All About Me, Part II

This is part II of that list of 36 questions that are supposed to encourage vulnerability and intimacy.

Since this is all about me, here is my first selfie ever (I do not expect this will become A Thing for me) taken with my brand new brainyphone. I am beginning to enter the future!

See Part I here.

And now, you get to learn more about me! And once again, I’d love to see any answers you want to give.

  1. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

This is a tough question. I’m torn about knowing the future. I’d be afraid that I would see something terrible and then would spend my life fearing whatever I’d seen, dreading the passage of time.

  1. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

I would like to get a college degree.

My first try was, as briefly mentioned in my previous post, a failure. A disaster, really. Since then my obstacles are part money, and part a fear of failure. A fear that I won’t be able to do the work necessary to earn that degree.

That said, if Obama’s thing about providing free tuition for two years at a community college goes through, I like to think that I would absolutely run out and try my hardest, no matter what I feared.

For a while transportation was also an issue, but that is one that has been largely resolved.

  1. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

I hate to say it, but I honestly don’t see myself as having any particular accomplishments. I guess this blog is an accomplishment. 400 likes on facebook, over 100 people following my email. That’s not too shabby, really.

  1. What do you value most in a friendship?

Connection.

  1. What is your most treasured memory?

Memories of my grandfather. I loved him very very much, but he died when I was young. He lived in Tennessee and raised chickens (and other birds, but I mostly saw the chickens) and visiting him was always the highlight of my entire year. Even now, I still miss him.

  1. What is your most terrible memory?

By and large, I’d say the deaths of those I love are consistently my most terrible memories. The recent death of Genzi (my cat) definitely tops the list right now.

  1. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

I think I would do a lot more going out and meeting people. I am lonely and isolated and I don’t like being that way. Right now I am in a down-cycle, not trying to expand my social circle, because of circumstances in my life right now and the high cost of trying. But if I knew I only had a year left, long term consequences wouldn’t really matter anymore, so high cost and high risk would be more worth it.

  1. What does friendship mean to you?

Closeness. Spending time together. Sharing our interests and passions, some of which will likely overlap, others of which will not. One-on-one social contact. Caring about each other.

  1. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

I am having trouble answering this question. I do know that when I am close to someone, I feel that closeness very intensely. Yeah… I’ve gathered that I do tend to be intense. When I love, I love deeply. As it is, love and affection mostly exists between me, Nee, and our cats. er. Cat. Genzi died.

  1. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

Positive characteristics of Nee:

They work to make our house better.
They like it when I ask lots of questions and get nosy about their computer games.
They work to support us both.
They are a cat person.
Their sense of humor is compatible with mine.

Positive characteristics of my readers:

You read my blog (yay!).
You leave comments.
You contribute when I ask for help with things.
You care about autism.
You are all individuals, beautiful and flawed in your own ways.

Nee’s list of positive characteristics of me:

intelligent
creative
caring
good with cats

Your list of positive characteristics of me:
I don’t know. I guess you’ll have to answer if you want to.

  1. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

Really not warm and close at all, actually. My mom was deeply unhappy in a marriage where she felt (and was) taken for granted. My dad is emotionally distant, shows very little affection, and never, ever gives praise (or at least, he never gave ME praise). My mom would sometimes vent to me about my dad when I was very little, and then get angry with me when I did not understand that it was all supposed to be secret. When they finally divorced it was profoundly stressful and difficult for me. At the time I was incredibly angry with my mom, but it did not take long for me to learn why she could no longer live with my dad. Really, a bad situation all around.

Though on the plus side, my mom generally tried to support and encourage my creative side, and my dad sort of supported my intelligence.

Now, though, my mom and I are reconciled, though not actually all that close. My brother and I have also reconnected and try to keep in touch, but also are not super close. I no longer speak to my dad.

  1. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Oh. Well I kind of already answered this one. At this point I think it would be nice to be closer, but I’m not really sure how to do that. Just chatting on the phone is so awkward for me. Maybe we should try to write each other letters. Or take up texting.

See Part III here.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “All About Me, Part II

  1. Pingback: All About Me, Part 1 | Aspergers and Me

  2. Just me

    Yes, this blog is an accomplishment! Heck, even failing out of college is an accomplishments because it means you tried! You took a risk!

    Your positive qualities:

    Insightful
    Analytical
    Open and honest in your blog
    Sensitive to a variety of perspectives
    You have a desire to learn and grow
    And a desire to help others

    Re: relationships with moms: they’re tricky. What has been most helpful for my relationship with my mom is for us to do things together–go antiquing, go for walks, play Words with Friends, send each other funny or interesting videos or photos and talk over the phone while we watch or look at them. I found doing that allowed us to focus on the things rather than keeping a conversation going, and we got to know each other and got closer in the process. Also, not being afraid to share the mundane was helpful. For a while we only talked every few months, and so it felt like we just had to give each other the highlights. Now that we talk more often, we can feel comfortable chit chatting about whatever without feeling like it’s weird to bring up random details of our days.

