Off To A Writers’ Group

I am about to embark on a terrifying journey, to a place most introverts would tremble at doing:  meet new people.  In early August I will be attending my first writers’ group at a local Barnes & Noble and I am petrified!  As an Aspie and an introvert, I figured I’ve got two strikes against me already.  A third would be if they all disliked me; one of my biggest fears.  I’m always worrying whether this person or that person likes me.  My younger son thinks I’m silly to be so concerned whether I’m liked or not.  Unfortunately after years of horrible school experiences I’ve developed this irrational fear of being disliked.

Okay, I got to admit I’ve been out of school since 1981 but the embarrassment due to my peer’s rejection still haunt me and keep me from achieving more in life.  And, yes, I know that I should just brush it off and get on with my life.  All well and true.  But this silly fear nags at me and is the reason I don’t get involved in outside activities, even with the other ladies at my church.  I recently had attended a women’s function at church and, as usual, took a seat at an empty table and proceeded to fret if anyone would care to join me.  And alas, no one dared to sit with me at my table.  Maybe I didn’t have a smile on my face, or perhaps my nervousness showed but thankfully a lady at one of the tables next to me invited me to sit at their table and I gladly did.  I wouldn’t want to appear even more standoff-ish by rejecting her generous offer.  It was a church function, you know.

Now that I revealed my bizarre side to you all, I want to convey how important it is for me to join this local group.  I’ve been told to join a writers’ group and have earnestly wanted to find one in the area.  Step One was completed.  I also have a fear of bringing my laptop to the store since I’ve never had to sign in to anyone’s WiFi but my own before.  And I’m not even sure if it’s called that!  I am so not with the program here, people.  I am highly technology-illiterate.  Again not sure if that’s even the proper term.  Silly me.

So do I go days before and figure out how to set up at said store or have one of my darling sons show me how to do it?  I don’t want to look like a fool in front of total strangers.  As a woman, this is one of my greatest fears:  To look like an idiot.  This fear, unfortunately, goes way back to childhood.  But I won’t get into that now.

I truly love to write but it’s done in the safety of my home, in a little room which used to be my younger son’s bedroom.  All my books are neatly(okay, not so neatly) arranged on bookshelves, my desk is in front of the window, and I have a handy two-drawer file cabinet, and a rocking chair that my husband & I found along someone’s curb.  Sometimes I enjoy listening to music while I tap away at the keys; mostly Country but other times I like Classical music.  It doesn’t seem to distract me as much as Country does.

But if I want to make a living, or at least pay off our yearly property taxes, I need to find other like-minded individuals who will help be reach my goals.  Along the way I’m hoping that I will be of some use to them as well.  I write on Wattpad and Scripophile and have this blog but as a writer one needs to, no, must write.  Like air, words on a page are a necessity to a writer.  I am not happy unless I’m writing something.  I feel lost and not fully alive when I’m not tapping away.  Sometimes as an Aspie I struggle with the right words to show how much I love this writing process.  I sink into a depressive state whenever I’m not writing, or even reading about the writing process.  I will push myself to attend the group, probably developing a headache or a stomach ache before heading out the door like a woman off to her death.  Okay, maybe not that dramatic.

I will keep all of you lovely people informed on how it all went in upcoming weeks.  Thanks for allowing me to vent and reveal my fears, as silly as they sound.  Until next time, keep on writing.

The Business of Fear

I went to a business expo this afternoon with my husband.  You know, one of those expos a city has to bring businesses and consumers together to arrange some sort of happy union.  When my boys were younger, we would always load up on the free candy and pencils the various booths provided.  Now, my husband and I do a pretty quick walk through to check out the various offerings in the area; the free chiropractic checks, free neck massages, the vendors hawking their wares.  Occasionally we’ll find a good business reference to do work on the house my husband says needs repairing.  We’ve had people who called relatively quickly to set up an appointment to do a bid; other times no calls are received at all.

But this post isn’t about business; it’s about going to an open place when one has Aspergers.  I can’t tell you how hard it is for me to go to these.  Well, I’m going to try anyway.  The sights, noise, bright lights, and crowds are enough to make me want to curl up into a ball and hide.  I’ve always wondered why I had done poorly in crowds but I’ve discovered it is due to the over-stimulation of so many things going on all at once.  And throw in being an introvert and you’ve got a messy situation.

Why then, you may ask, do I go to these?  Okay, besides being a masochist(creepy) I actually enjoy seeing the different offerings that businesses provide.  Plus I like pushing myself to do things I don’t always enjoy and helps in my writing experience.  Just being out in the world surrounded by other people is an experience, trust me.

So I’ve discovered some triggers that push me over the edge.  Now to learn to live with and accept my inner fears while moving forward with my life.

When God is Silent

All my life I’ve been clinging to the hope of God and His existence.  Deep down I am fully aware that there is something greater than myself; than all of us; alive and in control of this infinite universe.  Death has had its fair grip on me for decades; what will it be like, how much pain, and will I still exist afterwards?  I believe in a God that is omnipotent and unending.  As a child I’d play church(not too many kids out there playing church, I imagine).  We had this half-shell knick knack with Jesus on the cross attached to it and I’d put water in the shell and pretend it was holy water, dabbing it onto my forehead just like I saw my parents and others do in the Catholic church we attended.

