Monday, June 25, 2012

Aspergers Tree

I like to hang upside-down -from trees. My favorite tree has always been the Dutch Maple in front of my parents' house. Hanging there would help put life into perspective. Sometimes it would even help to remind me how ephemeral life is. Like the time the branch broke and my knees clung to it as I lay on my back, winded and suddenly looking at the world from yet another perspective. I laid there silent until I heard my parents tell me to get into the car; it was time to go to my grandparents' house. 
I tried hanging upside-down from other places; jungle gym bars, pipes, rock-walls, but they weren’t the same. Life was too predictable from those areas. I knew it was only a moment before I’d be interrupted by someone else who was clinging to the bars or scaling the wall, or worse, a nervous teacher who told me to stop or I’d get hurt and send me to the principal’s office when I tried to tell them I was fine –I’d only fallen on my face that one time

Somehow hanging upside-down from trees was my, “just right.” Depending on the branch I chose, I could watch an ant-hill without interrupting, make patterns from bark, sweep away footprints and magically disappear, watch Paul-Michael break his arm showing off, sneak up on my sister, or do just about anything. 

The fact is, everything was better when upside-down in a tree. When I walk around like everyone else, it’s like a head-rush. I feel too much blood throbbing, not enough air circulating, and my thoughts don’t flow clearly. Although I have to tolerate the overwhelming vicissitudes of thought-clot for longer and longer periods of time as an adult, it hasn't cancelled out the fact that my life simply doesn't work the same as other people's.

Somehow I've lost the knowledge that childhood provides.  Growing-up became a death-sentence. I remember how I once remedied that; climb up, hang upside-down, and let my thoughts line themselves up.  

I keep trying to live my life right-side-up to fit in, but I don't.  I have poor social graces, and know so much I sound like an idiot.  I've been taught not to like that about me.  But it's not right.  I'm no child; in fact, I have children of my own; by now I should accept that my life is upside-down... and that I'm approaching it all wrong.  

I'm not like other people.  Adult Aspergers Syndrome makes life a confusing ball of being called out on "poor-judgment" -helping at-risk kids on their ground instead of chiding their behavior, providing the comfort when a child enters into the hell of an isolated anxiety attack so she can stay grounded, understanding a language that is unspoken.

I guess that's why onlookers let people die in the street instead of help; why people follow learned rather than natural behavior.  I don't get it; I never will.  I can pretend I do, but the more I pretend, the further from myself I fall.  And there is no branch in the bend of my knee to sooth me out of fear.  At least then I was still oriented, I could still understand what happened.  
Right now I'm a confused adult living in fear.  Without a tree to hang from, I fall into its quicksand.  The more I struggle against my natural inclinations, the deeper my fear sucks me in.  No branch.  Not even a rock to help me get it over with.  

I struggle daily with being afraid.  With the fact that my thoughts need more than a tree to grab.  The funny thing is, I know what I need.  I need acceptance.  Not the kind that comes from other people, but the kind that comes from within.  I need to stop being afraid of my ex-husband, and face my life head-on.  But it's so confusing; so overwhelming.  And I need to climb to the tallest of trees so that I can think straight.  To get back to who I am. Because maybe it was never about hanging, but the climb.

My shoulder has healed.  I will begin today.  

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