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Earler this week, i attended a regular monthly meeting with 15 other people.  The meetong had not been vacated by its previous users so we stood around in the hall for ten minutes waiting for the room to empty.  These 15 people were all members of my 12 step program.  I had met them all; most of them i know and like (though i often forget names and faces).  And i am not claustrophobic.  Yet, as they stood around chatting happily about this and that, i had an overwhelming desire to get out of there!  I did leave.  Once outside, i shook my head and said to myself: "That's only autism."  Then i immediateky turned around and reentered the building, ignored my discomfort, and found a conversation i could participate in.

Three years ago Temple Grandin came to town to give a talk on autism.  In the process she showed pictures of her brain and compred it the brain of a neurotypical person.  Most of our brains get excited in the ptrdrnce of other humans or when we think about our parents, spouse, friends.  Temple's brain does not "light up" over people.  Her brain is "de-lighted" by cows.

The words, "does not play well with others" did not appear on any of my early report cards.  My teachers were disinclined to put anything on report cards other than "letter" grades.  I will always be gratrful that they were sparing in their tendency to comment on pupils' attitudes and general behavior.

My memories of childhood playmates, though very few, are very pleasnt.  I think i got along pretty well with people, expecially between my tenth and sixteenth birthdays.  At sixteen, my friends noticed a change in me.  They wanted to know what happened but i had no explanation that would satisfy me  and them.  Then i moved out of town, my friendships faded and new ones did not take their place.  It was not until my  mid 40s that the lack of friends started to bother me and i became open.

I still don't know what happened in the spring and summer before my sixteenth birthday.  I had a "crisis of faith" but i think that was only a symptom.  I have very recently developed the hypotjesos that my austistic brain was subconsciously becoming aware of what a challenge adulthood would be for it and the fun was sucked out of life to be replaced by the seriousness that the brain supposed would be required for life as an adult.

Because i cling to the belief that my brain is not my mind, i am now able to acknowledge what my brain is doing and then just ignore it and go on to try to live the most fulfilling  life i can.  The brain is the "hardware" and i must respeect its limitation; but my brain is not "me" anu more than my ego is me.  The "software" comes from other places. and some of those places are beautiful and some are mysterious.  I can will myself to  act differently and ask for help from a higher power when my will faila.

The invisible wall  that surrounds my "comfort zone" has been slowly crumbling during the last 40 or so years. but especiallly during the last eleven.  When i feel stuck, i can say to myself: "that's just autism"  Being able to give it a label helps me overcome  it.

Its like being 15 again-- i am happy. joyous, and free.
 

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
pondhopper
Jul. 21st, 2018 03:15 pm (UTC)
It sounds like you have come to know yourself well and can respond to your impulse to leave a group in a way that is good for you. And it also sounds like you've come full circle but if the beginning is happy, joyous and free you have returned to the best part of that circle. I'm happy for you!
:)
bobby1933
Jul. 21st, 2018 04:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Donna.

These posts have focused on my autism. There were many other aspects to my life. For example, my 55 year marriage to Dianne which made me very happy. But she and others might have been happier if i had had better control over my attitudes and behavior.
pondhopper
Jul. 21st, 2018 09:28 pm (UTC)
Don't look back with regret. That achieves nothing. Look at all the good stuff and not what might have been if...easy to say, I know.
bobby1933
Jul. 23rd, 2018 09:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, i'm not; orat least the regret i do have is low key and passes quickly. These posts have been efforts to know myself better. Thank you for the reminder; its always useful.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 23rd, 2018 05:54 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is beautiful. Happy, joyous, and free, Amen, amen.
bobby1933
Jul. 23rd, 2018 09:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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