Life as an adult female with Aspergers.

Ah, the pursuit of happiness, that age old quest that we all embark upon in order to make life more agreeable. I would like to say that I have discovered all the deep secrets, but alas I have not. However, I have a few little “dittys” that have enhanced the living experience for me. Nothing new and earth shattering, just a few “age old” standards that seem to finally gel well with my Aspergian outlook and simple they may be, but sometimes “simple” and “easy” do not alway coincide.

Happiness comes from within, not from others….who hasn’t heard that one? Finally, after years of struggling with that one, I now completely agree…it DOES come from within but that is not an effortless endeavor….it is within but you have to find it and once that has been accomplished, you have to work it. I personally like to visualize it as a substantial, shapeless lump of clay that with work, becomes shaped, molded and formed into a piece of art. The most challengine “piece of art” that I ever formed from my clay imagery was to accept myself as I am and accept it with a big side dish of approval…my approval, not that of another. In fact, it has taken almost fifty years of struggling to almost “finish the piece” but to wholly own what I have been given is one of the best things I could have done for myself. Yes, I have Asperger’s and yes it has it’s many downfalls…but one, it will not ever go away and two, I have at this point in life, done the best I can do with said affliction, I commend myself for my efforts, and allow myself to have faults and finally admit that some things just cannot be changed.

Am I always a little chipper sunbeam that never gets down or frustrated with my limitations? Certainly not….and yes, there are days when I still feel like a gigantic loser, mainly because I have this terrible habit of “analyzing the evidence” that makes me “guilty” of such….but as one of my favorite bumper stickers ever reads “Don’t always beleive everything your mind tells you.” Often times I have to “repair” the “cracks and chips” that have befallen my work of art. In other words, it is truly an on-going process and one that I personally find to be rather high maintenace at times, but well worth the effort.

Money cannot buy happiness….Sometimes, when the stress of financial instabilty consumes me like a ravenous bitch wolf, I think that is not so true…but when I look back at the environment from whence I came, the accuracy of that addage becomes crystal clear. Happy was not a part of my young life…money was…but for all they could buy, my parents were never happy and all the cars, clothes, gadgets, toys and alcohol in the world could not provide one bit of contentment….but could only endow them with a brief distraction from their internal misery that I liken to putting a Curad band aid on an amuptated limb…totally useless. My mother died a few years ago, having lived over seventy years with little or no happiness in her life, yet she had all that money could buy, which not only saddened me greatly, but genuinely motivated me to start looking for that “lump of clay and start shaping, forming and molding” like a bat out of hell. The hardest part being the countless times I had to start over, after my pending vessel collapsed but truly, I did not want to have to wait until I was buried to unearth some happiness and contentment in life.

My precious Grandmother once told me that putting others before yourself is one of the best practices of life and I must say, I saw her do just that infinitely. I never recall being with her that she did not eminate the spectacular, alluring light of joyfullness and contentment. By no means did ever she display the characteristics of the martyr…she did what she did out of love, never complaing or expecting reward or recognition and had the gift of making the most distasteful of chores enjoyable. She is the sole reason I actually like to clean bathrooms. I will be the first to admit that I do not always adhere to this advice, of putting others first, but I can say, with absolute honesty, that if I truly love you, I will put your happiness before mine to the best of my comprehension of that theory…which may not be so accurate at times, as the workings of relationships that appear to come so effortless to others is one of my greatest free-for-all battles of life and love. I feel I mess them up frequently yet cannot ever seem to understand why. But none-the-less, I persist, at the risk of being greatly misunderstood. There are things that would enhance my happiness, people I wish would allow me to be more a part of their lives and bonds that I desire to be stronger. However, if those desires interfere with the happiness of those I truly love, I try hard leave them alone and pursue no more…which is kind of a twist and turn to happiness…yeah though I believe havings such things would brighten my world, I do not wish to dim the world of another, but still I have contentment in knowing that I have contributed to the well being of those loved, so it all works out, eventually. Doing for others out of love, expecting nothing in return is greatly rewarding…the reward of knowing you did the right thing, and no disappointment from expectations that failed to come to fruitition. I much prefer to be a “behind the scenes do-gooder”…yes, sometimes recognition is a good thing and to feel appreciated is wonderful, but neither is a true ingredient for contentment.

