In celebration of oversharing



Oversharing is one of life's fundamental shortcuts: why spend weeks, months and years getting to know someone when you can find out most everything in the first half an hour? You don't have half an hour? Well, you'd be surprised (and pleased!) to discover how much can fit into a few minutes.

It's not confined to Aspergers but oversharing is definitely an aspie super-skill. It's the beautiful love-child of brutal honesty and naïve chit-chat. Springing up when there is a need or desire to be social, it exists most in aspies who have worked hard to be able to hold conversations with others.

You see, if you have to force yourself to talk to people then the difference between normal social chatter and deeper, more revealing words becomes very blurred. It's not that you want to share everything - and you had no plans to share anything when you opened your mouth - but once the words start it can be hard to stop.

If the conversation is about the weather then you talk about the weather, global warming, natural disasters (and eventually Space); if it is about puppies,  it becomes kittens or mongoose or snakes - the narrative flow is like a hillside stream, it stays connected but goes where it likes.

So it is that an innocent conversation about the other person's house becomes a slow-reveal about your own house, and by slow I really mean you take a few sentences to describe your living situation instead of just one. Startled by oversharing the other person, depending on what they are like, will either tidy up the conversation and leave, try to change the subject (ha!) or be interested/confused enough to ask more.

Then you can overshare as much as you like. They asked the question! They want to know and you know the answer too, which is all the temptation needed to reply in full detail. There is sometimes a part of you looking on which wonders if this is the right thing to do, but mostly this part doesn't stir until well after the event.

At the time you are glad to share, with varying success at holding back anything personal. Someone who shows a vague interest in your life had better be ready for knowing rather more than they expected. And, of course, this is where you can leave yourself open to unscrupulous people who would rather use what they know than make a friend of you.

The times I have left somewhere and realised even as I walked away that I overshared again. Mostly I shrug it off, there are too many agains to worry about all of them. Sometimes I wince all the way home. A lot depends on the nature of the person who found themselves in the flow of that hillside stream, hopping about in it as it followed their every move.

So why am I celebrating oversharing? Categorically, it is worth celebrating. Trust me! For every wince, every moment where you know you have done it again and shown yourself up and might as well have held up a sign saying Different - for every one of those there are many times when the other person gets over their surprise and ends the conversation with a smile.

Blurt it out, readers. If it has to be out there, let it. Conversations are often going to be winceworthy and with a tendency to replay. But the other times, when oversharing works, they are what makes it all worthwhile. The people who respond to this are the ones worth keeping.

They may know far more than expected about me but often I come away knowing more about them too. There are quite a lot of people out there in this cynical world of ours who react well to oversharing. By being too open and overly honest with them you often find they repay the compliment. A fresh breeze springs up, the air is clear, the sun is bright and the honesty is there between you.

Truth, like oversharing, can be catching.

And the next time you meet, you don't have to talk about the weather.

Amanda



 A Guide to Your Aspie

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I don't want to paint a rainbow



I don't want to paint a rainbow with my cartoon pot of instant paint, or pretend I skip when I trip. I don't want to be the one who, halfway through the door, falls back out. I don't want to check where I park my car three times because of the once I forgot

or check, check, check each time I visit because your house looks so much like the others

or feel my way along the fence outside because the one thing I do remember is how the metal pops out into a bobble shape where your gate begins.

I don't want to dance my way through the supermarket and smile happy faces at everyone as if it doesn't matter how my day is going. I don't want to make faces (but I do anyway).

I especially don't want to get the looks that tell me I'm talking with my hands without saying the words out loud.

I don't want the sympathy, the special look, the little smile that says I am being myself and you find it quaint. I might be quaint, I can't help that, but is it so strange?

I don't want to have to explain why my shoulders are not there for your arm.

I don't want comments instead of conversation or criticism playing at being help.

I don't mind if you help me up when I fall over or pick up the things I dropped as I went down. It's fine to laugh with me - I love laughing! It's fine to have a chuckle at my 'little ways' so long as you don't mind me returning the compliment - and telling you what your little ways are.

I do like rainbows, I do like painting, I just get the paint all over myself and then spend days picking it out of my hair. But those rainbows sometimes have to just paint themselves, or be painted by people with smiles for every day.

I don't mind if you cry when you tell me things, so long as I can cry too. I don't mind you asking me why I am crying if I start for no reason. I don't mind cups of tea and a face full of patience. I love it if I don't have to break the silence, but I will anyway.

I don't yearn for perfection or normality. There may be rainbows, or paint, or smiles, tears, spills, falls, laughter and dancing in odd places. And some of it may come from you instead of me.

I yearn for you to be you and me to be me without either of us expecting everyone to be the same.

And in the end I am me, and you are you. And we don't have to paint the rainbow to meet in the middle.

Amanda



 A Guide to Your Aspie

 How to talk to your Aspie



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Being Myself



I'm done. I'm not going to try to cover anymore, I'm tired of putting on my Normal Boots and walking out the door with a limp. I'm sick of not being myself for the whole of every day. That's it.

The way I act is the way I am and there's no more Little Miss Whatchulike. I won't go out of my way to be what I think people expect. Why should I?

I used to think I had to behave like a real live grown-up to keep the money coming in. Would people want the full me tutoring their children? Do I not have to keep up appearances talking to parents? Can I really leave the aspie door all the way open?

The answer is a simple one: there is no door. The aspieness is there all the time, sometimes hidden, sometimes parading in full view. I can see it clearly in others so why not let everyone see it in me?

I have seen some surprised faces lately. You see, I hadn't realised that my decision to be fully myself had already happened. I think it was sometime last week when I stopped trying to be as expected. There has been so much to do lately, so much to cope with, both physically and emotionally, that at a point in the middle of last week my brain must have thrown up its metaphorical hands and let loose the balloons.

I remember thinking Susie's parents looked a bit confused while I was talking and then later, when I was explaining something to Janine's dad, his face twitched as he processed it and then he grinned. Hugely.

The next day I was hugging. Good grief, I was hugging! Freaking hugging! It was a necessary hug, love was needed and I did it! It was only later I realised it hadn't hurt and I was still all in one piece.

Being Me has been a revelation. All the way me, the true face showing, the smile and the tears. This is me, the aspie woman, the one in the patterned frock, wearing snowflakes on the hottest day as a way to keep cool, the one falling out of her car because she doesn't do pavements, the one who can't work a retractable eraser and lets small boys paint battle stripes on their faces with her marker pens (erasable!).

What A Relief. It's like walking out onto the back steps in summer and finding a place where a cool breeze blows by. From now on it's going to be real in real life and no more worrying.

There is so much in life to worry about, after all. Why worry about being yourself as well?

Amanda



 A Guide to Your Aspie

 How to talk to your Aspie



My books and writing blog, with free stuff.
Find me on Facebook.and Twitter!