What I’ve Come to Understand

After years of reading articles on the traits of women with Asperger’s, I’ve come to understand one specific thing.  We like to use our imagination.  How often, as a child, I would play on my own, shunning the invitations of classmates so I could continue reveling in my make-believe world, until they no longer came around to ask me to join in their fun.

I remember clearly third-grade recess.  My school had an inviting creek that ran along the back of the playground, filled with crayfish and other fun little creatures that the boys enjoyed tossing up the slide as the girls would be coming down, and the boys would flush with the thrill of hearing our terrified shrieks.  I loved wandering around the area beside the creek that swirled with assorted weeds that I pretended was my food, and no, I never really ate the weeds, and yet in my mind that place was my home and I was mistress of my domain, or at least until the bell rang to return to the classroom.

Over the years, I’d wander the playgrounds scrounging for colorful rocks, or I’d sit down on the concrete sidewalk and write poetry while my classmates chased each other around the asphalt playground, or jumping rope or the ever-popular for the seventies, four-square.  Some would laugh at me because I wouldn’t join in.  I didn’t enjoy being the odd-one out, but to me the ‘work’ I was doing was so much more important than bouncing a red, rubber ball around chalk-lined boxes.

Even in my own home, my imagination took hold as a child.  I had a large stuffed lion that, okay don’t laugh, was my ‘Clyde’ to my ‘Bonnie’.  Yes, I was enthralled with the movie, and the book which I read, Bonnie and Clyde.  Oh my young heart thought Warren Beatty was it.  So rugged and handsome!  And Bonnie, gorgeous and oh so cool to a young me.  Later I would learn that the real Bonnie and Clyde were nothing like the on-screen ones.  Oh my precious childhood innocence shattered!  Anyway, getting back to my giant stuffed lion, which was about three feet tall, and I would lay on the side of my bed away from my bedroom’s doorway and we’d lay there quietly(okay, I did, he was a stuffed animal) as I pretended the cops were closing in on us and we had to be as silent as possible.  Yes, I was definitely a strange child.

As I grew older I would spend hours in my bedroom listening to music, mostly hard rock and heavy metal, rocking back and forth as I sat in front of my record player and speakers.  I think I’ve gone a bit deaf from sitting in front of the speakers for so long.  I’d have the music on so loud, I would have to close the door.  My mother, God bless her, would have to throw a shoe against the door to get my attention!  And let me tell you, my mother had quite an arm!  The thunk against the wood made me jump, bringing me back to reality.

And still, even at this age, my imagination is one of my closest friends.  Reading books would send me off on journeys to some interesting places.  On cruise ships, to China, to America’s South and West.  For most of my life I’ve enjoyed romances, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to read a lot my nonfiction.  I read books on religion, history, biographies, and health.

Music can draw me into another world as well.  I love listening to songs and close my eyes.  Some have brought me to tears while others can send me into a bit of a rage.  I can get so lost into the music that my husband can come up to me and I don’t even notice.  He worries about me when I do that.  My mind gets so wrapped up into what I’m listening to or reading that I’m almost in another world, I guess.

Getting back to my original thought, though, about Asperger’s and women who are on the spectrum, we have vivid imaginations that we would rather walk around in for a while rather than go to a party.  I am good staying at home with my imaginary friends in my books.  They are normally great company.  That’s why I love to write.  Words on a page that I am creating, characters and scenes that I am in charge of bringing to life, gives me great satisfaction.  Now it is my turn to give back.  I want to share the wonder and awe of the written word.  I want to lead others to places they may not normally venture to in real life, well, me either in some instances.  But I love the freedom of writing.  It brings me peace.  It brings me to the brink of madness at times, with the stories I write.  It brings tears to my eyes as I hope it brings to those who read my stories.  Sometimes it’s hard to kill off a character you have come to love.  So yes, writing can be hard at times when you need to do some revising, and knocking off a beloved character or two.  But I wouldn’t change this mystery called the imagination.  I love it.  I live for the thrill of being able to use it.  It helped me out during some of the lowest and loneliest times in my young life, and parts of my adult life as well.

So I hope you give writing a try, if you haven’t already done so.  It is liberating.  You have control, now go out and create!

Essay 7-14-2013

Been going through some old writing recently and wanted to share something I wrote back in 2013, as the title indicates.  I typed it up here mostly as is, just a few minor tweaks.  It seems a bit jumbled, but bear in mind that’s how my thoughts were during that time in my life.  Hope you enjoy.

