Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dissected Meaning: Knot of Me poem

I am often asked how people with autism think differently. That's a pretty difficult thing to explain, since in order to understand, I have to think about what I am going to say, and the other is to think about my answer! Having an autism spectrum disorder isn't a terrible thing, so I really don't like to hear when people talk about the "epidemic" of autism or how people are "suffering" with it. If there is a reason we suffer, it is more likely to do with a lack of acceptance than because we have some perceived abnormality about our thought process. Consider this: If the primary "issue" is with social skills, doesn't it stand to reason that if there were no interaction with another person, there would be no "disorder"? Dr. Tony Attwood said (something like) that in a conference I attended, and I thought it was a brilliant point. The only reason there is anything "wrong" with me is because of the way think in relation to those around me. (Personally, I am glad I think differently than "most others", and if you have ever been stuck in traffic, you can understand why.)

I read this poem to someone I love very deeply, and it confused him. Read out loud, it is a sort of play on words, and is fairly ambiguous to most, I imagine. A day or two later he told me that he watched something about John Denver which helped him understand how words can mean one things to one person and another to another. What before seemed like frustrated dismissal was now different. I was really honored to hear his tone of voice, it sounded like admiration. Like maybe my words were not idiotic and confusing, but beautifully complex. (Not that I was aiming for that, but it's nice to be in the latter instead of the former!)

I have posted this poem before, but this is the whole thing, followed by an explanation. There are a couple of different meanings in this poem... Maybe you can pick them out when you read through it.

Knot of Me

You think you think
You thought to know me

But no, you know,
You know not of me...

Thoughts and words that
Twist around me

No one knows the
Thoughts that bound me...

Thought you thought the
Things that think me

Didn't know my
Mind distinctly...

Not the thoughts that
Cruel, betray you

Knots that tie and
Sometimes fray you...

I'm not yours and not the thought that's
Fraught with fright that you've begot...

I'm the me that you don't see, the
Me that's scared, but free to be...

Free to be not you but me.

You think you think
You thought to know me

No, you know,
You know not of me...

Not of love, but
Love of me

Try the me that's
All me of me

Not of THE love
But love OF me

This poem is, in part, about having aspergers, and what it's like to be so misunderstood that intentions, motivations and feelings are completely misinterpreted. (It is also about the same on a personal level, but that's another story!)

For those who are interested in trying to decipher Aspie thinking, I'll go into what is sure to otherwise be a relatively boring, in-depth explanation of the parts of the poem. (Granted, I didn't think about all this as I wrote it, but as it flowed, this is what it is all about.) Oh, and the "you" is no one specifically... It's the "you" of those it applies to, I guess.

Knot of Me

The knot reference is about being complex, being bound and protecting myself from the elements of others' thoughts and beliefs.

You think you think
You thought to know me
But no, you know,
You know not of me...

Is simply saying "you were thinking to yourself that you understand me and how I think, but you really don't."


Thoughts and words that
Twist around me

No one knows the
Thoughts that bound me...

This is talking about not only my own thoughts and words that flow in and out of my mind and body, but those thoughts about mine, which surround me in a convoluted sort of way, and twist themselves into a different perspective of my own thoughts and words. It's sort of a play on words, saying that others "twist words"... But also, others "twist thoughts", including their own... It's hard to explain, but that's what I am saying... As far as "thoughts that bound me", that is in part about my thoughts, binding me into what can be quite a stigma from others, and protecting myself by being knotted, so to speak. But moreover, it's that others' inaccurate thoughts about what I think, feel, my intents, my motivations, etc., bind around me cause me to feel somewhat suffocated or emotionally strangled, and are destructive to me on that kind of level. It's like sheltering myself from a storm, I guess.


Thought you thought the
Things that think me

Didn't know my
Mind distinctly...

This is saying that you thought you figured out the things that I think about, the things that make me tick... And you think you understand those things so well. But the assumptions you make are the types of thought which control the thinker, and my thoughts do not control me. You simply don't think the way I do, and you can't read, let alone understand, my mind or thought process clearly at all.


Not the thoughts that
Cruel, betray you

Knots that tie and
Sometimes fray you...

What this means is a few things... First, the thoughts I have are not those which are of emotional (or any other kind of) betrayal. I can be angry, but I don't think terrible things and I don't hate. Those things betray you, the thinker of those hateful thoughts. Hate destroys. Don't assume that I have something against you, or that I want to hurt you or want you to suffer in any way. I am living my life, and if you have some kind of belief that I am out to get you because I think differently, then I don't know where that comes from. I just don't think that way. But most of the rest of the world does, and that is detrimental to the thinker. Thoughts like that "fray" a person, it reduces them to something which can not be held together. Although, at the same time, my thoughts and feelings are somehow those which can "fray" a person, simply out of their frustration of trying to "figure me out"! lol! So the cruel thoughts which betray you are your own thoughts of anger and/or hate, and not the kind of things I think or want. And it's your anger with destroys you. Interestingly, it's being angry about my lack of hate which also is frustrating to you.


I'm not yours and not the thought that's
Fraught with fright that you've begot...

You can't control me, you can't posses my thoughts or tell me what to think, and I won't think like you simply because you expect me to... And I'm not what you think, and I'm not what you think me INTO. I am not you, as you are afraid because (among other reasons) your thoughts are those which reduce you to being terrified, so you have to cover your fear with anger. I don't go for that!


I'm the me that you don't see, the
Me that's scared, but free to be...

...but that's not to say I don't have fear! But my fear is not limiting. My fears don't stop me from thinking. You can't see into my mind, so you can't see that I'm afraid, but I am. I'm just not afraid because of my thoughts, I'm afraid because of YOURS. But you don't see that, and you don't see who I am. If I am not what you think me into, I am invisible to you. You can't conceive that I am something other than what you think, so if I'm not, then I don't exist at all in your eyes.


Free to be not you but me.

I may be afraid, but I don't have to be you or think like you. I can think for myself, thank you God.


You think you think
You thought to know me

No, you know,
You know not of me...

Repeat of earlier... But emphasizing. "See? I told you that you do not get me, you are so wrong about what I am thinking." You know not of me here is leading into a new concept in the poem, so while the "know not of me" means you don't think like me, you don't understand my thoughts... It also means that you don't know what it's like to think the way I do. It's a slight shift, and it's a loving thing... It's not a defensive thing, it's more of a... (Well, let's keep reading the poem for more...)


Not of love, but
Love of me

Ok. Here is the new point. See, it's very strange how people can misinterpret me, and say that my thinking is off or that I don't think "correctly" but that is so odd... Because when they actually start to listen, they realize that maybe the way I think (and that they don't think that way) is the missing link to why they are not happy with life. Everyone has a chip, it seems like. So they are so quick to say what's wrong with me. And yet, if they try thinking the way I do, they can have a paradigm shift that is pretty cool. I have seen people finally "click" with what I am thinking, and it's almost like they found what they were looking for out of life. Not that they are looking for me, but for this way of thinking, living, seeing life in general. It's easy to criticize that which one does not understand. But when they understand it, they see that thinking in loving ways is the way to be happy. Not being self-sacrificing, but having a sense of inner peace and calm. I've heard the word "actualized" although I don't know that I am old enough to be self-actualized...! lol! But I guess it's a little like that.


Try the me that's
All me of me

Continuing with that point, I'm saying "If you are going to appreciate what I say, or one element of my thinking, why don't you try thinking like this as a whole? Why not set aside your thinking and try a different way? Because you have had a glimpse of that which is joy and happiness, simply with fresh thought. So why not extrapolate that out and live life that way?" That's what try all me of me means.


Not of THE love
But love OF me

I always knew I would have a hard time explaining this last part, it's one of those things that "would be" misunderstood, so I have always been a little nervous about not explaining it. (As well as nervous about explaining it! lol..)

