Friday, January 8, 2016

The Hardest Part of Aspergers Isn't Always Socialization

Socialization isn't always the hardest part of Aspergers for me. For as long as I can remember, I have had a harder time with the period immediately following a social encounter, than the actual encounter itself.

For example, recently, I met a new guy. We spent the night together (no funny stuff just a sleepover). It was a renewing feeling. I felt happy. Save for some minor confusion in body language and intention, I thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent together.

I noticed that about an hour after he left, my mood began to decline. I went from cuddly and euphoric to melancholy and volatile.

I attribute this disturbance to two things. First, the extreme exhaustion of having to carry on like a NT around a person unaware of my diagnosis for any extended period of time, and the added fatigue from the expended effort of censoring my thoughts, words and actions in their presence.

The second aspect I attribute to this difficulty is the transition from being in good company then going back to lonely. This all but kills me.

I know how it could look like I don't enjoy being around other people. But in reality, it is the feeling that directly follows time spent that forces me into hermit mode and discourages me from future encounters.

It is frustrating. I cry. I feel overwhelmed. I question every word said and every action wondering if I have said something to make them never want to come back again. I feel confused. Lonely. Wonder why I can't just be normal. I become angry with myself for not learning faster and understanding better.
I feel guilty for slipping. For not staying on top of my symptoms. Pretending to be normal. For allowing myself to become distracted. For thinking for a minute this may actually be the time things work. I feel angry for being vulnerable and convincing myself I would finally feel understood and loved and accepted for exactly who I am when nobody's watching. For letting my guard down. For thinking this was the only way I would find somebody who would actually be afraid to lose that version of me. The one I try so desperately to be comfortably.

I snap a ribbon around my wrist to stay centered. My wrists are always the first place I look for answers. I've never tried that route. I'm lucky for that. The ribbon reminds me.

That is the hardest part of Aspergers for me.  

Monday, January 4, 2016

Tweezer Happy

I have a habit of being a little tweezer happy. My kids make fun of me saying my eyebrows are disappearing. I try and defend my actions but really I have no explanation. Maybe its just my love hate relationship with perfection.

Maybe it stems from my need for clear lines to be drawn. I cant say for sure. But every time I stand in front of my mirror in my 5x5 beach themed lavatory hideaway, I am inundated with the urge to tweeze.

I wasn't always a plucker. Not until my sister introduced me to the tweezers anyway. I used to have caterpillars resting on the folds of my brow bones and truthfully, I was quite fond of them.

Growing up I was the kid with a million faces. (not the schizophrenic kind) I was hard evidence there was a physical, tangible expression for every known emotion.

One year, when I was about 12 , my parents sent me to a church sleep away camp somewhere in the middle of Illinois. I hated every minute of it. I spent most of the time being sick because of the kitchen staff's inability to acknowledge my lengthy list of dietary limitations.

At the end of the two week stint in the middle of nowhere, when all my canteen money was sucked dry by a sneaky staff member for her cigarette stash, the only thing I had left to look forward to was the award ceremony on the last night before departure. Surely I could salvage some small bit of memory to pass down to the future generations that would follow me.

That night, the entire camp staff and campers piled into the mess hall for the ceremony. I sat at the table closest to the exit so I could receive my award humbly, and make my immediate getaway. Little did I know I would be leaving the mess hall minus my dignity.

The ceremony dragged on like all those ear piercing events have the tendency of doing. Since I was in the upper echelon of age brackets, we were three hours in when they finally called my bunk. I waited with patience and excitement for my chance at fulfillment.

Turns out, I was so busy trying to imagine how I would look standing on the stage, I almost missed them called my name.

“And the award for the craziest bunch of faces goes to....Emily Klein”

Wait what? Craziest faces? Not the bravest? Certainly all my solo trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night had to be recognized? Was I being mocked? Or was my collagen elasticity really a call for some kind of celebration?

I was so stunned I forgot all about the way I rehearsed my procession to the stage, and I stumbled up and ripped the blue ribbon from Sister Bernadette's holy fingers and returned to my seat to recalibrate.

Ever since that day, I developed a new appreciation for my ability to morph my face to match any given situation, considering I'm probably one of the only people to be able to merit such recognition. I like to think my eyebrows have played a role in this.

Somehow, I cant help but think the state of my changing faces has more to do with my confusion than my ability at mastering anything.

Nobody needs to know that though.
So I'm just going to keep on plucking as I see fit. After all, I have a reputation to keep up with.
Until next time, stay weird.