A Lonely Road

I was asked by a young girl if she was bad for not wanting to be friends with a boy who had Autism.  His quirky behavior was as she put it, “driving her bonkers”.  He’d get in her face, follow her around, and spin in circles on the floor.

I was coming at this question from two perspectives.  One is I am on the spectrum myself and empathize with the boy.  On the other hand, I was a substitute teacher’s assistant and although I love the students, some do test my patience and so I could empathize with where she was coming from.

I answered with first stating I didn’t think she was a bad person. Just the fact that she was asking the question suggests to me she’s nicer than she thinks.  I advised her not to abandon him completely.  She didn’t have to be his best buddy but I advised her not to ignore him completely. I know all too well what it is to be ignored and it hurts like heck.

I gave her a few examples of those, (how shall I put this nicely), put my patience to task.

One was a boy on the Spectrum who does not give his voice a break.  I often wonder what keeps him from getting laryngitis.  My best coping mechanism is a sense of humor about it.  I don’t mean laughing at him; just keeping my sense of humor to ease the chatter on my nerves.

Another example was an autistic boy whose behavior for whatever reason changed for the worse when he changed schools.  He had been such a gentle soul but the change in schools took a toll on him.  He was physically disruptive and the other kids were a bit frightened of him.  I did my best to remain calm around him.  I knew he couldn’t help it.  He even knew that.  His teacher told me that one day he had given her a hard time.  He came over, gave her a hug, and said, “I don’t know why I do it.”

Then, I told her about the gentle giant who loves to give hugs and kisses. She has the autism trait of being repetitive in saying or asking things over and over again. That can get annoying! But I try to be patient because I know her story. You see she’s the new kid on the block in her class as well as neighborhood. Her world was rocked when her Mom died in another state and she now lives with Grandma. She talks about her Mom being in Heaven as if her Mom just moved away to some far-away location. She freely talks about joining her someday as if death is an everyday topic. Her teacher gently tries to change the subject, but rest assured, the gentle giant will bring it up again.

Last example, but not least, is a 7 years old who is the youngest in his autism unit. He’s also the only one who has yet to utter his first word. He does understand some of what he hears for he will do what he is told for maybe 2 minutes at most. He’ll flap with one arm, stop, hit his teeth with one hand, stop, give the top of his head two slaps, and start over again. The teacher will tell him to put his arms down and that works for maybe 10 seconds. He was climbing over me and I gave him a hug. While trying to put him back in his chair, what did he have in his hand? My billfold! I got pickpocketed! I showed his teacher and she wasn’t the least bit surprised. I wasn’t his first victim and I surely won’t be the last.

The girl with the question was amused at my stories and I told her that I laugh at my own quirky behavior all the time.  It beats crying about it.  I think I gave her some food for thought.  I hope she decided not to abandon the boy.  After all, Autism can be a lonely road.

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The Greatest Invitation

A party is not a bad thing if you like such things.  Not that I would know but I assume those who are the life of a party welcome party invitations unless it’s an invite with people that they if they had a choice, they’d see an orthodontist instead.  I don’t get many invitations and that doesn’t keep me up at night.  Coming up with a plausible excuse to get out of an invitation or dreading going to one does.  I have learned from observation that a simple “no” to a party invite with no excuse or a lame one is a social no-no.  Social interaction just doesn’t come easy for me and others on the autism spectrum.

One of Jesus’s parables was about an invitation to a great banquet.  You can read all about it in Luke 14:16-24.  The banquet was hosted by a certain man who I am speculating had a fair amount of wealth.  I assume that since the banquet was for many guests.  I have never hosted a party, but it just makes sense that the bigger the guest list, the bigger the price tag.

At the time of the banquet, the host sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’  The servant went around giving the invitation and was turned down by invitees, one by one, who asked to be excused.  They all had their excuses and some of them were so lame that the servant might have scratched his head wondering why they couldn’t have come up with a better excuse.

Jesus gave three examples of those who asked to be excused from coming.  One said he had just bought a field and must go and see it.  Hm?  Who would buy a field before seeing it?  

Another claimed he had just bought five yoke of oxen and was on his way to try them out.  Hm?  Who would buy five oxen before trying them out?  That’s like me buying a car without a test drive.  

And a third said he had just got married and couldn’t come.  Hm?  He couldn’t bring his bride along?  Or, she laid down the law to him that his partying days were over?  

