Just like you

 

I haven’t written much about being on the Autism Spectrum.  I’ve delegated that “discovered” part of me to the background, contained here and there in hints and asides and tiny blurbs on social media. Few people in my daily life actually know much about me at all.  I let very few into my world.

One could say that I have “passed” as an N.T. or Neurotypical; those who are deemed “normal” by society. I have been able to pass under the radar probably due to my generation and that I am female. There are many of us out there. We without an official diagnosis.  We that have practiced being just like we thought everyone expected us to be.

It’s not easy and I have fallen short. I have wondered why I have tried so hard to fit in. It is lonely enough being one’s unique and misunderstood self but another degree of lonely trying to be someone you are not.

I have been blogging for a few years and I have preached about loving yourself and being yourself and all the beautiful magic in that. I have dispensed this sugary drink without sipping it myself. I am guilty of being something I hate, which is a hypocrite.

I have hidden to the world, even my own Mother that I am on the Autism Spectrum.

I keep my tiny victories to myself; hoarding them to savor for rainy days.  I assume the world at large will not understand me. I hold a demeanor of reserve, a protective coating I have strengthened and shined it and relied upon it most of my life. It keeps the world out. It keeps me safe but in that safety, I have lost so much.

And time goes by and so I really haven’t done all these incredible things with my life. It seems that the basics have been difficult, if not almost impossible enough.

I am starting to see that I may not have all the answers and that I may need help and that often the best way to help oneself is to help others.

Maybe there truly can be a reason why I am the way I am. For the most part it is a gift; this way I experience life, from the smallest of things I experience pure joy and alternatively I can feel a deep sorrow. I hear a delicate song in the wind but the loud noises of the world make me feel pain.

I sometimes feel like a butterfly fluttering about a beautiful field of flowers, subject to the elements that tatters my wings, but yet I keep flying. In that tiny victory I have found I am stronger and more resilient than I thought I could be. Perhaps I am here with my gift for words to tell other butterflies that you too are stronger than you think you are, and yes you can because I am doing it now. Watch me fly and watch us fly together.

I am taking advantage of some rare free time that has blown my way by the mysterious winds of fate. I have been finding caches of goodness scattered here and there. It seems the bank of karma has seen it fit to shower a little sunshine on me.
I am resting and revitalizing and spending precious time with my loved ones, doing fun things
and doing nothing at all (which is underrated in my opinion)
It is too easy to get caught up in he day to day…
I am grateful to have this time to think, to write and to plan for the future.

~nlm

Related and not so related articles

 

The costs of camouflaging autism   

(Spectrumnews.org)

Why It’s Hard To Keep A Job When You Have Asperger’s  

(psychcentral.com)

Someone Saved My Life Tonight – Elton John   

(Youtube.com)

 

Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
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A Heartfelt THANK YOU!

festive christmas

Christmas is almost upon us and I feel this is the perfect opportunity to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has liked my work, especially those of you who have graced my blog with your intelligent comments. Your feedback has been invaluable to me.

I am blessed to have such an amazing array of regular visitors from all over the world. I have learned so much from your wisdom and thoughtfulness. You have welcomed me with open arms and open minds and I am so fortunate to know you.

When I started this blog back in August of 2011 I was desperate and alone; friendless and misunderstood, you befriended and understood me. I have learned I can be myself here. That is very precious to me as I am a sensitive soul who has hidden this aspect of myself for as long as I can remember.

I had just learned of my Asperger’s and that set the tumblers in motion that has brought me here today: pouring my soul out in words that I wouldn’t dare to say to myself or even acknowledge, let alone write down for the whole world to see.

Because I hid from the world, alone in the shadows, afraid of everything…even people. Yes, I admit it here and now to you that most of my entire life I have been afraid of people; afraid to show my strange self to anyone, not even those closest to me.

