I had my blog for today all planned out in my head, but quite simply didn't have the time yesterday morning to give it the time it deserves. It will be a home run, I hope, but it does not get the nod as today's subject.
Yesterday there was a Community Networking Forum in Saint Peters, Missouri. I must tell you that I am becoming a big fan of working a booth, but after yesterday I know that the environment has to be right for me to be able to function.
As soon as the doors opened to the public I all but shut down. The amount of exhibitors that were there this year were up by a considerable amount and room was scarce. There was no safe place for me to stand that allowed me to have all my needs for position met. What that means is that I like a position where no one is standing in close proximity behind me, but yesterday a simple half step back meant I would run into someone.
The room was also rather noisy with over 500 people in the room. Noise is something that isn't usually a problem by itself, but when coupled with an issue like a positional battle then noise is much louder regardless of the actual level.
My defenses started to kick in and all eye contact was avoided. My slight ability to initiate a conversation vanished, but if someone asked me a direct question, or my book was brought up I could come out of my zombie like state.
Thankfully I only had to endure 40 or so minutes of this as I had to rush across town to the Crisis Intervention Team Training Committee meeting. Of all the things I do I think I have the most pride serving on that committee because it truly is an honor to provide my knowledge to the C.I.T. In what I do I hope at least one major crisis is resolved/understood by police officers and the event is made better than what it could have been.
I normally just observe at the C.I.T. meetings and stay quiet, but several times I was able to give my opinion on matters and this elated me. These minor victories to some are cause for ticker-tape parades to me. I am often afraid to express anything vocally for fear of all sorts of disasters (up to and including death... I am a worst case scenario thinker) but yesterday I was able to join in the group discussion.
After the C.I.T. meeting I drove back to Saint Peters to assist in the closing of the networking forum. All the elation I had from the meeting was quickly evaporated as I quickly found myself in the midst of chaos.
My defenses, which were already strong, became even more stout and my ability to look at people began to disappear. One lady, whom I picked up visually coming towards the booth so I began my looking down and to the left with my eyes, said to me, "Don't worry, it's almost over."
With those words I once again realized just how bad of an actor I am. I knew I had defenses, but I didn't know they were so obvious. All the words I typed in this entry about me looking away and looking like a zombie were not realized until I was told to "Don't worry..."
It is in moments like this that finding Kansas is so critical (Don't know my Kansas concept? click http://findingkansas.com/FindingKansas/findingkansas.html to read the concept). If I allow that moment to live on then I run the risk of letting it define me. If I allow the emotions and disappointment of having someone visually notice my discomfort when I am trying my darnedest to look normal I run the risk of severe frustration. If I start thinking about what I am not over who I am then I run the risk of hating myself. I mean, if I focus on the fact that so many other people can, without effort, say, "hello, how are you..." I would not be able to contain my frustration.
This story doesn't end with me talking up a storm, but I did not fall into the "what I am not" trap. Shortly thereafter a person visited the booth and we had a great discussion on the potential deletion of the term "Asperger" from the DSM. I went from zombie to bein in Kansas an became a stellar TouchPoint employee booth worker extraordinaire with just one direct sentence from the person who walked up.