The servant came back and reported the bad news of repeated “please excuse me” responses.  The house owner was livid.  Now why all his invited guests did not want to attend a banquet given by the host isn’t told in the parable.  I gather that wasn’t the point Jesus was getting at in this parable.  The meaning of the parable wasn’t about how to get out of a party given by someone you’d rather not break bread with.

The owner of the house ordered his servant to go out into the town streets and alleys and bring in the poor, crippled, blind and the lame.  After the servant had completed the task, he reported to his master what had been done and that there was still room for more.  The master told his servant to go out to the roads and country lanes and invite the folks to come in so that his house would be full.  Instead of his banquet attended by those he had invited in the first place, it was full of strangers.  The master said he did not want one of those who asked to be excused to even get so much as a taste of his banquet feast.

Every parable was an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.  This one was no exception.  Jesus was like the banquet host in extending an invitation.  The Gospel was first given to the Jews.  Some believed but there were those Jews who did not.  Some of those unbelievers were Jewish priests, elders, and scribes among others.  On the other hand, there were believers who were the outcasts.  Like the Samaritan woman at the well, a short-in-stature chief tax collector named Zaccheus, and a woman who lived a sinful life whom Jesus allowed to anoint his feet with perfume.

Jesus gave His life to give the greatest invitation to all who will accept it.  The gift of salvation isn’t limited to a particular group of people.  My own personal favorite scripture of invitation is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”  I’m so thankful for that “whosoever”.

I’m thankful, too, more than words can say, that Jesus’s invitation was one I did accept!

Me and My Shadow

British author Alis Rowe, who writes about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is quoted as saying “I’m just not really that fond of ‘socializing’. I’m not saying that I can never have fun being with other people but I just tend to have more fun when I’m on my own!”

I echo that quote.  I have oodles of fun by myself. Since I don’t live alone now, I am not lacking in human interaction as I was when I was living by myself.  I confess when I have the house to myself, it is like being in Disneyland without being at Disneyland.  It has nothing to do with those around me that I prefer my own company.  It’s just the way it is with my ASD.

Parties are hard for me to have a good time at, but not impossible. The more people I know, the better the odds of enjoyment. I once had fun at a party get-together with mostly total strangers but I can only recall one of those. I managed by eyeing an introvert who perhaps was just as or maybe more introverted than myself.  One of my party coping mechanisms is looking for an introvert at the same party too.  If I’m the only one, it’s going to be a long night.  I can’t recall feeling sad when the party guests started leaving. That’s usually the best part.

Dating and fun? There are folks who admit to having had both at the same time. I just have to take their word for it.

I confess I have the capacity to chat for an hour or longer with someone where the topic is one that sustains my attention. If the topic ventures to something I know little to nothing about, the fun is over. It’s nap time. I will not nod off, though, because if someone gives me an inch and lets me talk, I should do likewise when the person is on their soap box. That is only fair!  I may not hear every word, but I’ll try to keep up the pretense that what is going in one ear isn’t coming out the other.  The least I could do for someone who listens to me.

I have another confession. I have actual memories of having honest-to-goodness fun with others. It’s just I don’t have as many of those memories as I have of “me and my shadow”.

 

 

 

The Rulebook

A challenge for me to deal with living on the Spectrum is dealing with those around me who are lax when it comes to rules.  I am a firm believer in holding fast to rules instead of breaking them.  Thus, I sometimes run smack dab into meltdown country when engaged with those of my fellow kindred who think of rules as guidelines.

An example is if I ever have to give a briefing and it is only to be 15 minutes long.  I will not run over 15 minutes if that long.  If I am having to listen to someone speaking and their speech is supposed to be over at a certain time and that time has passed, I will feel like I have ants in my pants.

Librarians can relate to this story about borrowers who don’t observe the rule of “date due”. Years ago, I had a library job where I was in charge of borrowing and returning books received on loan from other libraries around the country. I hated this job with a passion! In retrospect after my diagnosis late last year, I can clearly see how my autism spectrum disorder (ASD) had a lot to do with the job being a bad fit.  It required more social interaction than my previous library catalog officer position which fit me as comfortable as an old shoe. The other drawback was I couldn’t return a book until the borrower returned it to the library.

