Call it what you will

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You honestly don’t remember THAT?!?

I still find this question jarring, even though it was said to me over 24 hours ago. Because I realize that no, I did not remember what my brother thought I should remember. Zero recollection. The reason for the question is mundane and unimportant. What is important is how I felt, how I reacted, and what I might have learned about myself.

My first reaction: I’ve lost my mind. Alzheimer’s. Old age. Senility. The marbles are out of the bag. All of it was bad me. That continued until another statement triggered the memory my brother was looking for, and I realized I’d simply filed it in my brain under another label. My brother said red, the memory was filed under maroon. That’s all.

It brought to mind a suggestion from a friend of mine, that perhaps underneath all my self analyzation and blame lies a hint of what my bro suffers from: autism. Specific memories stored by specific words that can’t be accessed without the proper trigger word. My loss of all verbosity at times; it is not that I don’t want to speak or write, I literally cannot think of the words I need to communicate. My recurring nightmares over being mute and unable to speak.

*sigh* I don’t know. Perhaps. Maybe. Probably. It’s not something I even want to approach. For one, if I do fit on that scale it’s way on the end – just a touch to make some things difficult for me. For another, I suffer from severe Bobbsey-twin Syndrome (copyright 2016, Beeps). The times I have felt I am only me and not some half-version of one of my siblings have been few and far between. My mother dressed me as a mini-me of my sister, and my aunt never could get our names straight. Worse; my mother told me she picked my name because it was an alternate version of my sister’s. Friends and peers consider my brother and I as a team. Even tho he’s adopted, we’re so close that most think we’re fraternal twins. Finding a singular identity in the midst of so much gee, you’re just like your sister (or brother) is damned difficult.

And my siblings are, quite often, overbearing. I am queried as to my financial status, my savings account, my taxes – all from a tell me everything while I sit in judgement type of view. I have been confronted with questions over cyber friends and connections: why are you friends with this person? Are you planning something? I have been told what to do, why I’m doing it wrong.

I have rarely been listened to.

Not that I can really blame them. When I was younger I couldn’t even tell anyone I didn’t have the words to explain myself. Instead, I wrote poetry. I got noticed. People thought I ‘got’ more than I did – from words to sex and everything in between. And I faked it as best I could, because I wanted to belong, I wanted to be taken seriously. But I didn’t get it. I didn’t get the sexual innuendos older men gave me when I was 13. I didn’t get the reason for so much, but my intellect and lightening ability to mimic those around me hid my confusion from everyone very, very well. They didn’t know; I was a consummate actress.

That blindness to what’s really going on around me has led me into some very dangerous situations. It is a true hinderance in my life.

Now I look back and see. Really see. I’m beginning to understand my acting out, the drugs, the alcohol, the sexual escapades. The deeper I begin to understand myself, the more these jarring questions that come from my siblings disturb me. They are controlling you, part of me says. Even T, my compadre in arms for all these years. Sometimes I think he only wants me to see things his way, and when we disagree I feel wrong for disagreeing with him.

But I’m trying to look at the whole picture. Not just part of it. Most of all, I’m trying to not react. To observe without making decisions. My brother does suffer from autism and ADHD; his communication has never been very good. He often blurts things out. I get upset over his choice of words, and an afternoon is spent trying to reach an understanding.

And I AM questioning what the hell I’m so upset over. Is it the ghost of senility? A feeling of being manipulated? Plain old paranoia? All of the above?

The only way to find those answers is to stop, to be calm, to observe and not react. This is moving without moving. A familiar place to me, tho not always reachable.

Feels like the world around me has erupted in a whirlwind. Things are on this week, and my previous confidence is slipping away. Yet for all I feel I’m doing it wrong, I know I’m doing it right: just at the moment it seems it’s time to jump, I wait. To go willy-nilly into the world right now would be to repeat my pattern again, and I am so tired of doing the same thing over and over.

So I wait. Stick to my schedule. Remember that words are poor substitutes for real communication. Most of all, I trust. Deeply, and in myself. That’s what I’m finding right now. I trust myself enough to sit through all this stuff that’s trying to flip me out. I will ask, and learn. The fear I feel – and it IS fear, underneath everything else – will pass.

A pill to take all this away would be nice. Something to alleviate my anxiety and paranoia. Something to calm me so I can continue to communicate and not freeze up. No one’s offering anything, and honestly I don’t know that I’d take it if it WAS on offer.

This is my journey; call it what you will.

 

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