When I started this blog I knew that I was going to be working through a lot. I knew that I wanted to deal with my confusing feelings, and try to discover answers about many things with myself and with Daniel. I knew that I was seeking out understanding and reaching out virtually because…because the people in my “real” world life always seemed off. In reality I felt like I was the one who was off. I always felt alone in the midst of people. I felt odd and uncomfortable even with those who were closet to me. I have memories of sitting in the middle of family events or school settings, looking around and feeling as if I wasn’t really there.
I recall that when I was seen that it was because of something that I did wrong, or for my silliness. I started using my silliness as a shield. In grade school I came up with alter egos to help me. If I pretended to be someone else and act silly I made people laugh. I was in control of how they saw me or their laughter. I could hide, even though parts of my alter ego’s were actually me. One of them was Barbara Ann, the girl from the Beach Boys song.
I would start off singing “Ba ba ba” and lead into my name as Barbara Ann.
Everyone would laugh at my goofiness, which then led into me being able to say any crazy, off the wall thing I wanted too. Another one that I took on was Aphrodite, I think I was about 10 or so when I grabbed hold of her. I was reading Greek and Roman mythology regularly by then. I stopped reading about them when I became a Christian because I thought it may be wrong. I started rereading a lot of them months ago. Aphrodite was a more serious and wise character, I could talk about my serious thoughts as long as I was being her.
The strange thing is that people were more accepting of that than me being Angel.
It was ok as long as I was pretending to be a character, but if I started asking questions or acting too goofy as Angel, then people would laugh at me, mock me, ask me things like: “What is wrong with you?” As I grew older my characters manifested into my true name. At work if I was serious on that day I wanted people to call me Angelique, if I was feeling goofy and happy I was Angel. The more time that passed I kind of dropped that, but some days I would still do it. I took the persona’s of “Dark” Angel and “Good” Angel. After becoming a Christian, I became Good Angel. I tried very hard to live up to the standard that I placed on myself, if I had a bad day I blamed it on Dark Angel. There was my “Barbie” Angel alter ego’s as well. I could be anything as Barbie Angel, my family even encouraged me, and picked out my titles for the day. I would pose as whatever Barbie I was being.
I knew full well that these were not real, they helped me cope and protect myself.
I was able to act Neurotypical in many ways by taking on these characters. I learned how to be a certain personality by observing. There would times, places, and people that I was fine just being me. Normally it was in my home, I usually dominated my friendships into being at my house most of the time. I did feel safe in other environments with certain friend’s in their homes or apartments, but very few. I was more comfortable and free in my environment, surrounded by all my comforts. I didn’t do it on purpose, I see now that I was trying to control my behavior and sensory/emotional environment.
As a young adult, my apartment was the “hang out” place.
I was the only one with my own place amongst my friends. Many times, before I turned 21 we would hang out at my place watching games of all kinds, watching movies, having parties, and doing whatever. I would get overwhelmed, but at the same time I felt much better having everyone there. I was in control of who came over, if I didn’t like someone they could not come. I felt in control. If plans would change and people decided to go somewhere else or do something else, I would panic.
I got so good at hiding my panic attacks.
I am still able to have a full-blown panic attack on the inside and stare at someone as if nothing is wrong. If this happened at work I would take off. I usually left for lunch anyway because I did not want people to see me eat, or see me not eat. Many times I would go to a music store or a bookstore when I had a car. Sometimes I would find places, like parks, lakes, open fields to go to and sit and read or write. Other times I would hide myself away in the break room with my books on my special interest at the moment. I learned how to control my panic attacks until I got home…most days.
Sometimes they would manifest anyway.
They usually came out in odd behavior toward a co-worker. I can think of several different workplaces when I went off on the most ridiculous things. They were not ridiculous in the moment to me, at that moment it was either the most horrific or vile act I had ever encountered. Later, after I got home or was able to calm myself I would feel so foolish and idiotic for my outburst. The majority of the time I had no idea why I responded in the way that I did. I know now it was caused by sensory issues, emotional stress, lack of sleep, starving myself, and/or being overwhelmed by other people’s emotions or responses.
I still will have outbursts.
The difference now when I yell something like: “OMG! The pantry is killing me!” I can see right away what has caused me to feel so extreme. In my defense though, the pantry does kill me when it is not organized, doesn’t everyone feel that way? The pantry should really keep itself organized for all of humanity. The last several months have been very eye-opening to me. I had no idea how disconnected I was to myself. I had no idea how many things that I had lost about me. I joked the other day that I had always felt like my brain was hiding something from me. I had this feeling that it was trying to keep me from ever knowing the real me.
I have to say I had a moment of being freaked out by the truths in my own conspiracy theory.
I tried to keep myself from myself! Ahh! The brain causes me to be uneasy anyway, I won’t go into details, but it does control everything you know. This whole process has been very good for me, I have reclaimed a lot of myself, part of that had to deal with my acceptance of being an Aspie. The more that my autistic ways come out the more I see how I do understand Daniel. I also see how many of the things that he does to push me to my limits are actually things that I do.
I have only had this realization in the last few days.
Many things that I do to stim I did not connect to Daniel doing as well, did he learn it from me, or is it natural? I do not know. It has been good to have my eyes opened though because it is giving me more answers to who I am, and more understanding to who Daniel is. I have many commonalities with Ariel as well, she does not like it when the similarities between her and Daniel are pointed out. I try not to bring them up, and let her discover for herself. If she wants to acknowledge it she will if not it doesn’t matter, her reasons behind them may be completely different. We are all unique so comparing commonalities are truly only good for seeking empathy and understanding for others.
It may be possible that in the beginning with Daniel I lacked certain empathy because I had lost so much of myself.
I lost the way that I think, the things that I love, the talents that I have, the ability to be connected to myself, and I became a shell of a Neurotypical. I do not mean that negative toward NT’s in any way, the negative is that I was trying to be someone who I am not. I also didn’t do a very good job at it, I may have looked like it, but alone I suffered. I was a version of someone who I did not know, and I did not know how to keep her, it has reminded me of Jackie Draper (Paper) from Puff the Magic Dragon movie for some reason. I am very good at acting like different characters, I am good at mirroring emotional/social behaviors. I do not seem to mirror when it comes to the intellectual mind. If someone talks to me about my special interest I do not mirror anything or anyone. My special interest or my “help trump card” will drown out any mirror neurons, and in those moments people have seen glimpses of the real me.
I have had very few people that I was able to feel safe enough to allow them to see me.
Usually I felt a connection right away and felt trust. I have had that online with several people and I feel safe to be honest and be myself. Still we have not met in person, but I have a feeling that if we did we would only have a few moments of Aspie awkwardness and, then we would sit side-by-side and talk away, no eye contact required. My Aspie ways are coming more naturally and slowly I am letting go of my fears. I do believe that one of my greatest fears did come true, I woke up one day and didn’t know who I was or how to find me. I have had that fear for a long time, possibly because it was the reality I was running from. I’ve dismantled my NT shell and I am slowly putting myself back together, all my Aspie ways, Angel ways, human being ways, and whatever ways there are. All of me.
I am finding peace within my mind, I think it’s because I busted it messing with me! HA!
For the record, I am keeping my dragon around, I still have a lot more work to do before I grow up! (Puff The Magic Dragon reference)