Most borrowers did abide by the due date, but there were a few who consistently returned books late. I wonder if late borrowers look upon “due dates” as mere suggestions. Every episode of having to wait for an overdue book to be returned was emotionally draining. I could not relate because the only reason I wouldn’t return something before its due date would be if I was in a coma. Okay, I’m exaggerating but not by much.

My rule-thinking does not turn off when I go shopping. For instance, I take a sign on an express lane, such as “15 items or less”, LITERALLY! I am a frequent express lane shopper since it is my routine not to shop with a need of a cart.  If I were a full-cart shopper, one wouldn’t catch me in an express line unless I genuinely didn’t realize I was in one. I am not a happy camper standing in a line behind the person(s) who can’t count or doesn’t take 15 literally (16, 17, 18, items are okay).

Behind the wheel, I can’t say I’m always at or under the speed limit. I just can’t watch the speedometer like a hawk. My ASD doesn’t help make me a prime candidate for best driver on the road either.  It’s always a challenge having to do multiple tasks at a time and to be quick on my feet as you sometimes have to be for road survival.  But most rules on the road I follow. Such as I move over well in advance to make my exit off the highway.  Even if I have to sit in a long line waiting to exit, I will take my place and wait it out too. If I am in the other lane where traffic is backed up because there is a driver(s) trying to merge over at the last minute instead of taking their turn in the long line of traffic waiting to exit, I am in meltdown country taking it out on my steering wheel and floorboard!

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to take rules less literally. I don’t mean turning into an anarchist, but to not be a stickler on every rule I cross paths with.  Such as turning a library book in one day late and see if anything horrific happens.  Or clocking in at work, on purpose, one minute late to see if I turn into a pumpkin or not.  I’m being sarcastic.  The truth is I can only wonder since it just isn’t in my brain’s wiring to thumb my nose at the rulebook.

Lost Coin

I am on my sixth cell phone. The smartest one of the lot. That’s how I prefer it — a new one is an upgrade to the previous one instead of the other way around. All of them without exception, at one time or another, have given me a scare. At one time or another, they all managed to get separated from me.  That moment of realization that I and my phone are separated is agony.  My anxiety rises several notches. It is similar to losing my car key which is why I started the habit of attaching my spare remote car key to a necklace and wearing it around my neck, under my shirt so as not to tell the world that I do that.

I recall one time when I was out and about doing errands when I realized my cell phone had somehow gotten away from me. I looked in every nook and cranny inside my car, more than once, but it was not to be found. In a panic, I went to the nearby phone store and reported it lost. I asked how much it would cost to make things right again and the cost of a new phone raised my anxiety some more notches. Fortunately, the customer representative thought of the customer before the company. He advised me to wait awhile just to see if I might find it or maybe someone finds it and turns it in. I’m glad he was thinking calmly for me.

I returned home and found my cell phone sitting pretty in my recliner. To say I was relieved was an understatement. Some of me wanted to toss it around for giving me such a scare, but I didn’t. It wasn’t its fault that I chose to put it in a pants pocket that it could easily fall out of instead of in my purse where it belonged.

Most all human beings can relate to the scare and sadness of losing something and the relief and joy of finding it. The more valuable or attached we are to it, the greater the sadness and/or fear.  Losing something is such a common occurrence that all generations can relate to going as far back as I suppose the beginning of mankind. Jesus taught using parables and one of them was about a woman who lost a coin. A simple definition of a parable is “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning”.

This parable is told in Luke 15:8-10. It was told in the form of a question.  Jesus asked what woman who owned ten silver coins and lost one would not light a candle, sweep the entire house, and seek diligently until she found the missing piece?  And when she did find it, wouldn’t she not call her friends and neighbors telling her story of the lost and found piece of silver. I remember telling my story of my lost cell phone to my co-workers who were relieved I found the phone and then relieved when I stopped talking about it.

What is the heavenly meaning to this earthly story? It tells us in verse 10: “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” It is awesome to think that the moment of long ago when I asked forgiveness and for salvation that there was rejoicing in Heaven over ME!  This is true of all those who take the Lord at His word of “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shalt be saved.”  I know there are those who would have a hard time believing that. After all, any one soul is just one among billions of people on the planet. It requires faith to believe the words of Luke 15:10.

 

 

My Collection Pic

As the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  The above picture is a show and tell of my autistic trait of collecting items that I’m consumed with.  In this case, items connected to a power cord or run on batteries.

