Dancing in the Grey – Life with my Asperger’s
© Rory Matier 2015
Please Note this book was written in 2015.
This is a somewhat long chapter that will be broken down into two episodes.
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.”
Chapter 6 – Ep 9
The Lost Years
Writing this book over the course of five years has been more than a challenge, it has in many ways been a series of inspirations. In the process of researching and rediscovering my identity, l have made many changes, some incredibly small known only to me, but others that were remarkably large and noticed by those close to me.
Five years seems like a long time, but in truth the way time passes for me today, it feels like only yesterday some days. My writing style alone has switched gear several times. My partner saw the original manuscript [Yesterday’s Adult, Tomorrow’s Child 2012] which was very dark and morbid, which was written at a time when l literally felt at the most confused and vulnerable point in my life and was going through a personal hell.
To the second copy with a new title, no longer as confused, and at terms with my label of Aspergers, to the manuscript l pen today [May 2015][. The writing style from yesterday in comparison with today is a very different flow and that is because the man has changed so vastly.
When l first started this project, l was incredibly angry at the world, my family and life in general. I was bitter that perhaps my life was spiraling out of control, and fearful that maybe l would never know a life any different to how it was then. An odd ball hermit living his life out with his dogs, stuck at the back of the world in a forty foot metal box!
The early days DID bring relief, but it was so short lived, it took from 2008 – 2010 to finally accept what Aspergers meant. That year  was a very odd year if l am to be brutally honest with the reader, it was bloody hard work and a far cry from a peaceful walk in the woods. I battled demons everyday inside my head, and had to survive the bullies in the outside world. I just felt so frustrated at my lot, not a case of feeling sorry for myself, no not at all – for my dogs l could and would get through it. I learned to become submissive to my landlords’ demands and accepted that for that moment if l was to survive l had to become a lesser man.
Life in the caravan changed me without a shadow of a doubt, if l was quirky before arriving there; l became far worse during my residency. I allowed the disorder to literally consume me, as l thought that it was the only life l had left so l had best get to grips with it. I was obsessed with understanding everything about it and me to the point almost of my absolute destruction. Observers could only look in wonder and shake their heads in sadness and disapproval l should imagine. Asking why this intelligent man should allow such torment in both physical and mental forms to be subjected upon his soul!
The situation there, especially from late 2010 to the time l left in late 2012 was horrendous in truth, and l often wondered if l would make it to the next day at times or whether it would all just become too much and l might simply take my own life? My two dogs were my saviors; l could not possibly imagine leaving them at the mercy of the people there.
I needed the time out that was true, and on that level, the peacefulness of where l lived awarded me that, but it came at a hell of a cost to my integrity I have to say. For as much as l discovered about my personality during this time, the years were lost in terms of progression on other levels! Those two landlords and their so called ‘management’ was bordering on cruelty, different to my Father’s own brand, but not by much! They gave a new meaning to manipulation as it travelled under the personal slavery banner!
In their eyes, my time out to re-identify with who l was, only served them. For as far as they were concerned Aspergers actually spelled out stupidity. Naivety and trust spelled imbecile, and quirky behaviour spelled retard! Harsh words, but you were not there and l was, and so l write with some authority on this.
Life under those conditions only served to further exacerbate certain aspects of my disorder and the result led to a disturbing set of circumstances that l never wish to experience ever again!
I have no idea if this book will ever see the light of day to an active readership and in many ways it matters not in truth, it needed to be written for my own sake l think. It has taken me considerable time from the time of thinking l was being called Rainman to where l sit now revisiting the original concept and revising. It was a diary for me through some very difficult times of coming to terms with Aspergers. I had no support, l was diagnosed by a psychologist and not by a diagnostician specializing in this disorder, and she could offer no further support apart from the diagnosis itself with a few side dishes. I had lost faith in the medical professions years before for their own blunders as far as l was concerned regarding my ‘mental health issues’.
As l went through countless Internet sites in my quest for information regarding Aspergers it became quite clear to me that there was not a great deal of support in my area and also not a great deal of information concerning the disorder for my age bracket.
There was plenty for the likes of concerning parents with their children, but not a great deal for me. I was also very interested in the darker side of the disorder, as for many years leading me up to the diagnosis l had experienced terrible confusions and wanted to know if it was connected. I openly concede to the fact that before the original book was written l had not read any books on the subject for l had limited funds and access to literature on the topic, and was in a very difficult and dark place as was, so my research was performed online.
