And then there’s Maude

I sent my nephew home today.  He was upset, but I tried to explain to him that I’m in a bad place mentally, and that I need to work on it.  He wanted to stay, thinking he could help, but I said no.  He’s such a neat kid.  I love him so much.  I hated to disappoint him.  I let him take my Xbox One, and that seemed to take away the sting.  I wanted to give him a better explanation, but it occurred to me that it was beyond my ability anyway.  I had an epiphany today.  I don’t speak the same language as anyone I’ve ever met.  This is why people don’t understand what I communicate.

It’s been a lifelong frustration, my attempts to communicate.  I’ve managed to get some things understood to some degree with certain people after intense effort on my part.  I’ve been incredibly fucking resilient in trying.  I’m a bit in awe of myself when I consider how rarely people understand what I say.  Why do I keep trying?  It’s illogical.  It’s detrimental to my mental health in a major way.  I’ve gotten so good at adjusting in near real time when people reflect back a different meaning than I communicated.  It’s just now occurring to me that it’s pointless.  When I converse with someone, it feels to me like running through a minefield.  It makes my blood pressure shoot up, and I feel like I’m physically exerting myself beyond that for which I’ve trained.

I’m not fond of that feeling when you’re sprinting, and you’ve gone further than you thought possible.  At any second, you know collapse is inevitable.  But you keep sprinting as fast as you can go, because you don’t know what else to do.  Something is chasing you, but you don’t know what it is.  So you just keep running, and it hurts like hell, but you can’t stop.  And you don’t even fucking know why.  That’s what it feels like for me to converse with someone.  Every single time.

And nobody knows that I’m straining so hard, and barely keeping ahead of that unknown thing chasing me.  Nobody knows that I’m so exasperated that I’m screaming inside.  And I just realized it was all for naught.  It’s funny to me.  It’s funny, because I refuse to allow it to be anything else.  It’s fucking hilarious that the same behavior that led my parents to seek medical advice when I was a toddler has never actually ceased.  It’s just been internalized.  I’ve never stopped banging my head against the wall from the time that I became conscious, until I figure out how to fucking stop.

The funniest thing of all, is that it’s such a literal thing to do.  I couldn’t possibly have known that initially.  I remember the physical sensation very well.  It was the most comforting thing I’ve ever experienced.  It wasn’t painful, nor did it do any harm.  It was disturbing for others to witness, so it had to be wrong.  I accepted this “wrong”.  I fucking embraced it, and have been on a crusade my entire life just to correct it.  The “wrong” is a lie.  Banging my head against the wall was the wisest thing I’ve ever done.  I’m a mistake.  A glitch in nature.  I’m not compatible with other members of my species.

The ironic thing, is that I thought when I joined Twitter and met with other Autistic people, I would find others with whom I could relate.  Others who would speak the same language that I think in, before translating and attempting to communicate.  I thought there would be something that we all shared, and I had high hopes of building friendships with people.  In reality, I slowly became aware that I don’t fit there either.  I wish it had been a quick rejection that was immediately obvious.  But it wasn’t like that.  I jumped in with both feet, full of excitement, expecting to finally relate to someone.  I’m such a dumbass.  I don’t know why I expected anything.  I let hope get in the way of logic.

Communicating with other Autistic people is not a bit easier than communicating with non-Autistic people.  It’s equally futile.  It’s more of the same mentally banging my head against the wall.  And I actually had the gall to be disappointed.  I amaze me.  More so that it took me this long to recognize the pattern.  Just when I think I’ve finally overcome being naive, I go and prove myself wrong once again.  I’m so disgusted with myself, but I’m only entertaining that thought for a moment, lest I allow it to destroy me.  I don’t have to do this anymore.

I’m going to give myself a few days to let myself comprehend this revelation.  I don’t have to bang my head against the wall anymore.  There is one person on this planet that understands what I mean when I communicate.  That person is me.  I’ve been here all along, obscured by silly hopes.  The good thing is that I’ve always enjoyed my own company.  I have always been happiest when alone, but didn’t think to wonder why.  It’s logical.  I know when I fully comprehend my epiphany, I’ll finally be able to exhale.  I can already feel tension leaving my body.  I don’t have to do this anymore.  I can just let go and be me.  I don’t have to put myself through anymore agony.  I’m free.

2 thoughts on “And then there’s Maude

  • Yep. I can relate. Someone telling me that they understand, when they clearly don’t is like them erasing me and my mind and my thoughts and my sanity. Not a fan of the experience, though you’d think I’d be used to it by now,,,.

  • Thanks for understanding. It’s good to know I’m not alone in my frustration, even though I regret that you suffer this issue as well. I’ve had time to think, and I’ve decided that I’m going to at least let my frustration motivate me to be a better listener. One that assumes less, and clarifies meaning more.

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