It was hiding in a gift shop down in the Old Port, which contained dozens of magnets, cards, bumper stickers and every other kind of, as my grandma would say, tchotchke with inspirational and just plain funny sayings. I also found some of it in the toy shop where I bought a small rubber foot. The second shop had a rubber hand. The sychronicity was amusing.
Due to circumstances out of my control, including personality conflicts with certain employees, I have made a goal to stay away from the market.
This is a lot harder than it sounds for anyone who doesn't know me well and how much time I would spend in there every single day (6 days a week), and how I arranged my entire life around it, and refused to go anywhere else.
Physical symptoms and emotional symptoms interact to make going anywhere else a very difficult proposition for me, but I did it today.
After many months of refusing.
My targets were the toy store (because who doesn't want a bit of nostalgia), and the store that used to be Communiques many years ago, the novelty store on the corner of Exchange and Commercial. They were the two stores I'd walk past and always say "Some day, I'm going back in there again" but never did.
After the first store: felt a little off but proud of self, feeling a sense of contentment that I did it, sitting resting on wharf by water and listening to a lovely band perform next door.
Second store: felt like a truck ran over me. But hey. There were a lot of cute things in there.
Despite my avoidance of the market, I did manage to score a juice at the smoothie place's second location, which was also at the bottom of Exchange. I have never been so grateful to call and hear names I didn't know. I was hoping it wouldn't be the same people working at the market. It wasn't. They were nice enough to bring the juice outside without hesitation and made it right, (because 2 new places was my limit and I couldn't add a third), and at least I had a reward for all my hard work. And a way to use the gift card my friend had bought me.
So, I still feel as a truck ran over me, but I'm also remembering that it will likely pass.
And I'm remembering that spending all my energy trying to avoid feeling like this was getting me into a lot more trouble, and creating a lot more anxiety, than hopefully this (eventually) will. Because I still have anxiety but I also have self-respect. And that's something you can't put a price tag on.
And the hope that if I take it slow and try not to completely overwhelm myself, that this will lead somewhere, somewhere where that self respect can increase and I can have at least some parts of the life I have always wanted.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Or in this case, a foot that takes that step. (Shows you my new rubber foot). Can you say that this was quite a feat? (This would work better if I was showing you my new cute rubber foot.)
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."