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My Journey of Understanding a World of Misunderstanding

Throughout my life when I was asked to describe myself,

I constantly had no clue as to what to do.

I had masked myself into a corner,

To myself I was even a foreigner.

 

Then at thirty-one the dials on the locks began to click,

Suddenly it all fell into place so quick.

How could it have taken me so long to see

This world that suddenly was splayed out in front of me?

I read and read until there was nothing else to learn.

Right here written on the pages I couldn’t help but turn,

Lay the answers to that long ago locked drawer of questions.

Who am I?

Why am I so different?

Why can’t I understand them?

What keeps them from seeing me?

 

With this revelation, a million replays were set to commence

Finally, my past it all made sense.

Rewinding my life with a new understanding

All those years I found nothing but frustrating.

For the first time since childhood

To myself I no longer felt misunderstood.

 

The past two years of identification and discovery

Has been like a sort of recovery.

Finding the words that I spent my life looking for

I can now spend some time opening the door

As a guide through this ride

Allowing others a look inside.

I finally have no apprehensions

Because I want the world to break down their misconceptions.

 

Some of this is harder to rhyme

As I try to find the words to the things that are not as easily defined

I will try hard to let you completely inside

For understanding is what I hope to find.

Listen and learn is all I expect

Hopefully it can have a positive effect

In easing mine and others way

Helping us all to better connect.

 

As a child I believe I had a better sense of self.

I was quiet with a smile that was more than just a flicker

Living in an unencumbered space where others never entered my mental picture.

At a certain point in time a child is expected to fit within society’s unwritten rules

Before I started to feel the stares and hear others snicker,

I enjoyed having a free spirit exploring however I was naturally compelled,

But eventually the evidence began to mount so high I couldn’t help but hide.

 

I just couldn’t ever wrap my head around this rapid shift

So emotionally and socially I was set adrift,

Unlike my peers it seemed I didn’t have the proper switches to flip.

Maybe I was just naïve

But at one time I felt with some peers I was able to connect

But then all of a sudden it seemed I never did anything correct.

As if those friendships I thought I had, never even existed

Suddenly reality as I knew it got twisted.

 

So at a very young age I learned to

Subconsciously shelf more and more of myself away,

Keeping inside all the things I wished to say.

As the world became more harsh,

I sank into this murky marsh,

The darkness taking ahold as it would start to remold,

The mask I began to wear upon my face.

 

On the outside my emotions seem blunted,

So that no one would feel affronted,

I avoid blatant confrontation,

Hoping for any and all salvation

From provoking the world

That seems to cause me nothing but personal deflation.

 

You see, to me most people seem illogical

Their actions make no sense

Their fluffy, non-descriptive talk

Makes all my muscles tense.

Other people seem to understand

The words that are being said

As I stand here growing only more perplexed

I am not let in on the secret world of subtext.

 

People seem to so easily falsify

Dance around the truth and lie

Sometimes they do it with no malicious intent

Really more of a way to circumvent

Hurt feelings and avoid creating discontent.

But I take everyone at their word

Which often causes my mind confusion

Like the whole world is one big optical illusion.

 

My words are often misinterpreted,

As I can’t always seem to place the right ones,

More likely my intonation is off,

I may speak too loud or too soft.

In a world of undertones I just don’t get,

Sometimes I find I make people upset.

 

The words I say are always honest,

I have to work hard to even try to form a white lie

As it seems society requires forced “politeness”

To avoid making anyone feel slighted.

I don’t think any form of lie every truly serves this purpose.

But yes sometimes the truth hurts

And the last thing I would intentionally do is cause pain.

I often wish that when my words or actions leave a negative effect

That people would be direct and discuss this subject

Rather than talk about it behind my back

I learn tact not from unwritten rules but from immediate contact.

 

This all leaves me wishing people’s thoughts and actions aligned

Because in my world things are best well defined

If only they could all see and understand like I do.

But their world is a collection of every possible hue

Not saying my way is always right

But things just seem better in black and white.

Why can’t they all be more precise?

They tell me I speak too much in the weeds,

But to me they are all too far up in their trees,

I just can’t see a way for our two worlds to meet.

 

A million questions swirl around my head as people talk

You might now find I seem to slightly rock

As I try my hardest not to ask

Because I know the world prefers me with my mask.

Internally I fight to keep my questions to myself,

They prefer I stack them away high on a shelf.

Without the answers I cannot concentrate

And this feeling it will not abate

As it takes all of me not to erupt

Because I will then be accused of being too abrupt

As to them I appear to constantly interrupt.

But what is on my mind must be on theirs too,

How else can they understand these seemingly disparate clues?

 

All of these things are amplified when confined inside the office

Especially when I am in a meeting with my bosses.

Often times my body portrays unintentional non-verbal communication

That doesn’t fit with the normal business interpretation.