 

Does anyone have the answers to life’s greatest mysteries?  Like:  why am I here?  Why must I die?  Why hate?  Why war?  Why do we question so much but answer so little?  It’s an enigma, isn’t it?  Life, I mean.  One giant riddle.  Who can figure it out, like some endless, eternal Rubik’s Cube?  How to solve it?  Why can’t we solve it?

The dreaded diseases, famines, hatred, jealousy, racism, pain, heartache, fears and such.  One cycle goes round and round.  Further and further away from the realm of reality.  Do you have a firm hold of it?  How is your mental state?  How is your heart?  Is it mentally, emotionally in the right place?  Do you feel compassion or have you taken up residence in apathy?  Could you not care less about children dying here or abroad?

How we respond speaks volumes of what kind of person we are.  Our personality, what makes us tick, our genetic makeup; our code of honor, or lack of it.  What sort of person are you?  Does the news bring tears to your eyes or do you coldly just change the channel?

Pain is so very real, in your life and in other’s lives.  Why do we have to go through with it?  Why must we deal with it?  Does anyone truly want to have to go through those dark days and nights?  Can’t we all just bypass it?  Is it some god-awful rite of passage, like acne and body changes?

Nights seem cold and endless, void of any encroaching light; of hope and the spirit of renewal.  Come quickly, light of day, make these demons flee.  Far from me.  I shudder at the sound, at the voices only I can hear.  Tantalizing tales of lust and seduction, greed and malice.  Oh, you must fight for what you believe in.  Don’t waver.  Don’t give up.  Never give in.  Then the game is over, the battle lost.  The spoils they go to the victor.  But who do you want the victor to be?  Yourself or the demons that haunt you?

Your every waking moment.  Life is difficult and sad.  Rise above the mediocrity and live!  Cry out to the heavens!  This is your place and this is your time.  Embrace it.  Not folly.  See with clear eyes, not with blinded ones.  Blinded ones can never see the truth.  It lies buried, dormant.  Release it and be set free.  Life is short, but it can always get better.  And life, in all it’s ugliness and frailty, still has tremendous beauty waiting to be set free.

Trying to Find Time

Why is it that sometimes life proceeds on an even keel and everything seems right in the world and at other times the struggles of life seem to suffocate and bind you from taking any further steps?

That’s the part of life I’m currently facing.  Finally found an absolutely fulfilling job, health is improving, and just enjoying life but…I’m finding myself stagnant…in my writing, catching up on my reading, and just plain old exhaustion.

I’ve got plenty of pieces to play around with, editing to work on, but I’m tired.  I don’t want to stay up late because, well my brain just can’t focus when I’m tired.  And getting up early is out of the question because I’m already using that time to work out.  I am working out the kinks though, albeit slowly, actually painfully slow….frustratingly so.

But as I’ve struggled in the past and overcame, I will do so again.  It’ll take time.  I am dedicated.  I am a writer.  Nothing can stop the ideas flowing.  Even if my fingers aren’t currently flying over a keyboard, I will be back on top.  These struggles only for a time.  I look forward to getting back into my writer’s chair.  Now just to get over a cold as well…just another temporary setback.

Until next time, my friends, thanks for reading.

TIME

I wrote this short piece a few years ago.  I haven’t edited it at all yet.  Just a pure, untouched piece of fiction.

 

 

“Time.  Sometimes it moves swiftly; other times it drags on making you painfully aware of your uneventful life.  When time vanishes in the blink of an eye and your loved one is taken away in death, what do you do?  We all crave more time.  Time for enjoying our favorite past-times; time to spend with those we love, time to make things right and for so-called do overs, to forgive and be forgiven.  But what if there was no longer any time remaining?”

He paused briefly for student inflection, before continuing.

“Life is short, sometimes shorter than what we expect; a car accident, a drowning, some horrible, terminal illness.  We turn one corner after another until we come to our inevitable end.  And then…death.”

With a capped marker, Professor Morris tapped the dry-erase board filled with various quotes from renowned philosophers; Plato, Locke, and Rousseau.

“Yes, we all desire more time.  No one wants to die before having achieved all they desired to do in their lives,” he said while performing a sweeping gesture with both arms, to encompass the students gathered in his small lecture hall.

