Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Confessions of an adult Aspie

              I haven’t always been a spazz. I haven’t always stressed about what that person actually meant, why the mailman hasn’t come yet, what do I do if this happens or that doesn’t happen, how should I respond if someone asks me this question? I used to be very flexible. I was homeschooled, so schedule was not really in my vocabulary. I got my school work done, I got to work in time, and I was able to make my appointments, but I wasn’t raised with every hour of my life planned out. I could spend 3 hours reading if I wanted to, as long as I got that math work done before dinner. Life was easy. Life was simple. 

              In my Aspie-world, I thought that people knew that I liked them, based on the fact that I talked to them and hung out with them. Why would I talk to them or hang out with them if I didn’t like them? I always wondered why boys seemed to like me, and I liked them back, but they would never do anything about it, but I figured it was them and not me. I thought I had a lot of friends. Good friends. Friends I had known for a long time. Then I went to college and I knew everyone, I liked mostly everyone, I had a great time. 

              Then somewhere in my mid-20’s I was married with a few kids and I found something out: people that I thought I was close to, didn’t think they were close to me. People that I thought were good friends considered me an acquaintance friend; someone they knew and hung out with, but didn’t really know. That was shocking to me, and also hurtful. 

              I also found out that people can be nice to you and talk to you a lot but then also lie about major factors in their life; like that they’re thinking about leaving their spouse, or that they have a nicotine addiction, and other things. That was very hard for me to deal with. 

              So now I am a first-class spazz. I have to be. Apparently I cannot distinguish social cues on their own, so I have to over-analyze every word, look, and action to see what they really mean. This is a very stressful practice. In the last 5 or so years I have learned to save this for only those I really care about. If I were to analyze everything anyone ever said to me I would go crazy, and so would my poor husband who has to hear all of my rantings and theorizing that I do about people. So if I really care about you, I will analyze everything you say to me, every look you give me, and every action done against me, because I am always afraid that I will miss something and I will find out that you never cared for me as much as I thought you did. I will also analyze everything I say to you, and whether you took it wrong, or if you took it how I meant it to be taken, good or bad. 

              This may sound terrible creepy and stalker-ish, but it’s the truth. I am terrified of being hurt and I despise being lied to. I would rather someone tell me the truth of what they think and feel about me to my face than for you to pretend you like me and care about me and lie to me. Of course, I would rather you just like me, but not everything can be perfect. 

***”Aspie” is a nickname for someone with Asperger’s Syndrome which is also called High Functioning Autism. It is most common in boys, but girls can also have it. For girls it is usually diagnosed as being shy and emotionally detached, whereas boys will typically deal with their lack of social cues by being loud and obnoxious. ***

Friday, May 23, 2014

Colored hair dye and other fun stuff.

My older girls asked me a few months ago if they could get that hair dye stuff that dyes strips of your hair pink, purple, blue, etc. I couldn't think of a good reason not to, but didn't really feel comfortable saying yes without talking to my husband, so I said I would have to think about it. I talked to him about it and said I don't really see a problem with it because:

1) I know they're not doing it to be rebellious or to look like the punk or goth crowd.
2) They think of it like hair decorations like bows or clips.
3) What's the different between me dyeing my hair brown or blond and them putting colored strips in their hair?


After much debate, discussion, and thought we decided not to let them do it for these reasons:

1)I Thess. 5:22 "Abstain from all appearance of evil."
Even if their reasons are innocent and pure, the whole idea of putting colored strips or portions of color in your hair was started out of rebellion in the 90's. When I see girls with colored hair strips, I think of the Punk or Goth movement from when I was a teenager. I don't want my innocent girls confused with those movements. I see the dolls from cartoons like "Monster High" and other equally disturbing shows and I have noticed that they all have colored hair strips. That right there is a red flag in my mind.

2) Romans 14:23 "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." The whole chapter of Romans 14 is dealing with issues that are not clear in the Bible. The Jews and Gentiles were bickering about separation standards, and basically Paul tells them that they need to worry about their own standards, and not other peoples'. Then he ends it by saying that if you doubt whether or not you should do something, don't do it. Even though technically I don't see anything wrong with them coloring their hair, I'm still doubtful, so to avoid sin or causing someone else stumble, we just won't do it.

Would it be fun to let them color their hair? Yes. Would they enjoy it? Definitely! Are they going to be missing out on this amazing experience that will hinder their growth? No. If I were to say, "We're not going to do it and that's final, no arguments", I would have to expect some rebellion and arguments. But when I explained to them my reasons and what the Bible says, they were perfectly fine with it. We do lots of girls stuff; they have full reign to paint their nails pretty much any way they want to and whenever they want to, we are always looking up different hairstyles and braids to try, and they have numerous amounts of hair bands, clips, bows, head bands, etc to choose from to their hearts delights. They are not lacking in girly and fun ways to accessorize!