I said before that maybe it'd be a good idea to try to think this way, to live life thinking the way I do... Because when one finally stops criticizing my thought process, they end up loving the way they feel, or they appreciate my perspective/s. But I'm saying here that it's not enough to love that... It's not enough to like what you see, as an outsider, or love how you feel to think this way. That's great, and it's a lot better than binding my thoughts an emotions with your twisted views of what I am thinking... But really, become me. My thought affects who I AM. Don't appreciate it, don't just love how you feel around the thinking. Be it. Become it. We are all love, we are all light and truth... They say God is love, and God is everywhere, so that means He is in me and in you... He is in the sun and He is in a blade of grass. He is in you, even when you are angry... But you are lost from the light and from love. Connect to that, be that. Don't love the way you think it would be to think this way...! Instead, think this way, and live a life of light. Don't try love, but instead... BE the love that IS me, and IS you.

So that's what Knot of Me is. It's about defending the complexity of my thought process, but it's also about helping the reader to learn how to actually live life the way it was meant to be. Not sure of why I felt the need to do this explanation today... But there must be a reason!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Grab A Hold of Your Levis (and get what you want!)

Just a note... This has gone through a number of edits, so if you have read part of this before, you might want to re-read it from start to finish! (Just an idea!)

Grab a hold of your Levis, ‘cause I’m about to knock your socks off.

(That, or maybe I might say something you haven’t heard before. One of the two.)

Did you make your list of 101 wants? Good. You’ll be glad you did.

(If you didn’t, I’ll wait while you go grab a spiral or a legal pad. You know, just in case you start thinking of things. OH, and if you haven’t made you list, maybe you can go back and read the blog posted just before this one: RESULTS SHOW.

Ok. Now on with the, uh… show.

(Show, blog… Tomato, tomahtoe…)

I am going to answer some big questions in this blog. (Not that you asked them, but when I answer them, you might just say, “Yeah! Why IS that??”)

Here are some questions that I am about to give you the answers to:

1. How is it that sometimes things fall into place, like when the perfect situation just falls into my lap when I least expect it?

2. Why is it that I can want, want, want, want something so very badly and want it some more… And yet it still doesn’t come true? Like the forces are against me?

3. Why is it that the jackass at the office gets everything he wants, has lots of money and an awesome life, while I am a good and decent person and my life sucks?

4. How am I supposed to accomplish my big goal/s that seem/s totally impossible and I have absolutely NO clue of how I could possibly accomplish it/them?

5. How do I get what I want out of life when I know I can’t have it?

6. Why is there so much crap about “thinking big” and “being positive”, when I know perfectly well that the universe does not “re-arrange itself” to give me what I want, just because I “manifest” it by thinking about it constantly, like all this “Secret” bullshit.

7. Why is it that I can try to do something, I have a goal in my life, and yet as much as I try, I fail over and over? It's like no matter what I do, I don't get what I want. The same crap keeps happening, my plans get screwed up, and things never go the way I want them to.

8. When is someone going to give me practical advice on how to get what I want, and a realistic explanation as to how to make that happen, and it isn’t punctuated with “Well, you gotta work hard at it!” because my life is damn well hard enough, and I really want to start getting what I deserve out of life, or I’m going to friggin’ snap.

So, are we on the same page? Good. Then maybe I have your attention. I’ll jump right in.

Ok, at first the above list was simply bulleted, but numbering them allows me to reference them more easily… Let’s talk about #8 for a minute. (The answer to #8? ''Today, and by the end of this blog''.)

There is a lot of talk about The Law of Attraction. Positive Thinking. Manifesting. Intending. All that… Now, I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of person (really, I am!) and I am open to about anything. But when I heard about the universe opening up to rearrange itself for MY wants and dreams? Well…

…let’s just say that it seemed a little far fetched to me.

Not that it’s not the case, mind you. I haven’t talked much about my Theory of Touch, so you don’t know that I strongly believe in energy and the benefits of healthy, strong, positive energy… But the whole flippin’ universe rearranging just to suit my whim?

No, it still seems far fetched.

BUT, the good news is I figured out how it happens. Well… How it appears to happen anyway. Ok, how it is that when something is on your mind, it happens in your life. Yep, I figured it out. And it’s nothing like magic. More like, well… neuroscience.

This is how it works.

We have a conscious and a sub-conscious. (Actually more than that, but I’ve been working on not over-complicating things…!) Let’s agree that your subconscious is working all the time, and your conscious is something that you can “drive”, although you might choose to drive it in the direction of what you feel, based on what your subconscious is telling you. Ok? Ok.

If you don’t believe the subconscious stuff, look at it this way… Everyone knows you don’t have to think to breathe. Although you can consciously hold your breath, or you can breathe more quickly. Either way, it happens, even if you don’t think about it. Then there is your heart. Your vision. Your hearing. These are things that take information in, or operate on their own, whether you like it or not. Does the heart beat on its own without the brain? No. If you are brain-dead, can you see? No. Your brain does these things on your behalf because that is a part of what it does. So the process of bringing in that information, and making the parts of the body function, that is completely subconscious, and without your control. (Well, there may be an extreme exception here and there, but you get my drift.)

The brain does more than a couple things, but here are two: It makes the body work, and it solves problems.

Two things that your brain does are: making your body work, and solving problems.

(Yeah, no… That wasn’t a typo. I wanted you to read it twice. It’s important.)

So your brain ( brain, everyone's brain....) does those two things, right? Well, an unfortunate thing about the fact that it's all so streamlined is that we sort of take it all for granted. What I mean, is that we don't think about what we are putting into it.

The IT world has a saying.... "Garbage in, garbage out." If you put crap code into a computer, what you get is not going to work properly. Apply that to all sorts of things... But here, I'm applying it to our brains. We are using them 24 hours a day, every partial second that we are alive, and we don't think much about what it's doing in there, or how we could be screwing up the whole process for ourselves as a result.

Give your car watered-down gas long enough and it may run ok for a while, but eventually it will cause you some problems. That is where we are in life right this minute. (Well, many of us. I have a feeling those of us who are 100% happy with life are not reading about how to make it better, but that's another story.) We've been feeding our brains so much CRAP that now we are paying the price. Work with me, it does come together...

Ok, moving down the road a minute... So our brain has these two goals, to run the body and solve problems, and it also has to basic awareness levels: conscious and subconscious. But what the hell does all this have to do with the asshole at the office who gets everything he wants, while we, good and decent people are left to suffer?

I could tell you that he knows The Secret... But I don't want to bullshit you. I will tell you that he might be a very positive, optimistic person who has a really great energy, and that everyone he meets is so blis... Wait. Wrong guy. We were talking about the asshole? Sorry, I forgot. Yeah, the guy that gets everything great in life and more. Yeah, he's not positive, and he's not nice. As for the Secret, he wouldn't watch it if you paid him. (Frankly, he doesn't need to.) He is an arrogant jerk. He thinks his crap does not stink. He thinks he is the best at what he does. He thinks that he is perfect.

And you are starting to wonder. Why? Because he drives a Lexus, has a hot wife, lives in a mansion, and loves his life. He makes the money, he gets respect (why, you can't understand) and you are wondering if God hates you or something.

Truth? He is perfect. In his mind, he is perfect. See, the guy who is so positive, and the guy who is so arrogant are doing the same thing. They are thinking the right way. They believe that they can have it all. (This is the answer to number 3. Ok, sounds little vague, but that is the answer, and the details are coming!)

Back to the science stuff. (Theoretical as it might be.)

Because our brains are geared to solve problems, it takes what we give it and "works on it". (Hey, this is how I put it.) Think about all the "problems" you give your brain. Now, I'm not talking about the how-do-I-pay-off-my-credit-card type of problems. Not even the what-am-I-cooking-for-dinner? kind of problems. It's each time you open the fridge door looking for a bottle of water. Your brain is charged with the task for locating a bottle of water. AND... it does this by utilizing the data it has access to.

Yep. Your senses.

The brain uses data coming in from your senses to solve "problems". (If you have to know why I refer to what you see, hear, etc as "data", then comment or email me and I'll send you the four paragraphs on data and senses that I just deleted.) And because the brain has a goal of making the body function, when we tell the brain something, it is its job to do it. Our conscious tells our brain what to do. (We have control over it.) Our subconscious tells our brain things too, but when we aren't listening, and I'll get to that in a minute.

