Sunday, August 28, 2016

Genuine care

*Disclaimer A*

It's overwhelming when a person is really, genuinely understanding of and kind to me, and they actually express this to me. This is especially so if they're in a position where I expect them not to be this way - when I expect them to be at least partially contemptuous, and likely oppressive, because I'm so accustomed to that.

So it's almost surreal when someone in my real life, beyond those whom I have sought out (and vice versa) in terms of specific community and common-experience-based solidarity, expresses genuine care and understanding towards me. I don’t just mean sympathy and pity, but empathic understanding, synonymous with compassionate reason, and expressed with a real motive to help me in response to my need for it, and that need has been adequately recognized. 

It takes someone objective, outside the box, open minded and also kind, to "get it" enough to truly care about people like me, I guess. You know, when I’m screaming “help me” in another language, that no one understands, until someone really understands, or makes an effort to try and understand, learning about it until they do understand, at least enough to help.

I’m talking about someone expressing a desire to be helpful to me, and not out of mere obligatory sympathy and pity due to my being, at this point, at least somewhat evidently "crippled." I'm talking about when there's an expression there, out of real care, for me as a human being with objectively profound, in fact agonizing challenges, as well as hopes and dreams, albeit all divergent ones. It's like Temple Grandins' mother said, to too view me as "different, not less"...but not only that, also to view my challenges as perhaps more difficult to understand, but just as worthy of trying to understand and help as anyone else's challenges. 

It's about not dehumanizing someone who is different and doesn't fit with the ordinary things most humans are and do. It's to, in spite, see that someone in a truly human light, though they may be an "atypical type of human."

This seems to be hard to come by today. It's a by product of the way the systems work, and thus the way society behaves, in broader terms that is. Sometimes a person will diverge from this, to find compassion for the "divergent." 

To diverge for the sake of a divergent, and thus to go against the common grain, to stick one's neck out even, is to ally, with love, with a divergent person. I'm so grateful for people who do. 

It takes me a while to process such a happening, and in the past, I hate to say it but I may have even pushed such a potential thing away. I would refuse to believe in it's potential; which is synonymous with the potential good in people. The potential empathy, even for something that they don't initially understand, but wish to try. I didn’t feel I deserved that, not deep down. That’s just how fractured my spirit had become, due to being gaslit

My heart swells out when it happens, and this makes me afraid that it'll break again, because it's been broken. My wings were cut off like what happened to Maleficent, during and after naively, erroneously believing that someone was enacting "care" in the way described above, when they weren't really at all, and in fact were out to do the very opposite. 

The last times that this happened to me, in 2013 and 2014 too - those were the final straws in really shattering my trust. After that, it was shattered all over the floor, and so was I, and physically too...and now, I'm trying to pick up the pieces. It's slow because I'm weakened. I've been broken. 

Sadly my first, seemingly primal instinct, is to be afraid of kindness. Yeah, I do know that it's not good, it's unfortunate, I wish it weren't so, and this equates with deeply embedded trauma, but that's how I feel. My poor limbic system. I have to try and recondition it, and even though living with (and really hoping to recover from) acquired autonomic nervous system disease now makes this prospect more crucial than ever - it's still easier said than done. 

What can you do when there is still feasibly a risk? When one is on such thin ice trying to retrain these primal instincts, and its like - one more traumatic happening could set you back a lot. So, you don't know when to really let it be and accept the positivity, without fear that it'll turn sour. You don't want to be hurt again…

But there's always a risk though, so the only way to really safeguard is to train to immediately detach, should it "happen" again. Should it "turn sour." This makes it harder, though, to take in and accept true care when it’s really there. It can be done, but finding the balance between being open and receiving, and aloof and guarded, is like walking a tightrope when you live with complex post traumatic stress damages. 


I don't normally speak about how vulnerable my heart really is, not on social media, and not even much overall. My heart lives within a sheet of armour which I made an effort to shine in order to present - and by the way - that effort being called “manipulative” and even "narcissistic" is like ripping my armour off my body and throwing acid on my gaslit burns.. because underneath it all, I'm scarred to pieces, and those burn scars are not yet healed, which is why I'm needing to wear armour... I have two phrases for those who criticize and insult the armour, and they are: "How dare you" and "if you only knew."

