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Monday, August 6, 2007

Listening

I do a lot of reading both in the online groups for Aspies, and in the
groups for people who have to deal with Aspies. I understand both, sad to
say, and I can fix things for neither. And I'm big on fixing things.

Aspies have just as much need for companionship and affection and
validation from other people as anybody. But it's harder to come by and
profoundly harder to ask for. And it gets harder as the years so by.
While I was acting and singing and dancing over a few decades, these days
it's hard to go anywhere other than home. Now I try so hard, I often
never go home.

Because that's hard, too. Family is hard, because you always have to love
them all the time. No vacations from family. Although I did leave town
for 13 years. And I regret all I missed. But to a certain extent, it was
a relief.

I listen to Aspies who are young enough to still be looking for
relationships with other people, and how hard it is to build a
relationship who you can never, in a fundamental way, really understand.

And I listen to NTs in relationships with Aspies, especially those Aspies
who are a bit older -- like me, for example -- who are so worn out from
trying so hard for so long, that we have to struggle for breath when
trying to hold a simple conversation. That's both a metaphor, and an
exaggeration. And it's true, too.

For the NT's, sure, it's a struggle to build a relationship with one of
us. It's like taking a walk with a person with a limp. We can walk, we
can even run, but it's a struggle, and sometimes we just can't do it, or
just don't want to for a while. And yes, we know how patient you are
being, damnit, and we appreciate that, damnit, and we're sick unto death
of thinking about you plodding along because that's what we can do. But
I'd like to think that "I'm worth the wait," to marginally quote the Janet
Jackson song.

And for the Aspies, well, maybe we get "old" earlier than NTs do। We
get crotchety and set in our ways, the way people with arthritis don't
want to do a lot of walking because it hurts all the time. Even knowing
that walking helps the arthritis, loosening the joints and somewhat
reducing the inflammation.

While many of Us can learn to socialize "with effort," it is an effort,
and one can easily get thoroughly tired of that much work all the time.

So we stop. And feeling entirely righteous, "But it hurts!", we stop
trying, with the people who need us to work hard enough to meet them
halfway. And we stiffen up, more and more, and it hurts more and more,
even to move.

And thus we hurt the people we love, and we hurt ourselves. And they let
us, because they love us, and they don't want us to hurt all the time.
"Though she don't understand him, or all the bad times, or the bad things
he's done, she still loves him for the good times they've had, and all the
good things to come."

Oh, hell yes, I know exactly and in detail how hard it is. But I will
struggle as long as I can to do as much as I can, because it's Worth It,
whatever It turns out to be. Even if it's not much at all, I'm more than
a marginally ambulatory piece of meat, and I should achieve more, and if
that hurts, well, that's part of the job description.

Sometimes it wears me out, and I have to stop and rest for a while. But
I'll stop completely trying when I stop breathing, and my heart stops
beating. Because that's what I'm here for, that's why I'm riding the
rollercoaster.

If I wanted easy, the merrygoround's just across the lot, and they've got
little ponies. If that's what you want.

Otherwise, enjoy the ride, even the bumps and bruises. It ends all too
soon.

"The times are very trying now, the wolf is as the door,
And many folks are dying now, who never died before."

--
grizzly at grizzly dot podzone dot org
Podcast <http://grizzly.libsyn.com>
The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity
Promo <http://media.libsyn.com/media/grizzly/grizprom.mp3>

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