I’ve lost my ability to speak again, but I can still sing. Weird, right? Whatever, embracing it. My band leader yelled (jokingly) at me to practice a duet on Skype, and it triggered my inner soldier who hears a firm order and obeys it without question, (then immediately questions thinks about it.) 🤭 I suppose I can’t whine about being easily programmable after volunteering for the military. (I’ll take Things You Don’t Consider Before Joining, for $1000, Alex. 💜)
I’ve been creating music ever since. I made a song, but it’s incomplete. It’s a sandwich with nothing in the middle because it’s not my song. I just heard the bread and created it because I’m a hopeful romantic. Sigh. I think it’s Karen Kilgariff’s song. I don’t know her personally, but I adore her. I’ve been listening to her comedy albums on repeat just to keep from having the panic attack that keeps promising to be a doozy. 🙄
I’m a little floored by how well it works. Usually, when I find a comedy show I immediately love, I savor it and only rewatch or listen when I’m stapled to the floor by the Depression Monster. However, both Live at the Bootleg, and I Don’t Care, I Like It (with Drennon Davis) are hilarious over and over again. Bonus. I decided to make a video for the empty sandwich because it felt a bit more complete (and I have mild OCD muted by Prozac.) 🙃
(Below is just the audio in Creative Commons so other artists can play with it.) 💜
The Irish singers are loops with which I’m in love. 🥰 I don’t have words beyond Nah. Also, Guitar Hero said, “It doesn’t suck.” (Compliment in Babyboomerbonics ((say it three times fast.))) 😆 Okay, I have to get back to pseudo-socializing (going to try the Zoom with M) because we all know I can’t slack off, or I’ll get too weird at the speed of light. 💜✌🏽
As I’ve been recording myself reading past blog entries, I ran into a problem. Here’s how I hope to work around it: I want to hire a podcaster to read and record some of them on my behalf. I’m not going to repost all of them; only the ones I feel may be helpful to others. (The Pain Scale is what I believe the most valuable post on my site, for example.)
I’m going to take a risk and contact the podcaster that immediately came to mind. I’ve already accepted there will likely be a panic attack involved in the process, so bring it, Anxiety. I keep my anti-Anxiety tools arranged on a bamboo tray atop my filing cabinet. (That’s right, Anxiety. Coping with your antics is now part of my decor.) 🤭
Reading back has been emotionally draining. My memories consist of how I felt at a point in time. From there, I can often recall scents, sounds, and a few blurry visuals. The only certain parts are the feelings, however.
On top of that, I can’t do time in my head. (I’ve never possessed this ability.) For me, there are three categories: Everything happened in either the distant past, recently, or yesterday. If you need me to be more specific, you’re going to be disappointed, because I’m going to guess (likely while walking away.)
I liken it to someone who was traumatized when learning math, and thus automatically dissociates when forced to do math in their head publicly. We probably both decided as children; these are boundaries. I know if someone tells me they hate math, never ask that person to do math in their head. I recognize there’s a very high chance they’re anxious about it, so that’s what I accommodate. (Many people have math anxiety. Bill and Melinda Gates are some of the people working on improving how we teach kids.)
Podcasters, I decided against a list. Instead, I will share about podcasts I love and why regularly. Whenever I make a list of people, I end up taking it down (as soon as I recognize it’s what’s causing the pain in my gut.) A list feels like I’m ranking people, and that grosses me out. (I live in what wants to be a glass house when it grows up.) 🤭
I got stuck in a pain loop. Embarrassing amounts of overthinking took place. I learned some shit, such as I’m quite sensitive. I also don’t hold back my positive feelings about other people. I regularly tell them, usually in an awkward, clumsy, corny manner. It sometimes makes the recipient of my affection seemingly feel uncomfortable with me. Some people become suspicious and even hostile. They assume I have ulterior motives behind sharing because my words alone are indistinguishable from flattery. (It’s all outside of my control.)
