Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wine Drunk

I've had about six very large glasses of wine this evening, in addition to the beer, of course. I also happened to have a brief yet intimate trans-related conversation with a room full of fairly straight/heteronormative people tonight. Along with all of this, I've been thinking about the Asperger's blog I've started following. And since I'm drunk, I'm probably more inclined to write about that particular part of my life. It's funny how that is more uncomfortable for me to discuss than being trans. I think this is because I came from a subculture that more easily understood transgender issues than autism issues. I do very well at "hiding" my differences. So most people don't think there is anything wrong with me, to use their words. To use my own...I don't think there is either. But there are just some things I cannot do. I have my limits, and I have learned more about them in the last five or six years (since my first "official" yet second actual diagnosis). But that can be good and bad.

When I used to have meltdowns as a child and then a teenager, I never knew why. It felt like they just happened out of nowhere. The remedies were always lying down in the car, letting the motion calm me and chugging water till I was about to explode. My mom would hold me and get me away from what was happening if she were around. If not, I would just freeze. I would not speak. I would not move a muscle. I felt like I was watching everything happen to me, and no matter what I could tell myself to say or do, my body would not listen to my head. It just couldn't. It was then that all sights, sounds, and physical sensations started to become so intense that I could not tolerate them. I wanted to explode out of my body, and I would try to squeeze myself as tightly into myself as possibly because it felt like every molecule of my physical being was being pulled in a different direction.

My whole childhood consisted of this and of not knowing how to talk to people at all. I could talk to family members and maybe find one kid who would tolerate my seemingly incessant monologues, but I just didn't associate much with other children. I didn't really have a friend that I could truly relate to until I was thirteen or fourteen. And I screwed up those relationships horribly. This continued throughout high school and my first year or two of college. I just didn't understand why I always had to feel so disconnected from the rest of the world. I didn't get why I couldn't just learn the way other people did or see things the way they did. Why were things so easy for them? Why did I always get lost when more than one person was involved in a conversation?

The first time I heard the diagnosis was in high school. But I rejected it, thinking that it couldn't possibly fit me. I only knew of severe cases of autism, and for some reason my therapist just went with whatever I said, and she said I had panic disorder. So I was heavily drugged, and I really didn't show much improvement. And I remained mostly alone until my nephew was diagnosed with Asperger's around age two or three. I revisited the idea.

Suddenly things made sense. Aware of my situation, I was able to piece together how I had learned to cope in a neurotypical world. I thought that everyone had to learn the way I did. It didn't hit me that my view of the world was so fundamentally different from that of most people until maybe five years ago. College was a very serious game of catch up for me. But I was funny, and my acting ability got me through a lot of situations. I could pretend to be normal. I could pretend to understand what was going on. I could just fake it until I made it.

But it's so hard to do that. And I guess what I want to convey is that most people don't understand what it is like to have to deal with that almost every minute of every day. Let's just say you are bad at test taking. Imagine a near-24-hour rendition of the SAT or MCAT or whatever...every day of your life. You can do it, of course. But you're slower than other people. You don't intuitively understand it, but you have learned enough about it through practice. You may even like the subjects you're being tested upon. But at the end of the day, you just want it to be over so you can recover. You need time for your brain to rest. People do to my brain what games of chess and logic puzzles do to the brains of others. It's not that I am not interested in being a social person. I am very much interested, and I am now extraordinarily aware of how much I desire companionship. But it's hard. And I need a break.

A lot of this is for my new friends. And I wish I weren't bombed while writing this because I'll probably miss a few important things. When I am okay, you might not know that I'm that much different. But when the bucket is full and I can't quite take anymore, I lose every coping strategy I've ever learned. I become a non-functional human being. And people are scared of this. I try to run away from everyone when I know this is about to happen because I'm afraid of letting people see me get this way. I don't want to be judged, and I don't want people to believe that I can't manage my own life, even if I feel that same way at times. I am so afraid of people seeing this version of me that I am super polite around everyone. I laugh at almost any joke. I sometimes have to fill in gaps with jokes or think heavily about what's going on in a conversation. I've learned to be pretty quick with this. I'm fortunate that I'm as smart as I am. I'd never get away with this otherwise. But sometimes, that's the problem. I take in way too much information for my brain to handle at any one time. And then all the lights on the switchboard are on at the same time, and I just crash.

So I'm drunk. I can see less of the picture this way. But I also am less inhibited, obviously. I say exactly what is coming to my mind as it comes--the parts that can be translated into words at least. Weed is much better at making me "less autistic". I'm not sure it works that way for everyone.

I don't even know why I'm writing this. I'm just tired of having to keep up pretenses all the time. I almost cried the other day because I think my parents are starting to finally acknowledge this fact about me. My brain is different. Sometimes I just need to be left alone. Sometimes, I need to be talked to in a certain way. My mother is learning to avoid styles of conversation that make me more and more anxious or overload me. She told me to not go to this new job if it was going to put that much stress on my mind and body. And she has never done that with anything before. I wanted to cry. But at the same time, it made me want to be able to push through or at least make the effort because someone was making that kind of effort for me.