    • Thank you for calling my blog an accomplishment! I very much appreciate that.

      I actually did not fail out of college. My grades were good. The problem was I self-injured and failed to hide it properly, so I got kicked out for being “unfit for [their] institution.”

      Unfortunately, I cannot actually go do things with my mom, as she lives in OH and I live near Philly. Though Words with Friends is a nifty idea. Online games could be a way to connect!

  3. Undiagnosed

    I really appreciate your blog, so I will try to answer your questions. It feels really strange for me, but if I can give you something back by doing so, then it is worth it.

    13. I am a mother. I have a child that has been given the diagnosis of autism, and I often am struggling to try to find out what I can best do to help him. I realize that I have limited resources (thinking first and foremost about time) and I want to use my energy (and his) in the best possible way to help him with things that will make the greatest impact in his life. If I knew what he needed most, then it would be so much easier both for me and for him to do those things. The doubts and fears of wasting time on things that are unimportant in the long run are something that haunt and stress me. I tend to miss the forest for the trees, and I am afraid that I can give the correct answer to the totally wrong question, also when it comes to him… if you can understand that.

    14. I actually have done most of the things I have dreamed of. The things that I haven’t done, are the things that I realized were less important at some point.

    15. The greatest accomplishment of my life is really just getting where I am today, with a husband, great kids, a good job and our own house. I have moved far away from my family, and most things I have done, I have had to do without their support.

    16. I value most being able to be myself. I have realized that I don’t have the energy to jump through hoops or try to make other people like me. So they can take me or leave me. I don’t have a lot of what I would call friends, even tho I get along well with a lot of people. Those few that I do have, I treasure. They are people that know and accept me for how I am.

    17. Memories with my father, who has now passed away. He was a person I learned I could turn to through the troubles I had growing up (even if it took me a while to realize that). He was a person that actually could listen and try to understand my point of view, and had sound advice when I wanted it. He was an outdoorsman, and I remember the early morning trips out with him, stopping to get breakfast before the crack of dawn, and watching the sunrise with him wherever it was that we ended up.

    18. I don’t really want to go into the details here. My lack of social skills caused me to end up in a lot of really stupid, dangerous situations when I was growing up. These I think were worse than the deaths of loved ones. The deaths were hard, but it was easier to reconcile and remember the good memories afterwards. I still struggle at times with all the dumb things I have done on my own. There have also been a couple of times when I have feared for the lives of my children, and there is nothing that can compare to that feeling. Luckily, things have always turned out well. 🙂

    19. I actually ended up at the hospital with a stroke some years back. I was lucky and got help quickly, and today I am fine. The whole process of going through that has caused me to do a really hard prioritizing of what is important to me. I realize that you can’t take the days and years for granted anymore. Having said that, I tend to slip back into old habits of focusing on the “wrong” things, and have to refocus semiannually or so to keep stress to an acceptable level.

    20. pretty much the same as 16. Being myself and still feeling a “connection”…

    21. Love and affection… it is the thing that keeps me together. My husband, my kids.. I would be lost without my husbands support, and my kids needing me still. My kids give me the strength and energy to take on any obstacles that I have to, and my husband gives me the love and support I need to manage the stupidly over-optimistic tasks i set upon. I actually have 3 cats too. They mean a huge amount as well. The youngest was actually feral when we got her, 10 weeks old. The time and energy spent socializing and helping her to have a good life really mean a lot to me. She is so loving and affectionate now, and the first 3 days we had her, she wouldn’t even look at us or want to eat. I was so sure that I had gotten in over my head, again, and that she was going to be the one to suffer for my overoptimism. Luckily, I am incredibly stubborn, with a family that supports me, so it has worked out. She has quite the reputation at the vet’s tho 🙂

    22. Positive characterstics of my husband:
    – He helps to keep me grounded when I get overambitious and helps to remind me that I don’t have to solve the world’s problems
    – He supports me even when I jump into those same projects he tried to warn me about
    – He takes me dancing. I am not a dancing person, but he has introduced this to me, and it has helped me a lot with being self conscience, and also gives me a great stress-relieving activity that I never thought would be something for me…
    – He can see when I am getting upset even before I realize it myself, and helps me to work through it.
    – He is honest and trustworthy. I think he is the only person that has never broken my trust.

    23. I moved out of town when I was 17 to start at the university. Since then, I have not lived in the same town as my family. So my memories are mostly colored with how my childhood was in general, and I remember things being political, strategic, stressful, and full of confrontation. I am extremely conflict shy tho, so this isn’t necessarily a correct picture of how things were. I think my childhood was pretty screwed up. I was left on my own a lot, and I made a lot of bad judgement calls. But having said that, my family, in my mind, is something like my “new” family, as in me, my husband and kids, and my “old” family, where I grew up. (We are still in touch, we just don’t see each other very often.) As to my “new” family, I think we are a lot more close. I am not the greatest at showing my feelings, but I think I am pretty supportive.

