I’ve learned a bit about executive function since joining Autistic Twitter. I just read my Pocket Sister’s blog describing her adventures with this challenging quirk. It involves a phenomenon familiar to neurodiverse humans. The executive function primarily entails the mental ability to manage time and focus. Mine is spotty at best. I find the most frustrating aspect to be losing words. It nullifies my vocabulary acquired from spending so much time reading novels. It complicates my ability to communicate with others.
Imagine trying to successfully express a complex concept using only the words contained in a nursery rhyme. That’s as close as I can describe what it feels like to communicate with most other people. The words I can consistently recall in real time when anxious are the words I had learned by rote before comprehension was a factor. When I speak of being on auto-pilot, it could also be described as functioning by rote. It’s my recovery mode. It’s what happens automatically whenever I’m outside my home, and my anxiety gets triggered. I suspect I spend more time on auto-pilot than not.
Anxiety is the bane of my social existence. The worst part; it’s justified based on my history of socializing with others. It’s absolutely the logical way to feel when attempting something I’ve failed at so many times. I’m human, and we all need social contact with other people to some degree. It’s a need I’ve tried to eradicate before, (always striving for efficiency.) I couldn’t pull it off. Instead, I just keep trying. I stopped keeping track of how many times I’ve fucked it up. It was discouraging. I’m not seeking fame or popularity, (I couldn’t type that without laughing at the thought.) I just need enough socialization to prevent my becoming too weird.
By too weird, I mean the way all humans change when isolated from other people. We start talking to ourselves, and to inanimate objects (Wilson!!!). When we do finally encounter another person, we tend to overshare overlong. There’s more, but you get the picture. I’m trying to socialize with other humans enough to prevent losing the ability. It’s absolutely a Use it or Lose it skill. So I put up with feeling anxious and inarticulate. I’ve gotten used to needing a paragraph to express a sentence. It’s hard because I value conciseness. I find it easier to write than speak. By quite a bit. I just haven’t been able to convince those in my world to restrict their communications to text or email.
I’m working on a virtual presence device. My first obstacle is designing one that won’t result in theft, vandalism, teasing, etc. It’s a fun project, and I intend to use it often once completed. As long as there is tech, I’ll find a way to fit my square peg in this round-holed planet, and I’ll have fun in the process. I’m off to beat my drums with sticks.