Believe it or not, I’m not as comfortable with myself as most people think I am. Even with the purple goatee, a large, colorful collection of Converse and an array of cardigans and vests that I love to wear. The truth is, that most days I don’t feel good about myself and frankly, I’m sick and tired of feeling that way.
I’ve heard all the, “Fake it ’til you make it” speeches and I know people are right when they tell me that. I do try to fake it, knowing that one day I too will finally believe it long term, but for now, my belief comes in short bursts.
I’m sitting at my desk on Sunday morning drinking coffee and listening to music through my headphones as I piece together what I’m going to write when Falling For the First Time by Barenaked Ladies (one of Canada’s better exports) came on.
It’s a song I love and have heard probably a thousand times before, but as I listened to the lyrics (which will be in blue and a larger font) it hit me that these lyrics tie in with what I’m writing about. So, grab your beverage of choice, sit back and read this because I’m only going to write this
I’m so cool, too bad I’m a loser
I’m not really cool, at least not in my mind and I don’t pretend to be cool. However, I’ve been told that with the bright colors and black porkpie hat I’m generally wearing, that I come off as someone who has a lot of self-esteem and is very comfortable with themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Yes, I enjoy being me and I won’t deny that to anyone, but more often than not I feel like I’m a loser rather than a winner. That’s a stupid thought because I’ve accomplished a lot in my life, but the last ten years or so have been, to coin a hockey coaching phrase, a gong show. In other words, pretty bad.
Every day the self-esteem is getting better thanks to a couple trusted friends and colleagues, but I’d really like to find some kind of Disney Fast Pass so I can make it to the front of the line faster and put all the negativity behind me for good. Why? Because I’m sick and tired of feeling that way. But for now, I do my best to put on a happy face and fake it, knowing/hoping one day I won’t have to put the happy face on because it will already be there.
I’m so smart, too bad I can’t get anything figured out
With my Asperger’s comes a very high IQ, but to be honest, that doesn’t mean anything to me. I don’t have a college degree and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve looked at a set of directions or instructions on how to do something and had a big question mark above my head. What good is a high IQ if you don’t do anything with it?
I’m not saying there’s nothing I can’t figure out, but it does frustrate me that I was born before the word autism was used in schools and that trying to go to college was a joke for me. I tried to learn, but couldn’t figure things out the way the teacher was teaching it, so I would leave class confused because the teacher didn’t have time and would generally tell me that if I was paying attention I would understand.
Comments like that erode your self-esteem as did the teachers in fifth-ninth grades who called me weird stupid and lazy. I was sick and tired of hearing the comments from them and hoped high school would be better. Nope.
The high school journalism teacher told me to take another class because I didn’t know how to write and never would. I think I’ll dedicate my next book to her.
I’m so fly, that’s probably why it feels like I’m falling for the first time
Yeah. I’m not fly. I’m probably the anti-fly. Although I do love the Offspring song, Pretty Fly For a White Guy. I do have my moments of fly-ness, though they’re few and far between. Truth be told, I’d rather they be many and constant. I guess I’ll just have to fake being fly for a while–whatever that really means.
There are times that the self-esteem gets so bad that it feels like I’m falling into that pit of despair for the first time and I can’t even begin to tell you how bad that feels. It’s like a narrow well with nothing to grab onto to pull yourself out. That’s why we need a support system to help us out when we fall into that pit of despair.
As much as we want to hold things in and, well, be a man, it’s not logical to do so. If that’s how we’re going to live our lives then we’ll be in that well for a long time. Personally, I’m sick and tired of falling into that well.
I’m so sane, it’s driving me crazy
I’m high-functioning autistic, have had a stroke and am ADD. As my psychologist likes to joke, I’m a certain kind of special. When I think of these lyrics it reminds me that there are times when we as people with mental health issues find that we’re doing good and think we don’t need our medication anymore, but that is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves.
If we stop taking the medicines that help stabilize us and keep us functioning at a normal level, it will absolutely make us crazy. Trust me. I know about this one from first-hand experience. Actually, a couple of first-hand experiences. If you’re not comfortable on your medication and want to try something more homeopathic, talk to your doctor first. Don’t play Russian roulette with your mental health.
What if I lost my direction? What if I lost my sense of time?
Get back with that friend or network of loved ones mentioned earlier, you know, the ones who can pull you out of the well. Let them help you get back on the right path because as much as you want to convince yourself you can do it alone, you cant.
Recently I started taking my own advice and started texting a friend every day who needs a support system as well. It works out great for both of us as we can check in with someone who has an understanding of what the other is going through.
I’m so done, turn me over
That’s it. We’re done. The bottom line is this. You need a support system, even if that system is only one person and you have to do your best to fake it ’til you make it. I personally find that difficult, but I try to do it almost every day. Eventually, it will stick and life will be like walking on sunshine!
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An Asperger’s Guide To Dating Neurotypicals is out and hit #23 on the Amazon Hot New Dating Releases Chart. You can find it on Amazon and Kindle or get an autographed copy for the same price at the J.R. Reed Author website.
Before I go, I belong to a closed Facebook group, Aspergers Life Support, run by some terrific people. There’s a link on the right or you can click on the words in purple. If you have Aspergers or are a loving NT of an Aspie, I definitely suggest asking to join the group. They’re great people and have helped me on many occasions.
Lyrics by Ed Robertson & Steven Page
Photos by Pixabay