When I open the fridge looking for a bottle of water, the brain has its goal. Find that thingie that looks sorta clear, and it has a wrapper and a flat, white lid, and there is green and blue on the wrapper and the bottle is about 6" tall. And then it...

What's that you say, my dear blog reader? You drink water from a blue bottle? Oh. And it has a spout, not a flat lid? Oh... And there is no green on the label? Oh! Ok. Good to know. I'll remember that for later..., my brain looks for the clear bottle with a green and blue wrapper and WHABAM!!! My eyes take in data, seeing the colors blue and green, and the rest of the things which fit that description, and I have my water.

Oops... This one is open. And it has floaties in it. Yuck. Well, I guess I should have been more specific when I told my brain what to look for. But MAN it found it quickly.

Ever notice that when you want a certain car, you see it everywhere? Or if you are beginning to date someone, and you see THEIR type of car everywhere? Well, you have told your brain to work on that, so it does. Even when you aren't paying attention to what your brain is doing. (It can do that, you know.)

(Hey, I'm about to answer question #1 if you are interested...)

When you put your mind to a task, it works on that task incessantly, even when you don't know that it's working on it. That's the answer to how the whole "back burner" process happens, not to mention (short) answer to #4. (That's not too amazing, but I'm about to tell you something pretty cool about that...) Remember your conscious and subconscious? Well, your subconscious is taking in data all the time, too. Even if you don't need to do anything with it. It's at a different level, because your brain isn't' working on a task for it, but data is stored. Not everything, but much of it. So, a really incredible thing is when you put your mind to the task of doing something, and then your subconscious gets with your brain and makes it all work out. It might go a little like this...

"Hmmm.... Ok, looking for a dustpan, lookin for a dustpan... Hmmm... nothing here...? Crud. Oh well, keep looking, doo-ti-doo.."

"Hey, Consc, whatcha doin'?"

"Oh hey, Sub... Lorin told me to look for a dustpan, so I'm lookin for a dustpan."

"Oh. Uh, why, Connie?"

"I dunno. Hey, Sub... Have you seen a dustpan anywhere?"

"Yeah, but it's gone now."

"How did it disappear, Sub?"

"How the hell should I know? I just took in the info."


"Hey, Connie, did you notice when-- HEY! LOOK ALIVE, Conscious! She's talking!"

Lorin: (That's me, by the way...) "If I don't find that dustpan, I can't get that pile of crap off the floor! Ugh!! There has to be a way!"

"Hey, Connie, looks like you know why you're looking for the dustpan now!"

"Even better, Sub! Now I know WHY! Hmmm... Something to pick up the stuff... pick up the stuff... pickup the--"

"Hey! I was talking before! Like I was saying, did you see that metal sign in the garage? I love that metal sign because it's nice and flat and--"

"Uh, Sub, did you say a 'flat metal sign'? I think I might be able to solve this problem after all!"

Lorin: "WAIT! I have that sign in the garage... I can use it, and that's even better, because it's bigger and can get it all at one time! COOL!"

"Hey, Sub... High five dude."

"Yeah, Connie...! You rock!"

Your subconscious takes in data all the time, and feeds it to your conscious wants and needs. When there is something that you want, and yet you aren't trying to get it, sometimes things fall into your lap. This is one way that this happens. But does this mean that when we want something we don't have to do anything about it? Let me ask you this: What if I knew about the sign, but decided not to go into the garage to get it? That is my conscious decision to go against what has been presented to me. And, of course, it leaves me with a nagging feeling that "I just KNEW I should have... "(fill in the blank.)

Ok, questions #5 and #2 are sort of the same, just used in different contexts. (This is cool, actually.)

"Sounds great and all, if I want something, put my mind to the task and it finds the way... But some things are just impossible.
There is something I want, and I can't have it."

Well, you are right. You can't. You nailed the nail on the head. You can want something until the end of time, and if you can't have it, then you can't.

(This is actually really important stuff, so I hope you are ready for it. If not, I will wait while you go get some water or make a sandwich or something.)

Know why you are right, that you can't have something just because you want it? Because when you tell your brain "but I can't..." you have told your brain that it doesn't need to work on that any more. It's a relief, actually. (And unfortunately, because you are the one who suffers, not your brain.)

Yep, you are giving your brain a break in the wrong places, putting it to task on things it doesn't need to be on. When you say "but I can't" it is essentially giving your brain a break from solving that problem. You see, you have a lot of things to work on. If it knows that it doesn't have to work on something, then it thanks you.

You can look at it like this... Women: When you are stressed about a relationship, that's on your mind all the time, right? Not a lot of room for other stuff. Men, when you have something bothering you, you consciously shift your thinking to work, which crowds out thinking about emotional stuff. You see, your brain thinks about what you let it think about. It can run amok if you let it!

Here's the thing: It doesn't care whether you tell it to find the nearest trash can, or tell it to find the cure for cancer. It's a task. And to your brain, a request to do a task is just another task. Tell it to find it, and put it on the back burner. The brain is on the look out for "opportunities" to meet the need, while the subconscious searches its memory bank. But what you tell your brain to find is important, because it affects what it looks for. It can only find what it looks for. If it is looking for good things, it is less likely to worry about bad things, because it keeps looking for something good. It says "Is this good? Is this good? No? Then moving on... Is this good? Is this good?" But switch that around when you are feeling negative... "Is this bad? Is this bad? No, it';s good? well, then let's keep looking for something bad. What about this, is this bad? what about this? Something else good? Damn. Still need to find something bad..." (This, my friend, is the answer to #6... Why it is important to think positive, and why thinking negatively will screw up your life.)

There is another part to this. (Sorry...) It's How your active, searching brain locates what its looking for from a visual standpoint.

When you tell your brain that you want or need something, it forms a picture of what you are looking for, based on past experiences. (Both conscious and subconscious.) The conscious memories are there, but your conscious have the power to say... "Not so fast!"

For instance, that bottle of water in the fridge? If your subconscious pictures a bottle of water as the clear-ish bottle with a blue and green label and a flat white top, that is the first thing your mind looks for. But when your eyes take in the data of a blue bottle with a spout, it looks back into your memory bank and remembers that this is ALSO a bottle of water, so it has the ability to re-direct. The goal is to find a bottle of water, not a clearish bottle with a green and blue label and a flat white top. Tell your mind to look for just that kind of bottle without telling it the real goal, and it is more likely to overlook the blue bottle.

This is why your mind finds what it goes looking for, and it is the answer to #7. This is what it looks like in the real world, when you ar not searching for water in the fridge...

You have a plan. You want to do something. You want to leave your job, because you don't like it there anymore. It pays the bills, and leaving means you have to find a different job before you leave this one so you don't become homeless. On top of that, you have a bunch of stuff at your current job that you are responsible for. As great as it would be to say "See ya!" if you do that, you will be black-listed in the industry for leaving your previous job high and dry. So just walking out is not an option. But every day you are there, you think about how much you hate it. There are things you like, people you like, customers you like... But all in all, you just want out, without losing the things you love about being there.

So, in your old frame of mind, you think about getting a new job. What does "a new job" look like in your mind? Doing the same thing as this one, but without the demon boss from hell, who treats you like you don't know what you are doing; impossibly impossible expectations that no one could accomplish, and yet you are being held accountable, although you don't have any control over how the tasks are performed, the 24/7, back-breaking work that you do without uttering a complaint, but is met with a complete lack of appreciation, gratitude or any resemblance of respect, and the argumentative complaints and covert insults from the new kid, who you know for a fact is not old enough to legally drink.

Other than that, doing pretty much the same thing. Just... somewhere else. (And maybe even a step up.)

