Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Finding an Aspie friend

Today I had a bit of a breakthrough.  Just a small breakthrough really, but a breakthrough all the same.  A few months ago, I met a girl who was on the verge of discovering she herself had Asperger Syndrome.  The first time she and I really had a chance to talk was like an awakening.  We understood aspects of each other that we would never have dared tell any other person for fear of judgment and ridicule.  It was incredibly freeing just to know someone else in the world could understand and could be so deeply understood by me.  Every conversation we had wasn't long enough. I found myself wanting to see her every day to discuss some other experience or feeling. I knew I was not alone once I was diagnosed, after all my daughter is an aspie as well, but this was the first time I had personally connected with someone in this way. I feel as though we have found a lifelong friendship that will not depend on geography as so many do. I guess it wasn't so much a breakthrough as a lightening of my emotions. This feeling is very rare. I have been very fortunate to have found many friends during my time here, some deeper than others but all treasured by me. It makes me feel ready to take on the next adventure, knowing I'm not alone.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Another layer peeled

As I was sitting here, quietly in my room, reading ‘Pretending to be normal’, I felt yet another epiphany.  The author talks about her feelings about swimming in a team during high school.  How she was calmed by the water, it made the world melt, but she was unable to train as her teammates could and was soon forgotten.  She said she didn't miss being on a team, but she missed the water. 

It made me reflect upon my time in choir.  I sang in choir during high school, both at school and at church, sang in college, and even sang with a symphony chorus for a time.

 I have always loved to sing. I would sing while walking home from school, while doing chores, or just while playing.  There was something very freeing about learning a song and being able to sing it when I wanted.  It was similar to the authors description of being in the water.  It was like being in a quiet, perfect place all my own. The world disappeared for a moment and I was alone, in perfect happiness. 

Singing in a group added another dimension to my enjoyment, though.  I was challenged, taught to push myself in a comfortable setting.  But, even more than that, it gave me a chance to be a part of something bigger.  When you are one person in a large group, singing the same song and blending beautifully, it gives you the sense of normalcy.  Here is a place where you truly become a small cog in a larger entity.  You are not different, you are not singled out, you are not wrong.  You are equal..

I realize, to most, that statement will seem odd.  However, for those of us who have spent our lives trying to fix ourselves in order to fit into society, it is a blessed relief, even if that relief is fleeting. 

For me, singing is my water.

Dimensions of the Mind

Over the last two years I have found myself understanding more about the human body and mind than the prior thirty two years combined.  As I learn about and understand myself, I seem to understand those around me as well.
I recall a description of peeling an onion, one layer at a time, to discover the secret hidden within.  My path to self-realization is much the same.  As I peel another layer back, I learn a little more about my mind.  I have found more peace within after just a few months than I ever thought possible.  Why had it never occurred to me before?  I always noticed how similar my daughter and I are, but never was that connected with the possibility of Asperger’s.
Sadly, I must admit I did not grasp the full extent of my daughter’s diagnosis until I received my own.  I knew she was wonderfully unique.  I knew she saw the world with fresh eyes.  I knew she enjoyed the simple things and didn’t ever strive to be as others.  To me, this was a sign that I had taught her how to view the world differently just as my parents had taught me.  Now I see, her brain taught her these things before I ever could.
To me, being an aspie just means I can see things from a different perspective, turning the world into a much more interesting place; turning life into a much more fascinating experience.  They say some of the most inspiring and creative minds of our history were aspies.  I truly hope it is so.  After all, we may not instinctively follow the same path as those around us, but we notice beauty while others tighten the blinders.  We stop to smell the roses and enjoy a beautiful sunrise and the smell of dew on a field.  We not only see the beauty around us, but we feel it as well.  Our senses are heightened to that which the world at large has forgotten.  How can that be wrong?  How can that be so peculiar?
I realize my road ahead is long and bumpy.  I have decades of suppression and self-doubt and secret fears to muddle through.  However, I will gladly endure these gray days in order to remember the full beauty of the sunny ones.