Maybe I should keep this picture saved on my smart phone to show someone who questions my being on the Autism Spectrum.  The picture could be my “Exhibit A” in a court of neurotypical opinion.  Maybe I should also add a picture of my half-dozen bags of my favorite brand of pretzels as “Exhibit B”.

One of my two TV’s is cut off at the top of the pic.  The items residing on my desk are a computer, tablet, Amazon Alexa (the tiny brown one that looks like a hockey putt), Amazon Echo Show (the one that looks like a desk clock), and my Google Home Assistant (the one that looks like a room deodorizer), and a mini-sized white vacuum that inhales the dust.  That’s only the part of the collection on my desk!  My additional big screen TV, desk clock, diffuser, air purifier, fan, stick vac, and power-operated recliner are not in the picture.

Sometimes I feel like a kid who has so many toys that I don’t know which to play with.  For instance, whenever I want to turn the desk light on/off, I can command any of these three to do it:  Alexa, Echo, or Google.  I try to switch and not pick the same one each time since that’s only fair.  One shouldn’t have to do all the work.

My Mom is bewildered at my four remote controls and five power strips.  I’d probably get a high-five from Amazon and Google’s CEOs though.

 

 

 

 

 

The Prophet Who Did Not Drown

Habakkuk was one of the Old Testament (OT) prophets and author of the OT book named after him. His name is a lot easier for me to say than to spell. He is somewhat a mystery because of the 66 books of the Bible, his name only appears in his book twice – in the first verse and first verse in the third chapter. There’s no mention of his hometown or parents or tribe. He doesn’t say where he resided but some Bible scholars concluded he lived in Jersalem at the time he wrote his book. He does provide his title “the prophet”.

Habakkuk must have chosen not to write about himself. There’s nothing wrong with that. His focus wasn’t on himself, but on what he saw and the “why” of it. He saw famine. He saw injustice. Something was eating at him and it was what he saw as God’s uninvolvement in the world. He wanted to see God at work, particularly in the area of justice for those who did evil. Habakkuk lamented but who can’t relate to that. If one is a stranger to lament, then one is a rare bird!

I haven’t figured out, don’t expect I ever will, of how much control I have of what happens to me or around me. But I do have a say in how I respond to it. Instead of throwing tantrums, blaming God, Habakkuk prayed. His book is mostly a conversation between him and God. These conversations led to something amazing for the prophet. Judging from Habakkuk 3:17-19, he was able to praise even in the middle of a drought.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:

18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

3:19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

One would think there’s no joy in famine, but Habakkuk found something to rejoice about. God hadn’t left him. Because of God, the prophet had hope there was an end to the famine. He had hoped the sweet would come. Verse 19 speaks of the deer who is known for being fast on its feet and ability to jump over any obstacle. We all have a race and it’s called life and it sure has its obstacles!  Don’t we all know it!

Decades ago, I recall watching a TV episode from the show, “The Walton’s”. If you remember watching the original episodes, you are probably a baby boomer. For those of you who aren’t boomers or have no idea what I’m referring to, the show was about a family living through the Great Depression. The Depression was “real” and one of the worse famines this country had ever faced. Some members of the Walton family were gathered around the front porch awaiting word of the fate of a loved one who was in some sort of danger. It was one of those terrifying moments of hoping for the best while fearing the worst. Grandma Walton told them that they should all pray. One of the grandchildren asked Grandma, “How can you still keep believing in God?” Grandma said, “Who else do I have to believe in?”

Although it was a TV show, I kept the words of the grandmother in my memory. I thought she made a good point with her question. Who else? Well, there’s me, but I don’t think so. I have weaknesses. I have limitations. God has none.

There’s an old saying that one’s life can change in the twinkling of an eye. That is true. A whole host of calamities can happen in seconds. But there’s the flip side of the coin. A whole host of wonderful can too.

Just as there is sour, there is sweet. On any given day, there are folks leaving this earth and grieving loved ones behind; however, there are babies coming into it being welcomed by eager adults, some of whom are carrying “It’s a …” balloons and/or a box of cigars. There are evil acts committed around the clock, but there’s also many acts of kindness by those responding to the Lord’s conviction on their hearts.

A quote comes to my mind: Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the storm.  Habakkuk knew how.  He lamented but he didn’t drown in it.

What Is Having Asperger Syndrome Like?

