Along my Asperger’s journey so far, I’ve come across two opposing types of Aspies: those who get embarrassed easily, and those who don’t.
I wish I fell into the latter group, but alas, I’ve been cursed with the former. I’ve experienced some sort of embarrassment for much of my life. It’s not a foreign concept to me.
When I was a kid, it was usually when the teacher scolded me for doing something other than what I was supposed to be doing. It was terrifying. It pointed the spotlight directly at me.
No one forgot.
No one let up.
No one moved on.
I was scarred.
Fast-forward 30-some-odd years…
The embarrassment remains, although the circumstances are different. Sometimes it materializes in more subtle forms, and other times it simply repeats its raw, kindergarten-me sensation. It arises from different situations now. I’m no longer the outcast at school, but maybe I’ve been shown to be wrong, and found I’ve had to rethink and reverse a previously-held opinion. I’m OK with admitting I’m wrong. I’ll readily change that opinion when presented with new information or experience. It’s not wholly pleasant, but if it’s necessary, it’s necessary; facts are facts. I’m used to it.
Or maybe I’m embarrassed when I’m the last to “get” a joke, or I otherwise misinterpret something someone says. My hearing loss is another source of misunderstanding, since it warps and twists sound, especially the part of the sound-spectrum that includes spoken human voice. When I mis-hear a question, I’m likely to give an answer that doesn’t make sense. This is a daily hurdle.
Or maybe a friend or family member accidentally blurts out something I was hoping they’d keep to themselves. Or maybe I didn’t know they knew something private, and I suddenly realize that they indeed do know about it.
I blush easily. My face gets red (I know this because my cheeks suddenly–and quite involuntarily–feel very hot), and my mom often points out oh-so-helpfully “you’re blushing”, which only makes it worse. My face grows hotter.
But those are more mild versions of embarrassment. There are other forms, too–ones that aren’t so easily transcended. Like when I’ve forgotten to brush my teeth or straighten my hair. Or the fact that over the past year or two, I’ve put on (more than just a few) extra pounds of body weight. Or if I smell funny (which happens, due to other health issues I’m working on). I can’t accept those so easily.
I wish I had some magic solution that would solve everything, but I don’t. All I can do is let it roll off as best I can, taking solace in–and using to my advantage–the fact that the average human attention span is shorter than ever these days, less than that of a fruit fly (it’s been documented in research, apparently). Silver Lining Moment. 🙂
Maybe one day, I’ll morph into one of those people who doesn’t get so easily embarrassed and truly lets things roll off to the point where I don’t agonize over them hours-to-days after they’ve happened (especially since it’s likely that everyone else will have forgotten about it long before that anyway). 🙂