A Bittersweet Melancholy

Watching the two people who raised me, held onto sticky hands as I took those first tottering steps on chubby legs, were the gleeful recipients of my first toothless smiles, become timeworn leaves me with a dull ache inside.  The people who loved me, cared for me, sacrificed for me, put up with my teenage bullshit, now declining in health, mobility, and cognizant functioning.  This is about watching the two once vibrant and youthful adults  who caused fear and trembling inside of me, especially my Dad, and how this saddens yet gives me hope about the future.

My parents are involved in many various activities back home in Florida.  They play cards, travel, are in the German and the Polish Clubs back home.  They both can still move around on their own albeit slowly.  This brings me joy.  I love seeing my parents fully enjoying their senior years.  They are not sitting around their home in some wooden rocking chair waiting to die. 

I watch the two people that were infallible in my eyes as a child, insufferable as a teen, and inadequate as a young adult become wise as a middle-aged woman.  We all understand that aging is a rite of passage that not everyone is blessed to pass through.  Sometimes our bodies mock us in the process, wrecking havoc on the mind as well.  They may walk with hesitant steps, for one misstep could land them in the hospital with a broken hip or worse.  I can close my eyes, though, and easily recall the times my Dad and I went on long bike rides.  I remember when he was strong and full of energy.  But now hair graying, thinning, and well, balding, the advance of time takes pity on no one. 

But no matter how we look at the transition from youth to agedness: a goal, a wish, a dream, or a gift, we all must pass through those darkened corridors, hopefully not alone though.  Aging can be frightening going it on your own, being a widow or a widower.  How comforting it is to have someone else along for the ride.  Yet I am thankful and truly blessed to still be able to enjoy my parents while, unfortunately, so many of my peers cannot.  We will all be bruised and battered by what life throws our way, but no matter how cracked and worn it becomes, we can call each day a gift at the end of the day and pray that tomorrow will be another new chance to make things better for yourself and for others around you.

 

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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

The Monsters Are Not Always Found Under The Bed

It’s funny how watching something briefly on the local news can trigger unpleasant memories from the past.  Some months back I was watching a story on the news involving the late, notorious serial-killer, John Wayne Gacy.  And suddenly this brought to mind a deep and inconsolable sadness for the victims’ families.  First, the agony of not knowing what happened to their loved one, and then the horrifying discovery that their loved one had been gruesomely murdered.

When I was a child, my overly protective parents lovingly reassured me that there was no such thing as the boogeyman.  Nothing sinister was lurking within the dark recesses of my closet.  There weren’t any monsters beneath my bed, waiting for me to fall asleep before pouncing on my helpless body during the dead of night.  I would nod with false bravado, yet confident in my parent’s comforting words that I would awake to live another day.

Yet for the young victims of this very real monster, the boogeyman had indeed become real.  Not some imagined creature with blood-dripping fangs, but all fleshed out before them.  That reality, for the victims, went far beyond the common night-time fears, but came barreling down the tracks into the realm of sheer, unspeakable terror.

I shuddered to think what those young men and boys had to suffer through, and then to be buried in a humiliating mass grave beneath this monster’s crawl space.  Gacy had promised them things; drugs, liquor.  But what they found instead was torture and death.

As parents, we warn our children to be wary of strangers.  To never go into someone else’s house unless we are present.  But what if the stranger was kindly looking Mr. Smith who lived next door?  We all know from the news that evil doesn’t always wear a demonic grin on its face.  Sometimes it can be sweet.  Or elderly.  Or even a clown.