The revelation that I am an aspergarian has been like finding myself at the theater of my life, seated comfortably in a mezzanine seat, viewing things straight forward and as I have been directing them to be viewed. Then, someone taps me on the shoulder and tells me to change seats, moving me closer to the stage and a bit to the side, where I get a different perspective on events. Suddenly I see that things that I once thought were formidable and stable, are but two dimensional stage sets. Oddly, the play makes more sense from this perspective.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A life in review

It's been about a year since I first started exploring the idea of my Aspergarianism (uhm, is that even a word??) and in doing so, I have been looking back on my life.

Now, looking back on my life is nothing new.  I've spent a lot of time doing just that.  Really thought I had the territory covered.  Lifepath mapped out, mistakes ruminated over, victories cherished, wounds, scars and even a few badges of honor well curated and often documented.  Although, things didn't always seem to add up, and I would wonder why I kept smaking up into the walls that I hit.

In early 2011, I started to explore the possibilty that there was something I missed - and as the peices fell together, the year became a year of "Ohhhhh, now I see!!"

I of course did the normal web research that you do - Wikipedia, WebMD, Psychology Today . . .  looked up as many scientific articles as I could - NIH, American Psychiatric Association's DSM-IV listing (even went to the library to read it).  Of course there are a myriad of bloggs and message boards on it and Autisim.  An online "Aspergers Test" taken early on put me in the Asperger camp, but not by the widest margin.  Looking at the questions later, I see that I was in a bit of denial when I answered some questions.

Most everything I read was about children for parents and educators.  Finally I came across Look Me In The Eye, by John Elder Robinson.  A true account of a man who was diagnosed with Aspergers late in life.  He wasn't just any man either - a genius who invented a number of things despite a very difficult background.   The title in particular caught my attention.  My brother had recently reamed me out, listing a number of my faults, one of which was that I did not look waitresses in the eye.   This startled me.  For a long time I had made it a point to try to make eye contact (or fake it) with people - particularly when I was "on" - meaning I was trying to impress someone.  Now, here was my brother, telling me that I was supposed to impress a waitress?  I just wanted my meal.  I did not want a personal relationship with her (or him, as the case might be).  Arrrrrghhhhh!

I felt gutted.

I realized there was a reason why I liked drive through windows.   Lack of contact.

Continuing my research, I read Tony Attwoods seminal book on Asperger Syndrome, watched the HBO film Temple Grandin and accompanying DVD documentaries.  And, of course, discussed all this with my therapist and friends and family.

So, this is how the year went.  One minor insight after another.  Small portions of me laid out in text and self-help books.  The whole 'autistic' thing stings the most. But I suppose that's why they symbolize it with puzzle pieces.  It's a constellation of traits.  Sometimes I get where I think everybody with an aspie trait or two is therefore part of the tribe.  Like that kid in The Sixth Sense . . . "I see aspies!!!"   

It's the desire to belong.   But I gotta feel OK, where I am. 

Writing a little of this every once in a while may help that.


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