My mind either spends too much time making sure I am sitting up straight and making the correct faces

Or my mind can actually absorb the important content

While my body betrays me looking disarrayed and bent.

 

I can often come off overwhelming as I spend so much time alone

When I meet a comfortable opportunity to engage with others outside my home

It can seem abrasive and rude

As all the facts and figures in my head are spewed.

Sometimes I forget to ask personal questions and participate in back and forth communication

Often I am baffled when others don’t see the things I share with the same fascination.

I have a tendency to uncontrollably correct others when I feel their data is incorrect

Only after the fact can I sometimes see why it was the wrong place and time to interject.

I frequently get antsy when I can’t seem to find a break in conversation to have my say

As no normal breaks in conversation ever seems to come my way

I want so bad to find my place and be heard

The anxiety of wanting to fit in often alternatively makes being alone preferred.

 

Speaking of anxiety I think I have to explain

It’s a constant state of life that causes physical and mental pain.

Anxiety is the physical manifestations

Of all my overwhelming mental perseverations.

My heart rate will rise and a wrenching feeling tightens over my abdomen

Often words can never truly grasp a logical reason

It’s like a constant case of internal treason

 

I am rarely in the present as I live simultaneously in the past and future

My mind will spend all day and night on every detail others can place out of sight

I pack more than a week ahead and often find all the possible things to dread

Early is on time and on time is late and if it’s a second past then I feel like I am on my deathbed.

Setting a strict schedule to life is both a blessing and a curse

Having my time well defined is a coping mechanism that calms but can be just as adverse

Schedules set boundaries and limitations providing a sense of upcoming expectations

But a break in the regiment can cause a wide and quick moving ripple

A last minute meeting or arriving to none of the expected people

Can often cripple my insides and my ability to thrive

It can also cause a burst of negative energy that sets my brain in hyper drive

Amping up my already relentless mind

 

My sleep clock is always out of whack

Insomnia causes my nights to be anything but stable

As it never operates on a given timetable.

I remember clearly as a kid watching Nick at Nite

Laughing until all hours of the night.

Even when my eyes do finally close

My mind does anything but doze

The vivid dreams they come alive

Living a second life as fast paced as the first

Often sleep like this comes in bursts.

Fifteen minutes here an hour there

While the time awake is spent in prayer

For any rest I can ensnare.

 

If only my thoughts were all my brain had to turn about

But my mind rolls out a “welcoming” red carpet

To every noise, smell and sight of a moving object

Creating a life of never-ending sensory bombardment.

The air is never silent and electronics constantly squeal

And all the different tones and volumes of voices can be hard on my ears.

The lights can be too bright or the wrong shade of white

And that unpeeled banana that sits out on the table

Smells horrible enough to make my concentration unstable.

Typically, unnecessary stimuli are filtered out

But my mind has this defect you cannot see

Which makes it a sensory seeking banshee.

Without this essential buffer I can be easily distracted

And at its worst my day can be negatively impacted.

 

At night when my mind tends to fade my body sensations take center stage

My hearing becomes supersonic and my house becomes anything but harmonic

My body often encounters intense full body itching

And the smallest imperfection can also lead to an uncontrollable sensory obsession

To pick and scratch at nails, cuticles, and patchy skin.

 

Not every sensory input is so hostile

Some of them are actually worth while

The tight fit of a hat and the weight of heavy clothes

Can create a grounding sense that helps keep me composed.

When things get to be too much all I want to do is clutch

My thermal blanket with the satin so soft to the touch.

 

I have many different methods to combat negative sensory input

Like how I am often unconsciously seated upon a foot

You may also see me squeeze and shake my hand

And I tend to lean on objects when I stand.

I try to provide myself a calming feeling as a way of dealing

So I am not always hitting the ceiling.

 

Sometimes when a tractor trailer drives close by

My body sends an uncontrollable shake up my spine

That motorcycle whizzing down the dividing line

Has such a loud and disturbing whine

An unexpected shrill of a horn is like a bleating cry

Which makes me jump a mile high.

So when I drive I blast The Highway to feel the repetitive beats within my chest

Creating steadiness where otherwise there would only be unrest.

 

Are you tired yet, from being inside my head?

Exasperatingly it runs and runs always too far to catch.

So, I live in a constant game of fetch.

Five more things picked up as one might be put to bed,

There is never a spare moment to stop and catch my breath.

So even as I sit still here, a calmness never descends

Just a constant roll of thoughts about my worlds loose odds and ends.

 

It’s a never-ending feeling of being physically and mentally depleted

And often times my life feels cheated.

I fight each day to make sense of the constant barrage of information

Trying to fit into a world where I am constantly misunderstanding

And this feeling like no one will ever understand me.

 

As you can imagine with a brain in continuous hyper mode

My energy, it constantly erodes.

So I live a life of endless exhaustion

But that is just my life with autism.

 

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