I have accomplished much in my years, not just coming to terms with this, but surviving many ordeals, l am beyond chuffed with my achievements to date, and if some of my friends really knew the intrinsic details of everything, they would not continue on with the lines of knowing me ‘really well’.
By the time the original draft was written and finalised, l knew that my mind had fully awakened, there would be no turning back, l had to continue accepting change and challenge in order to move forwards.
Little incidences from when l was young continue these days to pop into my head without any provocation nor hinting, as such l know without a measure of doubt that l am indeed Aspergic, but equally as much know fully well that so too is my Father. Like him, l was born with the disorder, l did not suddenly become AS overnight when l hit 44 years of age. The Lost Years as a chapter comprises my memories and reflections of the growing up years, of a young boy who only shared small amounts of time with his AS Father. A man who he loved, a man with a problem, a problem that unbeknownst was shared and conflicted by both of us, although this is my chapter, in many ways it is our story.
Unforgotten Lonely Men
I would be lying if l was to say that l had an entirely unhappy childhood. Although it came with its very own issues, growing up in my household was no easy task, and from what l can gather somewhat different to the friends l had at the time and their own family life. Although to a degree similarities and daily stresses lived with my friends’ households, they always seemed happier with their lives than l did.
Certain goings on in my house could only live in my mind and not be shared with any of my friends, l could discuss with my Mother, but she always had so much going on that l had no real wish to burden her with my own concerns, so basically kept it bottled and retreated into my own world when at home. I am not saying that l never vented my bottling, l did, at times frequently, but it never came out as an isolated argument or yelling off, but came to me in more aggressive outbursts and unusual actions.
For many years l was in absolute fear of my Father, and truth be known it was only during the year of my awakening did that fear subside. He has improved greatly as a ‘Father’ with age to a certain degree and ish at best, it is almost as if the paternal aspect in him has matured like a quality Bordeaux – having said that he is of course an Aspie, and is so very different to me in many ways.
For me personally l can only see that this disorder arrived to us via the gene pool, l inherited some from him and some from my Mother – way of the world. I am more emotional than my Father, and so is my Mother and l have more empathy for others than he does. My Mother likened his lack of emotion to Hitler! I am not sure if he is without emotion, as l have seen him display it at times, and as l stated originally, he has matured more as he has aged and so too has this behaviour. When l was younger he at times appeared to be remarkably detached from everything, and especially his family.
Our home was so very different to other homes; on occasion l visited friends and was present for tea or dinner and on rare outings ‘staying over’ and l saw a different style of family life to my own. Quieter in a natural way and not forced for starters, routines that had an established feel to them and not like the lard like tensions l knew of that could be cut with a knife. My friends’ houses seemed to have a flow of energy within them, allowing the hum drum to just … be. My life at home was turbulent – there was always tensions, angers flaring, constant arguments, dull silences, daily stresses, weekly violence’s and just lots of trouble.
I used to ask myself how did l survive home life intact, well l did and l didn’t, physically yes of course, mentally l am none too sure – l am pretty sure l left home in a relatively broken state, but by that time l was already wearing lots of masks. Then l compare my home life to the days in the metal box, and know that in many ways being at home with my family was hard but not as hard as the days with just my dogs and l!
At home l was subjected to as much mental cruelty as my Mother was and had to constantly undergo the barrage of questions and accusations aimed at me because of my own ‘quirky’ behaviour.
“Are you on drugs, are you gay?” From the age of fourteen onwards can be hard to live with, the former because of my eccentricity and the latter because of my shyness with girls. Too soft, overly sensitive, cry baby, Mummy’s boy, stupid, retarded, never amount to anything, not worth the air you breathe or the space you take up in this world, you are not my son, you are my whore’s son and other heavy handed statements are most assuredly hard to take at any age, but at the age of fourteen … destructive.
No fucking wonder l was of nervous disposition, who the hell wouldn’t be? Meanwhile my Sister on the other hand never received this from him, but she received a hard time from my Mother. I put his behaviour towards me down to his own confusions of an unknown illness [my Mother’s words] and his drinking habits, and place my Mothers’ aggression towards my Sister because of her built up frustrations. My Sister could not hit her back like my Father did. And if l was to lash out at my Father, l knew he would damage me beyond just mentally.
