Friday, August 19, 2022

The Silent Scream

In a little over an hour, I’ll be in the flag stand at WorldWide Technology Raceway in the position I feel most comfortable. The NTT INDYCAR Series is racing here in Saint Louis this weekend, and when I’m up in the stand with flags I must say everything feels right. There’s no hesitation in my thoughts or words. Contrast that to most every other situation. 

“What do you think?” the person asked me. I looked through my reflective sunglasses attempting to come up with an answer that I knew I knew. “C’mon, Aaron” I thought, “I know this. He knows I know this. Say… something.” 

On the outside I’m stoic, maybe aloof looking. Perhaps a person would take this as a sign that I didn’t here the question, or perhaps that I don’t fully care about what was asked, but behind the blank wall is a storm.

What started out as a simple “C’mon” quickly avalanches into a full scale panic. On the outside though, you wouldn’t know as the internal dialogue picks up in volume and intensity. At this juncture, if the other person asks a different question I may snap back at them. It isn’t a snap at them though, it’s that I’m overwhelmed trying to come up with what I know. 

“ANSWER… ANSWER NOW!” is what comes next. If you know what to look for you may be able to see the eyes dart quickly, my arms tense, and my breathing increases. It may have been just mere seconds since I was asked the simple question of “what do you think?” but now all I’m thinking is that I have to give an answer… any answer. But, with the crescendo of the volume of my thoughts and panic on not answering I become even more powerless to give an answer. 

Finally, through the volume of the fog, I find an answer. It might not be right, but it won’t be wrong. Such an answer is “I’m here” to the question “how are you?” 

If you ever see me in a crowd, watch me as I try ti avoid the bubble around people. I try to be a chameleon; invisible to everyone. People have asked why this is, and now I hope you have a bit more understanding as the unpleasantness of the silent scream is such that I’ll try to avoid it. This is why we on the spectrum rejoice when we are in our element, such as I’ll be in just a short while, with flags in hand, on top of the world. 

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