What's so hard about Aspergers?




This isn't a question people ask you very often. What you are asked instead is:

'What's so hard about going to the party?'
'What's so hard about going to school?'
'What's so hard about going to work?'
'What's so hard about talking to your cousin?'
'What's so hard about talking to me?'
and, the favourite,
'What's so hard about remembering one little thing?'

What's so hard? If asked, do you give a long, detailed, enlightening answer and know you have improved communication between you and your loved one? Or do you wave your arms in the air and cry, 'Everything!'? Or somewhere in the middle with, 'How many times do I have to tell you?'

I think it depends how often you have explained yourself or even how well the other person has seemed to understand, before today, when it seems they never understood at all.

Why is it so hard for other people to remember what we tell them? And know that what we say about school also applies to work, that talking to your cousin is just as hard as talking to your best beloved? That it doesn't matter what the challenge is, today it is hard even if yesterday we could do it.

The times I have explained myself, those conversations where I put the words together in the right way and they came out when they should and it all made beautiful, perfect sense: those times when you think, I have brought it to life, how I feel and think and someone else knows and they care about me.

Then the inevitable moment when you trip and that look passes over their face, the one that speaks of exasperation and the inexpressible impatience that you tripped, again, over the very thing they warned you about and which you have avoided successfully the last twenty times.

Perhaps they don't ask you why you tripped or say anything at all about your mistake, but often they do. It comes out quickly and naturally.

'I did warn you about the trip.'
'Didn't you see it coming?'
'Don't you remember tripping the last time?'
'I thought you had managed not to trip?'
'I thought you had learned to lift your feet?'
'Why do you always have to trip?!'

I trip because I'm looking at some other place within or another challenge without. I trip because my feet are a long way from the rest of me, like real-life is a long way from my own wonderful, chaotic, creative internal lands. I trip because life is like that.

I tripped because you forgot I was an aspie and let go of me, just when I needed you most.

I tripped and I saw your face and the face of every other person whose expression changed when I messed up in the same way, over the same thing and then felt upset all over again.

What's so hard about Aspergers? It's possibly that every challenge feels different, even when we know it is the same. And because it is different, we are unsure how to deal with it.

Even so, the hardest thing about Aspergers is other people. For all the trips and falls in the world, they are made worse by the person close to you shaking their head and wondering at your ability to be yourself, again and again.

Yes, I did see it coming and then I looked at the heavens and forgot the earth. And I tripped but I did not fall.

Amanda




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