There’s a hard thing for those not on the spectrum to understand and actually it’s hard for myself to understand it as well. This topic came up at a presentation yesterday when a person asked a question about the ease of certain things and the difficulties of others. To answer this I used The Aspie Traveler series as an example as I can go to an island few have heard of in the Indian Ocean without fear and yet calling a coworker, or perhaps going into a 7-11 here in my hometown is fear provoking. What does all of this mean? Most of you will see me on stage but what you can’t see is what’s going on behind the curtain.
First, things aren’t easy. Have they gotten better from where I was a decade ago? Yes, but I’ve also gotten rather apt at putting up a big curtain so as to not allow others to know of the difficulties I go through. Maybe I should be more open about it. Maybe I should be more forthcoming in what would help me, but then again speaking about what I need and my struggles hasn’t been my strong suit. What does hiding such things do? Quite simply it makes things worse and the struggles grow and grow.
Here’s the thing; it’s difficult living with such a duality in that some things come all too naturally and are easy. Public speaking is an example and on the flip side simple socializing is extremely difficult. Can you see why this would be frustrating to the point of being downright exhausting? And, not only is it difficult in my knowledge of it but to have those around me be confused as to why certain things are easier than it is for others which then creates the mentality that all things come easy.
I stay silent in this struggle because it’s impossible to proceed. I have my Kansas, and I have my stage, but behind the scenes a war is raged internally. The things that are difficult for me, and some of these things are so simple it’s almost laughable considering the things with such a high degree of difficulty I do with ease, but anyway the things that are difficult bring me down and create such a self-loathing aura when these things pop up and if you add the fact that I have a hard if not impossible time accepting that I do something good then it’s easy to focus on the what isn’t instead of the what is.
Maybe this concept of the events that go on behind the curtain applies to everyone because, in actuality, does anyone show their complete hand? Does anyone let in on what is actually going on, or how one truly feels? Maybe not, but it’s got to be confusing for parents and teachers of those that are on the autism spectrum when some things come so easily and yet there is the mystifying mystery of why seemingly simple tasks create friction or behaviors. It’s got to be a mystery as to why a person can excel and do the most amazing of things and yet struggles with things their peers take for granted. It may be a mystery to others but the emotions of frustration and sadness that goes on hidden behind the scenes is mammoth. I know this, I’ve lived this, and I wish I could just let go and accept what I can do and not focus on what is difficult.