Love is the answer…yes it is. Loving others, being loved, loving and accepting yourself…the greatest gift of life. I give thanks numerous times a day for those I love and for those who return love to me. There is no material object that can compare to that, though a Mercedes 450 SL might come close…kidding :).

To my fellow Aspergians…life is hard, for everyone and being curtailed in certain areas does nothing to make the road any more smooth. It can be stressful, depressing and overwhelmingly frustrating. People rarely understand us at all and if you are fortunate enough to have folks in your life that even make an effort to try, chalk that up as one huge blessing. Even though they may never understand, at leas they make the effort to try. I know it is hard to feel equal, acceptable and good about ourselves, for some of us. We have been shunned, excluded, made fun of, tormented, teased, bullied and harassed for a good part of life and it is very difficult to NOT focus on that instead of what unique, gifted individuals we truly are. Focus on your gifts, we all have them…or as I like to call them, “really cool consolation prizes”….if you have not found yours yet, keep looking, you will eventually uncover what makes you so awesome and then, you can work steadily toward being content with what you have been given.

Just keep trying, it is worth the effort.


I   have been on a mission of late…to study this thing called life. I am, by nature, a seeker of truth and though I do not believe that all truth is attainable, I decided that it was okay to trust my own judgement and listen to my own heart. I also do not believe that everyone’s concept of truth is identical, which, I believe, makes it all the more interesting and mysterious.

 I have maurauded, studied, comtemplated, eavesdropped, pontificated, documented (with circles and arrows, for those of you who recall Alice’s Restaurant) and at long last, have concluded phase one of this lengthy mission. I say phase one, because I am quite sure that the study of life is an ongoing process and is best done in phases, as it can be overtly overwhelming.

 Phase one consisted of a study of some concepts, adages, common theories and yes, a few FaceBook posts and a couple of bumper stickers,  that I have been regaled with over the past years.

The first one I “dissected” was this….It hurts more to be lied to, that to be told the truth.  I totally agree…I would much rather be told the truth than some tired, old half-assed lie any old day. If I am not worth the truth, just don’t tell me anything. I was presented with the “we were going to invite you but didn’t think you would want to go” line of bull crap the other day and I , in a moment of bravery, called them out on it. I have been dealing with Asperger’s for fifty years now and I long ago learned that statement really means that “you did not invite me because you were afraid I would go.” For those of you with Aspie’s in your life, anti-social and awkward as we may be, we still like to feel wanted, included, acceptable and be a part of the lives of those we love. I have now decided, that I will continue to “call them out” when I am being lied to by anyone and some Aspie’s are very good “lie detectors.”

You get back what you put out there. I found that to be inconclusive. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing. I try to put good things, love and positive energy “out there” but I know that I often fail miserably and I am thankful that all the “not so good” that I have put “out there” has not come back to me. In the course of my mission, I can say that I saw some folks put some notably bad things “out there”, yet I did not see notably bad things come back to them, and it appeared that some of them were even rewarded for their malevolence. However, one never knows what period of time has to lapse before Karma sinks her razor-sharp teeth, with great gusto into ones’ ass. I personally have resovled to work much harder at putting more good, positive things “out there”, just in case  Karma is waiting around the corner to put the major smackdown on me.I do have plenty of ass to spare, but I don’t relish having it bitten off in chunks.  I truly do not think that you get back what you put out, in equal amounts….you may never get back the same amount of love you give to some and you may not get back the same amount of negativity you project but what I have found is that what I get, when I put good things “out there” is the feeling of sweet contentment in my heart, in knowing I did what I believed to be the right thing.