I spent a good many years in an alcoholic daze “brave-facing” the world with a drunken defiant smile all the while hiding myself behind a hard steel wall of my own creation. It wasn’t until I discovered my Asperger’s that it finally dawned that I didn’t have to be alone anymore. This started my writing, first on a small blog on an Asperger’s website then a few months later in this blog. I choose the name “My Life in Color” because at the time I thought that I would write solely about my life on the spectrum to give others a chance to perhaps understand someone like me because I wanted/needed desperately to be understood.  I was ashamed of this and embarrassed that I didn’t have any real friends just drinking buddies who never knew me because I never let them. I never let anyone know me, even my own family.

It was the fear I hid behind: The fear of rejection, of ridicule, of others knowing what was really going on inside of me; how different I was. I hardly ever spoke to anyone.  I just kept writing in my little notebooks and reading and learning. Words were my friends, you see and I knew somewhere deep down in my buried heart that words would someday save me–if I would only have to courage to let those words see the light of day.

But I lacked the confidence, until only recently I had no confidence at all or courage or anything of merit.  I just existed and waited for what…I didn’t know, but I do know now. I waited for this; for a chance to be myself: hidden behind a facade of a fake name and the belief that no one would be reading my stuff anyway. The first month or so no one did, not many anyway, but one by one you came and you told me good things about me. You told me I was a good writer. You encouraged me.  You understood me and you didn’t laugh at me or make me feel small. I don’t know why, but you kept coming and reading and commenting. Some of you for everything I wrote–everything.  You didn’t mind that it sometimes takes me many days to return your comments. You didn’t mind if I didn’t make it to your sites all the time.  You just kept returning and as the months came and went some of you called me friend and then after a while I had to courage to call you friend because I’ve learned about friendship from you and this is spilling out into my offline life. I have the courage now; the courage to look others in the eye and smile and say “I’m really glad to see you” and really mean it. This is because of you my friends.  You saw something in me that I could never see before and I cannot truly convey how much I appreciate this.

This is like magic to me and now because of you and your kindness and acceptance of me I can finally see beyond myself to you and to others.  I have found that I am not so different after all and there are many people in the world who too are alone, even in a crowd as I was. There are a great many people who just want to be understood and to hear someone say ” I care and you matter”

It means so much to me when you say I’ve brightened your day or made you think or smile or even laugh. I didn’t know I could be funny. I didn’t know I could be anything or anyone at all.

You my friends have given me this gift and what a precious one it is, more valuable than gold and it is a gift that keeps on giving because if there is anything I do in this life it will be paying this gift back to anyone and everyone that needs it….and there are so many and I think really, sometimes we all do.

This desire goes beyond my dream to become a writer someday, this silly pipe dream to become the next J.K Rowling. That is nothing. Money is nothing. Notoriety is nothing. I am not alone anymore and that is something and that is because of you!

You have saved me and that is why I am thanking you.

nancy with caffeine another copy

Thank you my friends and HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Nancy

Mario wishes you a happy hoilday too!
Mario wishes you a happy holiday too!

Strawberryindigo: The beginning

Out of the Shadows part two.

When I started this blog back in August of last year I had no idea what a rich community of people I would be meeting and getting to know through blogs and communications. I have found myself looking forward to chatting it up with some of my newly found blog buddies. Many of you have shared of yourself. Some of you quite a lot. I have found your stories to be funny and creative, inspiring and insightful, and sometimes quite sad but always hopeful. I have seen myself in some of your words and I have been bettered by them.

I have also been inspired by you all to share something of myself.

What follows is a post I did way back last September. At the time I think I really needed to write it but I wasn’t ready to share with anyone. Soon after I posted, I buried this deep in a sea of bad navigation and a flurry of others. I don’t think anyone saw it.  At the time I was relieved. Now I have reconsidered.