Some people in the autist community, who were messed up and anger-filled themselves, did that to me, and thus caused the second major "wing tearing" experience that I had in 2014. It was right before I had that awful stroke-like autonomic crash in the UK, fall 2014. It was extremely hurtful and made me wary of my own community forever more. I had been super open and naive in the autistic community, until that happened. 

.. However, in saying that, there were people who did care about me, who were good to me - but I was so hurt and gaslit about that happening, that I had a lot of anxiety about thanking the people who did help me and care about me when I got acutely sick. I fretted over not seeming thankful enough to them, and will they get upset and think they've been duped because "she's actually just narcissistic." I questioned whether I even deserved to be helped..and I struggled with that for months. Oy vey ! 

(When I say "wing-tearing" I'm describing a very hurtful, shocking and heart shattering betrayal experience that was not expected - and comparing it to the movie Malificent ie. when her wings were cut off in such a situation.) 

When it comes down to it, people can and sometimes do really hurt people because they're hurting, but it never makes it ok. Even if one is resentful of someone who "appears" to be doing better than them, it's never ok. You don't really know how fragile a person may really be, especially when you know them via social media only. You could be aiming to kick a brick wall when what you really did was kick in a terra cotta painted wall of mud and play, crumbling it to the ground. 

In this, any people, including autistic people who are hurting in a rage, due to their own traumas, should think twice before lashing out on and attacking those of their fellows who are putting themselves out there, ironically in an attempt to be helpful to people such as them. They should remember that things may not be entirely what they appear, and that in the public eye, on social media, people are expected to present solidly. If they are frail inside they may wear an armour of false pride shone with care...and there are a dozen alternate reasons for that than things such as "manipulation" and purposeless attention seeking.

I had to experience the sobering (and at the time, in my naivete, devastating) reminder that autistic people from my own community can be among people who hurt people, too. 

However and again, many autistic people were also very much there for me, and I do have so much gratitude, as well as reciprocal love and care for them. I will come back to make sure that it's these people I focus on, and that they'll know what I just said above, because I'll make it clearer to them. I'm working on believing that it's ok to accept it, for me to really express it, and turn it into something helpful for all. 

Anyways, I can only afford to take my armour off before those who I am sure will not throw any acid, or even blow any dust, onto my ailing burn scars. Maybe some will even offer aloe gel, or at look right past the ghastliness of how they appear, in their true form trying to heal but not yet healed, and smile at me unfazed, with true care. This metaphor reminds me of the scene in Patch Adams when Patch was in a mental hospital and was advised "look through your fingers, what do you see." 

I've only publicly verbalized a fraction of why the burn scars are there, and I mean to refrain from being more specific about it for the most part, other than the more broadened concepts, which are related to activism and community advocacy. I can't bear to be trolled via my most hurtful specific personal experiences being thrown back in my face, because that'd just be too much, and also, it's really only my business. 

The overall gist is that much of it happened because I'm an autistic rainbow zebra, because I'm different, both in my mind and body actually...and I didn't know that, or how to deal with it, how to really be in this world, how to assert my true self - how to be true to me in spite of ignorance born judgements, rejections and cruelty.

Then, when I found out how to be true to me, I wasn’t yet ready to handle how the devastating cons would play out, and in this my scabs, which had initially began to heal a little, were torn right off again. I was re-shattered. Because I was naive, and the world was, even just a few years ago, just as ignorant as I was naive.

It’s getting better, thanks especially to some grassroots efforts, and in this there’s hope for future “divergent” beings to be accepted initially, without first going through another minefield and having to fight for oneself when already scarred and weakened. But for now, sometimes, the land mines are still in the grass. 

Regardless, one needs a land mine safety suit, but which can still be pulled off when it’s really safe to do so. Knowing when to pull it off and not get too stuffy under it can be tricky, and that balance is one I’m still trying to achieve. When I find it, I’d like to write about that, too. 

I don't know what else to say, and I don't think I want to say anything else, since I don’t really want to be specific about what spawned this pondering, nor do I have the right words for that specific event. Not yet. But it's about letting someone be kind to you, in a way that could help you, though you're so not used to it and have been so gaslit in the past that you are afraid of it, too. You're afraid of the notion of someone really caring about you, I guess - but that's something that has to end. 


Ok, the end.

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