It is better to forgive someone who has wronged you , that to hold a grudge. I personally find that to be most accurate. First of all, I think that anyone who has done something foul enough to create a grude in my soul, probably doesn’t give a big fat one if I am holding a grude against them or not. For me, grudges do nothing but pollute the mind, body, spirit and soul of the ones clinging to the feelings of resentment, rancor and bitterness and mightily dim the light that one projects.They do little or no damage to the ones who brought about such feelings in the first place. Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts one can bestow upon ones’ self and it is a true squander to eliminate someone you love from your life, over a wrong that has not been made right….which is a nice segue into my next area of examination.

Right all of the wrongs that you can. I definitely give that one a “two thumbs up” on the meter of truth, for doing so works to the advantage of the “doer” and the “receiver”. Personally, if I have knowingly wronged another, I will do my best to “right that wrong.” Heart felt apologies can go a very long way and can have a very positive impact and if you are one , such as I, that suffers from “guilt ridden syndrome”, it is very helpful. But most of all, it is just the right thing to do. We are all human and we make mistakes and we do things that are wrong, but when we have the opportunity to right a wrong, I feel that is a blessing.   I ran into someone I had no seen since grade school and the moment I saw her, I was overcome with shame and guilt over something I had said to her when we were in the sixth grade. I took that opportunity to apologize to her and she graciously accepted that apology, telling me it was okay, we were just kids. But you know what, she had not forgotten it anymore than I had and I cannot tell you how appreciative I was not only for the chance to “right that wrong” but for the fact that she was willing to let it be made right. I know that I am still haunted by unkind words that have been spoken to me and ones that I have spoken. How cleansing it would be, to be able to eradicate and purge all that from the recesses of my mind…and I will do so when given the opportunity. Words,both kind and unkind, can have a strapping impact on the life of another. I try to remember to  choose them much more carefully these days and I have to recommit to that, often.

Next on the agenda is the age-old saying of “We Are All Created Equally”. I do not deem that to be from”tip to toe” accurate.  There are people who are almost physically perfect, and ones with physical deformites…ones that are brilliant and ones that struggle with the simplest of things….ones with disabilites and ones with amazing abilities…ones born into extreme wealth and ones born into extreme poverty…and we are all not afforded the same opportunites. So I may be way off base here, in my comprehension of what the phrase “we are all created equally means” as I cannot envision that as truth. What I beleive that we all have equally is the freedom to choose….to choose how we conduct our lives, how we cope with what we have been given, how we treat ourselves and others and the choice of what kind of person we really want to be and the color of the light we project into the world, no matter our circumstances. Oh look, once again, I have a fine segue to the next topic.

Life is not fair. TRUE, TRUE, TRUE. In fact, this may perhaps be the most precise statement known to mankind. Life is not fair and it is not just and I will decline to list all the millions of reasons to support this proclamation. I am quite certain that anyone over the age of one has come to this realization. What I have found, is that no, life is not fair, but it is generally balanced. For all the bad that has come into my life, I think I can honestly say, just as much, if not more, good has come my way. This kind of gracefully ties into the next axioms.

Every cloud has a silver lining and There is always good to be found in every bad situation. Again, I find this to be, for the most part, true. Often  , there is a long wait for the clarity and I am still somewhat patiently waiting for the lucidity on a number of events… but I can truthfully say that I can look back over some pretty nasty events of life ,and I can find at least one positive, good thing that I gained. The gain may not always outweigh the loss, but I have yet to come away completely empty handed.  For those of you who know me well and those who have read previous writings, you will know that I was once subjected to a very ugly, very violent and degrading attack. Yes, that royally screwed up my life for a very long time and still, I have issuse to a much lesser degree. Devastating as it was, that event brought into my life, some of the most beautiful, beloved people I have ever known and if you are reading this, you know who you are. If  obliterating that happening from my life meant not having those people in my life, I would not opt to do so. When it was all said and done, I gained much more that I lost and I honestly believe that I am still “gaining” from that wretched event, because the more I “recover” the more I realize how strong I really can be and how stubborn I can be, because I will NEVER be anyone’s vicitm again.

