It’s no secret that in recent years I’ve concluded that there is a significant possibility that I’m not just “quirky” or “weird” but that I’m actually autistic. I’ll go a few weeks where I doubt this conclusion and then, as I like to say, “My asperger’s will flair up” and suddenly I’m reading about it again because going through checklists of traits found in females with asperger’s is comforting to me (ha, you don’t say).
Anyway, this checklist is my favorite one mostly because it’s written by a female with asperger’s and it makes sense. And I can check off nearly 100% of the items. I thought it might be therapeutic to go through the list in writing, an act that is both terrifying and comforting to me.
Section A: Deep Thinkers
I over-analyze every.single.thing. It’s why I cannot enjoy science fiction and fantasy, as a rule, because it doesn’t make sense to me and I over-think the stories. “But how can that be possible?” I ask. I’m the one you don’t want to take to the movies with you because I will be asking a thousand questions before the opening credits are over. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has said to me, “You’re overthinking it.” I always want to know why. And if you can’t tell me why then my brain will shut down until I can find a decent answer to my why question.
I am, by all means for a homeschool mom of three, a prolific writer though I’m no longer drawn to poetry. In high school I wrote a lot of poetry. I especially remember working out intense feelings I had about a close female friend through poetry. For years I went through an anti-poetry period where, not only did I not write it, but I hated to read it too. I think that has to do with being forced to analyze it in school. It was a nice commonality between me and my husband: he, too, hated poetry. But in the past couple of years, as I have begun to introduce poetry to my children, I’m finding myself enjoying it again. And they don’t seem to hate it either. I don’t make them pick it apart… I just let them listen to it.
Indeed I am forever getting lost in my own thoughts. When I’m in a deep thought kinda mood, it’s pointless for me to try and read or watch tv or carry on a conversation. I can’t move my thoughts from one place to another. I just have to wait until my brain is ready to move on its own.
Section B: Innocent
By all means, I’m an extremely naive person. And because of this, I also have serious trust issues. I struggle to know if I can trust a person right off because in the past I’ve trusted so many people immediately (oh, he’s nice to me, he must want to marry me and be the father of my children, how lovely- or- wow, we have so much in common, she is my BFF even though I just met her last week) that these days I find that there is a thick shell around my heart. What’s interesting is that I still disclose a lot of details about myself to people pretty early on in a relationship, but what has changed is that I no longer let myself believe that the person can be trusted right away. Instead I simply have forced myself to stop caring if the person can be trusted with my self-disclosure. They usually cannot I find.
People I trust are ones I have known for about 20 years. And a few of those people I know cannot be trusted still. There are about three people, other than my children, who I trust who are still a part of my life. My two best guy friends from college and one of my best girl friends from high school. Several of my old friends long ago proved that they cannot be trusted and that’s okay. I just factor that into my emotions when dealing with them. My expectations are lower.
My husband will tell you that I am honest to a fault. I am like George Washington. I cannot tell a lie. I remember when I was 3 telling my mom and cousin a long elaborate story about my dance class. In class we used dramatic play every year to act out a St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It was lovely. We all “dressed in green” and “sat in front of our mirrors and put on makeup”. It is my favorite memory from dance class. It was the highlight of the year. But when I told my mom and cousin the story, I told it as if it were true. As if we really did those things instead of pretending to. Well, shortly after I told the story, I went to my room and cried. Then I came back and begged their forgiveness for I’d lied to them and that was a horrifying experience. My attempts at lying have gone something like that every time since then.
Recently, when my marriage was in a bad place, my father-in-law told me that you shouldn’t always tell the “whole truth” when your spouse asks you a hard question. That is bizarre and uncomfortable to me. I cannot imagine why someone would ask you a question unless they expect you to answer truthfully. So now I’m very confused whenever I speak to my husband. I don’t know how I’m supposed to respond so that I don’t make him threaten divorce again. It’s very stressful.
I have truly NEVER been able to comprehend why someone would want to be mean, or to get even, or to feel anything but kindness and love toward another person. Even when someone has wronged me, I end up assuming it was because there is something wrong with me. Over the years, this has been a recurring theme in my life: someone does something crappy to me, I feel guilty for feeling angry, I end up apologizing to them.
I am always confused.
I am always overwhelmed.
I have always felt misplaced and like I was from another planet. At least until I discovered The B-52s when I was 12. Then I was certain that I was from the same planet that they were from.
I always feel isolated though there are a few friends in my life who help me feel less alone so I seek out time with them as often as I can. They know who they are.
I remember in the first grade there was this girl who decided to make my life a living hell (I have since learned that two of my best friends were also tortured by her over the years as well). She asked our teacher if she and I could have our desks moved to the wall behind the teacher’s desk. Because our teacher was an idiot and this girl’s mom was also a teacher (therefore she was a pet at the school), we were given permission. There she proceeded to cut my arms with her fingernails. I remember just being thankful that she was paying me attention. Once my mom saw the cuts on my arm, she had us moved back. In the meantime, I’d become good friends with the arm cutter’s best friend. Arm cutter gets jealous. During Christmas break I receive a phone call from the both of them, confronting me about the fact that I’d called the best friend the N word, a word that I not only had never used before but never heard either. My new friend and I didn’t speak again until fifth grade. I internalized that and carried it with me. I guess in some ways I still do. While I knew that I’d not called anyone any names EVER I still felt like I. Was. Wrong.
Stay Tuned for “Why I Believe That I’m an Aspergirl Part 2” where I’ll write about my experiences with Escaping and Friendship.
Read part 2 here.