In a defensive move, I feel the need to make it clear that my personal investigation of Aspergers is not an attempt to place blame on anyone else for where I am stuck. Rather, it is an attempt to gain wisdom by examining my own patterns, especially where they reinforce my own life-myth, that I am too hip for the room, that people won’t get the joke.
The serenity prayer is clear; we need the strength to change what we can, the serenity to accept what we cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference.
I know that we can’t change our nature. Strategies that work for extroverts won’t simply work for introverts, Aspies can’t just change their mind to be neurotypical, and transpeople are transpeople, whatever façade they are working with at the moment.
I also know, though, that we can transcend the expectations and conventions bound to nature if we find new and potent ways to change, know that wisdom can lead to new strategies and new tools that are game changing. In the tension between acceptance and change, only wisdom can shift the balance.
My wisdom is based on my life experience. My life experience is based on my deep relationship to those with Aspergers. The challenges of children raised by AS parents are little understood, even today, especially the challenges of children who have two AS parents, who have no neurotypical model and aide in growing up.
To get unstuck, I need change. To create change, I need new wisdom, need to understand where my expectations are blinkered, limited, wrong.
Still, needing to get help understanding the neurotypical is something I have worked for all my life. I knew that between being seen as ADD and being trans that my mind was far from typical in the world, but then again, I also know that when we see any mind as typical we probably just haven’t examined it enough, because every human has their own mind.
When I have asked those who swim in this typical sea to help me gain understanding of relationships, I have usually found failure. To them, it just is the way things work, and they can’t understand why their strategies don’t just work for me. They never had to struggle out wisdom, they “just are,” so why can’t I just be, too?
As I said a few days back, one would think that normies could help you learn to be normal, but because their normality is received and not consciously constructed, well, it’s just not something they own well enough to teach. Normative is rarely something we understand at a meta level, instead just being something we model from others and assimilate into.
My difference becomes frustrating to them and so they get frustrated with me, which just affirms my expectation that others won’t understand, that I am too hip for the room and people won’t get the joke. It perpetuates my patterns, leaving me, well, stuck.
As I have said so many times, people love the fact that I can walk into their world, but it becomes frustrating and draining to me because they can’t walk into mine. Being an empath is not only rare, it also has a high cost, the price of being a wounded healer.
My challenge is to build a new relationship with the world that is liberating and fulfilling to me, moving beyond the point at which I am stuck. That requires a new understanding of myself and the world so I can commit to transformation beyond my current limits.
Understanding how my experience as the child of Aspergers parents shapes and constrains my expectations of the world, programming me, seems vital to moving beyond my current state of being. It removes blame from my parents, accepting them as they were, focusing instead on lessons learned and hearts broken.
Jennifer Saunders has had success with a coach who helped her move beyond creative blocks by identifying a time when work was fun and not piled high with negative expectations. He helps her find a playful and joyous approach to life, affirming her possibility rather than poking at her blocks.
Becoming who you would be if you didn’t have all of today’s expectations piled on you means you have to go back to a time before those expectations were crushing. For me, though, those expectations are incredibly deep, going back to my first moments with parents who had a limited “theory of mind” that didn’t allow them to enter my world. I was never a shark, living in a world where I was the centre.
To become unstuck, to move beyond stasis, I need to embrace change.
To embrace change, I need to find hope, the belief that change can deliver better.
To believe that life can be better, I need new wisdom, a new understanding of where limits give way to possibility.
Is there a playful and joyous life where I am not stifled by the patterns learned in engaging those whose mind had the shape first described by Dr. Asperger?
Or, more importantly, do I have the heart to believe that there is?