“But what happens to those of us who throw that gift of time back in the face of a Creator?  What then?  What of suicide?”

Walking back to his podium, he rested his arms on the wooden stand before him, clasping his large hands together and intently gazing out at the students; some appeared bored, eyes seemingly glazed over, while others sat forward; enthusiastic.   Professor Morris enjoyed discovering which students were the enthusiastic ones, and who were the ones who showed up just for the class credit, sliding through the semester as best they could, not really paying attention or bothering to do the weekly readings assigned to them.  Those were the students whose parents doled out money but not affection.  That mere fact saddened the professor.  What kind of childhood did those students have to endure?  Always having whatever gifts they begged for, but never receiving the one thing every child truly craved – the love and attention from their own parents.

Professor Morris descending leisurely down the several steps leading down from the stage from which he taught.  He wanted to see their reaction to his in-your-face approach to philosophy.

“What would a perfect Creator think about those who took the best gift mortal man could ever receive, and basically hurl it back into His face with a cruel, ‘thanks, but no thanks.’?”

A few students shifted in their seats, eyes averted.  Professor Morris smiled slightly.  It was those students he loved reaching.  If a lecture made you uncomfortable, there had to be a lesson in it.  Normally those lectures were the ones you could grow from; become enlightened.    Some stared back at him curiously, electronic tablet in hand, fingers itching to take down notes, while others simply recorded much of what he spoke about only to listen later, after the parties and the sex.

A short, dark-haired girl in the third row spoke up, “Well, I’d imagine he would be plenty pissed.  I know I would be.  It’s like giving someone a gift you know they really wanted and then upon handing it to them, expecting them to flip out over it; they look at it, and literally hurl it back at you.”

Nodding, he smiled, “Very good.  And I’m sorry, you are?”

“Nadia Tommarichi.”

“Hello, Nadia.  Thank you for paying attention.  That was a great observation.”

Professor Morris walked further up the ramp and tapped a young man with sandy blond hair, who was deep in thought with another young man next to him.

“And you two?  What do you think?  Any clever observations you could enlighten us with?”

The sandy-haired young man smirk at the professor, “Sorry, dude, I wasn’t even paying attention.  Discussing with my bro here last night’s hockey game.”

“Oh, I see.  Well, my apologizes for disturbing your intense conversation.”

The other young man rolled his eyes, and the two young men scoffed.  The professor turned back down the ramp as if to return to the stage, but paused before making it all the way down.  Turning, he pointed to the young men he just had spoken to.

“But what of those people who were too ignorant to realize the great gift that had been bestowed upon them?  People who have always had their precious mommies and daddies provide for them, the dreaded ‘helicopter parents’.  Those parents who never could spot the wrongs in their little darlings.”

The professor heard a few snickers.

“What if their lives were taken from them, abruptly, because they were too stupid to realize that death came knocking?”

Some of the fifty-plus students were beginning to see the light, he could see it in the recognition in their eyes as they seemed to begin turning towards the two young men.

“Say for example, walking down a busy street while looking at their electronics, headed precariously close to the curb where out on the street, heavy traffic awaited.  And they are too vain in thinking only of their self-importance and not realizing that they were merely steps away from certain death?”

“I’d say the dumb ass better wake up and pay closer attention to what they’re doing?” another student piped up.

The class broke out in laughter, and Professor Morris chuckled too, happy that the students seemed to be catching on.

“The point still is; how do we achieve more time and what is the best way to invest in it?”

“By helping other people?” a quiet voice in the front row answered.

“Who said that?”

A hand rose slowly as Professor Morris strode over to the person.

“And you are?”

“Angela.  Angela Porter, Professor Morris.”

“I see you in class each time.  Let me start off by saying, thank you.  And yes, your answer is a great one.  Helping others.”

He turned towards the class again, gazing at the eager faces that stared back.

“Unfortunately too many people nowadays have forgotten the blessing of being good to others.  Not only are you doing something good for someone else, but you are doing something good for yourself.  Correct?”

Some nodded in agreement, while others shrugged.

“I think as a society we lost empathy for others in need,” Angela said.

“Yes, indeed.  Go on.”

“And sadly I think empathy has been replaced by apathy.”

“Exactly.”

“And there are too many people who have never known the pleasure of being a help to someone else.”

“Very astute, my dear.  Thank you for your insight.”

He smiled at Angela Porter and she returned the smile.

