Archive | June 2012

Secrets

A secret is a special thing. It’s something that you are (or are not) trusted with. For the longest time, I couldn’t tell if something was a secret or not, so I ended up not being told much because I had a “big mouth.” It wasn’t really a case of being a gossip or having a big mouth. I just didn’t know that whatever it was I had told people should have been a secret.

I’ve learned that when people whisper things to you or take you aside to tell you something, it’s generally a secret, but I didn’t learn this just by observation. I had to be told. Sometimes, my parents still check to make sure I know some things I just shouldn’t talk about because it’s family business. I’m much better now at recognizing what’s a secret and what isn’t, but I still have a slip up here and there where I don’t recognize that I’ve told someone’s secret to another person.

In fact, there was a recent incident. At the gym that I work at, I have a boss, a co-worker, and a minor that we are giving work experience to. We get a new minor every few months, so I help in training them and making sure they work well. The last one had a habit of doing something that neither my boss, my co-worker, or the members at the gym liked. My boss talked to him about it, and I mentioned it a few times too. My co-worker talked to me one day about how this habit ticked her and my boss off. (Note that she told me in an open area with other people around and she did not lower her voice to tell me.) So I talked to the kid about it, and told him that they didn’t like the behavior, that it needed to stop.

I saw nothing wrong with talking to him about it. But when she found out that I had told him, she told me that she didn’t feel like she could trust me anymore because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. She said that she’d talked to our boss about it, and my boss knew that it was because of my Asperger Syndrome. Then comes the part that really hurt. She told me that I was using the “disease” as an excuse to act stupid and childish. She told me that I’m an adult and I keep making the same mistake over and over, and I’m using my AS as an excuse to not be responsible.

I had no clue what to say to her and she wouldn’t let me get a word in, so I just listened to what she had to say, and then walked away to clean something. All the time trying to remember every detail about how it had happened. I still didn’t see how I’d been in the wrong. She had told me at a normal volume, in an open area in the gym where other people could hear her too. How in the world was I supposed to know that what she was saying was a secret? If she’d told me that it was a secret, I wouldn’t have said anything (even if her method of telling me was not in a secretive way).

Does she really think that I want to distance people from myself because I don’t feel like being responsible? I try every day to abide by social rules. I work every day at not offending people because they take what I say the wrong way. I watch my words constantly so that I don’t say something the wrong way. I don’t use AS as an excuse ever. I may mess up from time to time, but I do my best to learn from my mistakes.

It really hurts that someone I’ve come to love could be so cruel to me. It makes me want to retreat to my little box and never come out. I just don’t understand why people don’t realize that AS is completely real and that it does present difficulties that “normal” people don’t have to overcome.

Discouraged,
Allie.

Advertisements

Closure and Then Some

As some of you may know, Thursday was the viewing for my cousin. We got here on Wednesday, Thursday was the viewing, Friday was a football game, Saturday was the hike and his celebration of life, and tomorrow is his burial.

It was all very organized and very nice, but dead bodies still freak me out. I thought that I had been done with crying and that I had done my mourning, but all that was thrown out the window when I looked into the sanctuary and saw his face over the edge of the casket. It was hard to hold it together. I watched as every single one of my cousins, aunts, and uncles formed tears in the corners of their eyes. Then we went into the sanctuary and sat down for the service. The casket was closed and we listened as his friends and some family stood up to speak on their memories of him ranging from him being an “annoying little brother” to how he pushed his friends to be the best that they could be. There were words said by the pastor, then people went up to view him, say goodbye, and sign his casket.

When my time to go up came, I held the hands of some of my cousins, and looked straight at my cousin’s peaceful face. He looked like he was made of wax, like he was sleeping. It made me sick to my stomach to see him laying there and know that it was just his dead body. His soul was no longer there. It was just a body, but it was the body of my cousin, someone I loved, someone that I’d hugged innumerable times, someone that I shared many memories with. It hurt me to see just a body. It hurt me that his soul was no longer there. It hurt me that I could no longer compete with him for anything, because he was always very competitive. I signed his casket as quickly as I could, and went back to my seat.

After the ceremony was over, we went to a reception area for refreshments and I asked some of his friends to tell me stories about him, and I learned more about the amazing person that my cousin was. In a way, the whole day was like torture, but it was also a benefit to me. Everything, everyone reminded me of him. Seeing his body and knowing that it was just a body and knowing that it was all real was closure for me. After that day, everything has been easier. Seeing his picture no longer makes me feel sick. Thinking of him no longer makes me sad. I remember the fun that we had and that those memories are mine to treasure forever.

Out of this experience, I’ve also become closer to a few of my cousins and I’ve gained friends. Even though the loss is sad, I’m glad to be able to see the things gained.

Better,
Allie.

