Hi, I’m Lindsay. I love landscape, love Britain, I run (for fun! WHAT?!), I have a reasonably successful career, a husband and two children. (So far, so normal.) I love music, write poetry, and never know how to greet you on arriving or leaving social situations. (OK. Stick with me.) I can smell a sneeze, and when my children are ill. I can feel the high, ringing white noise of January deep in my bones. I see time as a shape. The days of the week are coloured.
Lost you yet?
I think, although this has not been confirmed by anything other than a rising suspicion (and the wholehearted agreement of my husband), that the way I experience the world might be a bit different to whatever ‘normal’ is. I’m probably some way down the Aspergers Spectrum I reckon.
I’ve managed to be pretty happy without realising this about myself until recently – I have great friends, can make people laugh, love deeply, and have held down sensible jobs without too much drama. But it’s with a sort of gleeful recognition I’m coming to understand there’s a tick list of traits which actually explain some of the arc of my life.
It’s a great relief to recognise that, whilst a lot of the time I probably am just ‘being a dickhead’ (sic, my husband), some of the time my idiosyncrasies are actually because I’m wired to experience the world differently to other people. Knowing the tendencies of Aspergers gives me a way to understand and honestly own the characteristics which I feel strongly on the inside, and have spent a lifetime trying to explain away, or compensate for on the outside.
Like I will remember the number plate on your parents’ car from twenty years ago, but not send you a birthday card, and see nothing wrong with this. I find eye contact hard, but force myself to make it. I think to some people I probably come across as utterly cold and indifferent, and probably a bit stuck up, because I just cannot pretend interest unless I genuinely feel it. I do still try, and mostly succeed in (and enjoy) being sociable, because after nearly forty years I have observed enough to see that there are unwritten rules if you want to get along. Full disclosure – this is my second attempt at writing this, as I suspected the first version actually made me sound like a cold stone dead megabitch. I’m not. (I don’t think.) (At least on the inside).
If you’re like me, maybe you too don’t ever get nervous, even about things that you really probably should be nervous about. Maybe you too turn the radio down by two tiny clicks every morning to a level you can bear, versus the level your partner prefers. Maybe you too would happily lunch on the same cheese and pickle sandwich for the rest of your mortal days, should the need ever arise (can’t imagine a world where I’d be forced to test this hypothesis, but I quite honestly like the sound of it).
So maybe I have Aspergers. But it’s me, and I like it. Especially now that I know it.
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