V - Much Better - Out of My Head - I
V – Much Better – Out of My Head - I
Growing up my world was limited to learning and intellect. An extreme example of this was our meals together. We regularly read at the dinner table. The Sabbath dinner was the only exception. Conversations were “factual”, not related to our feelings.
As an autistic (Asperger’s) boy (more later), I was totally alone emotionally. I had no friends; no confidants to share life experiences with. Recently, when I discovered that I’m autistic, it was also obvious that my mother had been a fellow Aspie.
Non-fiction dominated my reading The nuances of nearly all fiction were invisible to me. What I liked, I generally loved. Most other things were pathologically avoided.
In some areas I dug deeply, being perceptive and knowledgeable. Otherwise, I was clueless. I’ve generally stayed “safe” on my small island.
Intelligent – yes, but oh, so emotionally alone!
I started (finally) growing in late 2018, with a further bump forward a year later on. My world(s) are becoming vastly different! I’m exploring – learning -being! I see a vastly expanding world – which is growing all the time! It is a journey that will continue for the rest of my life. Characteristics of my new life include:
1. Being curious – about others, trying to understand their subjective life realities,
2. Experiencing my feelings – taking as long as it takes to take them in,
3. Resting – (when not in serious, deep pain) – in my discomfort, including both my physical and emotional challenges,
4. Listening – and leaning into my heart – my Spirit,
5. Valuing – and developing deeper and deeper emotional connections to others – as the opportunities present themselves,
6. Living life – “for myself” – but who “I am” – is very, very different.
I also notice – my failures. Sometimes I regress. Sometimes, I regret what I’ve just done. Apologies – sometimes aren’t enough or appropriate.
Shortly before I left Chicago, I was returning home with my dog Zoey, after we’d walked on Loyola U’s campus. It was 35 minutes before the first session of my new anti-racism cohort for white people (something I really looked forward to).
I noticed a woman – perhaps 40 years old, nicely dressed. Others were moving with purpose to work and school. She was sitting on the sidewalk, crying.
I asked her: “Are you okay?”
She replied: “No”.
I asked her how I could help. She asked me if I knew X (male name)? (I had no idea who she was talking about.) I asked her if she’d been out all night. She replied: “yes”? Over the next few minutes I determined that she’d had a fight with her fiancé the preceding evening, and had left her car by a McDonalds, but she had no idea which one. She didn’t know Chicago at all.
I offered to try to help her find her car. We walked to our car, and I drove her past several McDonalds, until I ran out of time, and pointed her in the direction of another one. She never asked me for anything. I never asked her her name.
She told me that she’d asked others for help. No one had offered to help her.
I did – what I did – for myself! I’ve been given many life gifts over many decades. Finally, I feel confident, trying to support others – in their lives. In one sense, it was easier being with a stranger, not having to work significantly to build a lasting relationship.
Nearly everyone else – wouldn’t want to get involved. It was messy, even for some potentially dangerous. How many men – would have tried to have sex with her?
Over my last months in Chicago, I was always at the Family Planning Associates Abortion Clinic – Saturday mornings from 6:30 – 9:30 a.m. Being male – in a mostly female dominated world, made listening carefully particularly important. The images I saw – watching the women entering the clinic – were troubling! Many looked deeply scared. It was obvious that a lot of them had just had a sleepless night.
I was and am angry! I am angry at how women and girls – are not listened to – not heard – not respected. I am sad, sensing how painful many of these women’s lives can be.
Some would shut down – emotionally - in similar situations. Retreating – would be the only viable option.
I am motivated – not distancing myself – going with my energy into deeper commitment!
Happiness is not my main goal in what years I have left! Finding meaning is most important!