Pretty is, as pretty does was another saying I had heard all of life, yet did not “get it” and I can truthfully say, that I still do not. I have no frigging idea what that means so I decided to just leave that one alone. What I have come to learn that there are ones who are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside and those who are not so lovely on the outside but are stunningly beautiful on the inside and have more than once encountered someone strikingly beautiful with the countenance of a rattlesnake. I do not know if that has a thing to do with “pretty is , as pretty does” but I believe it has a whole lot to do with “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”

For me, life with Asperger’s is often far too overwhelming, as I am sure it is for the neurotypicals of the world as well. I do not mean to imply that we corner the market on being overwhelmed by life and all of it’s many facets. I have lived a long time with Asperger’s, much longer that I thought I would and I often find myself not only overwhelmed, but angry, confused, frustrated, resentful, bitter and yes, I admit, jealous. This are not pleasant emotions and they can fester inside one and poison the human spirit. I became fearful of becoming a “bitter old woman”, which I do not like….I do not like the notion of being one and I do not like bitter old women, they are dreaful. So I have set about on a mission to find as much truth, clarity, happiness and fun I can find in order to fight off that pending old woman. That is proving to be a long, chocked- full- of- rocks  road and it is not always pleasant and uplifting and I think that some answers and solutions will never be found. However, I do believe that the more I can appreciate what I have been given, instead of resenting what I have been given, the less negativity I will encounter and greatly diminish my chances of finishing out life swathed in a blanket of bitterness. So, my friends, with pen and notepad in hand, I am now off to phase two of the mission. I will let you know what I find.

I would like to add that today, I did see a bumper sticker that read “Nuttier Than A Squirrel Turd” and that is one that I will NOT be investigating.

The Isolation of PTSD

PTSD…Post Traumatic Stress Disorder…most commonly associated with veterans of war, as is rightly should be…I cannot begin to comprehend the horrors of fighting a war. However, it is not just a disorder that rears its ugly head at those who fought in the military. It becomes the enemy of most who have experienced what I call personal wars. Those events that come along and rock your world to the point that you can no longer function as you once did prior to the event.

Something, commonly an act of violence , that so distresses the mind that it enters another dimension…one that is unfamiliar, frightening, distressing and very hard from which to escape. It changes you forever and from that day forth, your world, as you once knew it, will never be the same. I guess you could kind of look at it as “that virus that fries the hard drive” of your mind and none of us have an immunity to this type of “virus.”

Symptoms may show up immediately, manifest gradually, or have a delayed reaction, that seemingly strikes out of nowhere. No matter which course they choose, when they arrive, it is far from pleasant.

PTSD involves a lot of anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, hyper vigilance, withdrawing from others and from life…rational and irrational fear, nightmares and many times, the inability to function, at all. It can be treated and it can subside and sometimes, you almost forget it is there but always, it lurks in the shadows of the mind. Life can once again be going along fairly swimmingly and then boom….a certain sound or smell or even a word can bring it all rushing back in a deluge of sweat and rapid pulse, anxiety attacks and total meltdowns. The smallest of things can often result it the largest of “flashbacks.” 

Certain times of the year or “anniversary dates” can also “flare up” some PTSD, regardless of how long you have been on the road to recovery. For me, oftentimes, my body realizes it before my brain can make the connection and realize the reason for my actions or reactions.

A couple of weeks ago, I once again became very antsy about coming home in the dark and about being outside in the yard…two things that I had proudly overcome, yet once again, they were assailing me and it took me a few days to figure out that the month of August is rapidly approaching.

Though many portions of my event still elude me, my body and mind tell me that it was in the month of August that I was in my yard when an individual that I had been unfortunate enough to cross paths with, shot me…twice…in retaliation for turning him in for almost beating the life out of me the previous February. It could very well have been September, but my body tells me it was August. I have worked long and hard to cope with his actions and seldom ever think about them, but as August approaches, my body reminded me.  Once I was “clued in”, I was able to deal with it much easier.