    24. Mom and I have had our issues. I was not an easy child to raise. I realize she was trying her best in a really hard situation. I was really hurt by how things worked out when I was younger, but I see that I have a lot of the same challenges my son has, and I actually think my Mom does too, even tho I will never talk to her about that. We don’t really have that kind of relationship. Whether or not she and I also should have a diagnosis, isn’t really important tho. I realize that she did her best and I really love her. It is still hard for me to be around her a lot tho. I guess I have come further on a logical level than I have on an emotional one on that case.

    • I’m sorry answering the questions feels strange to you, but I love reading your answers!

      Though I feel sad when I see how often you refer to yourself, your thoughts, or you actions as “stupid.” It seems that you don’t really value yourself or what you do or try to do. Why is that?

      I am impressed that you managed to tame a feral kitten! That is a significant challenge but I am very happy that you did it. All cats deserve loving homes.

      • Undiagnosed

        Guilt, insecurity, and lots of stress is definately something I have had to work on. I am not so happy about all the choices I made growing up, but after becoming a parent, I have improved. It is really hard for me to relate to the person I was before I became a mom. But at the same time, I wouldn’t go back and change a single thing. I am really happy with where I am today and how things have turned out.

        As to my little feral, I had good help 🙂 The Urban Cat League has some videos called Tough Love that I watched probably 100 times during the course of the socializing. I expected things to take maybe 4-6 weeks when I got into that. I ended up spending 3-5 hours a day for roughly 3 months. I didn’t have an enclosed space like they suggest in the videos, but I used a bedroom that wasn’t in use at the time that was sparesly furnished with a loft bed, so there was few hiding places. I even slept in there for something like 4 weeks, on a mattress on the floor, so that she could get used to my scent and presence. She is definately worth the trouble. I have a special connection with her that is above and beyond what I have with the other two.

  4. Trudy

    So excited to see part 2! I was hoping it would come soon. Here’s my answers (for what they’re worth): 13. I would not want to know anything. I think it would limit you in what you do, because if the crystal ball told you that you would become an artist, then you might not bother to follow up on your love of marine animals. Or whatever it is you enjoy. I also think it would be terribly depressing to find out that perhaps I would never have children or find a partner. I would rather not know and live with the hope! 14. I would love to leave my job and travel. I haven’t done it because I worry about money, and also about dealing with people! I love to travel and see new places, bu the downside is you also have to interact with complete strangers – in hotels, airplanes etc… 15. Um. Hard to answer. I don’t really have any accomplishments and that’s kind of sad to think about. Actually I was pretty pleased with myself when I completed a Diploma of Interior Decorating – it was the first time I’d ever stuck with something and seen it through. So I guess that’s an accomplishment, although I don’t intend to use it professionally! 16. Loyalty. 17. I have so many great memories that I find it hard to pick just one. There are trips with my family, birthday parties, great books I have read… 18. My first memory is when I was 2. I had to stay overnight in hospital with an asthma attack, and for some reason my parents weren’t allowed to stay with me. I remember running down the hall after them, crying for them not to leave me there. As a 2 year old you are too young to understand that they will come back. Another awful memory is when I was about 12. My so-called best friend found my diaries where I wrote all my most intimate thoughts, and then went and told everybody. In some ways I have never got over the mocking and harrassment and the shame of that. It took my confidence in people away and I still find it hard to trust anyone. I guess I had been pretty sheltered up till then, and it was bound to happen in some way or another as I started spreading my wings. 19. I don’t know. I’m pretty happy with my life right now. It would be nice to meet someone special but you can’t make that happen just because you know you’ve only got a year left (and also would be a bit hard on that person). I think if I knew I only had a year I might take the leap and do the travel I have always wanted to do. 20. Doing things together. Someone you can trust and who will listen to your feelings and problems, no matter how imperfectly you say them. Someone who makes an effort to understand your problems and likes you anyway. 21. I am single, so I don’ have any romantic side of my life right now. But love and affection still play a big part in my family relationships – and I especially adore my two nieces 🙂 22. I’m going to skip this question, except to say that I love your blog and thank you for being so open and honest to people you’ve never met 🙂 23. I had a very happy childhood. I had never considered that it might be happier than others, until I got older and realised that not everyone had a family as nice as mine. I feel extremely blessed and lucky. 24. My mother is my rock, my guide, my crying-post. She has been my support in so many ways. Sometimes I have wished she could have ‘coddled’ me more, but I can see now that I would never have got anywhere if she had. She has always expected me to just get out there and do it, and so I have. She is a very outgoing, people-person herself, and I have learned so much about interacting with others just from watching her. She is the one who has really kept our family together. My father is nice person, but he (and also one of my brothers) have quite a few Asperger’s traits himself, and I have never felt close to him like I do to my mother.
    Thanks for listening! Can’t wait for Part 3 now – this is an interesting exercise!

  5. Trudy

    I also meant to ask, is Nee gender neutral? You don’t have to answer, I was just curious about your use of ‘them/they’, I don’t think I’ve noticed it on your blog before.

  6. Pingback: All About Me, Part III | Aspergers and Me