But as I mentioned, you can't leave your job, right? Leaving means walking away from a task list that could not be completed in 1,000 lifetimes. A transition would be next to impossible because you have no control over how things are done around there, so you can't streamline the process, let alone delegate jack-squat. If you did get up the mustard to get out, it means passing on your duties to an incompetent jerk, who will just tell your old friends how you left a lot of stuff screwed up. Don't forget that asshole of a boss who will never give you a good reference, because for one, he is an asshole. Oh yeah... The incompetent teenager will get not only a promotion, but employee of the year for picking up where you left off.

(Ok, now I see why you can't leave.)

Wait... is it possible that there are other options? Is it possible that if our minds are given the task of finding the way, a way will appear? If you "know" there is absolutely no way, there is not a way, so why look for one, right? But if you are open to new ideas... What might happen? Just MIGHT happen??

Looking for parts, you happen into a section of CraigsList, and find a "looking for work" post for professional organizers for $20/hour. You get an idea. You post an ad looking for a part-time, after-hours data-entry person help this weekend, at $10/hour for 5 hours, entering into Excel invoice numbers, with the invoice amount and the amount paid. You are a smart cookie, so you can do an easy formula in the next cell, to show how much is still owed. For 50 bucks, you now have a dynamic list, because you can pull up the accounting contact's name by invoice number, and the amount that they owe is right there in the spreadsheet! By the end of the week you are caught up... But that's not all...!

By Wednesday, your boss is so impressed that you have been collecting so much money, not realizing that it is to clear your desk to find another job, that he starts being cooler to you. "That's nice, and all", you think, as you keep working.

In calling all these people, you are talking to a lot more people than normal. You are feeling good about kicking ass and taking names, so you are more confident in your conversations. Your contacts notice and respond with kind words, making you feel even better. Some of your clients are out, so you talk to whomever is available, just in case they can help get the invoice paid. More than once you happen to talk to the head of the department. They all like you. One or more suggests that you might be a good addition to their company. "Funny," you think... "And I haven't even started to look for a job yet!" You tell the big boss that you appreciate that, you take his number and tell him you will call him later. (And you do.)

Friday afternoon you cut out a half-day early since you have collected more money than the rest of the department combined. So you give your Big Boss buddy a call. He's wrapping up, suggests that y'all meet for coffee or beer, and you do. Three hours later, you have an interview scheduled for 10:am on Tuesday.

Your boss can't tell you not to go to your early "lunch" on Tuesday, because you did so much last week. And the kid who is always after you is more than willing to "cover for you", thinking that he is looking great, when in fact he looks like crap in your shoes. After the Tuesday interview, you are about 80% sure you got the job, but you keep working the one you have, the way you are now, and you get more positive comments from clients. You start a running list of companies that you think you would like to work for, and who you think can pull some strings for you.

You get the job, the work is done, the kid can't compare, you don't need the boss's reference anyway, and as it is, he changed his mind abot you...

Seems like leaving that job isn't impossible after all.

Sounds like a stretch? Think of it this way...

In this example, you saw a job wanted ad on CL. But what if you saw a used copy of quickbooks at the thrift store? What if you thought of a friend of yours would could pay off a loan you gave them? What if your unkle asked you if you knew of someone who could work for him, and there was someone at his company that could take your spot? What if you learned your boss was about to gett fired? What if your company closed its doors and you considered opening your own? What if you saw an ad for a grant for school tuition? What if you had the chance to go on vacation at the last minute? What if.. If, if, if...?

It could be anything at all. You see? Your subconscious remembers things and brings it to your conscious. and/or your conscious looks for a way out. Need to make some new friends? Well, didn't you see people at the bookstore with "meetup" name tags? Want to reduce your living expenses? Catching you eye is the ad for someone to live, rent-free, with an elderly man needing just a little bit of help while you rent your house out for the summer. A way to get free rent, have rental income on your property, and part-time income, to boot! Need a job? Hmm... Is that a job circular at the Kroger kiosk? Well, there might not be anything in there, but then again, there might be! The problem with "...but I can't" is that it closes the door to what you want. I have another idea...

"To [insert want here] is what I want. I have an open mind, so the 'how' will come to me."

It's simple, and works for things you want to have, be or do. There is not timeframe to it (which is contrary to many goal-setting techniques), so there is no pressure to "do the impossible" by a certain time. After all, if it seems impossible at all, what makes it seem possible in a certain time frame? It turns what can be uncomfortable into downright scary. This sentence also works, because it empowers the individual. When an idea comes along, it's still just an idea. It's up to that person to do something about it.

That is the how. Your mind is just your mind. Your thoughts are not things, they do not creat things out of thin air. Your mind does not make things magically appear. BUT.. Your mind shows you the path, and it is up to you to take it. If you don't, then no matter how positively you think, no matter how much you want, or how many books you read... You have to actaully take action on something that comes to you in order to get where you are going. The wonderful thing is that when you think in a positive way, you are not anticipating that something bad will happen, so when you see the result of your action, you see the positive result. Taking the first step to action is the hardest part for people who swim in negativity, because they expect that despite their efforts, they will still fail. It is when they believe that they will succeed that they really will.

Trust me on this. I've been on both ends of this. The failin end, and the einning end. I like winning a lot better!

The reason the following affirmation works is that you are telling your brain what to expect. No harm, NO HARM can come of that. it's simply not possible.
Put it on a card, stick it in your car, on your mirror, your wallet, anywhere you want. Want to be discreet? Ok! Just do it and re-read it to yourself often. It's important to you and those you love, because you need to give those aroudn you the best "you" that you have to offer. You have to ba a happy person to do that. Trust me, you want to be on the winning end of life.

Repeat after me... "To [insert want here] is what I want. I have an open mind, so the 'how' will come to me."

Now, go get them, tiger!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Results show: The List of Wants

So, I was on my way back from Dallas a while back, and I was dictating some thoughts into my trusty voice recorder. (I LOVE that thing!) I have been meaning to follow up on my blog about making a list of 101 things, but I still haven’t yet… I’ve been busy!

I got some really, (REALLY!) great feedback on that particular blog, for which I am so grateful, and every time I think about it, I kick myself for not doing a follow up.

Yesterday was 6 months since I wrote my list of 101 wants.

Woo hoo!

Oops! Hang on a sec, I need to grab the list. I’ll be right back…

Ok, I’m back. Um….. One more thing to do.

OK. Done.

Did you happen to make a list of 101 things you wanted? If you haven’t read the TUMBLERS SHIFTING blog, it’s not necessary to read it before reading this one, but it might be helpful…

I wrote my list on 11/4/08, I am I pleased to say that I am pretty impressed that a number have come true!

If you didn’t read the previous blog (or don’t remember), the point was to make a list of 101 things I (you) want, regardless of how impossible they may seem, and without regard to cost or practicability. As long as you WANT it.

And it has to be 101. Not ten. Not 20, not 32 or 50 or 65 or 99. One hundred and one.

Got me?

I have things on my list like…

I want FEMA to send me a big fat check. (#30)

I want a koi pond (#44)

I want the judge to dismiss all three of these tickets. (#1)

(…I wrote the list while I was waiting my turn in traffic court. OH, and that one came true, by the way!)

I have other things on the list that I could never know if they come true or not… Things like “I want [a certain person] realizes how [what they did] impacted my life,” and “I want [a particular group of people] to wish they could take back that they told me [xyz].”

There are things that could still come true, but they would be future events, like the type of person I want my sons to marry, or things I want to happen on specific dates in the future. Those things could still happen…

Some things came true partially, or are in the process of happening. One thing I said say “I want [a relative] to be more healthy”. Well, that’s in process, even if we aren’t quite there yet…

All in all, I am pleased at the number of things which came true.

So, how many do you think? I will give you a hint… I’ve already said the number above… Which do you think it is?

How many did you guess? 99? That is a big number! Although that is not the number that came true, sad to say. That would be great though!

Did you say 20? Twenty of my wildest dreams to come true is a great thing!! But alas, no. But that is great news, because now you know the number is greater than 20.

Fifty is half. HALF! Can you believe HALF of the list coming true in only SIX MONTHS??? Incredible!!! Oh… Um… No… Although half would be amazing.

