“Hold on. Let me put my glasses on, I can’t hear you.”
Huh?! Yes, I say this. When I was a baby I had Scarlet Fever and it scarred my eardrum causing partial hearing loss. In either first or second grade I was given instructions in lip reading. I guess the school thought my hearing loss was a big deal. I didn’t even know what was going on. I never noticed any problems. Anyway, I was taught how to read lips and I guess it’s something I just do without thinking about it. Not that I could understand without the sound too, but I do seem to understand better if if can see your mouth. So, I’m not a constant eye gazer.
Growing up my single mom was emotionally unavailable. When she got mad at me she would say “I’m very disappointed in you”… I used to wish she’d just hit me instead. It would have hurt less. Needless to say I was always seeking approval from adults around me. When I was nine a neighbor molested me. I never said anything, thinking it was my fault somehow. I’m so totally okay now! I’m just putting down some facts to show why might have appeared to be socially awkward. I was needy. Desperately need. I had friends & understood the “rules” of playing but I always went along. I never felt like I had power & was afraid of losing approval.
In trying to get my mother’s approval I spent a lot of time with her friends. I was a precocious child and got positive feedback by entertaining them. I learned how to perform for approval. I took that further in high school with two years of drama. I LOVED being on stage! I got used to being looked at, even when I was being silly or jumping around by myself. I’m that lady dancing with her shopping cart in the grocery store aisle because I like the song being played.
As much as I don’t mind people looking at me “actin a fool”, being around too many people is super stressful for me now. It didn’t used to be but ever since the fibromyalgia caused me to spend 80% or more of my life lying down, I’m not used to crowds. My empath sense is easily overwhelmed and I want to run away to someplace calm and quiet.
So, what’s the point of all this? On the surface I share a lot of traits with autistic folks. I wouldn’t mind being an honorary member of the tribe, even though I don’t share the neurology. Maybe all these events in my life were meant (cosmic woo-woo) so that when Ben came along he would have a carer that could understand & relate to him better.