Probably just me, or all of us really.
After writing yesterday’s post, and then reading up on Asperger’s syndrome, I became convinced that the guy I was seeing had it. All the signs were there: he didn’t understand subtle clues, facial expressions, or innuendo, in this or that situation. I remember at one point interpreting my words for him into more direct language, and him being like, Okay cool, yeah, I feel that way too. It was one of those situations that seemed obvious to me. He often used formal language, even in texts, which just seemed quirky and cute at the time. Once, I’d told him I was worried about my sister, because my mom’s death hit her harder than my other sister and me, and he paused and said, “I’m sure you love your sister…” Just a bizarre thing to say. Of course I love her. Let’s see… what else? He’s detached, he doesn’t touch people much, and he often asked me, “What would you like for me to do?” And he’d say, “I’ll do whatever. Just tell me when to be there and I will.” He was not kidding when he told me in the beginning he really does not know what to do. It makes me feel sorry for him. If he really has that, what a lonely and confusing life.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to adjust my communication style and start seeing him again. That’s what I’d have tried to do with my ex, who had bipolar disorder. Read every book on the subject and learn how to make life more comfortable for him, to make our relationship better. And I just cannot do that again. As cold as it sounds, I can no longer morph myself into being the person I think others want me to be, and instead I need to look for someone who jibes with me and who I am. I’ve lived my life for too long trying to change who I am just to feel accepted, instead of being who I am and letting others accept that. I don’t mean to be uncompromising, just not so easily adaptable.
On a positive note, this may help me better communicate with my father. Everyone in my family has been convinced he has Asperger’s for years, and I rejected that notion, insisting he’s simply an active alcoholic with self-centered, anti-social behavior. After reading these articles, I can see exactly where they’re coming from. He absolutely does not get sarcasm or innuendos. He makes occasional eye contact, probably because he’s learned that’s what you do when you talk to people. He often refers to people in third person, and everyone has a nickname. He likes everything to be direct science, and he doesn’t believe in God, yet he says it’s okay to go to church because “it makes you feel better.” He could not explain it in any other words than that to me. I really think he has spent his entire life guessing at what people wanted. My mom had said that they went into marriage counseling before their divorce, and the therapist said he had the emotional maturity of a 13-year-old. That was in the 80s, before anyone knew about Asperger’s. That must’ve been such a frustrating situation for him to be in, to be so misunderstood. And it must’ve felt so impossible to be married to him. And I could’ve been asking him for money for years and I bet he’d have given it to me, at least sometimes. Not without complaining that I was freeloader and criticizing me to my sisters and to my face, but still. Just kidding. That would’ve sucked for me (and for him), and I had too much pride to do that. Not that pride is a good thing—I could’ve at least asked for money more often. But it doesn’t matter now.
In ten days I’ll see my father, which is the same day a year ago my mom died. It also happens to be the day of the eclipse. I’ll try this new direct way of communicating, without hinting at anything, without speaking in metaphor, without sarcasm. Which really, should not be a thing anyway. Wouldn’t it be nice if we always said what we meant?
I want to write more, like how, even though I don’t want to see Jay again in any way, I want to find out if he has Asperger’s, because people fascinate me, and I feel like a sleuth, figuring out what disorders they have. My sister says everyone has something because this world is hard to live in, and I think maybe that’s true. If we don’t all have something, I wonder if soon we all will. I read that 1 in 45 children have some form of autism now, which makes me wonder if we’ll have a society of robotic-like people one day in the future. Then this woman I met at a meeting came into the store where I work yesterday, and gave off some serious Single White Female vibes, and I started getting paranoid that she has borderline personality disorder or some kind of stalker-like tendencies, due to that and some other things she said that I’ll probably write about in a future post. All I know is that either I’m attracting people with mental disorders, I have a mental disorder myself, or everyone is just crazy and this kind of thing is inevitable, or I’m just paranoid. To be continued.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite scenes from Orange Is the New Black, which is Crazy Eyes’s definition of love. My sponsor says everyone is crazy, you just have to find the person who has your brand of crazy. The one who’s crazy complements yours.