Saturday, July 13, 2013

Have You Ever Practiced Laughing?

Image Credit: gökçe özaslan, SXC
About seven years ago, I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, a type of high-functioning autism.  That means that, while I have a degree of autism I can often pass for normal for short stretches of time.  Honestly, I'm not sure if I could reliably pass a Turing test although I'm undeniably human.

When I was younger, I didn't know I had a syndrome, I just knew I was a freak, a human being that others saw as just a little less real than themselves.  I recently wrote about something very small, something other people might find odd, which was oddly difficult and painful for me.  I couldn't laugh right.

I also found things funny that other people found upsetting or maybe it was that people were upset by the laughter rather than by what triggered it.  I often thought that people were just lousy at seeing the humor in things, that maybe normal people were all just a little bit stupid.

Anyway, here's the little memoir I wrote about practicing laughter to try and get it right.

Writing Through a Strange Life

Image Credit: image created by Fred Fokkelman SXC,

Every life is strange because everyone is a stranger sometimes.

I've always been a stranger and I've always felt as if I'm a foreigner from a country that doesn't exist.  I used to let my alien feelings get to me and I used to try to mold myself to fit in.

But as I've approached middle age, I've figured out that there is no fitting in.  I am who I am and it isn't worth the struggle to pretend I'm something other people want me to be.  And strangely enough, there's something of value in being myself.  There's a strange fragile beauty in who I am that goes beyond my physical unattractiveness and my disastrous social awkwardness.

So I've decided that I am who I am and there's nothing wrong with that.  So I now get through my feelings of strangeness by writing my way through.  Dark spots combine on lighted screens to form tools for digging out from under the weight of unnamed emotions.  They form letters and lines of letters and clumps and clusters of words and meanings and somehow they form a coat of armor and let me touch other people skin to skin at the same time.

I've started this blog to share some of that writing.  Much of it is already out on the web.  It sits orphaned and unseen for the most part and people don't usually see more than a single piece of it.  But certain pieces combine together to form a picture, not of my physical body, but of me, the real me.  They show my flaws and my pain and my heart, things so much more important in the greater scheme of things than images of my epidermis and my hair follicles and the set of my lips over my teeth.

If you want to start a relationship with the real me or even to just try to see through the eyes of a total stranger in a way you haven't before, take this journey with me and read some of me.