Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

What's really going on?

Getting out of my own head requires practice. First, I have had to come to the realization that I will never be perfect at this. It has been 36 years and let's just say things have gotten real comfy up there. I have the overwhelming need to plan everything out in my head before it happens. God help me if the outcome isn't something I prepared for. Two words. Serotonin shitstorm.

I see this psychologist every other week. He swirls around 360 degrees in his chair and bites the tip of his pen,while intermittently adjusting his footrest on the couch with the ugly cat pillows next to me. I question sometimes if he's plotting dinner plans or formulating methods to aid me in my biweekly quandaries. I give Dr Mike updates on my socialization (we are on a semi first name basis, even though every other visit he calls me by someone else's name, who he says I look like and then laughs about it and I'm left trying to understand where the humor is in making the same mistake over and over ). Anyway, I tell him that I've become acutely aware of a particular pattern when I meet new people. Mostly this happens on an intimate level. See, I joined this dating website to meet guys because quite simply, I'm better with words on paper than in person. There's that saying “put your best foot forward”, and this seemed like a good way to do that. In theory.

This is usually how it works. I'll answer a letter from someone I'm interested in, maybe exchange numbers after I get tired of logging in with my password to check my mail, text a few days, send cute emojis, we should's, one day's, and I look forward to it's. While all this seemingly appropriate behavior is going on, I'm busy planning our first vacation, our wedding and visualizing if his genetic makeup will be good enough to produce hearty offspring, before we even meet in person. I tell Dr. Mike I'm embarrassed about this,and it happens often enough that I'm forced to solicit advice from my fourteen year old in between our visits. I have trouble taking things slow. I tell him, I want to learn to walk to conclusions instead of instinctively jumping. I want to learn how to be still, patient, and let things happen organic. After all, I'm forever a fan of unprocessed.

I pray .God please don't let me switch out my granny panties for the fancies or paint my nails the ugly color he likes too soon.

But my brain makes everything stick. There's not too much give when it comes to certain ideas I have inside my head. What if I want things to move around? Mobility equals possibility right? Dr Mike says its okay to imagine things, as long as I don't let the thoughts take over my behavior. Sometimes I think he forgets why I'm there.

I have learned which facial expressions are generally the ones I don't want to produce in back and forth conversations. Imagine a second dinner date going something like this.

“So I've researched the genetic components associated with eye color and heredity and according to my findings, there is enough scientific evidence to conclude our future children will be born with hazel eyes.”

All I see are Halloween masks.

But there's good news. There are plenty of fish in the sea, that is, if fish were men and the sea wasn't the sea at all, but a giant landmass we call a continent. (although I'd much rather decrease the general vicinity in which my mate is located to a “within 50 miles radius”) I can always try again. Maybe oversharing isn't all wrong anyway. Maybe its just making the process of finding my person, faster.

Look I get it. I'm not up on all the social cues but I know enough to understand I'm not for everyone. But that's completely fine because everyone isn't for me. In time, I'll be able to navigate conversations with a little more understanding. It's gonna take practice, a ton of really confusing facial expressions, canceled yet never really made wedding plans, an array of pigment, and the piecing of all this together on the couch with the ugly cat pillows. I'm pretty okay with that. Until next time. Stay weird.  
7 days a week I eat urgency

I was born with a social stutter.
A handstand's interpretation
from a catapults dictation
during the middle of a three way conversation.

I see things from a different angle.

Although my perceptions can be a source
of alienation distancing me from the general population
my doctor says
my symptoms are acute.

I came to see him
for some direction on socialization
and he told me
“there's a reason why the last 35 years
you have swam against the current
of the rest of civilization. “

He says
I'm on the spectrum.

The most obvious indication
is the disconnection in my retinas.
Eye contact is four alarm siren stare
I can't clam up.

I don't speak skeleton tongue.
All attempts at messages relayed via
mandible and metacarpal
will remain inaudible.

I do, however, happen to be fluent
in misconstruing social cues.
My understanding of facial expressions
looks like a square dance at St. Pats
waiting for confession.

I get my lines crossed.

I suffer from sunshine sensitivity
I shut my eyes and hide my face
when any source of light hits me.
My mom says
I should supplement with vitamin d.

And I hate deviating from routines.
I'm the habit hoarder A&E ordered to cut corners
when they were forced to work against the clocks.

There's a method to my madness
it just takes a little understanding.

People rarely have the time.
My patience is a blockbuster
with wicks burning at both ends.
At some point we will collide
and my intent is that
you receive this message in time.

Because honestly
I don't think I can hide inside
the pressure cooker of one more persons hand
while they try to find a way to let me go
over a simple misunderstanding.

I don't mind
getting lost inside myself from time to time
just as long as somebody comes to find me.