PTSD is not easily shed, though it can be abated but personally, I have found it to be a long, often lonely and isolated road. Others recover from what has happened to you much more quickly than you do, which I find quite understandable. It did not happen to them and I personally feel that until you experience PTSD and all its ugliness, you cannot fully understand the power of this disorder. That is fine by me…I do not want my loved ones to ever fully understand. Prior to this event, I was already a bit on the over protective side, regarding loved one and afterward, yes, it made it even worse…annoying to some I am sure…but know this, I would protect you with my life in order to keep you from ever having to deal with PTSD…not because I have some martyr syndrome, but because I love you.

 It can however, once things have settled again once more, leave one feeling quite abandoned, isolated and alone in ones struggle. Others my forget what happened to you, but rest assured, you will NEVER forget. It can seem as if it no longer matters or that the ones who once greatly supported you appear to view you as an inconvenience. Then there are those who feel they have the ability to decide it is high time you were over whatever set your PTSD into motion.

I do not believe any of these to be true, yet it is frequently hard to “shake” those feelings, but that is just kind of part of it, I think. Basically, I believe it boils down to the matter of “life goes on” with or without your participation.

True, it does often feel as if you no longer matter to your loved ones and often, you wish to either withdraw or cling. But they only experienced second-hand what you experienced up close and personal. I do  not think anyone intentionally abandons us, they just get on with their lives…something not always so easy with PTSD. Those feelings can bring about more hurt, anger and anxiety at the time, but keep in mind, that is all part of it and nobody has truly cast you aside.

I found myself putting a lot of self-induced pressure upon me to get better quicker, as I know that PTSD gave me quirks and characteristics that did not make for good company and with having Asperger’s, I already had enough of those beforehand. Truly, it only made things worse…but one day, my body, mind and soul, knew the time had come for me , not the PTSD, to be in charge again and I had to do it, nobody else could do it for me.

Can I say that my PTSD is cured….Hell NO…as you can see from what I just wrote about. I think there is a chance that it will always be with me and truly, I never know when it will strike. I can say, however, that it can be managed and it does become easier, though in the midst of it, that is hard to believe. Although my life was forever changed by what happened, I do once again have life and a few years ago, I would never have believed it possible.

For those of you who are newer members to the “PTSD Club”, although it may sound impossible, things truly do get better. For the “charter” members, I am sure you understand what I mean about it changing lives and lingering in the recesses of the mind and to all I send great energy, love, prayers and support. It is a very hard row to hoe.

For those who have loved ones with PTSD…even if  they seem back “to normal”…it helps to talk about it every now and then…because not talking about it can often be harder than talking about it and it will help alleviate that feeling of isolation, to once in a while be reminded that yes, you do still matter and someone truly does care for and about you.

A few weeks ago, I was idly reading through a set of what I guess would be properly termed as “inspirational” type cards…not greeting cards, but a deck of cards with positive messages inscribed upon them…I suppose “motivational” would be a more accurate depiction of them. I came across one that set the old wheels to turning. According to the message on this particular card, everything that happens in our lives, every encounter, event, person, each stroke of good luck, and all tragedy…you get my drift…every single one of these events which occur in our lives is for our benefit.

My initial reaction, upon reading this chocked full of wisdom quip was….well now, there is a butt load of crap….scoffing and spitting all the while. But those words, that statement, began bouncing around in my convoluted little brain, as if someone had released the lever on a Pachinko machine and was soon consuming my thoughts , eventually becoming like sideways rain…there was no escaping it, no matter which direction I turned. For those of you who have suffered the wrath of sideways, rain, you know precisely what I mean.

At that point, I felt I had not choice other than to investigate that little matter and do some serious pontificating. I frequently get such things on my mind and cannot let them go until I have worked them out to my satisfaction, often driving myself crazy in the process and frequently dragging a few others along with me for the ride.