Is it hard to imagine why we are so dysfunctional these days when you read the above? Or why their son feels so very distant and detached to them, or to his Sister who was so favoured by his Father when everyone was growing up and getting older? I firmly believe without a shadow of doubt, that living with my Father as we did, scarred the three of us for life.
My Mother these days is not the woman she was when l lived at home, in some ways l do not blame her, in other ways l think she needs to find peace where she can and move on with her life and drop the bitterness. In the last twelve months my parents have started talking which after the way she spoke about him for years after the divorce and leading up to last year l am astonished about this move. I do see my Mother in a different light to yesterday, but this has only come about as a result of my own aging process and understanding more of this disorder and the effects it can have on others, especially partners and even more so when the disorder is not known about or understood.
My Father’s behaviour when l was younger, has always been hard to address in these manuscripts, but with this third draft l am more relaxed and comfortable about addressing it in detail as l think it is important and relevant. I should imagine if l ever draft a fourth book, then it will be even more balanced than this one, and quite possibly hold more information on my parents.
To simply say he was a violent man – mentally, physically and emotionally – just does no justice to how he could mete out his own pain onto his family. He chooses to not remember the time he was a husband to my Mother and a Father at home, perhaps this is his way of dealing with his guilt. He prefers to forget his own history, and maybe that is the right thing – l don’t know. What l do know is that no amount of ‘Sorry’ will make those years disappear for any of us. As the quote suggests, ‘People do not dislike history, they dislike their history!’ And l think this is more than apt and descriptive with regards my Father.
My Mother forever when l was younger would have us all believe that she was constantly dying; she was continually in her eyes ill. And when she could find no satisfaction from that area, she would insist that l was ill to the doctor’s. She is in her mid 70’s now, and happier that finally the medical profession is taking her seriously. Never mind that as she ages, more problems will arise to affect her health, everything that is wrong with her today is as a direct result of when she lived with my Father as far as she is concerned, l do not think that will ever change.. They have been divorced for nearly thirty years, and still the slightest pain or problem is his fault.
She insisted for years she did not ‘hate’ him, just that she disliked him with a burning intensity! She refutes claims that say she was and is a hypochondriac, but only because now, nearly thirty years later are the doctors saying she is not well. Do not misunderstand my writing here and consider it flippancy, l can sympathise with how badly my Mother was treated by my Father and acknowledge he was not an easy man to live with under the same roof.
He was too much at times and at others times never enough, always too little. Time was always the essence with him, l find it odd that he was always so bedazzled by it, yet many a time he was never near by, he was using it to his own advantage and hardly shared much of it with his family. Perhaps the imprint of his own fascination has stayed with me, l am also mesmerised by time, predominately ‘yesterday, today and tomorrow’, for l noticed these appear a lot in my poetry.
Of course his aggressive ways would have left a ‘never to shift stain’ in her memory, and this may well have weakened her immunity to many things. His aggression lingers with me also, the amount of masks l had to don for just that alone frightens me in reflection, l will never forget his actions.
My Mother and my Sister lived in a household with two Aspergic males, and that can not have been easy, one without emotion, one over sensitive, both prone to violent outbursts and flared tempers, although one very open and abusive to others whilst the other had to be guarded and destructed slowly within.
Yet l have forgiven him, and my Mother has not. I am indifferent to my Father, my Mother still holds a personal connection to the man, not wittingly perhaps, but for her to continue to hold him accountable for all wrong doings on the health front means that she has not yet let go of the anger and perhaps never will. Despite my indifference to the man, l do love my Father … well l think l do.
With my own diagnosis and as such the understanding that has come to me over the years since then, l have equally learned more about my Father and not just myself. The Lost Years were finally coming together and completing an absent jigsaw puzzle. A man who l have very clear memories of from my younger years who confused, terrorised, worried and thought nothing of scarring me almost daily.
At 45 the year of my diagnosis, it came to weigh on my mind that some of the symptoms l had been displaying were very similar to his of the years before. I have never displayed violence to other people like he did, l turned the anger back in on my mind and my body, l scarred myself. My Father was a bully, my Mother a skilled manipulator. He would seek the glory of confrontation, and l would be awarded the title of weak because l avoided all conflict. I made a vow to myself and my Mother that l would do whatever was needed to NEVER become like my Father in any aspect. That vow turned into inner conflict and haunted me for years.