“If you knew today would be your last day on earth…no more do overs, or chances…what would you do?  Who would you make a call to?  Who would you want to spend the few remaining hours with?  Would you spend time alone?  Maybe have sex one more time?  Buy something expensive, realizing you wouldn’t have to worry about paying for it?  Tell me, what would you do?”

“That is difficult to wrap our minds around, Professor!  Being so young, it’s hard for any of us to imagine that!” demanded a young man towards the back, who stood up and waved his hand towards the professor.

“And why would we want to anyway?” shouted the sandy-haired young man.

“Because, young man, we all need to be reminded of our own mortality.  Consider those in those two towers on 9-11, do you think that they knew they were living on borrowed time that fateful morning when they woke up?  No.  They had plans for later that day, what they were going to do for lunch, what they were going to do later that night, or that weekend.  Maybe some were angry at their loved ones and felt silly about it and were going to apologize that night, but never got the chance to.  Depressing as hell, yes.  No one knows when they wake up in the morning that by that night they might be lying in some morgue, tag on their toe and a white sheet covering their body.  You are young, that’s true, and no one wants to discuss their own death, but you know what, you need to.  Because until you think about your own impending death, you can never really understand what it means to live.”

“How so, Professor?” asked Nadia.

“We take our lives for granted.  We say, I’ll do this another day because I have plenty of time left because I’m eighteen, or twenty-eight, or whatever age one is at.  We hurry through life telling people, ‘I’ll see you later,’ but sometimes that’s not the case.  We may not be around later.  We need to do what we must do now.  Not later, not tomorrow, next week, next month…hell, let’s be thankful for each day we are given…yes, I believe that.  But I’m in my mid-fifties.  I’ve lived more than half my life, ladies and gentlemen, and I can look back and see the stupid things I’ve done in my life, and the things I wish I had done.  Again, no do-overs, guys.  There’s only one life.  Embrace it, I’m begging you!”

He looked at the large black clock on the wall hanging over the stage, “Well, I see that our time is just about up for this session.  Don’t forget about tonight’s reading from Nietzsche.  And it’s been a real pleasure teaching you all.  I hope to God I taught you something.”

Professor Morris ambled back to his podium and began gathering papers on it.  Some students looked at the Professor and then at each other, confused.  Some shrugged, and the students filed out of the classroom until no one remained except the professor at his podium.

Sighing, he laid his head on the podium and closed his eyes for a minute.  Lifting his head back up, he withdrew a sheet of paper he had folded in his pocket.  Carefully unfolding it and smoothing it out on the podium, he read the startling words again, “Cancer…Malignant.”

Ideas Come Easy

First, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays since I’m unaware of what particular one you ascribe to.  I do sincerely hope that you have a wonderful time with friends and family, peace and good cheer with whomever you hang out with during this time of year.  Here in Northern Illinois it is unseasonably warm and my husband and I could not be happier.  We are not winter/snow people.  I am definitely looking forward to heading South once we retire, but that’s at least a decade away.

I chose the above title because I do not have trouble coming up with ideas.  Normally I have a mind full of ideas, titles, characters, etc.  Sometimes it’s hard to fall asleep with my brain on overdrive…way too often.  I particularly enjoy coming up with titles even before I have the idea for the short story or novel.  Not sure why I do this, but I have a folder full of potential titles.  Sometimes I will choose a title and write a story around chosen title.

I’ve had to cut my writing back to four days a week due to work, which I hate because I love to write everyday.  I’m trying to decide whether I should either (a) wake up an hour earlier or (b) stay up an hour later after the husband goes to bed.  I still have not had the time to send anything out, or rather should I say I didn’t make the time to send anything out.

Writing is still one of the few things I can get lost in once I start, that and reading a good book, be it fiction or nonfiction.  My writing room is a mess again.  I have a bad habit of making it a catch-all for my mail, magazines that I haven’t yet read, craft projects, and piles of books that still need to be shelved.  A messy room is not very conducive to sitting ass in chair and typing away for at least a good hour or so.

Plus with my husband at home, I don’t like to spend a lot of time cloistered from him in my writing room.  I would much rather prefer spending the time with him.  So I struggle with finding the time to sit and write.  I will probably wind up staying up an hour later since it seems to be the better option.  Well if you’d like, let me know if you do write as well what times work best for you.  Thank you for reading and I look forward to reading any comments.  And if I forget to say it next week:  Happy New Year as well!

