The Strawberry Festival in South Berwick today made me realize how much I've grown emotionally since last summer.
Nate, Rob and I have been going to the Strawberry Festival every year since I got back to Maine in 2009, as far as I can remember. Festivals were always the highlight of my summer. But this year it just didn't do it for me. I think though in part it was because I have been lucky enough to feel an emotional connection deeper than a few trinkets at a festival, since last summer. As recently as last summer, I NEEDED the symbolism of past memories, the sentimentality, the ... something of these festivals to feel any sort of emotional connection or joy or ... something... they were the biggest thing in my world, these festivals. I didnt even eat the food... and yet I'd take pictures of it endlessly. I realized today not so much that I lost something I enjoyed but that I had gained something so much more fulfilling.
Walking around the hot sun looking at people selling things just didn't seem like much fun compared to what I have, which is tenuous still and still not what I'd like it to be, most days, but still such a far cry from what I had before. I wonder if the only reason I liked those festivals is I'd often make small talk with the people selling the stuff, and it was probably the only way I had to actually socialize, in however small a way, with anyone outside my family or Nate and Rob. I shudder to think about that, actually... I really do. I may still be far behind what I'd like to be, but to have the people at the museum to talk to, and socialize with in whatever quantities are available at that particular day, and to be able to go to at least some social events such as the open mic or other random intellectual discussion type things when they occur around Portland... to have the strength and courage to even try to go into buildings to find these connections.... I didn't have it as recently as only a year ago, the last time we had festival season. I think that seriously, the only reason I liked it was the connections, however brief, I felt by being able to strike up very brief conversations about the vendors and reminisce about when I used to be able to eat whatever foods they were selling... it was all just.... so meager. I made it my world, because I really didn't have anything else in my world. The brain is good like that, when it needs to be.
I saw the Buoy Bat stand and it was strange because I'm thinking to myself, "Last summer, I was really excited when I saw this stand. I'd count how many festivals I saw them at. I'd take pictures. Now I'm just like, what could I possibly see in a stand selling buoy bats?? I have no interest in buoy bats! I can't even pretend to have an interest! I have an interest in people now!" Something along those lines. Sometimes seeing yourself not fit into an environment you used to enjoy is not bad because sometimes it reminds you of how far you have come.
Maybe it was just the only place I could access energy outside of myself.
I hope to God I never get desperate enough again so that my only social connections come from vendors at a festival selling the same things at every festival, things that for the most part I couldn't care less about.
I got these cute little heart magnets that interlock with each other... a reminder of the power of love. I have lately been feeling frustrated because I often feel my relationships aren't as developed as other.s.. but just t ohave them at all to have the beginnings of them and a way in, a way to work at making them stronger, feels so much better than I did last summer when all I had was festivals selling stuff to make me happy
It is such a scary feeling to feel like you are in some way depending on others for your happiness. I think maybe I resisted that feeling for a long time. But it is the only way to actually get true happiness. Being a rock doesn't do it. You have to keep yourself open to being hurt by others if you want to be feel the feeling of being loved by others. This, I am learning among so much else. Patience has been difficult. But, oh the reminder of how far I've come!
If you like this, please be sure to visit my other website, Accepting Asperger's. A lot of my older writing is stored here, including an editorial I once wrote for the Baltimore Sun. Click here to see it: Accepting Asperger's.
What's it really like to be a 20 something with Asperger's? On this blog, I hope to explore that question. But this blog is not just limited to an audience of people in their 20s - this is for anyone who ever wanted to know anything about autism. I plan to delve into the nature and experience of autism, and examine it from as many angles as possible. I would like to start a conversation between people with Asperger's or autism, parents of kids with autism spectrum disorders, and anyone who just wants to know more. Let's explore what autism means, together.
My goal is to start a discussion on and build a community of people affected by autism - parents and adults with ASD - so feel free to leave your two cents in the comments section of any post. If you're too shy for that, however, or want to speak to me personally, you may feel free to email me at KGoldfie@gmail.com.
Asperger's Book for Sale
Common Scents: Adventures with Autism and Chemical Sensitivity" is the story of a young woman's search for physical and emotional safety as she journeys through the mountains of the Cascades, small coastal towns on the Oregon coast, and out-of the-way towns in upstate New York. Along the way, she experiences things she would never have dreamed possible had she stayed in her Maine hometown, and begins to learn the power of human connection.
Common Scents is the story of the last three years of my life. It gives a gripping view of what it is like to experience the world as someone on the autistic spectrum, and some would say, is an entertaining travel story as well. Because of chemical sensitivities, I engaged on a three year journey for a place I could call home.
Comments from readers:
"The Asperger's element is remarkable. I feel that I understand my son better, so much better. I laughed at this part.... because I've stared at my son in the same way for the same thing." - mother of an Asperger's kid
"Your writing style is SO engaging and interesting. It brings me right into the subject and I always experience a little emotional punch towards the end. In other words, this is the third time I've teared-up reading your work. Kate, you've highlighted ALL the problems with how social skills are usually taught." - mother of ASD kid
"I stayed up entirely too late reading the first 14 pages. I can relate to so much of what you write. I really think you are expressing the true experience with MCS and autism in words that convey the experience." person with chemical sensitivity (MCS)
"Absolutely interesting, insightful and witty. You've blended together your three themes beautifully (Asperger's, MCS and travelling). It seems seamless."