You may not see it when you're looking
but I get lonely.
My cries sound like bagpipes
during a mediation retreat.
Its not the time or place.

So forgive me
if I turnskip
I'm not caught up
on the rest of the worlds interpretation
of appropriate.

I am the lead drummer
in my own Thanksgiving day parade
and I will completely disregard
the weather forecast for the day
and show up in my birthday suit.

I am comfortable in my own skin.

I want the world to see me
for exactly who I am.
if I cant make eye contact.

Just because I have a different perspective
that doesn't deplete my abilities
at keeping up with a friendship.
My loyalty
will always be a given.
My understanding may waiver
from time to time
but my shoulders and my eardrums
work just fine.

So, if you see me gaze off to the side,
I'm probably just constructing
a verbal conversation bubble
that I'll need to refer back to
for translation later.

I hope you don't mind.
It's just that lately I find myself trying to make sense of the way
most people only speak downfall,
and all I keep hearing
is climb.

_Emily A Klein

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

So it begins.

  So here I am. My kitchen table. 7am. On a writing break. And I'm writing. Okay, not all writing, just formal brain crunching poetry writing. After getting stuck in a terrible cycle of rigid routines that only led to frustration and repeat ideas in my writing, I've decided it is necessary , temporarily, to try a new avenue of expression while the poetic portal of my brain takes a hiatus.  Did I mention I'm a poet? Yeah. I don't walk around telling people that. I tell them I have a Masters Degree in Psychotherapy, which is true. I just leave out the part about me not using it (something I'll get back to later). Anyway it kinda sounds weird coming out as I'm typing.

  So here's the skinny. I've been writing for most of my life, journals, diaries, post its, edges of Sunday comics. Mostly to keep my thoughts straight, but also because I literally love language. I mean I get the same kind of satisfaction from reading a really well written paragraph as you get from a snickers. (which you should lay off by the way as all points north are labeled "poison") I procrastinate reading books when I see the depth of the pages between my fingers begin to deplete. I have a fear of running out of good things to read. Is there a name for that? There should be. They should call it "whopublishedthisshitophobia". It's all business anyway.

  Back to what I was saying about my writing. I'm a poet through and through, between me and you. I nerd out on words strung together that make my synapses do the salsa, and I'm not even that Spanish. I did try other forms of writing. I wrote the first draft of a novel, but found I spent more time taking masturbating breaks than working on developing my story. At least I can say I tried. I should also mention as much as I love language, a part of me also struggles with it, at least in some aspects.  Beyond my toolbar history shame, I found I also had this tremendous difficulty with dialogue. I did a search for editors and ended up finding one nice enough to read a little of the novel free of charge. (I'm not cheap I'm broke I promise). Anyway, he writes back and tells me my characters are kinda flat, and I need to work on the back and forth exchange of conversation. Easy enough right? Nope.

   I didn't know it then, but my inability to bring my characters to life had nothing to do with my writing abilities. It had to do with the part of my brain that was responsible social interaction and communication.I have Aspergers Syndrome. Well, that was my diagnosis before they changed the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders) and decided to include it as Autism Spectrum Disorder.Mostly that means that I'm slightly awkward is everyday conversation. The part of my brain responsible for decoding  social cues like sarcasm and humor, are slightly off kilter. I get stuck in rigid patterns of behavior because those kind of things are soothing to me. Relaxing hasn't necessarily been a word in my vocabulary. My mind races a million miles a minute and most of the time I'm stuck up there trying to figure out which way I'm supposed to be going. It's not that I'm not interested in what you are saying, it's that I'm trying to find a way to quiet the hum of the light fixture behind you, that for some reason only I can hear. (what the heck?!)

  I wish I could say being diagnosed as a child may have changed things in my current life situation. I'd love to tell you there's a million ways to "fix" the way I hide from bright lights and interrupt conversations with comments that are completely off topic that I feel  absolutely necessary at that very moment. (It is all about me after all right?) There isn't though.  And honestly, if there was I  would opt out anyway.My stomach hurts thinking of sharing this right now, because I have kept it to myself, save for a few close people, out of fear some will look at me different. Then I realized they probably already do. So maybe saying it out  loud, if nothing else , will help provide a better understanding to people who are paying attention. And  I try remember  I've gotten along all these years exactly as I am, despite my refusal to make eye contact, and I'm learning to be proud of that.Yeah, sometimes even swell is a learned behavior. I have found that there is an infinite value in the things found off the beaten path. Listen, I'm the girl that buys  broken items on clearance shelves at discount prices and finds ways to bring them home and have them outshine the most put together piece of decor in my livingroom. I think that's why I love writing so much. I see the infinite ability of expression. But I digress. I feel my inner stanza trying to creep in and I'm on a braincation. Stay Weird.