Having Aspergers, I just felt closer to the existence of some higher power; something or someone I could look up to and have a sense of peace over.  I’ve read somewhere women with Aspergers have a unique pull to the divine.  I have a thirst for Truth, to know wrong from right, to understand others and what they are going through.  I want to grasp why some people are good and others are seen as evil.  What turns a person from light to darkness?  What snaps inside?

Peace within is a blessing.  But when we seek answers from an almighty Being, we expect answers, and fast.  We don’t want to wait.  From experience there were, and still are, frustrating circumstances in my life that needle the flesh.  Why does this person act this way?  Why don’t I feel closer to the ones I love?  Why do I keep getting rejected in places that preach about love and acceptance?  My ear is attuned to his anticipated reply.  But I cannot sense any forthcoming. Then the fear and doubts set in.  Is God truly out there?  Does he even care about me and my concerns?  Now I’m drawing into myself again.  I’m screaming within, Help me, God!  Why aren’t you listening?  Do you even love me?

As a believer, fear of God no longer loving you is like a baseball bat to the face.  It’s like trying to breathe underwater.  Crying helps, a bit.  But after the tears, the cursing(yes, the cursing), the pleading, I can take a deep breath and refocus.  Peace surrounds me once again.  God isn’t intimidated by your little outbursts.  He knows you intimately since he created you.  His love for you is eternal.  When God is silent, I believe he is testing us and our faith.  Do we trust in him or not?  He swoops in to rescue us and our dwindling faith.

He is good and merciful to his children, and knows us all by name.  God has not abandoned you but continually longs to have a place in our hearts and thoughts.  Talk to him today.  He is waiting.

The Christmas Holiday Season is Upon Us

Okay, I’m going to share a bit of my views about the holiday season in this post. I need to begin by saying that I think people, in general, go overboard during this time of year. They stress themselves out by trying to find that special someone that perfect gift. Or they are rushing around to various functions just to keep up appearances. They overdose on holiday music played everywhere. And they wind up burned out and never get to fully appreciated what this time of year is all about.

Christmas, in my eyes, is the birth of Jesus. God’s perfect gift to humanity, wrapped in flesh, and given without asking for anything in return. To me, it is the greatest gift ever given. As we bedeck our homes, inside and out, with multi-colored lights and trees, inflatable Santas and reindeer, and covet precious handmade ornaments made by our children, we tend to overemphasis the trivial and forget about the true meaning. The light in children’s eyes, the wonder and the joy that glimmers within. Spending time with loved ones. Just sitting around a toasty fire, sipping on cider, eggnog, or a hot chocolate and sharing fond memories of Christmas’s past, gives one pause.

And we are not to forget those who are struggling this time of year. Those who have recently lost a loved one, or are hurting financially, or have gone through some sort of traumatic event. We need to let them know that they have not been forgotten and that you are there for them with a willing shoulder to cry on. Not everyone sees this time of year as festive and merry. This time of year can fill many with a sense of dread and depression. Let us lift those hurting ones up and help them through this season.

It’s not about what you’re getting for Christmas, or how many brightly wrapped packages are yours underneath the Christmas Tree. As a child I used to crawl around under our tree and discover how many had my name on the gift tag. Yes, it is exciting for children to receive requested toys. I understand that. But there comes a time when we need to explain to our children that the meaning of Christmas is more than what they receive, but what they get out of this time of year, surrounded by loving family, making their own fond memories to embrace in the future.

Not Your Typical Woman

I am a strange woman. Not your typical woman, oh no, not by a long shot! A typical Aspie, I am. I struggle with making eye contact, or I try very hard to maintain eye contact but normally wind up shutting my eyes when talking to people. Drives my family crazy. Nutty as it may sound, that looking into people’s eyes is actually painful to me. Why? Haven’t figured that one out. And this may sound creepy, but I feel by looking into someone’s eyes tells a lot about their perception of you. A judgment of sorts. I hate being judged.

And I also fit the Aspie trait of clumsiness. Oh how I do fit. I suck at team sports to the point that in gym classes throughout my school years my classmates would consider themselves cursed when I was put on their team. And I did not disappoint! Oh no. The only sport I’ve ever excelled in was running, and not because I was constantly being chased by school bullies.

I cannot sit still. I have my movements well under control since my youth, but I like to rub my feet together when sitting and watching t.v. at night or shaking my legs while seated, like I’m doing now. I panic when getting lost, or when I can’t find an object. I cry over stuff that most women wouldn’t normally cry over, like, why doesn’t that person like me? I overcompensate. I try so hard to read people, and I take things literally. Someone can say something and it isn’t meant as an insult, and I see it as a slight.

