I know I look weird to outsiders. I get it. I've accepted it. Thing is, my goal is to be able to help others accept and understand it what its like to be me too.
I went on a date the other day. A guy I met on a dating website. A guy born and raised in another country. I was hesitant but I thought maybe, by some strange chance, we would have that whole being misunderstood thing in common.
Not so much.
It was scary. blind dates or internet dates usually are. You never know what your gonna get. Like once I met this guy who was super cute in pics, but I realized upon meeting face to face the wonders of the cropping feature in editing apps . (picture sloth from the Goonies from chin to eyebrows. ) He wasn't very happy when I told him I wasn't interested. Most aren't. And as soon as you make them aware, suddenly all your most hedonistic character traits come to surface.
So between the frequency of these occurrences and then the kind of dollar store trash bag types I meet and fall in love with in a week (look good on the outside then fail to carry out their purpose by the time you realize they are full of shit and its too late). I hardly have luck. If I was left to my own devices, I would quit socializing all together and sit in my room and read write and come out on pizza night. But this causes a problem.
I notice the pattern of isolation often puts me in a bad position with my writing.
Meaning if I'm not out in the world I lack material.
So because my livelihood and sanity depend on my writing, I make meager attempts at socializing.
Back to what I was saying. This guy and I decide to meet at a local Starbucks . Seemed kosher.
Anyway my first impression was that I had misrepresented myself. He walked in looked around and walked out. I didn't know what to do or say so I stared over at the barista hoping he would send me some kind of telepathic signal on what to do next .
So I did the only thing I thought I should. I sat and waited. He came back and explained in his heavy accent and broken English that he was confused, and at that point, so was I.
I have no problem with people learning English. I think it's admirable, as English is by far the most difficult language to master. What I'm saying is that I have enough of an issue communicating with English speakers and adding another barrier to say the least, concerned me .And since our communication was only in text up until that point, I wasn't expecting this.
Besides some very defined cultural differences, I wondered how a person from another country would be able to understand me .
For example,I don't stim in public. But in the comfort of my own home my neuro cape comes off.
I don't wear pants. Or underwear most times. I frequently have conversations with myself filled with high pitched laughter or nervous repeat affirmations. Sometimes I repeat other people's phrases in the middle of conversation. A lot of times I'm in my own world and prefer to stay there regardless of who is around me.
The fact that I had to find three different ways to explain why I didn't want to hold this strange mans hand, let alone kiss him after a half hour of knowing him , really made me think.
Would he ever understand me? How much of myself would i have to censor and for how long?
Even more frightening I thought to myself if this is what neuro typical people think when they meet me and is this why they leave? Does Aspergers make me look like an alien?
I don't know. I may never know.
I do know people come and go more often than not in my life . It's not easy to get used to. I don't think I want to. But it's part of my reality.
I contemplated just never speaking to the guy again but that turns out to be rude. I texted and thanked him for a nice time and kindly explained that I didn't think it would work.
I never heard from him again. Thankfully .
To be clear it wasn't just the language barrier that concerned me. I have become adept at feeling people's energies over the years (since all other aspects pose difficulties) and there was
a kind of forced expectation. The way he insisted on holding my hand when I kept my palm face open to deny the gesture, and how he leaned in to hug and kiss anyway when I verbally declined.
There was hygiene. All I smelled was armpits . A surefire hit to set my sensory issues into satellite mode.
He was a simple man who drank plain coffee, went to work,had salad and brown rice for dinner and wasn't a fan of sweets .He had been taught women have a place.
I don't have a place. My place is where I am and where I want to be. Nobody will tell me different. Well, they could try but slim chance I'm even listening.
I'm too complicated for all that nonsense. (In a good way.)
And also, he wasn't all that cute .
More than anything I want to be understood. I want to feel like somebody gets me and I'm not so alone. (p.s. my phone just autocorrected “alone” to “lame” to add insult to injury).
Once I brought a date to a poetry show I was appearing in . That night I read a piece I had written after I received my diagnosis . He was very supportive saying how well I did that night. I remember distinctly how he asked if all of the things I said in the poems were true. I knew right away which poem he was asking about. I talked around it. I was embarrassed that he was worried I was different. I was was worried I was different and I don't want to worry about being different.
So from now on, no more dating foreigners for me. This whole exchange of feelings thing is hard enough without having to add any more confusion into the mix. And sweaty armpits. Nobody likes sweaty armpits.
Who knows, maybe one day I'll get better at all this and fly away to some distant country to find my forever snuggle buddy(who knows when to give me space). But for now, I'll wrestle with attempting to understand the members of my own country. Until next time. Stay weird.