wind up eventually being noticed by me as still there. Friends who survive me are not casually tossed aside. They become precious to me, because they are still there. If you guys knew how many people in my life have purposely given me email addresses and phone numbers that don’t work while telling me to keep in touch, or the people who’ve gone to great lengths to be friends and then walk away leaving me dangling in hurt and sorrow like a lost dog because I either didn’t get them closer to a goal (aspies make great stepping stones) or help them with an agenda (aspies also make great tools), you would understand why I’ve come to see friends that stick through all my crap as precious.
I recently posted that I might go underground so I can get more work done. I will be here, but you won’t see me. It’s very important to me that my friends across social media don’t think I’m disappearing and not touching base. It’s not in my nature to touch base, even with family (who silently watch me interact publicly), and muting notifications and therefore not responding in a timely way to attempts at contact in no way means I’m upset with anyone or ignoring people on purpose. I know it feels hurtful, but please understand my own children, siblings, and parents all accept this, and know I still love them.
The dichotomy I live with is that I don’t need you (aspie’s so aspie), but I vitally need all of you (I’m human and very lonely and sometimes deeply sad, plus I love you guys and think you’re precious). Right now I’m on an emotional tight rope, and I need to get this swan dive into the black abyss of my soul right so it will be beautiful in the book. Sometimes a devastating performance must be made in absolute privacy, and this wonderful habit I’ve become accustomed to of touching base with people who really do touch my heart every single day is somehow in the way of letting go and writing the hardest stuff.
I find expressing myself to be very challenging. I have no idea whether these vids will help with the dichotomy I’m feeling. I hope so.
And now it’s time to stop this and go deep into the obsessive writing. Let’s see how long I can hold my breath.