So that leaves 32 and 65. A number of my wildest dreams came true, either 32 or 65. Well, we have to be realistic, of course. After all, they are big dreams, crazy, pie in the sky wants that I would love to happen sometime in my lifetime! And in six months? Let’s be real here. (And you are tired of this guessing BS, aren’t you?)

Okay, okay, I’ll just tell you. It was sixty five.

No, really!

Sixty five of my wants, out of 101, came true, or are coming true, or came partially true, in one way or another. Sixty five.

So, just out of curiosity, did you make that list?

Now, I’ll tell you… I started out blogging about one thing and this ended up being the (different) blog that I’ve been meaning to write for some time, instead of the blog I was going to write today.

So this is what I’m going to do…

If I’ve convinced you that writing a list of 101 wants is worth the time, then we are on the same page. If not, then you need to pull your head out of your…

Ask yourself if you have any wasted time. Now, I am going to do the other blog, the one I was going to do originally. But you have a minute or to (or more) until that one is posted. SO…

OH… Now, I am keenly aware that sometimes people don’t want their wants known to the world. So, if writing down your wants while hanging with your girlfriends in the dorm means that your best friend Mallory is going to find out that you want her to find a new roommate, then use a key! Mallory becomes “Mr. Ray” and roommate becomes “Teacher’s Assistant”. Just remember to put a dot near the line to remind yourself that the words represent something else.

But short on time you say???

• During commercials while you watch American Idol
• While waiting for a table at lunch or dinner
• While eating alone during lunch
• While waiting in line at the grocery store
• Waiting in line at the toll booth
• While on hold on the phone with the cable company
• While waiting for the pot to boil…

(You get the idea.)

While you do that, I’ll work on the next blog. It is related, so making the list now might save you a little time later!

(See how this works!? ;)

Check back soon!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Intersection of Death, and the Birth of The Autism Friendly Alliance

Today I took my kids to school. Their schools are next door to each other, within a neighborhood, and getting into the neighborhood is like dodging the death train with morning traffic.

No, really.

So, after I dropped the kids off, I was thankful to see that the traffic cops were still at the busy 4 way intersection. (Which, by the way, has no traffic light. No so bad, except that I have to turn left across traffic, when I can't see over the Escalades and Tahoes to my right. This doesn't even bring to the table the cars coming out of the intersection on the opposite end, or the traffic on the busy street turning either my way or the other way, both of which block my view, my path or my concentration.

Yes, thank gosh for the traffic cops.

Although, this morning, as I was making what I secretly refer to as the "death turn", the traffic cop was miffed that I wasn't turning fast enough. He was just standing, so I hesitated before going through the intersection. This, of course, prompted him to emphatically wave his arm in a "come on, come on..." motion, and he face and body language seemed to say, "what are you waiting for?"

(Uh, some reassurance that I am not going to be hit either broad-side or head on, for starters.)

This was when I nervously went on the inside of the (too widely placed, in my opinion) orange traffic pylons.

Every time I drop the kids off, I think to myself that those damned pylons (or "cones"), are placed in such a way, that it forces a VERY wide turn and it's a real challenge to get around them when turning left. (Especially when you are going above 1.672 mph.) But get around them I (eventually) do. Except for when I have just been wordlessly scolded by a traffic cop, apparently.

Ok, so I accidentally found myself turning on the inside of the conical area, instead of outside of it the way the Escalades have to turn. I didn't have an automotive close call or anything. I was rattled so I missed taking the extra effort to make that super-duper, extra wide turn which is required. (I'm not in a big SUV, so I don 't need a wide turning angle like the other moms.)

So, what is worse for an Aspie than being wordlessly scolded by a traffic cop for not driving quickly enough? Hearing the same cop shouting, "Awwww! Come ON!" for accidentally making a clean turn while trying to go faster, so I don't get shouted at. (Ironically.)

Let me tell you, it's been a tough morning.

I ended up pulling into the gas station down the road. I was going to turn around and talk to the cop, explain that this is the second time (at least) that he has (literally) shouted at me, when all I am doing is trying to drive cautiously through the Intersection of Death.

And this was when I decided how to implement my "Autism Friendly Campaign"... Quite simply through something I think will be really amazing, called the Autism Friendly Alliance.

Sounds cool, doesn't it?

So, what exactly is the Autism Friendly Alliance (AFA)?

It's a group of companies, organizations and establishments who want to say:

"We are Autism Friendly."

Companies, organizations and establishments who wish to promote themselves as Autism Friendly can download the below AF logo and use it on their company marketing materials or displays.

So, what's the big deal about being Autism Friendly? Well, more information is to follow, but for now, you can look at it this way: There are enough people with autism or with kids with autism, who feel socially ostracized, that when companies promote themselves as Autism Friendly we all win.

In addition to establishments like retail stores, restaurants, and religious organizations,

companies who welcome applicants with autism can indicate the AF logo in their hiring materials, and those qualified applicants with autism spectrum disorders can know that this is a "safe" company. Many people do not realize two things:

#1 Many people with autism are frightened of the way they will be viewed socially, whether in the workplace, social circles or as a consumer.

#2 Many people do not realize just how many of "us" there are out here. Opening the doors, in a welcoming way to those with autism, means more good stuff goes in.

As for the A Panoptic Life blog...? No, this blog isn't going anywhere, but there is a new blog in development, called (you guessed it...) The Autism Friendly Alliance. Read The Autism Friendly Alliance blog to learn more about the alliance, how it works, and how to become a part of the alliance.

(But remember, I'm a one woman show over here! There will be more details on the blog in the days and weeks to come!)

But wait! There's more!!! The blog will be designed to collect information that people and families submit, saying that they had an Autism Friendly experience, or that an establishment is Autism Friendly.

If we spread the word about The Autism Friendly Alliance, we, as parents of kids, and/or individuals with autism spectrum disorders, will have a way to see at a glance if the establishment is familiar with autism. If so, it means a higher level of acceptance. More acceptance means there is less room for fear.

But as for the traffic cop... Did I ever go back to help him understand the situation? Well...

I did pull into the gas station (it is on the right, so I didn't have to cross the Highway of Hell), and I even got all my makeup on so he wouldn't think I was a homeless panhandler as I approached him. But before I actually turned back around, I realized that my registration is expired. See, I have a hard time with paper-work, forms, stuff like that. It has to do with the Aspergers. (Really, it does.) But I figured that while he might understand that his shouting "makes my Aspergers flare up", I might get a ticket in the process.

I guess I have a lot of work to do.

Until next time!

-Lorin Neikirk

Update 5/4/09: So, this past Friday I noticed that they are in the process of putting a light up at the Intersection of Death. I guess I'm not the only one who gets a little edgy about the chance of losing a life or three at that locale! I took this picture while (safely!) stopped and waiting for the traffic cop (yes, the one who scolded me not once, but twice), to wave me forward, to turn left. You can see the damned pylons if you get a magnifying glass. Like I said... They are way out there!

Read my book about understanding autism,
found on Amazon and Kindle

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Toilet, Re-Gifting, and Chaos Theory: Spot's Close Call

“Well, this has got to be the pickiest fish I’ve ever known.”

No, really. It is.

I actually said these words aloud as I shamelessly catered to my fish, Spot.
Spot is picky about his fishbowls, apparantly.

“The next damned fish is going to be named Edward again. I loved that fish…”

It was only after I had gone through the process of changing Spot’s bowl into the smaller bowl (that was never used as a fishbowl, if you want the truth), that I realized that I told my oldest son, Addison, that I think the next fish would be named Ralph. (Or was it Ralf? Hell, I don’t remember.)

The point is, as I awoke this morning to my dripping with icky-stuff, coughing up small animals thast rhyme with smog, not to mention sniffling and snorting noises that would make even a teenaged boy cringe, I was sure that it was a dead fish’s lifeless death energy which was making me sick. My dead fish's energy. Spot.

Poor thing.