I contemplated this matter mightily for sometime, going over certain life events that I would not have  put within five hundred miles of the winner circle…tracing them from the time of the “happening” until present day. I was a bit surprised at what I discovered. Indeed, there was, buried in each unsavory occurrence, a treasure of benefits. There were the gifts of lessons learned, the coming of new and wonderful people into my life, including two of my most “beloveds”,  as well as the removal of some that had no place in my life. The revelation that certain circumstances had given me that extra motivation, in spite of a disability, to be independent and free. If nothing else, I realized that I am a lot tougher, stronger individual that I realized.

After I had chewed upon the matter singly, I then spoke to a couple of the voices of reason and wisdom that grace my life. One of them presented a string of goodness that resulted from a tragic loss, which rather amazed me. Not because she could find the good in the situation, she is the Queen of Good Findings, but from the number of good events in the “string”.  Another shared with me her belief that every event has a lesson to be learned, and that sometimes, we are not always meant to be the student of the lesson, but that we are sometimes meant to be the teacher. I do not know for sure that I have been able to teach anyone a thing, stemming from what often seems to be mountains of adversity, but I truly hope I have.

So, dear readers, I concluded that yes, it could be that every event is for our benefit. I decided that I could not be one hundred percent sure, as I truly have no way of knowing if, without said event, the treasures that I discovered would have remained buried, but I can truly say that in pondering the matter, and dissecting certain unpleasantries, I did find many benefits that have not only enriched my life, but have done wonders to soften the blows of adversity.

For me, Aspergers is terribly confining… a  form of imprisonment of which I am not particularly enamored.  Actually, that is putting it far too mildly, it is at times, dangerously close to maddening and is a constant source of angst and depression which sticks in my craw like lint in the seams of a pocket.

I am uncertain as to whether anyone who does not have Asperger’s    or some form of an anxiety disorder, can fully understand what a mammoth accomplishment it can be or what a harrowing task that the simple act of leaving one’s home can sometimes become.  Though I do so on a daily basis, it is far too often, an extremely stressful event and yeah though I do leave the security of my chamber, it often fills me with great anxiety and requires preparation in advance.

I do have times when I have no reservations about leaving, and once, due to a certain traumatic event, had more anxiety about returning home than leaving my abode. I am thankful that has been reversed and I am back to being neurotic about crossing the threshold to venture into the world. However, it remains a great source of anxiety on many days. Readying myself to go work can leave me mentally and physically exhausted long before my shift begins.

Though I manage to exit the domicile, and therefore, cannot claim to be a prisoner in my own home, I do feel imprisoned by the city in which I live. This, stemming from the fact, that I have extreme issues with travel, which in my eyes, makes Asperger’s not only a fierce warden, but a thief of dreams.

You have no idea how I envy those who travel freely about this world. For as long as I can remember, dating back to the first time I ever laid eyes upon a National Geographic, I have dreamed of the places I would so love to travel and a few times, when I was much younger, my parents took me to a few places, which still have a prime slot in the old memory bank. They might not have been my ultimate choices, but at least I got to go somewhere.

 I have not been anywhere, outside this rapidly enclosing, suffocating city, for far too long. So long in fact, that I often believe that the only way I will ever get the hell out of this town, is when I leave this world, which, in my visions, is on a thundering Arabian stallion, with my personal Spirit Guide along for the ride, which makes saddling up and taking that ride far too tempting at times and I have to remind myself that I have recently declined that option but the belief that once we leave this world, we are free to travel at will, makes it harder at times to stick with my commitment.

I simply cannot pack up and leave for numerous reasons which probably, to a neurotypical, sound beyond neurotic, but I have struggled with this for a lifetime, and some things simply cannot be adequately conquered. For one thing, there are very few people with which I will voluntarily ride  in a vehicle. I have no logical explanation for that, I can only say that it just is the way it is. It makes little sense to me either. I have no fear of flying and will happily jump into a pressurize metal tube and allow a perfect stranger to blast me through the sky. I have flown in a two-seater plane and a jumbo jet with no reservations. However, I cannot do this alone nor can I do it with just anyone.