Someone asked me what was it like having Asperger’s. I didn’t mind the question. Quite the contrary! I welcomed the question or any question related to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  That’s one reason I write about living on the Spectrum. I can’t speak for my fellow ASD travelers since each one of us on the Spectrum is unique. I can describe my own life on the Spectrum, but don’t ask me to explain it.  Those who don’t have ASD can’t understand it and those of us who do can’t explain it.

PLEASE ….

My anxiety goes up a notch or two when I am given the “PLEASE go get the…, find the…, bring me …, it’s in the…next to the…on the right…”.   The longer the instruction string, the least likely the instructor will get positive results from me.

I was helping a friend the other day with an outdoor project and she gave me a few of those type requests in one sitting. The pressure to find what she wanted in record speed put me on panic alert. I did find them but not with record speed and not without my friend repeating or rephrasing the directions. If I were quick on my feet, I would have asked, “Am I getting warmer?” meaning am I getting closer or further from the target of the safari hunt. The items were within a short, I do mean SHORT, distance from me. EMBARRASSING! If there had been a hole, I would have climbed in it until my friend talked me out of it.

BED NECESSITIES

Sleeping with five pillows instead of one. A miserable night if I was reduced to sleeping with the standard number of 1 or even 2. It is just one of my long held rituals to be surrounded by pillows at bedtime. I call it, for lack of a better explanation, my comfort food at bedtime.

DIET ROUTINE – WRITTEN IN STONE

My list of what I eat on a regular basis could be counted on two hands. Most of those items are high in starches. Thus, I am a big fan of bread, bagels, dry cereals, crackers, chips, and popcorn. No salt shaker but what I eat has plenty in it. When I eat my meals is beyond my understanding but I stick to my peculiar eating routine like SUPER glue.

GOOGLE IMAGES WITHOUT WORDS

I am in a conversation and have the floor.  I am telling a story and come to a point where for the life of me I can’t think of the name of the image in my head.  I describe it in a haphazard way where I stutter all over myself. This is the part that frustrates me. A few minutes later, my brain pops the word up. Granted, this surely happens to most people, but in my life on the spectrum, it is the “norm” instead of the exception.

OH CLUMSY ME!

If there is something to trip over, stumble on, tumble over, then one of my toes, feet, or knees will find it. I don’t take daily inventory, but I don’t think I’ve lived a day that I didn’t have a bruise on my person. I’ll only remember how I got a bruise if it hurt so much that I saw lights flashing. It is frustrating to no end when I bump, fall, and trip but I try to take ’em as they come and keep going with bruises galore.

NOT SO FINE ON MOTOR!

Fine motor skills have to do with the small stuff when it comes to movement. This is why my handwriting bears a strong resemblance to chicken scratch. It is why picking up objects between my thumb and finger is no small feat. Such as putting on or off pierced earrings. As hard as I try to hang on to the earring or “back”, it happens without fail of one dropping. The earring is easier to find than the “back” to it. The backs are so small and blend in into the floor that finding one is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

I have come so close at times to give up earrings entirely and forget about my two tiny ear holes.  I give in against my better judgment and buy a pack of cheap earrings at the dollar store just to replace the missing “backs”.

WHY DID I SAY ALL THAT?

I meet a total stranger who gives me an inch. I’ll tell the stranger way more than I want to about myself. It was as if I had provided a total perfect stranger a chapter or two of my audiobook autobiography.  Shortly thereafter, I’m kicking myself as to what in the world was I thinking telling a stranger my life story.

 

Those are just some examples of what it is like to have Asperger’s Syndrome.  Sometimes I have a no-meltdown kind of day.  Other times my autism slaps me in the face and lets me know it’s around and is here to stay.

 

 

 

 

The Importance of One

One of the many amazing things I find of comfort about Jesus was his showing of compassion towards a multitude, a few, or even to just one lowly individual. It wasn’t based on whether one was a Jew or not, whether one had wealth or not, or whether one was well-known or a social outcast. Jesus, by example, taught us that everyone is somebody.

The above picture is that of a city called Nain in Galilee, not far from Capernaum. It is now a small village inhabited by Jews, Muslims, and Christians.

In one of Jesus’s travels, he visited this town along with his disciples and a large crowd who was following Him. (Luke 7:11-17) As he approached the town, he encounters a funeral procession. The dead person being carried out was the only son of his widowed mother. She must have had many who knew her and her son because there was a large number of the townsfolk with her.

