For the longest time, I pushed back against “logic” and “order”, “structure” and “form as though they were the very enemies of my being. Since my Asperger’s diagnosis, I’ve been compelled to review that attitude and flip it on its back, which has been interesting in the extreme. I find it was a case of protesting too loudly…pointing in the opposite direction to myself…since I love these very things; they are the core part of me, my default setting.
So why the push-back; why have I worked so hard to destructure my life and my attitudes, to undo life’s corsets, to be the bohemian and to pursue the role of “artist” as a life choice, not just a vocation? I have chased after “fluid” like my life depended on it, for years and years.
Two theories spring to mind; one is that it is to divert attention from my core self, to distract attention from my secret sanctuary where control reigns suppreme, to cope better with the crazy world outside and to hide my eccentricities (which are real enough…) beneath a patina of artistic sensibility.
The other is that I have resisted what I am because “what I am” pointed straight back to this distinctly Asperger’s way of doing things. It pointed at a truth I was not yet ready to embrace. I was fooling myself as much as I was fooling other people.
Plus, I had made my home, more recently, amongst those who call themselves “spiritual” and that seemed to be all about throwing over the structures of this reality to embrace something more fluid, less tangible, far from empirical. Ironically, those who are spiritual so often act as though they want nothing of logic whereas those who claim logic seem the most illogical of all.
I am aways baffled when people prickle so at this word “spiritual” as though you had announced yourself a “born again” christian in an atheist’s society. People start treating you as though you believe in Father Christmas or the Tooth Fairy; as though you have lost credibility in their logical eyes. Yet, to me, spiritual is as logical as it gets since it allows for an acceptance of everything that we think of as reality, all in one vast box of creation, with an underlying intelligence that helps explain the inexplicable and which enables it to work slickly and with purpose, like the very best of machines; making sense out of random chaos and seeking out patterns, which is my absolute forte. To me, it speaks of the ultimate structure and containment; albeit much of this, as yet, outside the comprehension of our limited human minds. So why the big fuss when we drop this particular word bomb?
Yet when I delve this territory, I find myself far from alone, in Asperger’s land, considering that there is more to life than what “seems” to the empirical eye. From Einstein to Mozart to Tesla (all speculated to be Asperger’s) and many others besides, I discover that they only ever found more proof of God in all the detail; perceiving “proof” of a different kind to the conventional in all the sheer complexity they grappled with in their earthly lives and as they tirelessly pursued their obsession for knowledge with the extreme hyper-focus that is an Asperger’s trait. The more they looked and looked and looked at all the detail of their material reality, the more they discovered that all roads pointed back to this spiritual perspective.
Others have more recently taken the angle that there is nothing more logical than a spiritual perspective….since we are all, truly, spiritual in that part of ourselves that accepts a reality without separation and the understanding that we are just a tiny part of something far vaster; a mere droplet in an ocean we barely understand. Those who deny such an approach to life are wholly illogically, in my view, for where is the proof that we are broken, at odds with all things and the very epicentre of of our own universe in which material possession is the only god. It is a confused and disoriented version of “man” that has created such a world and I find plentiful logic in my spiritual perspective these days, though (in company with the best of those that do likewise) I really struggle when it comes to putting all this into words…which is no big deal for me since putting things into words is something I struggle with anyway, given my Asperger’s. My best shot at it is always in writing, not speech, which is why abstract, spiritual material has become the lifeblood of my longest running blog here and yet its audience remains niche and I most often feel I am talking to myself.
Yet, turning this around, perhaps it is this very trait of struggling to find words for the sheer complexity we are party to, in the inside of our heads, that makes the person with Asperger’s most open and likely to consider a reality that includes a creator or, at least, an intelligent consciousness that runs through all material things. We perceive things that others seem to miss and a lack of words to describe what we perceive does not mean that we are wrong; we know this well (on many counts) though, once more, we lack the words or sometimes the confidence to express this truth out loud. It is something that has fed into the propensity for the most gifted Asperger’s individuals to blurt out breakthrough hypotheses which prove to hold water, for all they shock and astound those who considered themselves the most logical people of the previous paradigm. Yes, I said prove….logic…for all some of these ideas were scoffed at for being sheer inarticulate madness, delusion, the ramblings of a crazy person to begin with. We are natural born paradigm breakers since we find logic in illogical places, drawing those places into logic’s widening net.
My new-found friendship with logic, structure, organisation, containment is already paying me dividends as I enjoy a wave of returning back to myself that had eluded me for many years. No longer berating or turning my back on the “control freakish” part of myself, I listen to what it has to say and find solutions to long running problems that had kept me stood there, the rabbit in the headlights of a world too externally chaotic for (you guessed it) words. Filtering through to all aspects of my world, from the organisation of my domestic day to my finances and the way I engage with people, the new way I am approaching my work rhythms split between more creative and intuitive aspects and those parts that long to graze through the outpourings of these pursuits with a red pen poised for editing, I am finding this play-off of my soft and harder parts a delight since it leads to a far happier environment…on the inside.
So funny that for years my long-running metaphor, pursued though the imagery of my art and in my blogging, was the analogy of feeling like a butterfly caught inside a glass box. Now, I discover (perhaps perversely but not from the perspective of a person with Asperger’s) that I quite like my glass box, as long as it was me that put myself there. It affords me a window on the world and keeps my inner sanctum more pristine than it would otherwise be and these traits are important to some with Asperger’s. “Out there” is far too much risk of being sucked into an air conditioning vent, of being eaten by a large bird or damaging my delicate wings on the branches of a tree in a sudden strong wind. Here, in my Asperger’s bubble, I get to see out yet to be the control freak of all I need to engage with and this affords such strength to my methods since I can relax enough to explore my inherent gifts without consistently wondering how I will brave a world in which I have to be other than myself, all my energy expended in that pursuit and not upon exploring what I truly and uniquely have to offer. I find I am the support I was always seeking, I am the sides to the box; a truth that offers a degree of self-containment that always felt lacking before.
And the more I contain myself, the more I feel at liberty to explore a sideless reality within which I am but a droplet…
There is nothing wrong in this choice to be the introvert and the hermit, honing a comfortable world that best suits me; this has been the big admission of my year and it allows me to make this hermitage permanent and portable (no longer somewhere I was always expecting to have to surrender at some point or if I go “outside” to be amongst other people), thus open to all my ingenuity when it comes to making this the most comfortable place for me to be, always. Like the tortoise, I take this inner world with me wherever I go and can retreat to it at a moment’s notice. I can use my innate resources to redecorate my world to be most conducive to my best efforts as a fluid and creative thinker, a creative liver, a creative artist…..those fluidities held securely like water in a cup, which is much preferable to spilling it all over the table. Yet my perameters are solid, I have structure I can rely on and it comes from me. I have returned to the self-containment of childhood and it feels like the home I had long wept for, after years of being shoe-horned out by the expectations of “society”. One of the greatest gifts of having accepted my Asperger’s traits is to own that this is how I am and how I must be in order to thrive so there’s an end to all discussion about more normalising alternatives (which comes as such a relief). I gain the most expansive version of reality I could possibly have access to, a world with no limitations…safely encompassed by the chosen edges of myself. There is so much sense to all this; one could even say “logic”.
This gives me so much to think about and reflect on. For me, always, the one realm where I felt safe and where I felt belonging was the spiritual, usually accessed through nature, always there for me when the social world was inaccessible. I think this could be a common feature of living as an Aspie.