Those who know me by my blog alias; Strawberryindigo, may be surprised by the following post and then again maybe not, but for those who know me by Nancy, the following may explain much……

Out of the shadows

Out of the shadows

Out of the shadows

Three years ago this October I learned something about myself that profoundly changed my life.  It came as a complete surprise, although looking back now I suppose it shouldn’t have.

I received a call from my daughters teacher, she told me that she’d like to set up a meeting with the school psychologist to evaluate my daughter for Asperger Syndrome.  I had heard of it before but I never associated my daughter with anything like that.  Sure, she’s quirky and sensitive and a bit shy and uncoordinated.  She got those traits from me and I don’t have Asperger’s…..?

A question was planted in my brain.   If I am interested in something I will learn everything I can about it, as fast as I can.  I have been accused of doing something until I exhaust it to death.  This new bit of information had me reading up a storm, the more I read the more it became obvious. My daughter was definitely going to be diagnosed with Asperger’s, I knew that for sure because by then I knew we both are soaking in it.

This left me with mixed feelings, as a mother, it’s hard to hear  someone tell you that your child isn’t perfect and it’s doubly hard on my heart to know that my daughter now knew that the school thought something was wrong with her.

The other part of me, the one that belongs solely to me was elated with relief and joy.  I cannot describe fully how I felt.   All my life I had lived in the shadows, trying to blend in with the crowd; into the background.  I couldn’t let anyone know my secret.  That I was different  from everyone.  So misunderstood.  Everyone seemed to know what to say, how to act, what to do.  I never knew what to say to anyone.

As child I liked to pretend that in reality I was an alien and that “my people” would be returning for me soon. I am blessed with a rich imagination and that helped somewhat but no matter where I went,  I was alone, even in a room full of people, I was alone.   The more people, the more isolated I felt.

I carried this around for many years.  It effected my entire life.  I was crippled inside, I believed my imperfections were weakness and entirely my fault.   I hated myself and many times I wanted to die.  I called myself “lame” and I believed it.  I got into drugs and alcohol, my life hit a downward spiral.  This continued for years….

Fate lent me a hand in giving me my two wonderful children.  They literally saved my life.  I had a reason to live, they needed me and they needed me to be strong for them.  I began the uphill climb.

I kept pushing myself out of my comfort zone, past my boundaries.  It hurts to grow and sometimes I would fall.  But I always got back up. Slowly and surely I became more.  It wasn’t enough though.  No matter how normal I looked on the outside. No matter how together I looked, I was still as alone as ever.

As silly as this sounds; a part of me was afraid that they’d say she wasn’t Aspergers after all, but they confirmed our suspicions.  My daughter was officially diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and  began to receive help.

 This last July I stumbled upon a website.  It is a forum for people with Aspergers to communicate with others who understand.

That is where Strawberryindigo was born.

I obsessed myself with that website and the other people there.  It was tonic for the soul to know others, many others felt the same or similar to me.  I finally felt understood by  those  who were misunderstood themselves. And I found that  sort can be the most understanding and accepting of all. I feel that people on the spectrum have unique talents and abilities.  I believe we Aspies are a special breed with a lot to share with the world, we just need a few of us to speak up for the rest.

This peer therapy was truly was shot in the arm.  My family started to notice a change happening in me.  I became happier, almost cheerful.  I poured out my heart to these strangers.  The more I did this the better I felt.  I began to use the blog feature there.  It’s very simple compared to this one but it is there I learned my salvation…

..Writing. I found that it brings out the best in me.  All my life I have kept all this in, I have kept myself hidden in the shadows.  My dream has always been to be a writer but I had this fear of others reading what I wrote and judging for it and maybe even hating me.  I have always felt that I had something to say but I’ve been afraid of saying it.  I’ve been afraid of everything!

Now, Here I am. I little shaken but intact and improving and getting stronger everyday.  I owe it to that website and those people.  I really believe that peer therapy works.  I also believe in the cause to help others with Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders such as Asperger Syndrome.

Thanks for listening—Strawberryindigo.