The scripture tells us that when Jesus saw the widowed mother, His heart went out to her. He was so moved He spoke to her telling her not to cry.  This one widow did not seek Jesus’s attention. He was the one who made the first move towards her.

After Jesus told the mother not to cry, He went up and touched the bier. I can picture this compassionate scene in my mind. Imagine!  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the light of the world, taking time from his journey to speak to this one grieving mother and touch the coffin carrying her one and only child. The pall bearers stood still. Perhaps they sensed this was a special moment, one in which you could have heard a pin drop.

Jesus told the dead young man to get up. To the amazement of the witnesses, including the mother, the young man sat up and began to talk.  The townsfolk surely had some questions for this young man who is one of the few in the Bible who returned from the grave to walk upon this earth again. The scripture does not let us in on what the young man said. Jesus gave him back to his mother’s waiting arms.

The many who witnessed this miracle rejoiced with the mother who had her only child back for a while longer. The people acknowledged that a great prophet had appeared among them. He was unlike any other man they ever knew. They didn’t keep it a secret either. Word of what they had witnessed spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

I am drawn to this story by the compassion Jesus showed to this one distressed widow. This wasn’t a case where the person in need sought out Jesus. She did not run out to Jesus or cried out for Him to give her back her son. It was Christ who saw her and her tears mattered to Him. He sought to remove those tears and return the most precious thing in her life — her boy.

This story takes me back to another story told to me by a dear friend from years ago. She was the oldest child of her mother who was a widow. At some point after her father’s death, mother and daughter decided to visit where my friend’s father grew up. It was a trip from the U.S. to some Canadian town across the border. Since it was a long trip, a day at least, they were both concerned.  Before their loved one passed away, he was the one at the wheel on their Canadian trips.  Now they were on their own…or so they thought.

As they were headed north to the border, they both smelled cigar smoke and neither of them smoked. The windows were all rolled up and so the smell did not come from the outside. It was a familiar scent to them both.  The widow’s husband and my friend’s father was big on cigars and the smell was his favorite brand.

My friend can’t prove that there wasn’t a logical reason for the smell in their rolled-up car. Some might say they were imagining it. If so, they both imagined it at the same time. My friend and I agreed that it isn’t necessary to try to figure it out. The effect is what’s important. According to her, their trip was smooth-sailing from then on. The widow and her daughter took it as a sign from the other side of Heaven that they were not alone. The man they loved wasn’t completely lost to them. They’d see him again, but until then, he was okay and so were they.

The Lord does work in mysterious ways. He is still in the business of miracles for one or a multitude. Both these stories give me hope and comfort that I’m somebody to the Lord too. As someone once said, it isn’t that God is so far away that’s incredible, it’s that He is so NEAR!

The Tip of the Iceberg

Long before I knew I was on the Spectrum I knew I was an introvert.  I took the Myers-Briggs multiple times and although the results would sometimes vary, the score always started with an I (Introversion); never an E (Extroversion).

I’ve heard some folks question whether Asperger’s is just being an introvert.  If someone asked me that, I’d have a hard time keeping a straight face.  I’d be hard pressed not to roll on the floor in hysterics.  Why?  Because there’s a heap more to my living on the Spectrum than my “I”.  I sometimes wish introversion was all there was to it but take my word for it, it’s not in my case.

I don’t think being introverted causes me to require wearing an eye mask to bed to block out the light that’s hard on my eyes.  I don’t think it has anything to do with needing to turn on some white noise device at night to block out sounds that can put me in a tailspin.  It isn’t shyness that’s behind me sitting on a bathroom floor with my hands over my ears trying to block out the sound from another room that’s driving me to tears.  My being an introvert doesn’t cause me to overreact to some pet peeve to the point where I feel like a rumbling volcano inside set to blow off.

Not all that long ago I was in a place where a music video came on.  The music was a solo being performed by a man who had a loud, strong bass voice.  Nothing against his singing, but his bass voice threw me into meltdown country.  I retreated as far as I could from it into a corner.  Tears rolling down my face.  I stimmed by moving my legs back and forth.  In my thoughts, I was begging for whoever to finish his song.  Once the singing stopped, I went back to where I was sitting.  I took some deep breaths.  The indescribable pain had vanished as quickly as it had come over me.  All was well again until next time.

I admit I am an introvert, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.