Would-be “lyrics” to existing songs aside, I have come to realize that I see much more of my life through a lyrical filter than I had allowed myself to recognize. That is to say that since I realized that I’m on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum, and found the descriptions of autistic traits and blogs by other autistic people, I have re-allowed myself to re-recognize that I do view life through my own semi-animated lens after all. Of course, this was stifled fairly early on by remarks such as “cut the dramatics” and other toxic comments.
I’m done with that. I’m handcuffing it; it’s not the boss of me.
There will be a re-learning process for sure, and I believe that my re-entry into my natural thought-stream will ebb and flow, but eventually I’ll arrive, being true to myself, unbridled, once again.
Take something as mundane as cleaning, for instance. Painful and difficult childhood memories put the kibosh on any motivation to clean. Even long after childhood (I’m now 40 as of yesterday), and well-distanced from my father and his use of my messy bedroom as his scapegoating target, the very idea of cleaning became the stuff of meltdowns. It was overwhelming.
It still is overwhelming, but it simply has to be done, and I’ve had to admit to myself just how much better I feel after I’ve accomplished a job well done.
Viewing the video camera through my eyes…
I walk into the bedroom that, for various reasons, I haven’t slept in in at least three years. There’s not a spare square inch to be seen of the furniture surfaces, as they’ve been a dumping ground of sorts for anything and everything one can imagine: receipts, loose change, clothes, and more. Renaissance Festival costumes worn four years ago. Little boxes holding amulets of which I no longer remember the origin or significance. And so on.
Every object stares back at me, stubbornly refusing to budge until I make the effort. I must make all the effort, for inanimate objects simply have no initiative. They only have inertia; what is in motion tends to stay in motion, and what is resting tends to stay at rest. And these objects are definitely at rest. Ugh.
To make matters worse, everything was covered in a film of gray, the graveyard of dust, which in itself includes all sorts of frightening ingredients. Assuredly it was a major culprit behind the sneezing attacks and the reliance upon antihistamines, diphenhydramine being the last one standing that actually works for me, and in recent months I’ve had to take a double dose as opposed to the single dose that had always done the trick before.
I know that this dust in this room is not the only culprit, but it sure doesn’t help matters. At times, it may even be the last straw, the deciding factor between a histamine attack or a clear-sinus day.
I didn’t have a plan for how to accomplish this. I didn’t even have a trusty to-do list. I hadn’t broken it down into baby steps, nor had I devised any kind of system.
I just numbly walked into the room and dove into the mess.
I started with the closest, most obviously dust-caked surface. My partner and I removed everything from the surface of the tall, narrow dresser, and I came through with a damp paper towel and came at the dust from an oblique angle, in a motion that was equal parts “trap” and “wipe”.
And predictably, my sinuses flared, itchy, irritated, and annoyed. And stubbornly, I sneezed my ass off and worked through it, in spite of it, the frightening miscellany becoming a thing of the past with each meticulous pass. And true to my perfectionistic form, there were many passes–however many it took to make the wood shine warmly again. Because wood is alive, you know; it appreciates attention and it glows when cared for.
The dust can go to hell, but I only had the power to send it into the trash bin. Which I did, while my sense of reclaimed empowerment growing with each trip.
There’s more to it, and it only gets more poetic from here, but you probably get the idea.
I don’t know whether or not nonautistic people think this way. I’m not even sure that any other autistic people think this way.
But now, I know I do. And I’m re-acknowledging that. And I think that my Asperger’s/autistic orientation plays a pivotal role in the semi-vivid thought-forms that materialize during such everyday chores are, at least in part. And I’m no longer self-conscious about the richness with which I ponder the most ordinary of tasks and situations.
I feel a sense of accomplishment, both in terms of the cleaning and of my recognition of the unique places to which my brain travels as I do it. I feel a little silly–I mean, everyone cleans, and the admonishment of “dramatics” still echo faintly, reverberating off the boundaries of my brain. (This is cleaning, for god’s sake.)
But as ridiculous as it may seem, it’s a baby step, and it’s mine to take, mine to claim.
Today, our bedroom; tomorrow, our world. 🙂
(Image Credit: Mr Pappas Teach)