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When life seems unreal

Sometimes being on the spectrum is like living half-in and half-out of the real world: surrounded by unreal people with strange, glimpsed motivations, left to figure out the plot at the same time as being a part of it.

Like a TV town by the sea, my own life seems populated by stereotypical characters who have their roles to play and know them off by heart. I have a role too, but I don't ever seem to quite learn the lines or know which door to leave by and when to come in on cue. Rather like the innocent niece or nephew on Murder She Wrote, sooner or later I find myself under suspicion, hoping for a kindly Aunt Jess to bail me out and explain it all away.

It's not just the people who can seem unreal: colours boost or fade, impressions of a familiar room change as the light is adjusted behind the scenes and not by any switch I can reach. Shadows disappear in a harsh light or gather in new places - how did I never notice before that dark gap between the cupboard and the door?

Th…
Recent posts

Through the wardrobe

I don't care about reality. You have it, you keep it and take care of it, and tell me all about it if you like. I'll pet it a little and pretend to understand, to know what you mean when you say

The real world matters, we all have to live in it

This reality is what counts, this is what we have
I know this is true because I can feel it and see it
It does you good to live in the real world
You have it, have the grand plans and new schemes, have the walk to work and the run to keep up. I don't want it. I won't answer the door to it, or include it in my limited plans for getting through today, for walking free in my own unreal, unseen world.
I'm unrealistic (apparently). I need to do these real-world, fact-based, hard-edged tasks to make everything happen like it's supposed to. Who made these rules? Does it matter if I fit in? Who cares if I do? I don't care, why should you?
Have it to yourself, you like it so much. You cuddle its hard edges and polish it so it sh…

What is the yellow bird?

It sounds like the start of a haiku, though then we'd have to:

What is yellow bird? or Is the yellow bird?

which might be quite nice and lead to wheeling high above the cat
then safe and free at last.
So, yes, I went off track there. I only picked the yellow bird title because I saw a little canary the other day, desperately trying to get into Asda (they know no better), hopping away from the anxious security guard and worried assistant who were trying to pluck up the courage to catch it. I'd been in the middle of a conversation with IT Girl and as soon as I saw the bird, off I went to see what was happening.
This is a verifiable distraction: a canary trying to go shopping in Asda is a sight most people would find distracting. But what if you don't need the yellow bird?
What if all you need is a random key word in your sentence or someone else's to set you off in a new direction? Off you go, logically changing route (logical to you anyway), leaving the other person won…

Tell me how I feel

Sometimes I rely on other people to tell me what the world means, and how I can make a best-fit try at life. I have a habit of looking for opinions too much, just because things don't make much sense to me; it seems logical to ask the advice of people who do see sense in the whole crazy world around us. But I can go too far.

I was asking my eldest son for advice, asking him what other people might do, what they might think, what I might do, and so on. I expect the friends and family of aspies can guess how this conversation went, it definitely belonged in the 'but why?' category. We might not say it exactly that way but we might as well be asking:

But why did they say that?
But why did it turn out that way?
But why does it mean that instead of this?

Frankly, it doesn't matter how many special interests and perfect understandings you have, there is always so much of life that ends up as but why.

I was but-whying my son (yet again), this time about the feelings and moti…

The Aspie Guide to Dealing With Christmas

How can you make people see how stressed you are by Christmas? Does it seem impossible? Can you not break through their glittered hides? Are they too caught up in the sociable season to even listen as you speak?

If you are stressed out by Christmas, or even the thought of Christmas, here is the simple route to making sure everyone knows how you feel.


Explaining this to people They listen, their heads nod, most likely their eyes glaze over but then hope swells in your heart as their spoken words seem to reflect what you just said to them. They understand! ...and then they behave exactly as before and expect you to also behave yourself (not as you have before) and be a full participant in Christmas. Damn! When will you learn to communicate better? (cough) Using pictures and diagrams to explain this to people This feels like it should work. I mean, if they can't understand the spoken word then surely that means they are visual learners and will appreciate your carefully crafted/lovi…

Come, come, come, it's Christmas! or Not.

We had a major success at the weekend. We managed to put up the Christmas tree with barely any fighting, I didn't end up crying on the sofa, there was no storming upstairs and past Christmases were only mentioned twice in a growling whisper.

Granted it's now 5 days later and I'm still surrounded by bags of unpacked lights and decorations, but the tree is up!

I love Christmas, I'm horribly Christmassy, but still I haven't been able to face going out into the garden to put the lights up, or decorate the house, or even the baby fir trees I bought a month ago which are sitting bare-ass naked on the windowsills.

It feels like an ache, to imagine doing these things, like I'm anticipating the pain of a cross-country run in the middle of February. I'm Putting It Off, hoping for a sudden rush of courage so I can gather it all up and do the rest of the decorating.

At the same time, those people who live in a more normal world are out there spending their own bodywei…

My step-father died

My stepfather died a couple of weeks ago. We hadn't seen each other for years and had a tumultuous relationship while he was married to my mother, then came to a meeting of minds when I was in my 20s. Since then he moved on, I moved on and we fully drifted. But still, a part of my life left this earth, taking with him his bad dad jokes as well as rows, clumsy step-parent conversations and someone who stuck up for me when I was bullied.

I felt like a fraud of a step-daughter when my sister told me he had died. He was my step-dad but she became my sister, an absolute rock in stormy waters. When she told me my first thought was for her, how devastated she must be. I was numb, so I assumed I didn't care enough to be upset.

That day I stayed in, and did nothing, and berated myself for doing nothing and staying in when I was fine. I didn't tell anyone he had died.

That evening I sat in a darkened living room and thought I must turn on the light. I turned it on then needed to le…