Yes. Sometimes I am terrified to admit that I don't understand things, especially things that other people seem to get instantaneously. I wish I could also explain my relationship with touch, but that's challenging. If I am not comfortable with you on the deepest level, I cannot be touched by you for any extended period of time. I get ridiculously uncomfortable in situations that involve hugs, complex handshakes, even sitting next to people touching me. It makes my skin crawl. I start to develop blinders and hide inside of myself. But I'm trying so hard to open up to the people who care about me. And it's even hard to believe that people here do care. I always get scared that if people really knew me, they'd never like me. It seems to always work that way. Or they just realize I'm not worth it.

Tonight was a huge step forward in a lot of ways. I still always ask. But I am getting more comfortable being touched. And it felt comforting in a way. Maybe I was able to lift even the tiniest amount of weight off my chest. But I still felt a difference. But it was unusual for me, so it scared me. And then I knew I needed to come home. I was going to just sleep there, but too much change in one night can mess with me, and after a weekend of hiding from the world and wishing I could hide from myself, I knew I couldn't take it. Learning my own limits is the most difficult part of this journey.

I don't know what the point of my writing this was, and I doubt I will remember much of this tomorrow. I just wish it were easier to talk about for me. I wish I weren't so ashamed of talking about why I switched to front lanes. I wish I could bring up that I would probably be alright going back on the floor now that the environment is not so new to me. But I have such a difficult time starting, ending, and even sometimes maintaining conversations. That's when I turn on actor mode. I have to place myself in a role. I have to define the character. You get used to that after a while, and then you realize that you start doing it when you don't have to. And that overloads you as well.

Tastes, certain types of touch, certain sounds, certain things that people say.


Sorry. But I get pretty ticked off at out-of-shape people who think they can take me. People who've never fought, run, or worked out a day in their lives. It is worse than people making small penis jokes, which have actually become funny to me in recent days. I feel that people making comments like that about me is equivalent to making comments about the weakness of women because they are women. The weakness of small people because they are small. You don't know what people are capable of by looking at them. I've seen 300 pound drag queens that can jump nearly three feet in the air in heels and break dance and do splits, etc. Bodies can and will surprise you. This is one of the few things I actually still take personally. I am trying not to. But fuck you if you're going to try to make me feel inferior.

I realize that I've been writing for about forty minutes now. This is going to be fun tomorrow. But I rarely write when I'm drunk, so it will at least be entertaining.

Shifting gears again...
I read a few of those blog posts last night. About face blindness, reading comprehension, pain tolerance, etc. All of them seem like they could have been written by me. I identify with so much of what this person says. I cried once because I felt like I had found someone who understands. I only have had one other very good friend diagnosed with Asperger's, and that was when I was in high school. I really need to give him a call sometime. He also came out not too long ago. Surprise, surprise.

Crushes on straight people are hard. I don't know how to deal with it. I want to ask her. But I'm terrified. I don't want to deal with that sort of rejection. I've dealt with it from gay men before, but our conversations were just about one night stands and things like that. But...fuck. This is new territory for me.

I legitimately forgot what I wanted to talk about. Oh yeah.
I know what my first tattoo will be. I just need to find the perfect spot. I know because it is the one thing I have kept coming back to through every difficult part of my life.
And those are the colors I want.
This will happen before I leave the valley.
I wish you could be here for that.

Also, damn, now that I have more piercings, I feel like I want even more. Welcome to that rebellious phase that everyone already went through ten years ago.

I'm getting excited about my future again. It comes in cycles. But this time, I feel more confident. I know it's going to be okay no matter what I do, but I need to DO SOMETHING.

Ummm also...please buy election shirts from me. They are awesome. yay.

New job in about six or seven hours. New people. New job isn't scary. New people = very scary. My brain starts to go in so many places that words don't happen anymore. This is why things are very fragmented near the end.

Another thing. I am literally ALWAYS anxious. I wake up, and I am terrified of the day, and I go to sleep this way. It is a constant fight against this, against confusion, against overstimulation, against managing more than one emotion at a time, and against navigating a social world.

Thanks to everyone. And I hope I don't scare you away too.

I'm probably going to regret this soon.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Knew It

Now, no matter what I decide, I will have to deal with the pain of losing people again.

Friday, October 12, 2012


One step forward, two steps back. If that's the way it works, my creative solution is to face the opposite direction so I can get there faster.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Being Okay

I came home seven months ago against my will, without knowing anyone here other than my parents. I suppose you could count the people I used to know in high school, but I'm sure none of them really exist anymore either. I even got to know a few of them all over again. In so many ways, this part of my life is the low-budget sequel to my high school experience. I make just about the same amount of money, spend a lot of time wondering about the future all by myself, and I live in the same room. Best Buy is like a giant high school (many, many of them actually went to my actual high school) as well, complete with relationship drama, cliques, and house parties. And because of those house parties, I actually have friends I trust enough to randomly text or maybe even call (gasp) whenever I need something.