Most often, the exchange results in my becoming aware I didn’t meet expectations. I’m fifty. Thus, this process is a filter. It systematically eliminates people who, for whatever reason, aren’t willing to meet me halfway. (Tick-tock, so.) It took me a while to get here. When the pain hit, I wept. While the pain was emotional, my response was the same as when I got a spinal tap, only slower. I was surprised by the intensity, followed by replaying the event until I could process it (while simultaneously bawling.) Communicating with others is entirely a horseshoes and hand grenades situation for me.
I long for precision, but my access to words (especially in realtime) is unreliable. I imagine most people search and locate the concepts necessary to express their thoughts far more quickly and precisely than me. I’m using whichever words stored in recent memory are close enough to convey a semblance of my view. I’m aiming for timeliness, relevancy, and accuracy, knowing it will ultimately be a compromise between them, at best. I prefer writing to speaking because I’m allowed more time and tools to find the words I seek.
However, even with these perks, the message still originates in my neurodivergent mind. From my perspective, it feels a lot like I speak a language known only to myself and those who are interested enough to learn. My English is good enough if the message is simple, but I’m most fluent in music. I’m socially tone-deaf in many ways. I feel like I’m talking through refrigerator magnets to a world of preoccupied scholars. I have ideas and want to be part of the conversation, so I risk and risk and risk. I lean heavily on hope, and I cry when it doesn’t work out.
The Good News: Being neurodivergent means I’ll likely never encounter another human whose brain is wired similarly to my own. This fact is a fabulous opportunity to build communication skills that allow me to successfully connect with diverse people, just by talking to them.
The Other News: Many of these conversations hurt my feelings. Some people behave in a manner I interpret as rejection, usually, without a satisfactory explanation. So far, I’ve chosen to grieve when this happens. The depth varies from momentary sadness to a pain loop involving lots of snot and tears. Then I spend time imagining all sorts of potential reasons the person rejected me. Soon, I think of so many, the exercise seems silly to pursue. The answer is always: insufficient information to draw a satisfactory conclusion. I hate it every time, but at least it’s consistent (AF.)
I’m a romantic. I didn’t see that coming, but the evidence is overwhelming. I romanticize (famous) people I don’t know who fascinate me. It’s wholly rigged. The distance and lack of intimacy make forgiving mistakes easy, and thus, good practice for when those close to me do so. I suspect I grow each time an unsuccessful connection attempt crushes me. Every so often, I meet someone who chooses to connect despite the effort required. As we communicate over time, the awkwardness and odd style become integrated into a mutually understood language. While still not precise or typical, it can potentially lead to a cherished bond.
It probably comes as no surprise, but I celebrate the shit out of fruitful connections with people. Yep. Choreography is involved. (Duh.) 🙃 I also forgive people who hurt me. It doesn’t matter if I understand things like motives, or how others feel about me. My experience involves how I choose to feel and behave. My romantic ass is confused by the event, but there’s no animosity. (I would have to imagine malice to get there, and I don’t wanna.) I mean, I make mistakes all day long. It’s one of the ways I learn and grow. Moving on to whatever comes next. (In Crocs. I’m a cleaning person, yo.) 💜✌🏽
p.s. I (over) estimated it would take me a month to get unstuck (and stop forsaking the internet.) I was wrong. Yay? Yay. I’m going to begin recording my previous posts (vocally) as a means of practicing my speech (at least until I can talk on the phone again.) As I progress, I will repost them with the audio track. I made them private because I hide when I’m hurt, like a cat or something. Literal, remember? 🤭
This is a pain scale to use when reporting your pain to a doctor or other medical professional. I’ve printed out a copy to carry with me, as I always struggle to answer the question, “On a scale of 0-10 with 10 being most severe, how do you rate your pain?”. Usually this question results in frustration. This scale’s descriptions are helpful to me, and will enable me to seek care in the future. Hopefully it’ll be helpful to others as well. Thanks to my friend for providing this resource! [PDF download]