His behaviour was considered erratic and off beat, my own was considered eccentric and off kilter, we were both perceived as odd, and equally eyed each other up and down as odd balls as well. We both had quirks, thankfully although he and l share certain similarities it does stop there. We were opposites to each other, no ying and yang for us. Like me, he also had a difficult childhood filled with its own turmoil’s and obstacles; from the little that l can remember of his own Father, he was in all probability an Aspie as well.
When you try to write an autobiography, you try to write it in such a way that it comes across as balanced, you are in fact filling it with content from your own life, memories, reflections and moments. I should imagine that if my Mother was to read the finished product, she would think in certain chapters l was defending my Fathers’ actions, and this would not be true, but l could understand how she may feel disappointed. Can l defend his violence? Of course l can not.
In my younger days up to around my late thirties l too had an explosive anger and horrifying temper, l too was violent but as l have stated, not towards others, only myself. I was very aware of the damage l could have cast onto another, so learned that in order to not become my Father and follow in his footsteps, that l would have to vent other ways and exert that anger in another direction, and so was born the art of self harm and mutilation.
These years, l do not have the same temper as l once did, l do not doubt that if the darkness was to return alongside depression and stress that my temper would not be as sedate as it is today. But l have learned to combat it through control – my environment, and more importantly knowing and understanding my limits and boundaries. I am an ex self – harmer and that is an accomplishment to be seriously proud of. I have not sliced and diced myself for around three years now, but l do wear the badge of survival in that area. My arms hold scars of brutal dignity and pride. Proud of cutting my flesh you ask? NO, pride that l have stopped.
I learned through counseling that responding in anger to justifiable reasons and acting accordingly and appropriately was the way forwards and l do agree. If conflict arises, or heated discussions or stress, l simply walk away, and l am happy to do that. But more importantly, do not simply react.
Although my ex wife witnessed many of my own violent episodes and explosions when l would see red and the black rage would emerge, and even though not once did l ever raise any fist of aggression towards her, she was l believe on many occasions scared for her safety and emotional well being.
For there is nothing worse than seeing someone you love become violent, and l should imagine that during the worst of my self harming episodes, she feared further that one evening she may return home to a dead husband. The fact that she like my Mother learned sadly to walk on egg shells should not be denied as a system of coping, and that over time her love started to disappear, and in its place a loathing would have begun, which may explain why she at the end of our time together in fact hated me.
My Mother unlike my ex wife, was beaten physically by my Father and it was not just her, that had learned to walk on those very same egg shells in his presence and tread carefully so as not to offend his senses, but also myself and my Sister. I am no better than my Father in many ways, for l too have hurt women emotionally during my travels in life, albeit not intentionally nor deliberately, but the confusions and the pain, not forgetting the screaming within my mind was very hard to control and restrain.
People say that l am allowing the disorder to consume me, this is true, but this is my answer. If you know that you are at your most stressful when confronted by certain conflicts, is it not wise to step aside and walk away? Or is it wiser to allow the conflict to cause you so much pain that you become a danger to not only yourself, but others? I have chosen to step away, for only by doing so am l able to control to a certain degree the disorder itself. I have said that l believe that there is a dark side to the syndrome, there are many evils in this world, but none come even slightly close to the pure evil that can reside within your own mind if let loose.
My Mother fails at times to recognise her own flaws and whilst she is justified in her bitterness towards my Fathers actions from their time together during their thirty year marriage. I at times can not help but wonder if she either wittingly or unwittingly manipulated certain triggers within his personality? I have trigger points myself and both my ex wife and my last partner knew how to depress them when they felt the need to do so.
We are easy to wind up, that is a fact, and we can despite our intelligence become confused very quickly, because the grey befuddles the black and the white logic we prefer to live by. Who else but a loving partner would know how to cause the problems?
Then when we explode, overwhelmed by the emotions themselves, our flaws are thrown back in our faces. Okay now that may well ring a bell to Neurotypical readers, it is the basis of seeking conflict if someone wants an argument, but of course if you are Aspergic and your partner does not know that, then are they guilty? Tricky question, in many ways yes of course they are, whatever buttons they pop they are still looking for an argument.