I have a vivid imagination. I love writing, and getting lost within the pages of a romance book, especially when it’s spicy. I don’t have the best grooming habits. When I was younger, I’d go days without combing my hair. I’m not much for makeup, except when we go out. The older I get, the more I see a need for it. But I think I still look young for my age.

So as my fellow Aspies and I go about our daily lives, struggling, sometimes, to fit in, and to be loved and accepted just like everyone else, remember that we have feelings too. Accept us as we are. Quit giving us strange looks. We are who we are. We just look at things differently, it’s not like we’re from another planet or something. So, yes, I am not typical. But you know something, I am happy to be just that. I’m me. And I have accepted that about myself.

Aspie Girl

How many times can a person feel invisible? Lost in a crowd? Feel as though you are the only one who has this ‘condition’? I don’t want to stand out. I hate being noticed. Does anyone else go through this, or am I the only one?

Asperger’s takes its toll. I can’t even go for a walk outside without having the sense that the world is slowly closing in on me, squeezing the very air out of my lungs. I hate seeing others out there on the route I take because I’m never sure whether to say ‘hi’ or not. And when I do and others just look at me like I’ve just sprung another head, I start to wither once more

Fear is a huge part of my daily life. Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown. Fear of people. I try to stuff all that fear down deep inside but it insists on bubbling back up to the surface. I can’t seem to rid myself of this burden of fear. I want to be normal on some days, other days I don’t give a damn what others think of my idiosyncrasies. This is me. I want others to like me. Sometimes, again, I don’t give a sh@%t whether they do or don’t.

I seem unbalanced most days. Caring or indifferent. Depends on my mood. Weird things freak me out. Like yesterday my husband and I were watching War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise and it scares me every time I watch that movie. Not that I think aliens are going to burst through the clouds and overtake the earth, it’s just that frightening aspect of losing control and being at the mercy of the mob.

So, this is where I finish this post. Any Aspie’s out there? Do you feel the same way?

It Can Get Lonely Here

In the past, I dealt with my feelings of isolation and being the odd one with alcohol and drug use(and lots of heavy metal music!).  For a while the substances numbed my emotional pain, but it never removed it completely.  There was always a part of me that struggled to fit in without having to rely on ‘outside help’ to worm my way into normalcy whenever I went out to a party or to a bar.  Oh I loved meeting people, especially guys when I was in my late teens and early twenties(before meeting my darling husband) but I never figured out what to say to impress them, to helped them figure out that, hey, I might just be the one for them!  Usually at parties I shrank into a quiet corner, mostly it was found in the sanctuary of another room devoid of humans. 

Back  in high school, I remember one year the first day of Physical Education class and realizing, with complete dread, that there wasn’t a friendly face in the crowd of girls seated on the bleachers.  I remember sitting on the floor and watching a fly buzzing around and wishing that I could be that insignificant bug and fly away, out of that room, out of that school, out of that life I tried so hard to fit into.  But of course, that was impossible.  I hated sports.  I was the one that, not only chosen last for the team, but a lot of times never chosen and the teacher had to stick me on a team, only to be brutalized by the groans and complaints of, “Oh no, not her!”

Yes.  I am not the sports enthusiast by a long shot.  I still cannot serve a volleyball successfully over a net!  But you know, I have come to accept my failures in that arena.  I wasn’t made to be physical that way.  But now I do run and weight lift, and I have always been a fast runner.  But when you are young and begging silently for acceptance, anything that you see yourself as a failure at, just takes another nibble out of your self-esteem.  And there is definitely a lack of that for girls while attending school, especially, I believe, in junior high school.  What a nightmare!  But I won’t go there.  Girls can be so mean at that age.  And it’s a shame, since they are all in the same boat at that point:  some many changes that a young lady goes through at that time.  But we won’t go there…again.  So if were to be asked what age I’d like to return to, it would be age 30.  Guys are better at that age too!

So it is a lonely road having Asperger’s, especially for a girl since it is more difficult to determine what is wrong with her than with her male counterpart.  I shouldn’t complain, though, since I had great parents and siblings(even though they tortured me mentally by telling me I was adopted and that the government removed the month of September, my birth month, from the calendar and that I would thus no longer have a birthday to celebrate!).  Oh, older brothers and sisters can be soooo mean. 

Anyway, to all of you out there with Asperger’s, take it from me, you do not need any substances to handle life.  Because overall it just complicates things.  Take life a day at time.  Best to have a friend to discuss this with.  It is a lonely life.  I understand.  I probably have only a few friends that I can count on.  But my husband is my very best friend.  Even though he enjoys teasing me about what I write on here.  Love your life.  You are worth it.  You are worth loving.  Be who you were made to be and embrace it. For life is short, so we need to take in as much of it as possible for however long of a time we have it.  Don’t waste your time feeling sorry for yourself.  I’ve done it and it didn’t help in the least.  If you must, set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and have a good cry.  I’ve done that and I usually feel so much better after that. 

See yourselves as unique.  You are one of a kind, dear friends.  And you are a wonderful addition to this craziness called the Human Race.  Blessings.  Until next time,  Eva