There is not, in my world, a great number of people with whom I feel comfortable and I can count on one hand, the number of people with whom I feel “safe”, in any and all  situations and after counting, I will have fingers “left over”. It is not so  much that others have done things which make me feel unsafe. I only have what I call the “gut feeling”  when it comes to my “safes” in life.

I find it overwhelmingly difficult to try to explain this in a matter that might sound logical and chances are, that matter does not exist, as all things are not logical nor can everything be explained. Some things just have to be accepted “as is”.

 When I was much younger and traveled with my parents, my Dad was a “safe”. I knew that no matter what happened, he would get us back home once again and not only that, I did not have to sit with a stranger in an airplane…that to me, is unthinkable. The one time I was forced, as a child, to fly alone, I was a total and complete mess upon reaching my destination, even though I got to sit alone the entire flight. I will not go into to the details of what transpired on the trip home, after the airlines accidentally put me on the wrong plane. I will say that flying from Richmond, VA to Knoxville, TN via Chicago, Winston-Salem and Louisville did nothing to improve my travel issues.

I once ventured to New Orleans, with one of the “safes” and had a bodacious time….though I probably drove her nuts, as not only can I not find my way out of a paper bag if both ends were open, but I have an overwhelming fear of getting lost, which, when it happens, puts me in such a tremendous state of panic that I become totally dysfunctional. Ridiculous as it may sound to some, it is quite true and terrifically disabling when it happens. Asperger’s presents it’s recipients with irrational fears and though some can be conquered, many cannot. I have struggled with that “being lost” thing for well over forty years and have yet to slay that dragon,  a fact which distresses me greatly.

I often feel that I have  no choice other than to accept the fact that my dreams are forever lost…that never will I get to see the wild ponies of the OBX, swim with a dolphin, feel the blessed peace and joy of the ocean again, see the Grand Canyon or other national parks besides the Great Smoky Mountains.

To have to admit that I will never see the color of Caribbean water up close and personal or snorkel my way across its uncanny wonder fills me to the brim with despair. To think I will never see a New England beach, to take mounds of pictures that will later become subjects of my paintings…to never see a whale or sea turtle…to never be an eyewitness to the Black Hills or see a real volcano…these thoughts, though I try to keep them buried, often make it difficult to keep any form of hope alive and the yearning to just go somewhere, just one time,  takes on such strength that it actually becomes a physical pain.

As much as I desire to do so, I simply cannot do this on my own and therefore, struggle with the fear that until it is time to ride atop that thundering stallion, that I will be forever stuck in this town, with a heart full of rapidly dying dreams. I just want out for a little while.

….she’s coming for me I know..and on WildFire, we’re both gonna go…M.M.Murphey.

Those of you who know me well are already aware that I am not a fan of holidays as they tend to be rather lonely days and a sore reminder of the downside of having Asperger’s. However, the one thing worse than being alone on a holiday, is working retail on a holiday, especially the fourth of July.

For whatever reason, next to Nascar, the fourth of July has become, for rednecks, the greatest thing since sliced bread and their ultimate holiday of choice. I am working tomorrow and I do not have a “warm fuzzy” feeling about that, but a feeling more likened to a mixture of dread and revulsion, topped off with a touch of fear and anxiety.

Though we will not be terribly busy tomorrow, without fail, we will be subjected to the sudden onset of a frightening stampede of  “lake-goers” who will trample through the store, maniacally grabbing those “last-minute necessities” before charging onward to pollute the area waterways.

This distressing mad dash tends to occur somewhere around ten in the morning…which just happens to be the exact time I am scheduled to be a work tomorrow, so as we speak, I am beefing up on supplements and putting a Xanax stash in my lunchbox, in preparation for what is to come. To make matters worse, my store is located in “that part of town”, where I am sure Fellinini once found great inspiration and several muses.