(Cut me some slack, would you? No, I didn’t really believe that. When I don’t feel good I get flippant and a little cynical. Can we move on now?)

As it happens, Spot wasn't dead. Oh joy.

As long as I’ve had this particular fish, I’ve gotten to know a little about him. I’ve only had this one for a few months, but that is long enough to know that this one is a pain in my ass.

(As far as fish go, at least.)

You see, I have a large fish bowl that is in the shape of a fish. I don’t normally go for “cute” in my home d├ęcor, but this bowl is special.

I was working at a place at Christmastime in 2005 when I got to participate in a secret Santa gift exchange. When I unwrapped a large crystal fish fishbowl, I thought my personal Santa Claus had actually taken the time to figure out what I’d like. Turns out that it wasn’t exactly like that. A couple of comments were made (such as, “wow, THAT looks familiar!!”), leading me to the decision that this had likely been re-gifted to me.

That’s ok. A gift is a gift, after all, and I loved it. I like fish. (I also like sushi, but that’s another story… )

So this Big Fish fishbowl is what I have used for each of my fish since. Including Spot. That picky thing…

Spot was interested in the bowl when he was first plopped into it. He was cool with it for a while. But I guess old habits die hard, because before long, he wanted to hang out at the far “corner” of the fish fishbowl. (It was near the tail of the bowl, of course. By the fish fishbowl's ass. Makes sense now, doesn't it?)

I haven’t mentioned that this fish is lazy, too, have I? Well, in truth all bettas (and I don’t know about other fish), sleep a large portion of the day. But this guy? Oh goodness. He must be old or something. Set in his ways. Like most bettas, he wedges his little fishy head in between the stones, and likes it that way. Sleeps like that. But this one sleeps so much that he seems dead, and way too often for my liking.

Every time I feed him, I shake the bowl just a little, to see if he wiggles with life.

Today I was sure (again) that the fish had passed on. So I braced myself for the flush and made a decision about what to name the next one. Edward.

Now my old fish, Edward, I loved. I named that fish after Edward Lorenz, who was the scientist (meteorologist, actually) who came up with Chaos Theory. You know, non-linear dynamics? (I love this shit...)

Chaos theory states, essentially, that even in ''perfection'' there are imperfections which create instabilities. Likewise, in what appears to be great regularity, there is also imperfection. Most people have heard of the Butterfly Effect. That is where this comes into play. Basically, a very tiny instability in data can eventually throw something off its course by a wide margin. If I were to sum it up I'd say...

Nothing is as perfect as it may seem, but nothing is as random, either. It's labeling something as "perfect" or "random" which is the problem, not the inherent attributes of the "thing" in the first place.

Anyway, this is not about non-linear dynamics. It’s about fish.

(And if you want the truth, it’s not really about fish either.

So, much to my, uh, delight…? (Yes, delight…) Spot came alive on our way to his toilet grave. So we took a detour. To the kitchen. To switch him into a new bowl. This is when I decided that this has got to be the pickiest fish I have ever known.

This fish became so accustomed to his Walmart world, that he was unable to open himself up to the possibility which was before him. He was used to a small cup. But given room to swim, he feels more comfortable in the small corner, in the ass of a crystal fish.

My previous fish grew to appreciate the space. Contrary to what many people think, bettas can, and do like to, swim around. But not Spot.

Well, sometimes. Like now, for instance. I think his gills must be burning, since I’m typing about him…

So, am I doing Spot a favor, by putting him in a small bowl? This plain, round bowl isn’t a lot to write home about, after all…

Know what happened when I made the switch? That fish swam around the side of the bowl, and then promptly wedged that little fishy head of his again.

You don’t know this, but I have a fish that actually got his head wedged too tightly and could not surface. That led to his demise. So, as instinctual as it might be to do the wedging thingie, I’m a little uncomfortable with it, I must admit. (...But that’s another story.)

So putting the damned thing back into the environment that he was more used to (i.e. a smaller bowl) didn’t keep him up and running, so to speak.

Although he does seem happier.

You see, if the fish is going to do what he wants, he’ll do what he wants, regardless of where you put him. Try to change his environment to get him to do what you want, and he will not change… He will simply adapt to do what he wants within the new environment. Might Spot have changed? Sure. I’ve seen plenty of fish change. They decided that the fish fishbowl was the place to be! Yes, fish do change.

(And so do people.)

But this fish is the way he is. He likes his bowl, he likes his head wedged between rocks, and he likes to sleep all damned day long. Seems like he’s going to do that no matter which bowl he’s in. I guess you could say Spot has a healthy share of fishy-self-confidence.

The fish does what he likes, and doesn’t pay any mind to being himself, regardless to hat happens around him. He is true to who he is. (You know, who he is as a fish.) When you think about it, that’s pretty cool.

Maybe I like this fish after all.

Monday, March 16, 2009

POEM: Knot of Me (by Lorin Neikirk)

You think you think
You thought to know me

But no, you know,
You know not of me...

Thoughts and words that
Twist around me

No one knows the
Thoughts that bound me...

Thought you thought the
Things that think me

Didn't know my
Mind distinctinctly...

Not the thoughts that
Cruel, bretray you

Knots that tie and
Sometimes fray you...

I'm not yours and not the thought that's
Frought with fright that you've begot...

I'm the me that you don't see, the
Me thats'scared, but free to be...

Free to be not you but me.

You think you think
You thought to know me

No, you know,
You know not of me...

Not of love, but
Love of me

Try the me that's
All me of me

Not of THE love
But love OF me

Monday, February 23, 2009

Operation K-Mart and the Theory of Ideological Relativity

So, I have this friend, and he said something funny to me.

Essentially, he was telling me a story whereby his opinion or idea was blown off, and he said it was like Operation K-Mart. I got it right away. He was discounted. Dismissed. Dissed.

(And, probably, a little bit pissed.)

I had to admit, I can relate more than a little bit. I told him that I have my own catch-phrase, too...

"No one ever listens to me..."

That saying of mine is usually under my breath, or said withe feigned exasperation... It's less of a complaint or an accusation, and really, just a comment. The acknowledgement that try as I might, what I say doesn't always make it to the intended. Like my buddy, I am simply saying, Once again, I've been discounted.

I was in sixth grade when I announced (quite proudly, I might add) that I had a job doing cash flow forecasting for my dad's banking buddies, using a Microsoft, pre-Excel "spreadsheet" called VisaCalc, a DOS program on our cool Apple 2Plus.

(Yeah, DOS and Apple. This was way before the Mac. Don't mess with me. I'm old.)

And the response was something like...

"You don't have a JOB. What EVER!"

Well, I did have a job. Doing cash flow forecasting. Hey, I could manage. I was eleven, after all.

And then there was the time that I tried to tell a relative (and I'm not saying who...) that I "finally" published my first book.

(You know, THIS one...!)

And the response was something like...

"Oh, that's nice. Well, So-and-So [someone else related, and I'm not saying who] has written a book, too, you know. I'm helping."

Uh, yeah. But it sure as shit ain't available on Amazon, now is it?

(No one ever listens to me.)

(...Oh, there have been another 6 since then. After all, it's been a whole 3 months since I started publishing books. I've been busy. Give me a break.)

Hey... I guess my little books aren't such big deal after all. I sure know that the one person sure made ME feel like shit about it. Oh well... Family is like that I guess.

No one ever listens to me. Operation K-Mart in action once again.

The things I say are pretty unreasonable, I guess. I mean, the logic is pretty messed up, right? I don't know... You be the judge:

"The kids really want you to be a happier person. Please don't be so angry..."

"I could go into the air-force and learn how to be a rocket scientist on a scholarship..."

"The world would be exponentially better if-"

"I think that you are the most amazing person I've ever met, and I think you are also..."

All discounted. No one ever listens to me. Operation K-Mart.

Now, here is what I really don't get. (Stay with me now...) Why is it that innovation is suppressed. Suppressed. Notice I did not say repressed. It's an intentional thing. (Repressed, in case you didn't know, is not intentional.)

