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The beauty of failure

There is a part of every aspie that would be relieved to find themselves destitute, so long as it was in a quiet corner. Not permanent destitution, just a temporary state where there would be no claims made upon their time or person.

This quiet corner is not meant to be destitution, it's actually supposed to be a calm moment, hidden from the world. The aspie isn't looking for a cardboard box to call home and a three-legged dog to bring in the contributions. What they are looking for is solitude.

If you imagine this as the end goal, a complete escape from everything that makes up a real, adult life, then you see it as it really is: an aspie who wants to step aside for a while and let it all pass. Now, keep this in mind and compare it to the aspie under pressure in everyday life. The two are inextricably linked but hardly ever are they seen this way by family and friends.

If you have supportive people around you, they know you need time off. They actually watch out for the warning signs because they've learned from experience that if they don't help you let off steam, you disappear and everything falls apart. So they are on your side, in as much as someone waiting to catch a rogue bull is on the side of the bull.

Your best beloveds know that the stressed aspie is a nightmare to live with and a disaster waiting to happen. No surprise that they might try to stop it reaching a bad stage, when it's too late to pull back from disaster.

A super-caring support network might be helpful sometimes, to make the right noises and help you move away from your troubles long enough to cope with them. I'm not sure such a thing exists in the world of the adult aspie, though. If you are grown up enough to have a job (or get one, at any rate) and to have relationships, romantic or otherwise, then you are deemed adult enough to cope with more problems.

It's different for children, they usually have more support. They have their parents, school, professionals and whoever else becomes involved. And they are only kids, you see. They're not expected to move mountains or even cope with stressful situations. If they run off or lie down and froth, it's written in a report somewhere and onto the next challenge.

As adult humans, aspies are complicated. Good days roll into bad days and worse days sneak up on you unawares. Before you know it, treading water has turned into a slow sink and you don't even realise it until you see sunlight through the waves.

Faced with sinking, we swim suddenly and strongly to the surface and break free. Gasping for air, we look for land and put all our energies into making ourselves safe. At this point, escape from the danger is a matter of survival. This is how failure becomes so important.

We don't set out to fail, we set out to survive. Most of the time, we can probably see that we're sinking before we have to hold our breath. Sometimes, it's not that simple. We are here, then there and nothing seemed to move between the two.

On the outside, we rush for failure, pushing through the responsibilities and worries of our normal lives and heading for that place where we feel safe. What a relief to be there! How warm and dry we are, how good to feel the earth beneath our feet. Now we can concentrate on getting our breath back and recovering from the whole exhausting experience.

To our loves ones we have left behind an opportunity, or a positive situation, where we had a chance to succeed in the adult world. We created even more troubles for ourselves and showed no signs of caring. We were selfish and thick-skinned, interested only in barging past and out of the door. How can you reason with a person like that? How can someone with so much potential be so prone to failure?

Think again of how it feels to be too far from shore, with a mass of water surrounding you. It grows colder the deeper you drift and you feel tired with the effort of staying afloat with nothing to support you. We can't see the little boat behind us with your arms outstretched to help. We only see the distant, familiar beach where we know we can be safe.

Forgive us if we escape sinking by heading for what we know and taking refuge there. It won't make any difference if you shout and try to get our attention. Survival makes you blind and deaf to any option other than the one you think will save you.

Failure is a beautiful thing, readers. It saves us, every time. We know there will be more problems coming out of it but we escaped the one following us on our way in. After some time, we can return and face the others. Sooner or later, we will try to come back. Until then, give us the quiet space with the view and let it always be gentle summer.


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