My intentions are pure. My thoughts are in the right place. I try to do everything right. But somehow, I walk this fine line between being a total pushover and a complete dick. Sometimes I feel as though I can never quite strike the right balance. It’s like yin and yang, and there doesn’t seem to be an in-between.
It’s not too often that this feeling rears its dreaded head, but when it does…
On the “yin” side, sometimes, people say I’m too sensitive.
“It’s a joke!” they say (as if it was obvious, right?)
“Lighten up!” (which always makes me feel like a grinch)
“Don’t worry about it.” (This one makes me feel like I’m paranoid.)
“Let it go.” (This one makes me feel as though I’m emotionally constipated.)
Or maybe my extra-sensitivity feels like more of a psychological assault, sometimes by someone, other times by something, and it’s too caustic or potent for me. I feel like a big softie who just needs to pull up my big-girl pants and move on. But usually, it’s not that easy.
Or maybe I react strongly to images that stick in my head and linger, for hours, days, years… These images range from the mildly uncomfortable to the emotionally torturous.
Or I might recoil intensely at some of my surroundings, such as lights that are too bright, sounds that are too loud, pain that is too intense, clothes that are too scratchy, food that is too dry or too mushy, or smells that are too strong.
And yet, on the other hand (the “yang” side)…
….sometimes people say I’m insensitive.
“Ummm, that was rude.” (Wait–what? I wasn’t trying to be.)
“You need to be more diplomatic.” (Huh? Now who’s “oversensitive”??)
“Be nice.” (I’m not being mean. I’m just being honest.)
“Don’t judge.” (I wasn’t.)
“Don’t generalize.” (I realize there are exceptions to the rule, but most of the time, generalizations are semi-earned.)
Yep, it seems like I can’t win. Sometimes I’m the one getting smacked. Sometimes I’m the one doing the (accidental) smacking.
Life for me is like walking through a mine field; I never know if my next step is going to blow up in my face. I don’t know if that next step will be (figuratively) my last. As in, the last straw that breaks my heart. Or the last straw that breaks someone else’s.
I look around at the rest of the world; nobody else seems to have this problem. Or maybe they do, but they go on with their daily lives without giving it a second thought. Who am I to say; how am I to know? As an Aspie, I’m supposed to “lack empathy”, remember? 😉
But anyway, getting back to my confusion… Is the ability to handle the world (and for others to handle each other) something that’s inborn or instinctual? Apparently my brain didn’t get that virtual memo; it has no clue.
Do other people struggle with this? I’m fairly certain that most of my fellow peeps on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum do, at least occasionally. What about the allistic (non-autistic) people? Is the concept of sensitivity a thorn in their sides, too? Do they walk the same mine-field? Do they experience the same missteps? Do these mishaps ever blow up on them, too? I never hear them talk about it, so either it doesn’t happen much to them, or they’re not bothered by it.
Maybe the very fact that I do contemplate it and I am somewhat bothered by it means that I’m not insensitive after all (it doesn’t rule out being too sensitive, though; in fact, it probably cements it)…
…now if I could just convince the rest of the world…
Maybe one day I’ll get the balance right. For now, I’ll simply do the best I can and the rest of the world will just have to deal with me. 🙂
Watch out for those mines ❤