I used to work at the Houston Food Bank, and I told the CEO (who I think is a really amazing leader, by the way...) something like "You know, innovation is what helps an organization progress. Perhaps 'the way it has always been done' is blindly supported by mid-level managers, thus suppressing the attempts at innovation, which, in effect, affects progress of organizations like ours.

He saw my point on that one. I always did like that Brian Greene guy.

(Although he never did consent to my idea, of having our monthly company-wide meetings in the park. Thanks, Bri.)

...But it wasn't Brian Greene who said:

"You know, Lorin, we sure could use your HELP here, passing out name tags. [No matter that no one has arrived, but,] You don't need to be chatting."

Just so happens I was at a fundraiser, waiting for guest to arrive, and talking to Michael Marx of Kroger. We were casually, jointly theorizing on how certain problems might be alleviated.

Nametage? Oh, yeah. You're right. I guess problem-solving with Michael Marx of Kroger is a real waste of time.

No one ever listens to me.

(Although Brian Greene and Michael Marx and, oh yeah... End Hunger's David Davenport, did listen to me... Appreciated my views, in fact.) Others listen, too, if you want the truth. The really do. But the world isn't run by leaders. It's run by the front line. (Nuh-uh!! You did NOT talk to the auditor for the USDA! Nuh-uh!) The front line generally doesn't appreciate what I have to say. (In case you haven't figured.) Not that they dislike it... They just don't GET it. And without a little hard and fast credibility on my side, I'm dead in the water. So I'm discounted.

Operation K-Mart.

The list could go on... Things like "I want to study art in college" and "People are mistaken about what their kids really need" and "I am not too dumb to homeschool a child." are completely ignored.

Discounted again.

You know, I am nothin like Einstein. Nowhere as smart, not nearly as male, not close in age, and nowhere as cute. But I do want to use him in this theoretical...

Einstein was a person who "thought differently". He had different perspectives, different views, and approached problems from a different vantage point.

He was brilliant, of course.

So why is it that Einstein's views were accepted, and others'... Aren't?

Well, to be honest, BRAINS might have just a tad to do with it, but if you think about it, is that what really matters?

(I mean... really??)

No, I don't think so. (Disagree if you want; No one listens to me anyway, so I don't care if you don't either, if you want the truth.)

Einstein's intellect gave him credibility. But really, it was the fact that he viewed things from a different vantage point that led to all the amazing accomplishments that he had.

Perhaps his Theory of Relativity did not originate as a scientific theory, but rather one of interpersonal intellectualism.

Yeah, that's the ticket. (You listening now?)

I will bet you a Starbucks Latte that Einstein knew, before the whole E=mc2 business, that he thought just a little differently than the rest of the cats in his dorm.

"I think that special education shouldn't exist. Kids with special needs should just learn to work harder. That's the way the world is. That's the way life will be."

(That comment just about made me fall out of my seat. And I wasn't even sitting at the time. I didn't try for too long to explain the faulty reasoning in that perspective. Why reason with someone who is choosing to be unreasonable, after all...?)

Am I bitching too much? I think someone might have to take a compliment back if I keep on, if I haven't earned an "outta here" already...

The point I'm making is that Einstein (yeah, I was talking about Einstein a while back) thought about things differently. Relatively speaking, his perspectives were different from those who came before him. He had theories which he asserted, and were accepted.

Thankfully, due to his credibility. (LOVE that.)

So, if a guy like Einstein can be considered, with regard to his perspectives which were not of the norm, then what about the rest of us?

Granted, not everyone thinks out of the box. As you know, I have Aspergers, and, although I can't take the "credit" for that, the very things which can create challenges, also enable me to think a little differently. (Ok, a lot differently.)

As I said, I'm not as smart as Einstein. (Hey. It's EINSTEIN. I'm allowed to be slightly below The Einstein Standard, right?) But I do think differently too. So do my sons, my buddy, and others I love. We are all... Different.

But why stop there? Why stop with me, my kids, Einstein and my 29 year old hottie BF? (Was that believable? No? Not even a little?)

Anyone who thinks outside the box, at any point in time, and about anything at all, really, should be considered. Ideas. Ideas are good.

No, really. Even if the CEO didn't think of it.

You see, it doesn't take a genius to solve problems. It just take s a new view. And because someone has a different view, it doesn't mean they should be subject to Operation K-Mart. Solving the big problems takes a fresh perspective, clearly best if not immediately discounted... It takes a new theory on the view of the situation, based on a unique perspective. A new opinion, based on the relative juxtaposition of that person, and the problem at hand. There just might be a connection.


I'll translate... Progress=Acceptance+(an)Idea, even by squares.
...And you can call that my Theory of Ideological Relativity.

(Yeah, I like my latte flavored with French Vanilla.)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

This is Good Enough for Me.

I just realized something.

Something important enough that I could not blog about it right away.

Well, I could have, but then someone I know would have to take back a compliment, because I was pretty mad about this a little earlier.

Someone once said, "Lorin, I have read so much of your stuff... I spent hours reading what you have written online. And you know something? There's nothing bad!"

He meant that out of all I had written, he had never read anything mean-spirited. That is the compliment he would have to take back. (If not already!)

You see, I just realized that I let some people, who love me, get to me.

I let some people who meant well, and wanted good things for me, have a huge, and negative impact in an important area of my life.

Sure there is the "typical stuff"... I am a child of a mother and a father, so there is the normal stuff that parents say to their kids out of love. Things like...

"Well, art is not a practical major. You'd best come up with something different, or you will starve."

He had a point, although looking back, I think a degree (even in art) would be of benefit right about now. The two semesters of psychology from TCU under my belt didn't really materialize into anything that helped me in the long run, other than I can identify my friends' (and their romantic interests') personality disorders with a fair amount of speed and accuracy.

Then there was the other stuff, like "Oh, the boys DO like you! That's why they insult you incessantly!"

She meant well. Unfortunately, she was a little off base. They didn't like me much back then. I was a nerd when nerds were NOT cool. You can ask them. The guys I knew then will tell you now that I am on target here...

No, I am not talking about the typical BS that we are fed by well-meaning friends and relatives as we grow up, the stuff that everyone hears and eventually learns the truth about. (If they are lucky.)

Santa. The tooth fairy. The stork...

No, I was in a situation where I was unclear. There was in a time in my life about a year ago, when I had some doubts about someone I cared about. It was one of those "are things what they really look like?" kind of things.

He told me one thing. Everyone else told me something else. What he said made me feel better. What everyone else said made sense.

Turns out I believed what seemed logical. Unfortunately, it wasn't the truth.

People I love, and who care very, very much for me, were trying to watch out for me. And in their misguided attempts to help me, they pointed me in the direction of a wall to drive in to. (Figuratively speaking, of course.)

Anyone who knows me (or reads my blog) knows how I feel about things like... trust. Honesty. Faith. (And not just in the religious sense of the word.) Goodness. Truth. Integrity. Trust. (Did I already mention trust?)

I need to be able to trust those in my life. Actually, it's probably why I'm painfully selective about who I let into my life on more than a very superficial level. I don't always know who I can trust. And I'm not just talking strangers here...

Family. Friends. Dear friends. Relatives. Not trusting someone is not about the other person giving false information intentionally. It's asking myself, "can I go with what they are saying and know that it is the right thing for me? Do they have my best interests at heart?"

Here's the funny thing about that... In order to have my best interests at heart, they have to know what is in my best interest. In order to know what is in my best interest, they have to know my interests in the first place. What I have invested, and what I need to get back.

When we look at it that way, how many people can really have our best interests at heart? I mean... Really??

I can dissect this out to explain, if it's a little confusing thus far. (I know I tend to complicate things. I'm working on improving that, by the way!)

How many people know every detail of my life? How many people know my innermost wants, dreams, desires, hopes, wishes? How many people have not just an understanding, but a clear, in-depth and comprehensive understanding of my views and perspectives? Because all of those things play a part in what is best for me.