I find it interesting that I make friends with military guys so easily. I'm sure that says something about my personality, perhaps about my general lack of concern for holding my tongue when it would otherwise be appropriate. Also pretty sure the obsession with physical fitness has something to do with it. But it's not just that I can chat with them or find common ground. There really is some sort of deeper connection I can't quite figure out, like they would be the kind of friend that I try to be, because when it comes to putting your ass on the line for your fellow man, they've pretty much done that for a living.

I read something that made me angry the other day, but it made me happy as well. And regardless of which emotion I ended up feeling throughout the night, I cried. I wanted to be angry at her, but I was really angry with myself for being so hurt by something that has nothing to do with me. That might actually be why it hurts. I am not ashamed to admit that I am envious of your life. But I am not upset. I am happy, and I am thankful that you understand how unique your position is and how many lives you have the ability to affect from it. And I hope those lives are affected in positive ways, and instead of harboring this negative energy and having it seep out into the real world, I have no choice but to let it go. I'm on my way to being happy. And you are already happy. And we had nothing to do with each other's happiness. And I am learning to be okay with that. I'm learning not to be sad. It's hard to forget about the moments of the two of us that I can still see in full color--about how you were part of what changed the course of my entire life. But I understand that I do not have to, and the beauty of my life is that I don't have to play by the rule that says I need to be the jealous ex-boyfriend. I can just be an old friend. And maybe a new one, one of these days, if our paths ever cross again. Awkwardness is just going to be part of this whole experience, but we don't have to try to force it out of the way. Let the awkwardness come and go as it pleases, and it'll probably depart sooner rather than later.

I was so worried about never finding another soul that fit quite as nicely as yours, but then I did, in the most unexpected of places. And now I feel the same way about him. I can only assume that the same thing may very well happen again. But I am still young, and patience is a thing that is relegated to certain scattered aspects of my life. The pressure is on to settle down and start having babies, as every day I see new notifications about who is engaged, married, or pregnant. I see their wedding pictures. They're looking into each other's eyes like the world could be burning down around them and they wouldn't care. The power of the camera to capture the aura of two souls wrapped around each other--two spirits blending together and radiating love--is something I have always respected. Their pictures more than anything make me feel exactly what it is that I do not have in my life. And then the pain becomes very real.

I do wonder if I will ever feel such an intense love again. I wonder if I will ever be able to look into another person's eyes and truly believe that I'll be doing the exact same thing thirty or forty or fifty years down the road. I wonder if someone will ever see past the broken parts of me or maybe even love them just as much. I wonder if the person I may find will be able to take me at my worst, which is something that no one else has been able to do. And I wonder if it will be my fault if they can't.

I'm scared of losing things. I'm very scared about life right now because I may be at a point of no return, if such a thing exists. I'm still scared of making the wrong choice, even though I know that there isn't one. I may have made the wrong choice a few years ago when I decided to pass on medical school, but it was something that I had to do, and the only reason I would even argue that it could have been wrong is based on information I obtained after the fact. I was going to say something about having learned some very important things in the past two years, but that is actually just as meaningless. I am here now. It is so easy to forget that this is my present experience. That it matters too. That I need to make it matter by continuing to do things that matter. I may not be where I want to be, but I do have at least some ability to make this more like the place in my life I DO want to be.

Where am I? I am in my old bedroom, but it is not the same. I changed it shortly after moving back home. I repainted the walls, removed the old posters, eliminated boxes and boxes of useless junk and filed the rest of it away under "memories". It looks very modern, organized. Everything matches in here, as opposed to the chaotic assortment of patterns and colors I amassed between moving into this room for the first time and moving away for college. I still do not feel like there is enough of me in this room to make it more than a comfortably decorated room in which I am staying. I'm a guest in many ways. I'm trying to make this place feel like it belongs to me, but it does not. I am in my parent's house, not mine. Nothing can change this back to what it used to be. And I'm not just talking about the room.

My favorite holiday was his favorite holiday too. I watched him get excited about decorating the house and scaring away little children. It looked spectacular, and I remember getting off work and trudging through the cold and the light misty rain after getting off the bus just to make it back in time to see the last of the trick-or-treaters heading home. I remember playing with the puppy in the yard and watching her grow enough to be able to climb the stairs without being terrified. When I went back to get my things last month, she was even bigger and now more fearless. And when he hugged me goodbye, I didn't want to let go. I never want to let go, and that's my problem. I could keep going further and further back into the past, getting caught in memories of getting caught in moments with people who aren't just blips on the radar. I'm so scared that I have lost the ability to feel the extremes of felicity, perhaps because of my frequent mental excursions into the past.

It may not seem like I'm ready to deal with my life yet, but I feel that I am getting closer. And it all started by taking the risk of going over someone's house a few weeks ago. I get more confident each time, yet I am still fearful of making mistakes. I am probably going to be okay. I might even be more than okay, but right now, I've got a space heater, a brand new computer, fifteen pounds of muscle I didn't have 6 months ago, and football drinking buddies. I'd say that constitutes a little bit more than being okay.


I might actually have friends, and that is scary. Having friends makes it that much harder to leave. I know from experience.