Eva

A Taste of Youth

This week’s post is a piece of flash fiction I’d like to share.  Thanks for reading.

 

As children, we had played for hours beside Grammy’s wooden garden shed, the one surrounded by boulders painted white and embellished with multi colored rainbows.  The grass grew tall back there were my sister, Lulu, and I would play imaginary games.  The shed was our little cottage in the woods while the boulders became our chairs whenever we had wearied ourselves from play.  Whatever the temperature outside, the shed was a pleasant ten to fifteen degrees cooler for some reason, and it became our refuge from the searing midday sun.  Now it was nothing more than rotting wood.  I stood reverently on the small patch of concrete and gazed across the yard at our one-time playhouse, remembering.

Over the years, as Lulu and I flowed into our teenage years, we grew weary of spending time with our widowed Grammy and many years after her passing I had read heart-wrenching letters from her to my mother describing the sadness and loneliness she felt over our puberty-fueled dismissal of her.  My heart ached from reading them because I had never stopped loving my Grammy.  It was only because I had aged and thought in my immature mind that it was not cool to be spending so much time with one’s grandmother, no matter how fun and witty she was.

I closed my eyes and recalled the enticing aromas of homemade cinnamon bread.  Breakfasts at Grammy’s house were always special.  Early mornings greeted me with the crisp scent of bacon frying in one of her heavy cast iron skillets, fried eggs, thick slices of homemade bread slathered in creamy butter and homemade preserves, along with hashed brown potatoes.  Grammy also made sure we ate something healthy as well.  There had been a bowl of fresh fruit, mostly in season berries.  Grammy would regale us with stories of her youth and her loving marriage while my sister and I stuffed ourselves, wondering afterwards if we could ever eat another bite again.

We spent many days and nights at her house during summer breaks since she lived within walking distance to a lake.  My sister and I loved to swim and lay on the sandy beach, sunning ourselves on stiff bath towels as I pretended to be like the older girls on the beach, wearing glamorous black sunglasses, making them look like movie stars.  I loved the scent of their skin slathered in coconut-scented suntan oil, as we passed them by after exiting the water, and the way it made their skin shine in the baking afternoon sun.  At eleven, I carefully copied their behavior, wanting desperately to be just like them.  I noticed how the teenage boys gazed at them with a strange light shining in their eyes as the boys grouped together close to the girls, within sight but not within reach.

Lola was two years younger and thought my mimicking was silly.  I would brush off her comments with an angry shove.  She was only nine.  She did not understand the ways of a woman, which I was on the verge of becoming.  My mother had explained to me what it meant to become one earlier that summer.  She said that one day I would go through the change.  I would get something called a ‘period’.  After hearing what it was, I debated with myself whether I truly wanted to become a woman or not, but mother had informed me that it was a rite of passage every girl went through, like it or not.

That’s the time I started to pull away from Grammy.  I did not see these teenage girls hanging out with their grandmothers, instead I saw them huddled together on large flannel blankets, sipping diet sodas from cans and giggling, pointing out certain boys to each other.  The lucky boy chosen, invited over to their group, would puff out his chest and strut over like some superhero, smiling back at his friends as they groaned, their chance lost for that day.

Whenever I did see Grammy at holiday parties, she would pry into my personal life, asking if I was dating anyone special.  I would shrug and say that there was no one special, and then turn away but not before glimpsing her smile fade and her eyes cloud over.  I had never meant to hurt her.  I had become a teenager and thought I knew everything about the world that there was to know.

Years later over a cold beer and baggy sweats, I had rummaged through mother’s things at her rustic cottage where she had retired to a few years back, but now lay dying in hospice care.  Grammy’s letters were heart breaking.  I had hurt her deeply.  Didn’t she realize I was merely a teenager trying to make my way in the world?  I pressed a few letters to my chest after noticing several ink-smeared words, most likely from Grammy’s tears.

Now with both Mom and Grammy gone, I felt lost and extremely lonely.  Lulu lived half way across the country with her very large brood of seven and her husband, Jake.  I stood there gazing longingly at the shed, remorse and bitterness flooding my senses.  One thought kept running through my mind, Grandmothers do not live forever.  I should have shown her more respect.  I should have spent more time with her when I was a teenager, no matter how uncool I thought that was.  I should have focused more on family than on those immature and horny boys on that beach when I eventually became part of that group on the blanket.