With my Mother, my ex wife and my last partner, they too wanted an argument out of their partners, they wanted some feedback to something, in the case of my Mother she wanted my Father to display empathy to her and show her some love and he continually failed in her eyes. My ex wife wanted me to explain my lack of sociality, my demand for quiet times … alone and so on, whilst my ex partner – well who knows what she wanted in truth. However, she knew in the middle of our relationship l had Aspergers, for that is when the diagnosis arrived and she knew very well how to manipulate anger rages from deep within my vaults.
My Father was no angel, l openly admit to this, he was not perfect, but then who of us is truly perfect? Perhaps no one has thought of mentioning it to my Father, for to do so would in fact suggest that he was not perfect – he had flaws – he God forbid might have some kind of impairment which would be unacceptable. He is diabetic and my Mother had very strange views on this alone believing that if they were to have sexual relations she might fall victim to the contagions’! He lives with diabetes and is willing to accept this as a natural fault, yet can not possibly even host the notion that there might be something mentally wrong delivered onto him by inherited genes?
My Father knows l am Aspergic as l have told him many times, yet not once to my knowledge has he ever looked it up on the Internet to glean an understanding of the ‘disability’ his son has. For l firmly believe that even to bother reading up on it, means he is interested – if he is interested, it means he would have to invest some time to the research – and maybe, just maybe he is fearful of what he might find?
My Mother could be very cutting as l have found many women can be, no not sexist, just an honest observation and a learned experience. There is a quote that sums it up perfectly ‘Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned’. Meaning in my eyes, that there is no force as powerful as an angry woman!
My parent’s marriage fell apart, it was that simple, and she would say she would only stayed for my Sister, but once she had left the home, that would be it.
Once she loved my Father, and as hard as she continued to try and love him, she found it to be a very hard and unrewarding task. My Father in his own way did love us all, but he struggled [in my eyes] to display it as my Mother wanted it to be shown, years on, l can honestly say that l believed he was at a loss most of the time emotionally.
Personally these days l look at things a little more philosophically – l believe that if you are truly with the right person to begin with then the relationship is bound for success through thick and thin times, but let us all be honest we do not always have the luxury of finding this first time around. My Father would write later on his life, many years after the divorce that whilst he loved my Mother, he knew he never loved her enough as she was not his true love.
My Father was a career bound man, he was very ambitious, at certain times in his life quite ruthless, and l should imagine that he would not stop to think at times of the path he took, just as long as he arrived at his destination. With an indifferent attitude, he would side swipe many novices out of his way. And l know from distant conversations, he was not always that well liked at work. Despite everything, he did what he thought was right, be this in business or in his personal life, and whilst in the latter during my earlier years of growing up, it brought me very close to hating him, l can see and understand now why.
Neither of my parents were faultless, there is no such a thing as the flawless parents, there are no guides out there in the market for sets of individual parents, and there were certainly no guides out there for Aspergian and NT couples, in fact of the two possibilities there was nothing covering the remote existence of the disorder itself. I know my Mother requested of my Father to visit Doctors and psychiatrists in an attempt to curb his anger management, his violent outbursts, and l know equally as much my Father did not see anything wrong in his actions, and would not be told by anyone that he was in the wrong. If anything, he had an intolerance of differing opinions other than his own.
He took to drink many a time, was an adulterer and a gambler, was very materialistic, as said ambitious and career orientated, not really much of a family man, and yet he was there at times, just not often enough. I would like to say that he was a devoted man, and even now l have trouble identifying that with the man l know and love. He was and is an intelligent man, and he was devoted to his work, and the performance in which he delivered for most of his life, which l believe was his cover up of the pretence which l myself delivered during my earlier teenager to young adult years.
Pretending to fit into society, what ever the costs – the cost of his performance led to the breakdown of his family. My own performance led to my breakdown when l hit 31 and lasted for nine years. I could no longer hide my grief, my confused emotions; l was too deep a person to continually play the pretence game of ‘fitting in’. My Father back then was an extremely shallow person, so his performance lasted longer.
‘It was not that he did not understand Fatherhood, or the responsibility of being a husband, but l think that he like l found out later in life, did not understand all the emotions tied in with relationships’
He had many quirks, odd and erratic behaviours that were perceived as strange by not just his family, but by his friends, my parent’s friends and his work colleagues. Over the year’s l too would have this label attached to me. Eccentric and egotistical personality would be awarded to me by those that l worked with or knew by association. He had very few real friends, many were wary of him, and today as he ages like myself, we have very few real friends – the sad fact is this, we probably have had many good friends, but through our careless behaviour we have lost them, or wiped them, something which Aspergians can do so very, very well.
