Saturday, February 4, 2012

Finding Me

I found this quote this morning as I plan out my day:

"All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naïve. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself." ~Ralph Ellison, "Battle Royal"

It seems to be apt to how I feel today.  How I feel often, as a matter of fact.  I've been trying to sort through so many things, a bad childhood, a unstable life, me, who I am, who I thought I was, or who I thought I should be...Now I am just trying to feel my way through life just being me, but then I'm not sure who that is or who it should be, or I want it to be.  

I think I know who I am.  I mean, my personality is pretty static.  My likes and dislikes don't change much.  I seem to be constantly trying to improve on my personality, though. Like, I try to figure out what is 'right' or more desirable by the world's standards, and I set out to be that characteristic.  I tweak, and change and try to be more 'normal' by other's standards.  What I found out was that not only was I miserable this way, but I also attracted people that would take advantage of my low self esteem.  I tended to attract people who wanted others that would mirror what they wanted.  I was good for that.  Gullible, and wanting to be someone, and to please anyone.  This set me up for many manipulative friendships.  (I'd say relationships, but guys always seemed to be more attached to me than the other way around.) I didn't care much for romance, but companionship, a place to feel cared for unconditionally, yes.  That I needed, and wanted. 

One of the characteristics that I find seem to cause issues that are a part of me personality is that I say what I think.  Stupidity and others not using their own brains gets me worked up. ( See this post for more info on that) I feel I have to point out their flaws in logic.  This is not from my vantage point always a friendly, likable trait.  It's one I've been working on fixing, but to no avail.  I have gained some valuable insight on having better manners while pointing out other's fallacies, as well as working on seeing their POV, so as I can discern why they might feel differently than I do about something, or why they choose to believe something that is so illogical.   Take for example, the picture of a frail child in a hospital bed hooked up to tubes that has been circulating Facebook.  The premise behind it is that if the picture gets 100 likes he gets a heart transplant.  While that would be grand, it's fucking idiotic.  As if children's hospitals biggest criteria to such serious transplants revolves around something to arbitrary as FB likes.  What if it only gets 89 likes? Is the hospital gonna be like 'Sorry kid.  No new heart for you. People on FB didn't care enough to save your life via thumbs up clicks. Guess you're gonna die.'   When I saw this, my head almost exploded.  I know that I should keep my pessimism to myself, but good lord... I just can't.   I commented, very matter of factly and calmly on the post in question that it didn't make sense.  Then, I worried endlessly (and still am to be honest) that I upset my great aunt.  My anxiety over if I was over the line in my commenting was for a reason.  This reason was, I value truth.  I value people thinking for themselves.  I value hard work that achieves a goal, not some feel good click or prayer that achieves nothing but relieves one's own conscience. When my emotions start screaming at me, I know it is because I am not living by my values.  I don't value keeping peace at any cost.  Nope.  I don't care about that as much as I care about fairness and truth.  I need to accept that aspect of myself, instead of trying to be someone I'm clearly not.

I can be me, or I can spend my life miserably trying to chase after a facade that I think is a better version of me.  Those are my choices.  There's  no way to change who I am, and really no need to.  The path to dissatisfaction, and unhappiness seems to be paved with low self confidence and a general dislike of self.  What I want for my life, for all autistic people (and non-autistics if I'm honest) is to be able to embrace life for what we are, not live in constant battles due to chasing what we have been told we 'should' be. If I want to be happy, if I want to be comfortable, if I want to be content, then I have to learn to like me, and value the traits I possess. 


  1. This is a great post. Self acceptance is the big thing - it's hard for aspies but the pleasing thing about their increasingly vocal presence in the world is that they are starting to realise they are far from alone. That has to help even if only a little bit.

    Oh my ... you know what that Facebook story reminds me of? The kid who needed bottlecaps sent to him so he could have treatment for cancer. What were they going to pay the hospital in bottlecaps or something?

    In the old days, people threw chain letters in the bin (well, I did). Nowadays, they turn up daily like viruses because people either don't read them properly or their credulity switch malfunctions or something. You get this piece of flowery schmaltz in your inbox that tells you you're a great friend but if you don't forward it to five people immediately, terrible things will happen to you and you will have to hand over your firstborn. Or something like that.

    1. Thanks. You know, first it started with chain letters, then it moved to FWD emails and now it's 'sharing' via social media. People have different reasons to keep sharing messages that are so out there. We want to feel we contribute to a greater good, but we don't always seem to want to actually put in effort, hence the quick FWD, share, or promise to pray. I guess, it's like believing in simple things like we did as children, like ghost stories, or the Easter Bunny. We want to believe in feel good stories. The politically charged ones that my husband and I get from our granpas is another story. Those are awful and I delete them without reading.

  2. I read a lot of this post aloud to my fiancee.
    We've been arguing a lot lately (end of the school holidays and full-time work etc).
    My partner has Aspbergers and even though I don't, we could both relate to most of what youve written.
    Everything; being yourself, standards and facebook.
    Thank you for putting yourself out there like that, you've made my day brighter.

    oxox Hannah

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting. I'm glad that it was something you and your partner could relate to. My husband and I have been having a hard time lately as well. So many reasons, but the main one for me is that I am not authentic to my own self. My self esteem is low, and with that comes a lot of unnecessary negativity. If we can feel secure in our own selves, life will be infinitely easier. Thanks again for stopping by!

  3. I love reading your blog. I can always relate to what you are talking about & found myself understanding my own self better. I think you for that.. You are very honest and real.

  4. Oh, I completely relate to the stuff about striving for an idea of what we feel others think we should be, and about not actually being completely sure who I am, even though I'm trying to live according to who I am.

    (Also, that fb/email stuff annoys me, too.)

    It's interesting what you say about valuing truth over keeping peace. I'm definitely too sensitive myself and too empathetic to generally be brave enough to point out flaws in logic like that. I know if someone pointed out flaws in logic to me I would probably take it too much to heart as a criticism. I therefore writhe in empathy at the thought of me making others feel as mortified as I would (even though I know many people probably aren't as ridiculously over-sensitive as I am). So, I suppose I value looking after people's feelings over truth - in most circumstance, anyway (not when it's really important, then I try to tell the truth while cushioning their feelings against hurt). It's interesting to see the differences in values.

    I can only assume that your aunt would know you well enough to accept that comment. However, I admire the way you're focusing on accepting the consequences of being true to your values, rather than acting against your values because there may be negative consequences.

    1. I fully get your whole idea of not wanting to go against the social grain and say something that might hurt other's feelings. It does seem to be a socially constructive way to act. I don't make it a practice to correct everything that I see as wrong, or nonsensical. Just some things, mostly the ones that I feel contribute to the bigger picture of moral decay, and social injustice. I don't value correcting people just to be right, in other words.

      My aunt doesn't know me well. Really, none of my family does, which offers me no special understanding or protection with my AS issues. But, that's another post for another day!

  5. I think it's hard for us Aspies to get used to using our voices. For whatever reason, we're wired to think we shouldn't use them. But, I think many Aspies have a way of cutting through social hype and seeing truth. That's a gift & it sounds like you have that gift.


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