Now Grammy’s house was about to be sold and here I was to give it a once over, to remember the good times shared with a beautiful soul.  As I gazed out at Grammy’s backyard, the one with the permanently unkempt lawn and the now-dilapidated garden shed, I reminisced over the splendid years we spent here as children and how much I truly missed it all.

What I Remember

So much goes through my mind whenever I look back on my own childhood. No one saw any signs back then, but then again there wasn’t something called Aspergers when I was a growing up.  Yes, there were children who were different; unique in society, and our parents and others pegged us a shy. Easy targets for others who didn’t, or wouldn’t, understand us. I’m not looking for pity, I just want to understand who I was and who I’ve become over the decades.

What I remember is teenage me sitting on my bedroom floor, left arm out, palm flat against the horrendous mustard-yellow shag carpeting, and rocking back and forth while heavy metal music blaring from the speakers less than a foot away from my face. I remember talking to my stuffed animals even into my teen years(okay, full disclosure here, I used to treat them like babies and tuck them in. Is that Aspergers or am I just a bit nuts with that one? I’m not sure where that falls.) Anyway, I employed such a vivid imagination that it sometimes even frightened me. That’s something I love though, the creativity of the mind, not the frightening thoughts. I love being able to sit down in front of my laptop and just start typing, creating.  It flows from my fingers.  Some struggle with starting, I’ve never had to.  It’s the middle areas that get me, when I’m writing a novel.  But that’s a story for another time.

But I also remember the drugs and the alcohol, and the need for acceptance. I wanted to fit in so I caved. The people I most wanted to associate with were those on drugs or those who drank too much. I don’t know why I was so attracted to such people, I still wonder why to this day. I remember the nights of too much heavy partying and the longing for a boyfriend, and winding up with some pretty lousy ones. I gave myself away freely; too freely I’m afraid. It wasn’t a game, it was a longing to be loved and part of something. I was sick and tired of being just me all the time. I needed to escape this pathetic reality of who I was, or so I thought. Instead I didn’t find the love and acceptance during those years that I so wanted. I found sadness, and my heart broken too many times, and lies and fear and sickness.

I remember the nights of tear-stained pillows, giving away something I should have treasured more, something special that could only be given away once. I threw it away, disgusted with myself for having to live with the bitter and disappointing memory of my first. No hot romance novel, steamy sex scene then, just regret and embarrassment…and rug burn.

So as I look upon my past and thankfully have learned quite a bit from that old life of mine, and have dealt with the shame and regret because dammit none of us can get that back anyhow, we cannot relive those days, those moments we learned to regret. Instead we learn from it and move on from there and consider us all the wiser in spite of it.

So I write. I write about characters who struggle with feeling unloved, and those struggling with alcohol and drug abuse issues from their past. We have all made some pretty horrible decisions, but again we carry on. I can identify with those who feel lost, lonely, a bane on society. Attempted suicide and hatred of myself for too many years. Lost years. Abandoned years of losing myself within, trying in vain to become something I wasn’t.  And I was never happy because what I was seeking wasn’t what one would call happiness.  It was futile and unfulfilling instead.

Now I have come to my senses. I’ve come a long way from where I was. I don’t want to kill myself anymore. I have accepted myself for who I am. I dare say I love myself. Yes, I do. And people should love themselves, and quit judging themselves so harshly. We screw up. We hurt people. People, in turn, hurt us. I don’t know what you are going through, so I don’t want to sound trite. Some of you are still struggling. Some of you are still considering self-harm or of actually taking your own life. Please get help. You are meant to be no matter what others have said to you in the past. You are awesome, intelligent, beautiful, and yes,loved even if you sometimes wonder if you are. Life is short enough as it is. Find a group where you can be among like-minded people. There’s a group for everyone nowadays, thanks to the Internet.

So I will continue to write, and to embrace the person that I am. I will write about strange yet interesting characters because life is incredible and wild and exciting, and bizarre. Looking back I guess I wouldn’t want it any other way. It made me who I am.  In the long run it made me a stronger woman, determined and dedicated to the ones who I truly love and who I know love me.  I’m thankful for who I am even if I’m a bit off at times. But I can handle it. So please keep on fighting for who you are and embrace your unique self!

For now, keep writing, keep loving yourself and keep your mind busy. Don’t let this life pass you by because it goes rather quickly as it is. Love you guys. Thanks for reading.

