-Mobile continuation from Xanga blog PinkyGuerrero
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-Personal blog for Janika Banks.
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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

lost in a world of puppet masters and masks

Caution- Get a snack before you settle in if you think you're going to stick through this. I'm going a little deep processing thoughts and feelings, because #aspienado.

I guess when a person puts off dealing with something for 8 years, all that emotional backlog takes longer to dredge through than it originally should have. Not for lack of trying in the first place, since I spent months on it before I finally let it go. Except I never did let it go, I just stopped talking about it. After about 3 years. Except on blogs. It kept showing up on blogs. And then April came, and I watched Sherlock, and the complexity of bandaids I'd jury rigged all got ripped back off, and here it came, my heart that I tried so hard to stuff into a box into the very back of a very high shelf in my darkest closet. Ok, so now I have my heart in my hands, what do I do now? And the last few months have been me feeling like a lost dog remembering stuff after stuff after stuff, and feeling all the feels again, and finally sorting through them putting them into their proper places because now I'm more grown up and now I can see how they're supposed to fit.

When I first heard Sherlock say that line, "I don't have friends. I've just got one.", I froze. I had just always stopped at I don't have friends, or I can't keep friends. That moment was like a rock in my face, a whambash burst of sparkling lights all around my head, and quite suddenly I knew why I don't have friends. I'd had ONE. The right one. And no one else has ever been able to find the right buttons to push or the right levers to pull with me, and not for lack of trying on all our parts. I just can't seem to keep playing a part right, because that's what they've all been since, parts I fill.

I've always been a one friend at a time person. This whole coming back public and learning to talk to people again has been a Herculean effort (#aspienado), and while I feel like I'm learning loads of better behaviors and making tons of progress, I also feel excruciatingly empty inside. I've tried every which way to describe this pain to myself, and the closest word I've ever felt like works is 'divorce'. I felt super bonded, and that bond was severed.

One of my fave Lewis books is The Great Divorce. This describes my favorite part. "The narrator discovers that the vast grey town and its ghostly inhabitants are minuscule to the point of being invisible compared with the immensity of Heaven and reality. This is illustrated in the encounter of the blessed woman and her husband: she is surrounded by gleaming attendants while he shrinks down to invisibility as he uses a collared tragedian — representative of his self-punishing emotional blackmail of others — to speak for him."

One of my quirks being aspie is that I pick up a little too well on masks, doublespeak, and behavioral incongruities. I suck at faking it and passing, like other people learn to do, because I suck at acting (or vice versa). I may not understand what's going on (I'm almost painfully innocent to innuendo and between the lines), but I do understand that kind of interacting is lying. It's being one way and covering it up by saying it differently. I'm not saying that's bad, I'm just saying I rarely find people who are honest without twisting it up. I'm super good at spin. I've studied how people wear masks, how they hide to feel brave and then fling their masks off to reveal tragedies, and then readjust their masks back on. The real tragedy, I think, is that they can't see themselves how I see them. I see the real stuff still hidden in the back. The dramas are still masks. The layers of masks go so deep sometimes that people lose themselves, and they can't see the only way out of the horrible mazes they build around themselves is through simple honesty. Replacing one mask with another isn't honesty.

Only one person that I've ever met in my whole life seemed to realize I'm a super klutz at the whole mask thing, and whether for good or ill, for ulterior motive or true kinship, with great patience and intelligence and gentleness, approached me and became my friend. I've said for years I need a handler, maybe an aspie whisperer, well, that person was it. It took time, wasn't rushed, and I eventually imprinted like a baby duck. It felt honest. I didn't feel played. I didn't have to jump through hoops playing head games and trying to figure out where not to step. I was able to be myself. Very few people have any clue how tightly they bind me up with their expectations, little realizing I feel like I'm stranded in quicksand when it's time to banter or chat. (I think what throws people is that I write so much...)

I wasn't up front about personal stuff back then because I didn't know how to talk well with people, even typing. I often overstated, more out of explaining back to myself what I thought I meant than anything (and now I take the public on my journey through my head with me). For some reason, I need to see my thoughts coming back through my eyes to process them. I don't write because I'm bored or needing interaction, I write because I'm thinking. And thinking never stops. Back then my interaction skills were still poorly developed, despite being a consistent ringleader in fandoms, and I was still trying to hide that I simply can't talk on phones well (except with family, and even then it's actually very difficult), or chat well in real time, so when I 'talked' through a keyboard, I was probably very overwhelming sometimes. I've been working on chopping that down a bit.

Keeping pace with the social dance while processing an exchange of thoughts and ideas is a big deal for me. That's what the whole Aspergers diagnosis is about, I'm not capable of what most of my readers have taken for granted since they were 3 and 4 years old. My cognitive and emotional development have been wildly skewed and quite opposite each other for years, so the more I play with word construction on my blogs, the more mental exercise I get synchronizing my real time core processor. My friend saw some of this way before I did- recognized it, synced with me like a rider does a horse, and allowed me the extra time to develop a few interaction skills.

I was on my way to public disaster (again), and I'm afraid probably caused problems balking later when I didn't understand what was happening. I probably didn't act much differently than a spooked horse that won't load into a trailer. I locked up and tried to go a different direction and completely missed that I was part of a team. I know now that all it would have taken was a few very simple very honest sentences to get my compliance, but at the time, all I saw were black and white ethics, because that's just how aspies think. I made a decision that I still don't really regret, but I deeply regret the consequences. At this point in time, I'm not sure anyone knows yet what I'm really talking about, but soon, perhaps.

It took me 8 years to put all that into words.

So you readers who've actually stuck with me from clear back last April, little did I know way back then that this was the key. I was asked if I'd seen Benny & Joon, I said no, but I know now that my friend had a head start on understanding how to handle me for even bringing that up. I can't keep saying enough how much I appreciate even just one person on this planet taking that kind of time with me, especially after a friend before had mocked me with (I'm not kidding) "I was just doing all that to see how you'd react", really going out of the way with the head games. Anyway, I found that movie later and watched my brain fall out and start reassembling itself. I saw myself from another person's eyes for the first time.

This really is me and @bonenado irl. Except I don't paint and he's into fantasy baseball.

I just needed to say I think I'm starting to get it now, why I feel all these feelings and never knew what to do with them.


  1. Some people never figure out all of this, they live their entire lives behind masks and do not ever clearly see themselves. You do see through those masks and you don't wear one - and that is a Good Thing :)

  2. And some people love masks and wouldn't be caught dead without one. Figuring out what a 'self' is supposed to be all about has been one of my lifelong obsessions. Thanx for the comment. =)