Of course, when we make decisions, we are over-doing it if we analyze it to that extent to make all of our decisions... That's why we rely on our "gut feel" so often. What "feels right"? All of the small parts which comprise who we are as individuals manifest in how we feel about a situation. NOW, I ask you...

How is it possible for another person to know, with that kind of detail, what is right for me? (Or you?!) The answer is... Pretty damned difficult.

Of course, kids are not capable of making certain decisions, although as they grow, we, as responsible parents enable them to be more of individuals and make their own decisions when there is not a lot at stake. (And, consequently, their own consequences.)

But, as adults, why do we rely so much on what other people think is the best direction for us?

I need to trust. It's important to me, and I need that in my relationships. All of them. It's not about whether or not people are being honest. I think most people are generally honest. It's about whether or not they know my best interests well enough to tell me things that are good for me. Healthy. Productive.

For instance, a person who is important to me appeared to be involved in a situation that was... Sticky. Not illegal or immoral, and I wouldn't say it was something that wronged me. He was just doing something that I didn't like. I wasn't sure of the details, so I was not sure of how to react to it. I didn't know what it all "meant".

Because he is important to me, and a part of my life, other people in my life decided to "help" me. They love both of us, but thought they knew the details without knowing the whole story.

I was told what I believed to be the details, both he and I passed those details on, and what I got from friends and family was...

"Yeah, right."

For some reason they thought there was more to the story, so they decided to let me know the details they (thought they) knew. You know, to "reassure me" lovingly.

The "loving reassurance" I got was completely off base. But, looking back, I can see that they did not only misunderstand the situation.

Adding new (and inaccurate) elements to the story (based on assumptions and over generalizations) would have been enough. (Which made it more dramatic, of course. Did I ever mention I have a dramatic family?) They did not have a clear understanding of what my personal goals are, generally and specifically, nor did they have comprehension of my views or perspectives. They didn't have an understanding of his either, or any of the other people who might have been involved.

In short, no one knew nothin.

(And yet, they all knew what I should do.)

The result was that how I wanted to feel about the situation was not how I ended up feeling about it. I was upset, confused, angry, and had lots of questions and doubt. As for trust? Well, let's just say that the whole situation took care of any that might have been left. In its place stood something less... trusting.

It has been almost exactly a year that all of this began. And yesterday I finally had the closure I needed. Now, that is not to say that I didn't resolve things. In fact, I decided to disregard what my friends and family had said, and I decided to feel the way I wanted to about it all. It didn't mean I had any concrete information. Just that I had decided to let go of anything that was getting in the way of having a healthy relationship with him. As I mentioned, he is an important part of my life, and a person that I will never not have in my life, so having a healthy relationship is more important to me than knowing all the details that I didn't really know.

Those who were trying to help me meant well. They love me, and they also love the other person involved. They really did want the best for everyone, and thought they were doing the right thing by "warning" me.

A similar situation happened to another person in my life, about me. He was warned that I was going to take a certain course of action. He, too, was "warned". I really don't know if he ever realized the negative impact in his own life, of those who genuinely cared for both of us but thought they knew something that they didn't know. But I can tell you that their "love" created strife in my life (as well as his), to an extreme that I didn't know (at that time) was possible. He had ideas in his mind of what he was told I was "going to do", based on his limited understanding of my situation, and their even more limited understanding. I thought I was clear, and I think I was. But when well-meaning friends and family give their input, it causes problems.

There was one man, and one woman, who were particularly "caring" to this person. Gave loving advice on what they just "knew" would happen. You know, because they lumped me in with every horror story they had read on the internet. (Not to mention urban legends that circulated around their offices. Because neither had first hand experience of this type of situation.) I'll add that both of these people are either now, or were then, very religious and very active in their congregations. (The point being, they weren't bad people.) But the "love" they tried to bestow upon this previous man, ended up ruining lives.

Ruining lives.

One time I saw the man, and he could barely look me in the face. I still am not sure of whether the reason was his own feelings of guilt for destroying me, or shame because he got the idea that maybe he was wrong. Maybe he just didn't like looking at the image of a woman who had lost probably 30 pounds, not realizing that he was largely responsible for my stress-induced frailty.

The woman approached me quite differently. Although she stayed true to her pattern. Bitterness came my way for a long time, and I just did the duck and dodge. When she had a new person to "warn" him about, she didn't need to be bitter to me anymore.

I probably don't need to mention that although they both feel like all that they said and did in the situation is now water under the bridge, I am reminded every day of the ramifications of their "love". I don't say anything though. I let them think that time has healed my wounds. And, in truth, time has healed many of them. Hopefully the person they were "loving" in warning about me, never felt the negative impact. It's bad enough that I did. Although, I do suspect that he asks himself, from time to time, who he should have trusted those years ago. Them, or himself. He knew me, until they convinced him that he didn't know me at all. Had he trusted himself, things would be different today.

And, had I trusted myself approximately a year ago, when I was sure that I should trust how I felt, and what I thought, I could have saved myself some heartache. Not to mention, I wouldn't have been such a pain in the ass to a person that means a lot to me. (Then again, I think he's a little used to it by now!)

I can say that I am glad I didn't follow their "guidance" for long, and soon took it upon myself to follow what I thought and felt. Sometimes it's not popular to go against the grain. Especially when "everyone" is telling us that we are nuts to think or feel a certain way. But, in reality, whose business is my life, if it's not my own?

I don't think I will be upset at my loved ones for long. As I mentioned more than a few times, they really just want what THEY think is best for me. It's not their fault that they really do believe that they have my best interests at heart. After all, who are we if we do not show concern for those we love? Especially when we believe they are in a serious situation or making a drastic mistake? We would be remiss if we did not say anything. Although, at what point do we draw the line? Who is responsible for what?

If we should show our love for our loved ones, by expressing concern in what appears to be a critical situation, is doing that a bad thing? I have gone on and on here about two tragedies in which well-meaning loved ones "cared" so much that they caused (in some cases) irreparable harm. (And, without question, unnecessary emotional turmoil.) So, what do we do?

Who is responsible for what?

If we should show love for others by expressing concern, and yes, we should, then we should also be cognizant of the limit. We should, and can, be aware of the fact that the people helping us do NOT know the whole story. And although every single person might have the same perspective, the reality is that no one knows what is best for YOU, except YOU.

What else does that mean? Because we can turn that around and see the resulting impact on another level... (Stay with me here...!)

If we can keep in mind that we are the only ones who really know what is best for ourselves, and keep others' comments/warnings/suggestions/advice in perspective... Then we can also deduce that when we are loving another person, we do not know, with absolute certainly, what is in their best interest. We do not know the full situation. And even when we think that we do, we really, really don't.

So each of us are responsible for loving others. And we are also responsible for drawing that line between having a belief that we know what is best in the situation, and thinking that we really do know. When we "love" another person by warning them of a fate worse than death, we are responsible for keeping a healthy perspective on things. Something like, "I really don't know the whole situation. I can say it seems like , but I really don't know. You are the only one who can decide what is best for you." But on the flip side, we are also responsible for drawing the line with loved ones. Loved ones, especially when they are being "loving" don't always understand when we say "I appreciate your concern, but you really don't know the situation, so I am going to disregard your warning." The reason is that if they think we are in a bad situation in the first place, we are more likely (in their eyes) to make bad judgment calls.

(More on that another time!)

I guess the bottom line here is that I finally realized that so much heartache that I have felt in my own life has been the result of others' tendencies to preach to me. Other, well meaning loved ones, who see a situation and decide to be the one to blow the whistle.

But who am I really mad at?

By now, you probably know... it's me.

I'm mad at me for enabling others to decide the course of my life.

I'm mad at me for permitting others to have a powerful influence over my emotions.

I'm mad at me for not drawing a line when others were so willing to cross it.

I'm mad at me for not being strong enough to realize that I am perfectly capable of determining what makes me happy, and where I want my life to go.

I am mad at me for...

Well, I'm just mad at me.

Good enough? I think so.

And if I think it's good enough, then it is.


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