Bridges

Because I live so far away from most of my family, I don’t get to spend much time with them. This includes my younger cousin that was recently diagnosed with High Functioning Autism, Yohan. He’s eight years old and is a reminder of what life used to be like when I was younger. Of course, he’s a boy and he has HFA while I’m a girl and have AS, but I can still see the similarities in the way he thinks and behaves and the way that I think and used to behave.

His family stopped by to stay with my family on their way to the funeral, so I finally got to spend a little time with him. It was quite interesting. For the first little bit, I wasn’t sure how to handle talking to him and I wasn’t sure what similarities that he and I might have, but I decided after thinking for a bit that I would be as considerate and understanding of his quirks as possible and that I was going to makes sure he was as comfortable as possible. I know that being taken out of your home, your safe environment can cause more strange behavior, more frustration, and more trouble. I know that being in a completely new place is hard when you barely know the family that you’re staying with and that it can be quite scary. I want to put the least amount of stress on him as possible.

Any eight year old boy likes machines, cars, building stuff, etc., but Yohan likes to build intricate hotels with his Lego’s. He even built one with an elevator and elevator shaft once. He’s completely taken with a bridge that I designed and built back when I was in sixth grade. He asked me a bunch of questions about it and asks me if he can play with it. He says that he wants to be an “art-detect” (architect). And even if he starts asking me questions while I’m talking to someone else, I’ll tell him to wait a second so that I can politely excuse myself from the conversation before I answer. And to be honest, I’m completely taken by him. He fascinates me. I like watching him to see what he’ll say or do. I like to hear stories about him from my aunt so that I can understand more about him.

What I like most about him being here with me, however, is that I can talk to his mom. I can try to explain things from my point of view that may help her to understand him better. I have a more extensive understanding of emotions and social situations that may end up helping them on their journey. She’s asked me for my opinion on a few things regarding his social learning, and I’m more happy than I can express that what I have to say is of value.

This is the first time that I’ve been able to spend real time with someone else being knowingly diagnosed, and I’m glad to have this opportunity to spend time with them. I look at it like this: Yohan and I are building a bridge of understanding and friendship towards one another. After all, relationships are like bridges; they can be built up, torn down, repaired, or completely destroyed.

Like I always say, it may not be easy, but we’ll make it.

Happy,
Allie.

Dealing With Death

Since those with Asperger Syndrome have a hard time dealing with and interpreting emotions in the first place, it’s especially hard when emotions are heightened. Dealing with death is a very hard thing. When it comes to other’s loved ones, I have no clue what to say. When it comes to my loved ones, I can hardly speak at all. I don’t have the words to describe how it feels to lose someone that I loved dearly. I don’t have the words to express how I feel when other’s loved ones die.

I’m not angry. I’m not bitter. I’m not vengeful. I’m just sad. Sad, sad, sad.

This afternooon (USA Western Time), my cousin was driving in a truck with three of his friends. I have no clue what it was that they were doing in that truck or why they were going fast enough to wrap the truck around a light pole when the driver lost control of the truck. When they crashed, my cousin’s aorta separated from his heart. He died about two minutes before the helicopter reached the hospital. My cousin turned 19 just last month. He had a scholarship to play football. He was a nice, talented, and wonderful young man. It was a life cut too short.

I’m not angry. I’m not bitter. I’m not vengeful. I’m just sad. Sad, sad, sad.

When I heard about the accident, the self stimming began immediately. (My self stimming when I was younger was sucking my thumb.) I wasn’t going to suck my thumb with a bunch of people around, so I used my hand to rub my thumb. My mom told one of the Pastors at church about it and the whole church prayed for him. We didn’t find out about his death until after church. People gave their apologies and hugs and prayers, but I just wanted to be home. The prayers were much appreciated and it helps, but I just wanted to be able to mourn in private and be able to prepare myself before having to deal with the news and a bunch of people all at the same time. Now my cousin is one of those people that you don’t know that you read about in the news. “One killed, others injured in crash.” I got through being at the church and finally broke down when I got home. I sucked my thumb for the first time since my Grandpa died 6 years ago, and the second time since I stopped nine years ago. And then I rubbed my hands together and pet my hair and curled up in a ball.

I’m not angry. I’m not bitter. I’m not vengeful. I’m just sad. Sad, sad, sad.

I don’t know how to deal with death. I don’t know what to do or what to say. I end up being the blubbering person that gets in the way of everything or the stone-cold person that seems unfeeling. I don’t know how to deal with death, but that’s ok. I don’t think anyone really does. I think we all just do what we can, do what we think we need to do. As for me, I need to finish my falling apart and try to be strong for my family.As for those with AS, just give yourself time. You’ll figure out your own way of dealing with the deaths of those you love.Just hang in there. You’ll make it through.

I’m not angry. I’m not bitter. I’m not vengeful. I’m just sad.

Donovan,
We may not have always agreed or gotten along well, but I love you. We grew up together. You are my cousin and you are in my heart always. We didn’t have a lot in common, other than our stubbornness and anger issues, but you were a part of my life that I will never forget.

Love You Always,
Allie.