As they get older and transition into the teen years I want them to be able to trust me, and trust my leadership, even when they don't understand or agree. This could be vital to guiding them through those tenuous years. You may think, "What the harm with a little fun hair coloring?" Well, probably nothing. But the hair coloring could be the minor issue, and the major issue may not be revealed for several more years. I don't know. All I know is that the Lord gives us growth and insight little steps at a time. I would like to be able to recognize those little steps before they turn into giant steps!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The older generation, and why texting and social media is important.

I have noticed this trend. And maybe I'm behind on picking up on it, and maybe I'm better at shutting out conversations I don't want to hear than I thought I was, but it is really starting to get to me.

I'm tired of being told I shouldn't be texting or be on social media because it could distract me from my kids or my husband.

I normally get told this by older women. I have a lot of respect for the "older generation." Women that were born in the 30's-40's really went through some tough times. I hear stories of rationing, using flour sacks for "new" dresses, living in tents, not having toilet paper (can you imagine?!), and lots of other stories that make me want to kiss my a/c unit and say a "Thank you, Jesus" every time I start a load of laundry in my front loader. Women of that generation have more wisdom and grit than most women alive today. So I'm not trying to bash that generation, or anyone from subsequent generations. I would just like to let my generation's viewpoint be heard.

We live in an age of technology and everyone has a phone of some kind. Most everyone has a smart phone; except for my husband. He doesn't see the need for one and his little phone is much cheaper. But for mostly everyone else, a smart phone is a must-have.

We live in an age where I can immediately get a hold of my mom in four different ways, even though she lives 300+ miles away.  I can find out what a friend I haven't talked to in 20 years is doing and what she looks like, and how many kids she has in minutes. All of this is accessible to me immediately.

But for some reason, women of older generations do not like this technology. I hear all the time, "We didn't have that texting and tweeting stuff when I was a young mom. We had to take the time to write letters." Well that's all well and good. I sometimes miss the times of letter writing. It's so exciting to get something in the mail! But I guarantee you that if texting were available in the 1950's-60's, these same women would have been all over it like peanut butter on Wonder bread.

Why? Because young mothers get lonely. Young mothers get frustrated. Young mothers want to feel like they have a connection to the outside world. I had those feelings enough times in the early 2000's, and I had the internet and free long distance. I can't imagine it was any better in a time when women were expected to stay home, raise well-behaved children, and look good all at the same time. If they had had the opportunity to connect with other people on a minute-by-minute basis like we do, they all would have taken that opportunity. In a heartbeat. I guarantee it.

So why doesn't the older generation think texting and social media is as important as our generation seems to? Because they've forgotten. It has to be one of the many blessings of being older; forgetting the difficult times, and the daily struggles, and the heartache of being a young mother. To only remember the cuddles, and reading books, and new-baby smells. I have a friend that loves the smell of Luvs diapers because it reminds her of when her children were young. But what about the Luvs diapers full of poop? What about when all of your kids are vomiting and you still have to feed people, and remember who had what medicine when, and wash massive amounts of laundry, all while staying sweet and godly (not to mention not getting sick yourself)?

As we get older we forget things. We forget what it was like to be 13 and awkward, with new bodies, and new pimples. We forget what it was like to be 17 and ready to take on the world and do a better job than anyone else has ever done. We forget what it's like to be a newlywed and feel so connected to our spouse that it physically hurts when they're gone. We forget what it's like to wake up to poop all over the crib, kids crying for cereal, laundry left in the washer overnight, forgotten doctor's appointments, and crabby husbands that are working long hours for little pay. We forget trying to make a meal out of beans, corn, and rice because payday is still a few days away.

We forget the hard times and we only remember the good. And the bad that we do remember is clouded in our "but now I know better" mentality. We forget the emotions and turmoil, and only remember the outcome. We remember having to take all four kids to the grocery store and dealing with tantrums and nursing in the bathroom, but we forget the embarrassment, and horror, and feelings of failure that we experienced along with it. We only remember that we survived and can laugh about it now.

When I got married at a very young age I vowed to never forget what it was like to be a teenager. I wanted to always remember the trials of that age on a personal level so that I could always connect with teenagers, and be the support and encouragement that a few ladies were to me.