Without fail, the calmness of an empty store will suddenly be disrupted by the clamor of those desperately in search of charcoal, lighter fluid, Aim-n-Flames (the two pack if you got “em”), folding chairs, mosquito repellent, toilet seats, for that really big game of horse shoes and an occasional small flag on a stick, becoming belligerent because we do not stock the “Confederate” version. There will also be that one fool who thinks it would be a great idea to build a deck that day.

They will be clad in dirty cut-offs, wife-beaters shirts, the shortest of shorts and tube tops that are hanging on for dear life,summer teeth (sum are there and sum are not) while dragging screaming, flip-flop clad children along behind them, leaving a gummy trail of Fudgecicle juice and Kool-Aid in there wake. 

Invariably, there will be one who arrives for the necessity gathering, in water shoes, a t-shirt and Speedos. To that “one”, let me say this…not even your nearest and dearest truly enjoy seeing you clad in a “banana hammock”, they just don’t want to hurt your feelings. Personally, I think they should…as one of my “beloveds” once told me, sometimes, feelings just have to be hurt.

Just as quickly as they burst upon the scene, they will blissfully exit, leaving a fragrant little bouquet of stale beer, unwashed bodies (no need to bathe if you are going to the lake, right?) and motor oil along with numerous trails of goo, composed of  frozen desserts, soft drinks and things I really don’t want to think about, that a pressure washer would fail to blast away. The masses will then pile into vehicles laden with coolers, lawn chairs (and yes, some will ride in these chairs in the back of a truck), copious amounts of Milwaukee’s Best beer, a medium to large-sized arsenal coupled with enough fireworks to wipe out a small country.

 Once the exodus is complete, we shall then retreat to the break room, to curl up briefly in the fetal position, head out to smoke,  hide in the bathroom to regain composure or begin to count the hours until we can partake of an adult beverage. Ahhhh…nothing like a holiday in retail.

Happy Fourth of July Everyone!


As an adult with Asperger’s, I have somewhat learned to keep a lot of the “symptoms” under control. However, there are times, when this truly becomes impossible for me.

 For the chosen few in my life, bless your sweet hearts, that I sometimes inform that I am  having a bad Asperger’s day, allow me to elaborate on just what that truly means for when I am in the midst of such days, I am too dysfunctional to offer a logical explanation.

It goes far and beyond how it sounds. I am not just having a crappy day, I am saying that due to circumstances, sometimes known and frequently unknown, and often a result of extreme sensory overload,  I cannot control the aspects of my Asperger’s today and am therefore waving the old white flag of surrender and pleading for help. I feel as if not one of my synapses are firing, I cannot think clearly and can understand little of what is going on around me. I am internally riddled with anxiety, cannot sleep  and my entire neurological system is misfiring and I am not only miserable, but exhausted, as I have tried every one of my own “tricks of the trade” for containing this outbreak. I am currently convinced that there are people in Hell who are getting longer better that I am and please, if there is any way, give me a little assistance here by providing some sort of distraction as none that I can come up appear to be working and I have been “working” at it for a very long time. I say a “bad Aspie day” but in truth, I have struggled for several days to ward it off, as I feel the onset early on, and have not only worn myself the hell out, but have totally failed  to be the victor.

For whatever reasons, distractions tend to help put the old system back in order. It doesn’t have to be a big distraction, just a pleasant one and obviously one from an outside source, also a pleasant one. Such distractions of the pleasant nature tend to turn this type of day around drastically, thus not only ending the misery, anxiety and confusion, but also sparing me the after effects that follow “bad Aspie days. I liken the to having a Bendryl or a NyQuil hangover. There are times, following such an event where it has taken me four or five days to fully recover from the ill effects of what having a ‘bad Aspie day” can bring about.

To those of you who take the time to indulge me at such times, I cannot thank you enough and you have no idea what a wonderful gift that truly can be. I do not know that distractions are what work best for all Aspergians, but to those of you who have a beloved Aspie in your life, find out what helps to quell their “bad days” and if at all possible, help them out with those…you can make a huge difference with even a small effort.

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