I’ve been in denial to the extent of my neurodiversity for most of my life. I learned unknowingly at an early age how to adapt and present like everyone else. I’ve gotten good at it, but it is incredibly draining to maintain. I want, more than anything, to be normal.
I remember sometime around middle school when I was delivering the weekly local newspaper praying to God to make me normal. I was struggling with self-esteem being the smart chubby kid who the girls really didn’t pay much attention to. This was a couple of years before puberty kicked in and I lost a fair amount of weight and garnered the attention of a few, but not many, members of he opposite sex. In high school I felt normal because quite honestly everyone is a little awkward at that time.
College was rough. I was alone. I tried to fit in, but I don’t really feel like I did. Most of my friendships were very superficial while others seemed they were required due to groups I participated in. I was often taken advantage of. There were very few genuine connections and I never understood why.
Imagine trying to find yourself at a time when you really don’t know who you are, and then multiply that feeling by about 10, convert it to Chinese, then to Russian, then back to English, and then try to make sense of it all. Welcome to Tuesday.
“Normal” is a trigger for me. It shouldn’t be something that requires so much effort.
This morning I came upstairs after packaging up some eBay orders asking my wife how I could help get the family ready for the day. She put her arms out which I read as a signal for wanting a hug. I proceeded to engage in the act of hugging when I was asked why I couldn’t hug her normal. I thought I was, I said I was. I was hurt. She said sorry.
In my mind I apparently have not learned how to hug properly. I’ll research that later. I must research many things that I may not do correctly. Being normal is exhausting, especially when you must meet unannounced expectations.
I don’t blame her for the interaction. I’m sure dealing with me is not an easy task. It likely explains two failed marriages and countless other relationships that didn’t end well.
I take responsibility for all of it. Despite the challenges of existing in a world I don’t feel like I belong it, I still need to survive. I’ve done my best. I’ll continue to fight through it every day. What other choice do I have?