Joining the Dots - Seeing the Bigger Picture

I know I'm not just speaking for myself when I say that I spend a lot of time trying to work things out and thinking about what I have done, what other people have done and what on earth they might have been thinking while they were doing it. In other words, I've been trying to figure out the reasons behind people's actions.

By actions I include words, body language and any subtle (or not so subtle) expressions of feeling. Why do they do that? What did I do wrong? What should I have said? What did they mean?

All these questions parade across the aspie consciousness, like a beauty pageant without the ra-ra, waiting for me to pick the right one, the choice which makes sense of all the other entrants.

It just seems like it should be that simple, doesn't it? Other people seem to find it simple: in fact, they find communication so simple they insult people on purpose. Imagine it, readers, insulting people because you mean to! And when they get it wrong, they can figure out why. The bliss.

So I had chewed over my current problem (so much chewing there was really nothing left) and had come to the point where I asked IT Teen what was going on. He is to psychology what Iron Man is to ballet so I knew I would get a direct answer.

I laid it out for him ending with the part that had been bothering me.

'I just felt I shouldn't have said anything,' I told him, my brow creased and my hands idly waving a blue sun dress around to see if I might look good in it. 'I couldn't figure out why I felt that way, there was nothing obvious.'

'You destroyed her illusions,' he stated simply, pulling a face at the sun dress. I put the dress back and frowned at him. 'You gave her information which meant she could see the full truth after years of thinking everything was fine. Years and years of it all being great, as far as she knew, gone in  a few seconds.'

'Oh,' I said, relaying the conversation that had started all this worrying. Now I had this extra (devastating) piece of information, I could set it amongst the others and see more clearly. 'Ah,' I said, taking down a pair of jeans and testing them against me to see if I was still short (I was).

I was making a quick drive-through of the whole event, the conversation, my victim's body language, the way her face changed as I told her my news and then my unsettled feeling at the end that I had opened my mouth for too long again.

'I had no idea that would happen,' I said meekly, 'I don't know what I was thinking,' I ended, the horrible stirrings of guilt settling on me like burning ash.

IT Teen, removing the Iron Man mask for a moment, said, 'You just wanted someone to talk to, that was all.'

I nodded, gulping back the idea that by reaching out, by wanting a full conversation with someone instead of holding it all inside, I had unwittingly drawn them into my sad place and made their feelings worse too.

'I couldn't see it,' I told him, wondering at my inability to work all this out for myself. He nodded and took the jeans back, putting them on the high hook I couldn't reach.

'You never join up the dots,' he explained. 'You look at it but you just can't join them up and see the bigger picture.'

Readers, it's true. However hard I try, I am never in possession of as many of the facts as I think I am. I think I have it all there in front of me, ready to be examined and solved, but really there was another picture beneath, a hidden one still to be finished.

If you can't see this hidden picture, if you don't realise those marks are dots waiting to be joined, then how can you ever solve it? You look at the whole and you know, on a deeper level, that there is more you just can't see, but you have no way of making the connections until something else happens.

Without those connections we are left working with what we have, the incomplete picture we made for ourselves out of what was available. This is why we have to forgive ourselves when we get it wrong. With the fullest of intentions, we worked with what we had and did our best. If someone comes along later and points out the (obvious) connections and then we saw the bigger picture, well, we have to let that one go.

We should not punish ourselves for past faults when we are suddenly made privy to information unavailable at the time. We are finite creatures, destined to walk through this life in the passage of time given to the whole planet. We have no facility to go back and do a re-run, we are fixed in place. Regret may descend but we are still walking on from this point with no way of going back.

And if I could go back? Many times I have wished that was the case. If only I had said or not said, done or not done, unlived a moment and lived another. This also is human and just part of why we made it to the stars.


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