And now, as my children are getting older and moving out of the "young" stage (my youngest just turned 3, and my oldest is about to turn 12), I vow to never forget what it was like to be a young mother. To never forget the loneliness, and the doubt, and the fears, and the hopelessness that young mothers feel on a day to day basis.

I vow to tell young mothers to use ANY form of communication with the "outside world" that they and their husbands feel is appropriate. Who knows what communication will look like in 10, 20, 30, 40 years? But regardless, I am bound and determined to support and encourage mothers, instead of scorn and ridicule the ways that they find to survive the days, months, and years.

And to any of you from older generations. Please do not take this at criticizing. I understand that you do not understand this world. This world is polar opposite of what your world was. But please just try to have some understanding that being a young mother is hard. Being a young mother is not all about cuddling, and baby lotion smells, and playing hopscotch in the driveway. It's difficult, and we need your support. We need to hear how you survived, and what you did to make it through the day. We need to hear the horrid things you did to your kids (kerosene on snake bites?!) so that we can reassure ourselves that if your kids survived without car-seats, our kids will survive a day of TV because we had to get some cleaning done.

Let's support each other, encourage each other, and ignore mistakes that we each make, so that we can build a better upcoming generation.

Monday, February 3, 2014

"A Friend is One Who Knows You and Loves You Anyway"

I had a friend once. She was a lovely friend. We would laugh every time we were together. She was kind, funny, and very sweet. She would laugh at my naivete, call me out when I was lying, and see right through me when I tried to pretend nothing was wrong. I lost that friend. I'm not really sure how. I thought we were good friends, I thought we talked enough to continue the friendship, and then I found out nothing was as I thought it was, and that everything was different.

This blog is for that friend, if she ever reads this.

And I want to say to you, that I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I wasn't as good a friend to you as you were to me. I'm sorry that I was too naive to see the problems you were facing. I'm sorry that I didn't understand that the things you told me were just little clues to what you were really struggling with, not the problems themselves. I'm sorry that I did not make you talk to me, and I just let you go on, hoping that you would talk to me. I'm sorry that I didn't show you how much I cared about you and how much you meant to me.

I remember when you told me how your marriage was struggling and I didn't understand. I didn't understand how serious it was. I'm sorry.

I remember you reaching out to me and I was too young and selfish to see that you needed my friendship as badly as I needed yours. I didn't understand that I needed to reach out to you as well. I thought I could rely on you reaching out to me and it wasn't enough.

I'm sorry that I wasn't there when you needed me. I'm sorry that you didn't feel like you could talk to me about what was going on. I'm sorry that I didn't ask you to pray with me at that Ladies Retreat when we held onto each other so tightly. I thought I could talk to you later about it. I didn't realize there wouldn't be a later. I didn't understand that life changes and you can't go back.

I'm sorry that you couldn't be there when I had my last baby. I missed you. I was giving birth and I missed you not being there. I didn't want anyone else there. I cried because you weren't there.

I remember going to see you in the hospital and I was determined to cheer you up and make you feel better, but when I saw you I just started crying because I almost lost you. I saw you in that hospital bed and you were so pale, and I realized how close I had come to losing you. And it terrified me. And then I really lost you for real. 

I still miss you, and I haven't talked to you in almost four years. You were the best friend I've ever had in my grown up years. I haven't met someone that I've bonded with like I did you. I didn't have to struggle to be your friend, you just were. I didn't have to work at it, although now I see that I should have worked harder. I should have made more of an effort. I wish I could go back and tell you how much you meant to me.

 I want you to know that I never, ever gossiped about you or said anything bad about you. If anyone, and I mean anyone, started to say anything negative or inappropriate about you I either made them stop or I left. I should have done more, but I didn't. But I also did not gossip about you, even though I'm sure you've heard differently. You probably won't believe me, but it's true. I came to you first when I heard anything. I didn't want to, because I knew it would hurt you, but I did, because I knew it was the right thing to do.

I don't know what your life is like now. I've heard or read things here or there, but I don't know what life is like for you personally. I hope you're happy. I hope with all of my heart that you've made peace with God and others. I pray that you go to bed at night with peace and joy in your heart and not regret and shame. My heart hurts for you because I don't know.

Maybe someday we can be friends again. I really hope so. I want to hear your silly laugh again and make jokes about my perfect eyebrows. And if we do become friends again I will try a lot harder. I will be a better friend. I will ask about you, and I will make you tell me things. I will tell you how much you mean to me.

I pray for you nearly every day. I don't know how you would feel about it, but it's true. And I'm sorry. For everything. I hope that you can forgive me, even if you don't ever want to be my friend again.