Friday, July 21, 2023

Finding Kansas Revisited: what does it mean

I have to be honest and say that I don’t remember writing this chapter. I remember the concepts, not the words and this isn’t a concept chapter so reading this is like looking back on a long lost personal self-written journal…

To survive… By the words used in this segment I wrote this very close to writing the previous chapter and at the same time the “living life on a daily basis” is working against me because I was so far behind financially that I was sure I’d never get out of the massive credit card hole I had dug from being unemployed for so long. 

To love… It isn’t in the forefront of the book, but all of my work was centered around this question of, “can I love, and if so, what is it and what does it look like?” Again, this is something everyone may ask of his or her self, but for myself it was confusing. Perhaps it was because I was longing for the endless summer days Emily and I spent together doing nothing, or maybe it was because I had 18 months of isolation and I was sure no one outside my family would love me and the world would always hate me therefore I convinced myself there was no love. I now know differently and this is a very complex thing. I believe I cover this in a few more chapters down the road, and I look at it intensely in many more chapters in my unpublished books, but the way I describe it at presentations now is like this; never let a speaker say that all people on the autism spectrum are incapable of emotions or love. Here’s the thing; imagine a busy road from one town to another, but here’s the catch as there’s 545 accidents and 3,497 brick walls lining the route. That being so it isn’t easy to navigate and get to the destination. That’s what it is like in my brain when it comes to this matter. It was much easier for me to say and accept the fact that, as I put it in my book, “I’ll miss you if you were gone” but, using my road example, the part of my brain where I experience it to that part where I express it is like the road. All the emotions are there, but expressing it is often a difficult journey.

To be happy… More repetition here as I struggle with the fact that I’m not behind the wheel of a race car. The last two paragraphs of this segment were a bold statement in that I was so angry and people assuming things about me because I didn’t have a job nor was I in school. There was, and maybe still is, such a social stigma about this. Essentially anything socially ended right then and there if it got brought up. The thing that is different now is I would not take that offer to stay at home forever. The world is an infinite place of wonders, possibilities, and places that need to hear my presentation.

To be good… I still struggle with this to this day because being good is something that can’t always be measured. I just talked about this in a blog post before setting out on the Finding Kansas Revisited project and when it comes to something like a pinball game on the Xbox I know exactly where I stand and if I know I have the skill on a certain table to take the world record I won’t quit until I have it. This is a measurable feat, but when it came to the jobs I had I would quickly experience a burnout when I saw through the logic and realized that my performance meant nothing. This was a big struggle when a person who slacked off and did nothing while I carried the store in sales and yet at the end there was no pat on the back, no bonus, and we were equals quickly made a job senseless in my mind.


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