As a young child, I noticed that I was a little different. I didn’t act like children my age. As a matter of fact, I had great difficulty understanding peer behavior; that is, what would be considered typical behavior I guess. I much preferred interactions with older people, people that had some semblance of a knowledge base beyond the most current toys on the market, spelling bees and recess. So it should be no surprise that very few children wanted to play with me. I did have three childhood friends. One was much younger than me and soon lost interest as she grew older. Another friend liked me for my ingenious way of pranking her mom and older brother. My third friend is still friends with me today. She is very accepting of my differences, even if she thinks me a little goofy at times, I don’t think she minds. Most of my peers did not like me or found me odd because my speech was too proper and my posture too straight. I walked on my toes and stared off into the distance too much. I was slow to respond to jokes, if at all and I did not know any childhood games or songs. I much preferred the company of my dolls over the company of humans. To be honest a gobstopper (jawbreaker candy) and a sketch pad were all I needed for my world to be complete.
Bullying was a common occurrence. There was some bullying in kindergarten and grade school, but high school was the worst. Not only was there continuous name calling, but people would set out to befriend me only to get money from me. I wanted to have friends, but did not know how to be friends, not really. I still struggle with that sometimes. It was easier to lie to myself and say I have several friends knowing all they wanted was money. I was glad to give them money and treats from my parent’s store. It made me feel like I was liked for a little while. Yes, I was used and I let them do it, all because I needed to have friends and to be liked.
I have another confession to make. I hate gossip and the very act of gossiping, but I did it for many years, because that was the level of conversation I could engage in and feel like I was being normal. I felt accepted. It was easier to engage in gossiping about someone else rather than be the one gossiped about. It felt great being liked as opposed to being an outcast. Even if it was all an illusion, the lie perpetuated itself and manifested itself into a truth, but only in my mind. I wasn’t liked…I just engaged in liked behavior. I had grown so tired of being the odd one. For once, I finally fit in for seemingly no cost, but there was a price and what a price I paid. I lost a potentially good friend and self-respect behind gossip. Gossip is hurtful and it is wrong, and a waste of brain cells. After all was said and done, I found that I too was talked about behind my back by the ones I called friends. If nothing else, I learned when fraternizing with people that talk about others, know that they too are talking about you. I still struggle to understand why this behavior is a norm and perfectly acceptable in society.
I have decided to no longer give into that which is considered “the norm” just to fit in. It’s not worth it. I want to regain myself and be the person that God created me to be. It’s not an easy road. I have learned many things over the years, both good and bad. I now have to figure out how to undo the bad. I am determined to succeed in this. I feel I have no choice as I continue to move forward on this path. I find my need to be my true self stronger than my need for friendship.
It is not my diagnosis of mild Asperger’s Disorder that defines my differences. It is a culmination of many things including a tumultuous childhood which ended at the age of 42. I am now 47 and just starting to discover who I am.
Some say I pressed the mute button on life. I say life also pressed the mute button on me; perhaps life pressed the button first, but that's another story. I’ll share that with you later. In the meantime, I am happy to be blogging again sharing my thoughts and a few of my experiences with you. Be blessed and stay true to yourselves. Thank you for reading my blog. And please do share your comments.