....or at least that's what I feel like this week has felt like so far to me!
It has been bizarre, and full of so many social connections my head is spinning but my heart is shining with gratefulness and love and happiness and a lack of ability to even believe it is happening...
My body is kind of falling apart but it changes from day to day and maybe it has something to do with emotions, I am trying to believe that once my mind settles down my body will too..
I am listening to Dion sing "The Wanderer" on this awesome 60s music station I am listening to and feeling compelled to write about an experience I had tonight before I go to bed. I already wrote about it, but it was on Facebook and FB ate the post so I am trying again here because I feel a NEED to put this into writing before I go to sleep and do the world over again.
I met someone from the meetup and had a great convo with him. Then I hung out elsewhere in town until it was time to walk to the bus stop in Monument Square at 9. As I did so, I accidentally happened upon a scene that just stopped my entire world for those five minutes.
There was a man standing outside the entrance to the crisis hotline, talking on their intercom. I couldn't see him, but I could make out his words easily. "I'm homeless," he said. "I haven't slept in days and I'm going crazy from sleep deprivation. I am going out of my mind. No, I can't go to Preble Street [shelter], they'll just give me a metal chair to sleep on. Do you hear me? I need to sleep!" I was riveted by the emotion and pain in his voice. I lost all awareness of my surroundings as his words and emotions filled up my body. "I am desperate," he said. "I want to kill myself if I can't get any sleep. Do you hear me? I want to hurt myself. I need help." There was another man with him. When I walked closer, I realized the other man had brought him there, and was helping him look for his medications in his trash bag when I left to catch the bus. (I would have stayed, but there wasn't another bus for an hour and I was really tired.)
The feeling of empathy was amazing to me. What does it mean, I thought to myself, that I have trouble relating to 98% of the population that is walking around outside.... that I feel emotionally isolated and shut out from the population that I was brought up to be like (but wasn't, and no one would recognize that I was different, they kept insisting I was the same. The cognitive dissonance of knowing in your heart that you are different while having everyone insist there is nothing wrong with you was and is absolutely intense) ..... So to go through your daily life, watching everyone around you feeling as if there was some sort of glass window or barrier between you and others, watching everyone else "be normal" while knowing that you were nothing like them - the pain of that kind of emotional isolation is intense, let me tell you, and it is only recently that I have begun to find ways to throw it off and to connect from inside the barrier. It is amazing. Seeing myself in others and figuring out what emotional connection feels like is changing my life. But the part I intend to focus on here is this. There was no TRYING to relate to this guy I passed in Monument Square. There was no trying, no effort, no wondering why I couldn't relate. There was just pure 100% empathy. I knew those words , that tone of voice, that emotion in the words. I had said similar words before. It was as if I had spotted my own heart walking around outside my body.
It clearly says to me that I have a lot to give the world. I have a comfort level and an articulateness with emotional pain that most people do not seem to even approach. I am very comfortable with emotional pain and very comfortable discussing emotional pain. In fact, I crave it. After so many years of silence, I crave it. And I want to find a way to take my knowledge and articulateness and life experience and use it to help others. But I am also trying to hold the fact that it is only in the last few months that I have even dared to imagine I could walk into buildings again, after seven years of isolation. It is only in the last few months I dared to imagine or ever experience what emotional connection felt like. It is still so new and I want to be careful not to push myself far past what I am yet able to handle. I don't want to become impatient and be so focused on what I want to have - the opportunity to help others- that I become overwhelmed and focus only on the result and not the process. Life, I have learned, is often all about the process. A hard but true fact to accept.
I don't know how I will do this, but I know I NEED to use my life experience to help others. This is the only way I will feel whole and it will achieve my life long goal of helping others who have experienced the level of emotional pain that I have.
When I talk about my emotional pain I am aware I may make some people uncomfortable, particularly those people who know me and wanted to help me but didn't know how. I want to say right now that it is not my intention to blame, but it is my intention to talk about things that never get talked about in an effort to throw the lifelong shame that has been on my back off my back. I need to figure out the origin of these feelings if I am going to throw them off, and that means I need to be able to talk honestly. I never mean to suggest that no one tried to help me with my social isolation. Certainly there are people who I can credit for saving my life in their efforts to help. But the isolated efforts of a few people, while enough to save my life, were not enough on their own to give me any decent quality of life. I suffered in silence for a long, long time. Now that I can finally talk about it, I intend to do just that. I intend to use the experiences I had to help bridge my own emotional gaps and to help others bridge theirs. We are all interconnected, inter-related, and we all NEED to use each other to help ourselves gain a feeling of emotional wholeness, aliveness, etc.
I spent my life looking for people like me. I never found them until I found the label of Asperger's but even then it has been iffy. The more I learn about people with very varied life experiences the more I can start to understand myself and all the many influences that shaped me.
But if there is one thing I took from tonight, it was that I feel whole around people who can understand my despair, and I want to look for opportunities to help others who have had those experiences.
I'm pretty sure that poor homeless guy had no idea what growth he was inspiring in my head just by being himself. And I sincerely hope he finds a way to get what he needs.
Oh. I almost forgot. The bus driver.... the #1 was empty when I got on it. I was still stunned by my experience and said to him something like that "That guy... I hope he's okay." The driver kept telling me "Don't worry about him," which angered me. "I don't want to live in a world where we feel it's okay to not worry about other people," I said to him. He seemed to understand, and I sat down. That's the first step... To live your life as an example of what you want to see in the world. I took the first step today.
3 hours ago