Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Aspie Traveler: Japan Day Five: What Hurts the Most (The Casper Effect)


In all the walking I've done, and I've said I've had many thoughts, I've had a lot of time to reflect on the past 10 years. I went on another walk after my conversation with the man from Australia and I thought back to telling him that just six years ago I couldn't do what I'm doing now. He said, "so knowing who you are has helped you overcome so things, right?" To a degree, yes, and on a walk I just got back from I realized what has hurt me the most.

What if I were to tell you that the grandest city in the world is Casper, Wyoming and that no city is like Casper. I'm sure residents of there would agree, but this is a metaphor so bear with me. Anyway, the roads are perfect, the restaurants all serve the most exquisite of foods, and the residents are the friendliest bunch of people you will ever meet. The art district has more museums than you could visit in a week and the shopping district has the hottest deals known to mankind. Sounds like a great place, right? Now what if I were to tell you that you will never be allowed to visit Casper, Wyoming? This is what happens when is told that they will never be capable of something.

My history from relationships to my introduction of Asperger's has created a Casper type place. I yearn for it, I pine for it, I'd give just about anything to experience it because I was told I could never experience it. That being so, no matter what is experienced, it just won't be good enough because it isn't the promised land of Casper.

Several things can initiate a Casper like situation and to be honest I had this before I was diagnosed as I'd look at groups of friends with awe wondering what it would be like. This blinded me to the friends I did have because it wasn't what I saw others have. After my diagnosis, and the ill fated prognosis I read of, "never have a job/friends/be happy" Casper became this place in the distance that no matter how far I traveled and no matter how hard I fought I could never get there. Sometimes it would seem like I was getting close but like a mirage of an oasis in the desert it would vanish.

Casper is a dangerous place. Again, residents of the real Casper this is a metaphor so don't take this literal, because it doesn't exist! Again, residents, don't send me emails saying you do exist. But anyway, going back to my description of Casper no city can live up to perfection because when you're told you'll never experience it that, whatever it is, will become perfection and missing out on perfection, well, that's what hurts the most. This sort of is a play on what will be a major chapter from yet to be published second book, but is something that must be understood because, unless you've lived it, the concept of Casper may make no sense.

It may start out small; this little notion that a certain part of life, well, tough luck you won't get to experience. Okay. No biggie. But as days go on and life moves by you'll start to notice things. What was a little notion is now a sliver of envy followed by this awful sense of self-loathing and by the end Casper has become this impossible place that even if you were to get to Casper you wouldn't accept it because it didn't fit this image of perfection that had been created.

One thing I want to state is that I'm not against the diagnosis because one could make a point of saying, "well Aaron, if  person didn't know they had it then how would they know what they could or couldn't do or what their potential shortcomings could be?" First, I knew something was different with me before the diagnosis, but secondly, with an earlier diagnosis, and more awareness/understanding, the myth of Casper may not be created.

In the last entry I stated that I may have found myself on that street corner talking to that Australian and perhaps I did so in a metaphorical sense as well because writing this I've realized that even today I've been chasing this mythological place called Casper and the harder I fought the worse I felt and that, without a doubt, is what has been hurting me the most all along.

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