My Father and l know each other, not as well as perhaps we should, we are friends although it is more like casual acquaintances, we are closer now than we were when we were both growing up together in the family home. Our family now lives like the pieces of a broken window that has shattered, in different directions away from each other. Both my parents live in Surrey, but my Sister is somewhere in Sussex and l am now in the Isle of Wight. For many years the only contact l had with both my parents was through the occasional phone call or email in the case of my Father, as he has a computer and my Mother is still trying to figure out her DVD player.
As to visits, a great period of some seven years had passed for my Mother and l before we saw each other, whilst my Father l was seeing sometimes twice a year. The absence from then was for many reasons, but mostly because l am not that bothered by the family closeness that some families share. Suzanne, is very family orientated and has only recently played less of a role in her own children’s lives, but is very much an active Grandmother.
With her help, in the last two years l have now seen my parents more, not frequently, as although l love them both, they can tire me out. In many respects because of my Mother’s lack of desire for computers, during the time of the poetry, l would mail my Father the writings and he came to know his son a little more.
I wish that when we were both aging together in the family home he had been more attentive, and that the ‘quality’ time we shared was more often and longer. I grew up feeling that he was never truly proud of me and that l had disappointed him so dreadfully, l was always trying to live up to his expectations and never succeeding. In all l love my Father more now than l did when l was a young son, but this also has come around more recently to understanding that l can see what he must have been going through when he too was younger.
In my eyes he seemed to favour us more as children when we were ‘more manageable’, meaning when we were pre teen, by this time he just seemed to falter with us. My Sister always had more luck than l did, and ironically l noticed this more with my Sisters’ children, yet the moment they too hit teenager years and as such started to first hand experience the culture of life themselves, he lost interest or found them too much hard work. My Sister has two children – a boy and a girl -, and my Father has more tolerance for her daughter than he does for her son, not that l have heard this from my Sister but from snippets of conversation when speaking to my parents.
Growing up with my Father was so awfully difficult and stressful, l was painfully shy around the opposite sex and due to my reticence with girls, this would then be perceived by him as me being homosexual, my eccentricity was obviously due to drugs, my failure at school was down to lack of concentration and daydreaming, my appalling handwriting due to mental laziness, poor arithmetic not paying enough attention and my lack of social interaction could only be some form of retardation, l was always called stupid. At his hands l received at times strict punishments but with his mind, oh they were much harsher sentences.
I was quiet and formally polite, too trusting, naïve and terribly literal, and would take things personally even if they were not directed at me. My Father encouraged me to join the Boy Scout movement in an attempt to shape and harden me up, to even possibly loose my Mothers’ attention on me. Was l a Mummies boy no of course not, but my Mother had had several miscarriages to my Fathers’ physical torment, l was her son, and at that time her only child, she felt protective. And so, l was a cub, a scout and a venture scout and l can not deny that l enjoyed the camaraderie of that movement, for l did. I enjoyed the camping out, the hikes and especially l enjoyed the time with my Father.
He was not a man for praising his son; l noted with many a disappointment that he would praise others’ sons but not always his own unless it suited him. There were times when he would sing my praises to others, and l always smiled awkwardly yet thought within, ‘yet you will do this as a display of affection, yet when we are alone, there is none’. I do remember his taunts of l would amount to nothing worthwhile, life was rich – bullied at school by my peers and teachers and terrorized at home by my Father.
Bullying and manipulation by others onto me has always been present in my life, first by my Father, then the education systems, my marriage, the next relationship and a most dreadful time when l lived in the caravan before living here, by the landlords. I am not an outwardly aggressive man, and l would always turn my anger and upsets onto myself and hold myself accountable.
There were many reasons when l was younger to dislike this man, if not for everything previously mentioned, then for the fact that he was physically, emotionally and mentally aggressive to my Mother. He had such a high moral code of supposed justice and righteousness; of perfection and what that meant, yet could not see how terribly twisted it all was, twisted and hypocritical. There was to be no pleasing him, and so his family many a time lived in fear and constantly afraid of disappointing him.
At times like now, reminiscing as l am, l think was he Aspergic? Would this explain his dark behaviour? I have witnessed my own darkness first hand, but was never like him, thank God. There is darkness to this disorder that is too oft played down, because that side l do not think is fully understood. One does not simply have the disorder, there are other mental side dishes in association, and perhaps my Father had another problem.