Eva

Writer/Mother of an Aspie/Aspie Myself(I think) Struggles

That title is a mouthful, I know. For years I didn’t know why I was different from the other children around me; throughout life,whether in school or church or attending my sons’ scout meetings; I knew without a doubt that I never fit in anywhere. Do you know how much crying went on whenever I had a pity party for myself? I was born in the early-60’s, an end-of-the-baby-boomer-generation. Children didn’t get the benefit of a doubt having their parents or teachers or school administration wondering if they had been born with the inability to sit still or not talking much or the inability to look one in the eye. They instead were thought of as being disrespectful, rude, aloof, mischievous,or downright disobedient. Oh no, we were not. We didn’t bury our noses in books because we were snubbing you, it was who we were, living within the safe confines of our imaginations. We were happy there; content.

But our parents, and teachers, and peers kept trying to drag us out of our snug cocoons, to force open closed doors, break down the walls that surrounded us. We were mostly at peace with living on the outskirts of societal norms, we didn’t know any better. What we knew was what we lived on a daily basis. I was happy there. That was until I heard my peers in Middle school whisper behind my back that I was…STRANGE.

How could I be that? I was just me. I had a vivid imagination. I loved to write stories. I loved playing imaginary games with my stuffed animals as a child. I became even more withdrawn. Unhappy, frowning, unable to look others in the eye. My mother used to tell me to let it go in one ear and out the other, but dammit I couldn’t! It hurt too much to be signaled out as different. Having(or suspect having)Aspergers is difficult enough; yes. We don’t need anyone to point out that we are different. We already know that. It does not need to be pointed out. Strange.

And then having a child with it, you would think I would be more patient with him, yes? No. I lost my temper with him, with his constant crying, inability to sleep, not reaching those highly sought after milestones. I even asked our pediatrician. He told me every child developed at a different rate. Okay, I thought, I’m just being paranoid. But no.

He was tested in preschool and I was told he needed to get special help. Thankfully it was free. He rode the short bus. I know a lot of people laugh about those who rode the short bus. My son was one of those children. My loving, exasperating, quiet, didn’t-play-with-others,fixated on watching the clocks on the wall tick away the time son. We eventually moved to the Northwest suburbs from the western suburbs of Chicago. He was bullied. He was ostracized, he was different. He was fascinated by trains, by weather phenomena, by cars and trucks. He had trouble sleeping, making friends, doing well at school. He was my son.

And here is the embarrassing, shameful part. I was embarrassed by my own son. He would rush out of school at the end of the day sounding like a car or a truck shifting gears, making strange noises as others stared. And they stared at me, or so I thought. I hated the attention. I hated wondering what others thought, as though it should have mattered. I knew it didn’t. I love my son. I am proud of him, a high-school graduate, community college graduate, home owner, holder of two jobs. Some people told us he would never leave our home, that he would be incapable. No. He was and is capable. From where he started, he came a long way. I truly feel blessed. I have a heavy heart for those whose children will never be able to leave and go off on their own. I wish I had an answer for you. We have so many hopes and dreams for our children when we first find out we are pregnant. We picture them on sports teams making the winning shot, goal, touchdown, on the Homecoming court, graduating, marrying and eventually have children of their own.

All I can say is keep on loving them. They are unique. They are worthy of so much love. I don’t really know why children are born with Autism, or wind up on the spectrum. I would suggest joining a group of like-minded parents. The struggles are real. We need to have someone to talk to, to cry on their shoulders, to have them tell us, “You can get through this.” Check with the schools, the community, church, or the many internet groups out there,and get the help. You need a break sometimes too. It’s not that you don’t love your child, you just need a quiet place to regroup, to gather your thoughts, and return stronger for the battle ahead, for the love and well-being of your child.

You got this. We are here for you.

Still Working

Just a quick update. I’m still working on my NaNoWriMo project but still a bit behind due to job. My characters have taken a turn on me and I think when I’m finished on November 30th, I will be going in a new direction with novel. I wanted to make their grandmother a meth addict but think I’ll switch her to
someone struggling with mental illness. Finding out that when writing a novel things change. I am a Pantser. I don’t think I’ve written an outline since high school. I just get an idea and go with it, flow with it. Hopefully I’ll be sending some Flash before the end of the month.

Until next time. Thanks for reading.

Eva