Dancing in the Grey – Life with my Asperger’s
The views within these chapters are mine and may not necessarily resonate with others on the spectrum – however bear in mind the quote by Dr. Stephen Shore .. “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”
Written now four years ago, and three years after the very first attemp, so in all since 2012 l have written two autobiographies with a third being started this year – but life changes so quickly, dramatically and is always evolving, l do wonder if l can ever write an autobiography and be totally content with the end product? Or is that the very nature of my Asperger’s, my autism, that l shall never stop evolving and changing and coming to understand my inner core, till the day when it matters not – as l have said before ‘What’s the point of exercising these thoughts – what is the point?What does it matter what the point is – just live it!’
[16th February 2019]
Chapter 1 – Ep 2
The Rise of the NeuroAspie
Stephen King wrote in his book ‘On Writing’ that once you finished your work, that ideally you should put it away for a minimum of six months, to rest it, but also to address the contents at a later date for any rewrites or edits, corrections and changes, as six months later you would be more refreshed and could look at the book with renewed eyes.
If l am to be honest l started writing ‘Dancing in the Grey’ some ten years before l actually sat down to write it properly, and even when l commenced that project l never knew that five years later l would still have so much trouble with it. This is in reality the third re write, this is the third title, in all l must have penned out some four thousand pages. A story about the search for the inner me, myself and l – a journey into not just discovery but also a re-identification of my personality, a profile that for many years became lost in the fine woven threads of a Neurotypical society in which l found myself having to survive and exist in. In the last seven years specifically my life has changed more dramatically than the years which brought me to that point itself and they alone were fraught with enough change as was.
For the last twelve months or so, the finished form was sitting in my computer untouched and unviewed – resting, awaiting my return. King had said six months; l gave it a year, because l was evolving again, this time thankfully for the better. But of course it would mean that with so much change, that when l did return, again l would be faced with not just a re-edit but almost a completely new re-write!
Have any of you – the readers – sat down for a few hours, and tried to write out your life, to not make it too personal, but objective, to make it read well and make sense to another? It is not easy, let me tell you. What do you include in the content if you are not famous, or well known? Is your life going to be making any difference to the viewer of the end product? Will it enrich their lives in any way? Will your writings aid them in any way? These are important questions you know, it is not an imaginary story l am about to tell, it’s factual not fiction. In short what is to follow in the chapters, is the story of my life through several pairs of eyes all of my own, l want to try and create for you a picture of who l am, who l was and more importantly who l have become and continue to evolve into the man l am today from the confused and often muddled little boy of my youth.
My life, has not been easy, no, not a cry for sympathy at all, just an observation based upon fact. I did not grow up in a war torn state, not directly, although living with my parents was like a war zone of its own many a time, which brought its own chaos and complexities. I was not poverty stricken, nor a refugee, and l grew up with all my limbs intact and capacity to think for myself, although at times you will see that sometimes this was denied of me, and not just as a youngster. Adaption and change, routine and pattern, repetition and grind, constantly thinking, over thinking, over analyzing these are all part of my unique individual being and bearing, they make me who l am today. I was born, and grew, and developed and evolved, and evolved and evolved some more. Life of recent years has all been about understanding, acceptance and comprehension, but more importantly about fulfillments, satisfaction and balance. Those six items may all sound easy to attain, and to a certain degree if armed with the right knowledge they are, but many people will also agree that the latter three are not always that easy to acquire, keep and maintain as it takes work and commitment.
Dancing in the Grey is about my life with Aspergers, before recognition to the years that followed the diagnosis. About changes in my life, from the smallest to the most dramatic, about routines long established thrown aside and discarded voluntarily, it is about understanding the reason to change, and more to the point of accepting the disorder itself – the latter is not always that easy to do for many. For me, Aspergers is not just a way of life; it is the way of MY Life – it is about understanding the reason behind the quirkiness, the eccentricity, the odd behaviours and fascination with obsession, and the times of inappropriateness as is the way and nature of this beast. Knowing why l tick the way l do, why l fit into society but in truth feel so distant from it, why l seem to view life in such a black and white format, and why oh why l have so much trouble dancing in the grey!
However, these days instead of simply surviving to exist, l now live my life to enjoy it, l don’t deny l still have clumsy moments, or that l am still perceived as being a little awkward by those who do not know me, but l am much better at things. I can fit in more comfortably because l have learned my limits and boundaries, l don’t over do life in such a way that causes me to burn out or become chaotically and dangerously stressed. Trust me when l say there is an absolute comfort when you are able to embrace the knowledge that you are winning the battle of control over your emotions. Gone for me are the days when l must pretend to be like everyone else on the planet, now l can say and mean it, that l am proud to be an Aspergian not ‘just’ because it is a label to attach to my uniqueness but more importantly because to be able to say this so openly has been an accomplishment, equal to all the other achievements in my life. The days when masks had to be worn daily to fit into society just to function have also long gone.
Rediscovering my personality over the last few years has been long and arduous, a process of peeling back all the protective layers life covered you with like an extreme sun block punishment! When back to skeletal form you realise that you are still there, just older and wiser. Realigning your individuality is l should imagine similar to a fresh divorcee after a long term marriage when you have had to compromise certain beliefs and opinions for the other partner.
Dancing in the Grey is a brutally honest and open truthful book, a look into the disorder itself, it will at times swing back and forth between the years, it has lightness and darkness, it discusses many topics including sexuality. It looks at my Father’s behaviour and the disorder within him, and looks into how it affected us all at home. Certain chapters at the end have some of the poetry displayed that l wrote. Not all of the poems are present, and the ones that are – are not in any order, they are just present. The last twelve months have seen the greatest changes of all in the last seven years, l have travelled from recognition to diagnosis, from confusion to understanding and more importantly l have journeyed from being an uneven Aspie into a balanced NeuroAspie, which is what l think we need to be.
Suzanne has written my epilogue, it makes excellent and funny reading l think. It clearly shows many eyes that ‘Aspies’ can not always see things through another’s eyes; we can not see it from their perspective. When l reread the ‘first date’ experience, l did chuckle; l had never looked at it like that before, l just took everything in my stride. I have come a long way since that first date, a long way indeed.
I have spent most of my life trying to ‘fit in’ to the crowd, the groups, basically society as a whole. I no longer care if l fit into the world around me, l fit into my world, that’s enough, however it takes knowing who you are to finally achieve that and that is one accomplishment l can now say l own.
But my life was not always like this, it was hardship, sadness, emptiness, dark and frightening and foreboding, l have travelled far from then, see for yourself.
Chapter 2 – Episode 3 – Soon