Black, White and Grey …
“He was asking too many questions and he was asking them too quickly. They were stacking up in my head like loaves in the factory where Uncle Terry works. The factory is a bakery and he operates the slicing machines. And sometimes a slicer is not working fast enough but the bread keeps coming and there is a blockage. I sometimes think of my mind as a machine, but not always as a bread-slicing machine. It makes it easier to explain to other people what is going on inside it.”
― Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Getting to grips with the Aspergers’ Syndrome diagnosis of 2009 was hard work, l was already just getting used to the Bipolar diagnosis of 2007, so now here l had to contend with yet another piece of my life puzzle. An entire can of worms had become opened in the space of three years. It led to me really digging deep into who l thought l was, had been, was to become and more poignantly who was l expected to be in the futures to come?
This poem was written in May 2010, when l lived alone with my two dogs, alone with no real friends by my side, no family close by in a forty foot caravan deep in the Lincolnshire Fens, attending a job where l was being mentally abused daily because of this new found quirk. My landlords saw me as an oddball, a mentally deficient individual, who was not just weird, but eccentrically unstable – an outcast to life and society!
At that time just behind me, was a broken relationship because of this diagnosis, a family who thought l was a joke and deserved being ostracised, and a broken business, who now lived with two dogs as his best and most trusted friends, attending horses and speaking only to other animals – the man before the diagnosis’s was no longer residing within his brain – he was travelling deep, sometimes very deep into his dark vaults, his memory bank. He was becoming angry, bitter and cynical to people, life relationships, friendships, family in fact anything.
Living alone as l did in what was basically a beautiful raw country, open to all the elements, l was able to when not working with the animals walk for hours with my dogs and think, ponder the load, try and understand my life, my faults, flaws, upsets and disappointments.
Between 2010 to 2013 l wrote a book, entitled “Yesterdays Adult, Tomorrows Child” which never once saw the light of day, it was a very dark, disturbing read – a darker journey into the mind, in 2015 l started rewriting the book with a changed title “Dancing In The Grey“, this poem came from these times.
In 2015, l finally admitted that l was proud of who l was, l was proud to be an Aspergian but that statement only arrived after strolling and journeying through a very long dark tunnel, similar and yet strangely different to the tunnel l had walked down during my 9 year depression.
Black, White and Grey
Many are oft confused by Asperger’s Syndrome,
Hardly surprising considering the lack of tomes,
Even as to what kicks it off, is a mystery,
Genetic errs, but no clearly determined pathology,
It’s not a disease, and as such there is no cure,
Characterized disorder of repetitive interests and behaviours!
Not to be confused with autism, but part of the same spectrum,
And no, none of us are stupid, or slow or even dumb!
Known for an supposed ‘above average’ intelligence,
Intellectually we could knock most off the sixpence,
Sure we have our faults and flaws, and they are intense,
But harmless they are, and never ever cause offence,
Don’t get us confused with those that sputter profanities,
Turrets is a completely different ‘psychology’, game wise,
We can be clumsy and use the odd phrases or words,
Not forgetting the ability to speak and think the absurd!
Because it’s not a damning illness, there’s no treatment per se,
Overall, considerations awarded to improving our ‘grey’,
Addressing our communications, looking into our routines,
Managing the way in which we express, and are to be seen,
By others whose lack of knowledge at times can be damning,
Comes with the territory of the innocently and honest beings,
Our functioning might be perceived to be repetitive or obsessed,
But what is wrong with making sure, that one does their best?
Disorder is usually present at our incarnation; we have no choice,
Childhood can be hard, or easier for those who understand our ‘voice‘,
We speak the truth, honesty is our key, yet emotionally open to abuse,
But we still walk the path of constant discovery, despite the bruise,
Seeing the world differently through non aggressive eyes,
Makes us open targets, for those who berate and continually lie,
It‘s said that we have no empathy, and this is not entirely true,
Seeing the truth as others refuse to acknowledge, is all we do
We prefer to speak as we see it, within the black and the white,
Directly this might be seen as wrong, or by a few, honest delight!
Many Apies as we are known, are not diagnosed until later in life,
Thankfully it makes the jigsaw come together, and explains the strife!
Like myself, always accused, awarded and treated for stress,
Diagnosis of the syndrome arrived a little late, to clear up my mess,
But l live with it now on a daily basis, and have come to understand,
That despite not seeing the grey, l am l believe a better man!
Guy or Bloke, Your Choice