The question at this juncture is, what now? Where does what I now know and understand actually leave me?
I guess I’m still not sure. I feel so found that it equates with being very lost in a profoundly deep sort of loss that I didn’t even know existed. This loss, that I feel now, is, I think, so close, to what I wish I could break through emotionally but what I truly know I can’t. I know this now because you don’t dig as deeply into your existence, past, patterns, and self, as I have to come up with this empty handful of nothingness where you know others have emotional bonds, for no reason. It is not a lack of anything in me. I have achieved a functional level of mental health. It has to do with the way I am, the way I biologically and neurologically am. I guess this leaves me at the gate of self-acceptance, really, doesn’t it?
What will it mean when I walk through that gate? What will that welcoming home mean for me? I’m not sure. There is a sense of peace, of calm, and of an understanding that sits encased within grief, within feelings of being “less than”, “different”, “separate from” that leaves me knowing that I have to learn to celebrate my differences or they’ll eat me up somehow. I have to learn to accept that I have Asperger’s and all that that means in my life. And, for the first time in my life, I clearly DO know what that means in my life. As I work to overcome and let go of my “poor me” feelings I try to get ready to embrace my strengths and the gifts that I have that are as much a direct result of the Asperger’s as is the loneliness that I have awoken to.
Ah, is the circle complete now then?
I do know what I have to do to relate to people now. And I do know that people can be related to by me, to some extent, in my own unique, albeit inconsistent way which is largely intellectual but hey. I also have learned that people very much often do like me. Instead of worrying about what that really means or feels like to them I am just going to accept it. I am going to, from here on out, just accept it and respect it. I no longer want to analyze it. I will, in the absence of what I can’t feel, just trust it. This gives me a reason to persevere once in a while and to step on to that planet called, socialization from calculated time to calculated time. I do understand that I can choose to be in the company of others, for short periods of time, in different ways. I know what this will be like for me, and now I know why. And knowing why does bring with it such relief. So, if I can accept this and tolerate it and put into play some of what I just learned in group therapy then I really should come out ahead, somehow.
I now have a strong sense of an increased tolerance to work with people, in terms, of having a function or role and working co-operatively on a project as opposed to sharing social time. That is very different also. It is movement from just isolating, hiding, being too scared to risk and to try. It is movement from feeling not good enough. Because no matter what my differences are, or the differences of anyone with Asperger’s or anything else, there is always value, very much value in each person, right? I don’t want to be around people that much really but I do think there is worth to tolerating what I can when I can for the sake of balance and experience. Besides, after having come this far, it makes sense to me, anyway, that I don’t have to be an island 24/7 anymore. And hey, there is such a thing as space travel too right… so…why not. Somehow, knowing what I now clearly understand about my experience in interacting with others and why that is the way it is for me, feels the way it does and doesn’t for me makes it seem more doable, more possible. I am truly sitting here as I write this feeling the acceptance sinking in, deeply, smoothly and without any resistance. It is overwhelming but it is also awesome.
The circle that is complete now is the one that I’ve been running aimlessly around in for years. The circle of trying to recover from something that isn’t even wrong with me, essentially. Because I’m wired in such a way as to have Asperger’s there is not something wrong with me really. There is a lot else (aside from this social area etc of life) that is very right with me. Wow, that brings up grief. That realization alone has taught me more than I ever thought I could know and hold in one moment.
I know who I am. I have healed much. I am home, now. Yes, this is home. And the difference in where I found my home, inside of myself, and where I thought I would find my authentic self is quite an experience. I can stop searching endlessly for what I thought was missing. Now, I understand.
I now clearly know too that I need to assert myself and my needs and speak my truth respectfully while just not reacting to that which can be considered a trigger and or which is still very difficult to deal with. I can just let it go. Surrender it and leave it with the sender. I don’t have to take it in and twist myself into an overly-analytical pretzel. This will help me stay away from the moodiness that and indecisiveness that can lead to my getting so frustrated I get too angry.
I continue to process the group experience. I continue to work at further self-acceptance. I continue to grieve. I continue to know a profoundly-painful loneliness that is both a blessing and a burden. Writing is a major “social” thing for me. Writing gives me pleasure. Writing is my purpose. It seems also that it is a compensatory gift from the universe. So, here I am writing it all out, putting it out here for others to read in the hopes that this both validates it all for me and perhaps sheds a bit of light on it for others.
At this juncture of my journey I’m grateful for my ability to raise a little hell and for the gift of defiance because I have risked and I have let the chips fall where they may. In letting the chips fall where they may, I must say, initially I did not appreciate where they landed. Regardless, though, I do trust that those chips (that fell on Tuesday November 20th) fell the way that they did – landed where they did (my being asked to leave group therapy) for a purpose greater than I could have ever realized or understood in those moments. For a purpose that is in process of out-living any associated shame, disappointment or what has felt so strongly like the sting of failure.
I have challenged the wind. I have seen how hard it can blow. I have stood up to what that feels like for me (and the absence of that producing any feeling for me.) I will now continue to challenge the wind. I will spend the rest of my life standing up to what that feels like and what that doesn’t feel like. I will continue to process that. I will accept myself, just live, just do and just be and I will journey on…
© Ms. A.J. Mahari 2001