My Father when l was growing up had some very special almost obsessive interests, his love of cricket, of Winston Churchill, of books, Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra, stamp collecting, homemade wines, Germany and German culture, travelling, ancient history, the Napoleonic wars not by any standards unusual really, but he was very knowledgeable on these subjects and still is. He has a head for absorbing information, sometimes the simplest of things will confuse him, but then we share that feature. Years on and still he is very dedicated to these hobbies; he has countless books on his favourite subjects and can pull up incredible snippets of information at the drop of a hat.
My life with my parents was filled with a house that vaguely had a homely feel to it, and the home comforts were supplied and furnished by my Mother and not so much my Father [Although he was a devout decorator]. His contributions to ornaments were usually comprised of books, and a few straggling pieces of miscellaneous items picked up and collected whilst away on travelling holidays or trips with work.
Towards the end of 2012 l moved into a one bed roomed bungalow, provided courtesy of the council, which was in comparison to the 40 foot metal box l had previously held residence in – spacious and luxurious! This was the first real ‘home’ next to my parents’ one that l had ever had, but more importantly it was all to myself and my two girls. I had big plans for decoration and setting up a home of my ‘own’. However in the two years plus that l was there, l never got past stage one – and that was repainting the walls. I simply did not have a clue how to actually ‘settle’ a home.
I was still in Lincolnshire, literally only five miles away from the metal box, in a lovely quiet rural village only twelve miles away from a busy town. Perhaps in the eyes of many it was too quiet after the deathly quietude area of before. But l needed that solitude to recover from the hostility, bullying and manipulation of my two unscrupulous landlords. My days with that place were finally over; l had survived thirty nine months, three brutally harsh winters, three unforgiving and at times scorching summers and basically mental hell for just over a year.
Admittedly my time there was not always under the thumbscrews of my tormentors, but gradually it got far worse, to the point that professional help and a rescue had to be secured. A little embarrassing l have to concede, something l thought l could handle under my own management proved too difficult to achieve and as such other parties had to intervene.
I always try and find something positive out of the negative where and when l can, and even though many are confused when l say this, the days in the caravan, secluded from society the way l was did award me a much needed solace and a required sanctuary following the diagnosis. Sadly it just got out of hand! Never again however will l step foot into a caravan, even if just for a holiday, l have served my tours of duty with that style of living quarters and have no desire to repeat any of it, even if for just a week.
The caravan style of life is not for everyone, and it was due to my naivety and the love for my dogs that l took it on board in the first place in 2009. The sweat box or igloo pending upon the season l was in was not a home, it did not have the available facilities to make it as such, and in many ways l guess it suited me, as l have no real understanding of making one as said. Everything was ‘fixed’ down to one spot, with not even the slightest ability for an ounce of fen shui, there was way too much glass in so far as windows, the walls were not really able to support any kind of decorations and you could not paint the small walls.
The bungalow therefore as my so called first home, despite every good intention and motivation, never got past the painting – all of which was done in overly vibrant colours of yellows, oranges and maroon – which was ideal as a form of escapism from the metal box, was not that thoughtful. I should have gone with magnolia or something, but anyway, after the decoration, l simply did not have the inclination to take it further, as quite truthfully l had no real idea how to.
My life in the caravan comprised of so very few possessions that carved out who l was in this world. A computer, l swear the name sake of Aspergers itself, my main companion second only to two dogs, and around twelve large boxes of books and DVD’s, a few bags of clothing and linens, and a swivel chair and that was basically it, apart from an enormous office desk that took up most of the lounge room of the caravan. I had a second hand recycled television, a chest of drawers and a bed that could not be assembled due to the size of the bedroom in the van and eventually had to be car booted, and a king-size mattress which lived under the mattress present, so l had an incredibly high bed.
I took even less actual furniture to the bungalow due to the nature in which l had to leave, although with the aid of Freecycle and some friends l slowly built up a little extra. However, l came to realise that l still had my two dogs and they were all that was truly important to me. But of a major significance l had my identity back; the journey for that period of solitude and discovery had paid me well. I understood more about the disorder and who l was.
My life changed for the better when l met Suzanne, she introduced me back to living in this world even without the aid of society. And of course now, l am living in a house that has become a home with her presence. She has the ability to make a house … homely.
Chapter 6 – Ep 10 – Soon