The 31st of December.
The last day of the year.
A lot of people become reflective about the year that’s gone past and tell sanctimonious stories of how selfless they were and how they will be an even better person next year.
Some may call me a pessimist, but I prefer to identify a bit more as a realist. This year has been very challenging in many ways. The remortgage was a fucking nightmare, but I am grateful that the effort put in has paid off handsomely. I’m looking forward to living alone with my husband for the first time since April 2012… nearly four years… that’s longer than we were together when we got married (three years to the day). As hellish as things got, I have to reframe it and look at it like this: if we made it through this less-than-ideal living situation and stuck it through together, then our relationship is stronger than either of us may have perceived previously. That is something to be very grateful for and proud of.
I also look at this year as a year of two halves, as it was in June when I had the realisation that perhaps the overarching explanation for why I have always felt different may be because I may have undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome. The more I read, the more I am validated and the more I am convinced this is the case. I just wish that the diagnostic process didn’t have such a long waiting list because I’m sure if I was able to present my evidence, I’d be rubberstamped straightaway. I know that a diagnosis will not suddenly make me okay or normal or whatever, but it helps me to explain my subtle quirks so much better. I have spent so much time and energy my whole life to appear “normal” to others whilst feeling like I’m wading through treacle in order to function. It’s exhausting. I worry that because I’m articulate and appear sociable that people won’t accept my suspicions of a diagnosis and will discredit me.
Case in point, just last night I sent a “break-up” email to the Musical Director and Section Leader of the acapella chorus I started attending in August and joined in November (after finally passing audition) because it wasn’t shaping up to be quite what I was hoping for or expecting. I wrote a page and a half email explaining my feelings, yet I was terrified about sending it to these two women. I spoke to my Dad and read him the email, breaking down crying as I read the last paragraph. In the body of the email, I had referred to my suspected Asperger’s and that as they haven’t seen me in a broader context, they would not necessarily have picked up on my quirks.
Basically, I was driving 58 miles after a day at work to participate in a 15-minute warm-up to then sit for the next two hours while the rest of the group sang repertoire songs with maybe a 10-minute crack at the end of the evening at one song that I had been sent the teaching track for (after all benefits of the warm-up had worn off). One evening when I had suspected that I’d be sat doing nothing for the majority of the session, I brought my Kindle to sit and read, thinking that would be less distracting than checking Facebook or playing games on my phone. Halfway through, I was approached by my Section Leader and told that my reading was “distracting to others on the risers” and to please stop. Needless to say, I was shocked to be told off like an errant child at school and that took the shine off the apple and left a sour taste. After a few weeks of not making the long journey, I decided it was time to just put my views down and make a clean break. I referred to my suspected Asperger’s because I wanted to give a bit of context to my feelings, but I really worry that they’re going to read it and not believe it. I can’t verbalise how upsetting it would be for me if they react negatively to it all. I apologised for wasting their time… what it boils down to is that I like singing in a choir because it’s a double sensory experience – the singing itself in harmony with others and listening to the harmonies around you. Performing is not the most important thing for me; it’s the singing itself that matters most to me. I’m devastated and horribly embarrassed that I’ve gone this long trialling it and pulling the plug so soon after joining, but I really feel like it’s for the best. I’m going to try finding a community choir to join where I can just go sing and not worry about being a pitch-perfect performer and just enjoy the activity of singing.
One of the things that touched my heart so much last night was after I finished reading my email to my Dad, he said that what I wrote was perfect and that he wouldn’t change a thing – that he is very proud of how I write and how I’m able to articulate myself in writing. That made me feel so good when I really needed it because I felt so utterly horrible about what I had hanging over my head. I feel like it’s been very positive that I’ve started this blog and that I’ve been able to utilise this creative outlet to get my thoughts out, even though my overall reach on the interwebz is quite limited. I wish that I could write professionally like some of the female authors of books about their experiences of late diagnosis of Autism/Asperger’s… but one has to have a slightly wider reach in order for that to happen. It’d be nice if a publisher or similar came across my blog and was like, “we love how you write! Please write for us!” But I’m not going to hold my breath.
Oh, and I sent the email after I hung up with him and have yet to receive a response; needless to say, I am dreading opening up my inbox now because I don’t know if I can face the response just yet.
I’m not one for going out on New Year’s Eve… can’t stand the crowds, drunk people, loud music, or anything that comes along with it. I saw something on Facebook (might have been a Buzzfeed thing) with Jennifer Lawrence’s picture on a late-night talk show in the States where she is quoted as saying something along the lines of: “I hate New Year’s Eve; I always end up drunk and disappointed.” Being the wife of a guy in a reasonably good covers band, more New Year’s Eves than not have been spent as just me and the cat, and tonight will be no different. I blame the media for hyping up how great New Year’s Eve is when really it’s just another midnight… because I like dates and numbers, it’s nice to mentally “turn the page” and “clean the slate”, but other than that, I just don’t see the point of going nuts over it.
In conclusion, this year has been quite challenging in several ways (mortgage, unsuccessful job interviews), but it has been punctuated by a handful of really nice occasions (weekend away to Croyde with friends, Manics concert at Cardiff Castle, meeting up with a friend from elementary school in London, and my cousin’s week-long [yet all too short] visit for my birthday to name a few). Rewind The Film has just started on my iPod playlist of the Manics’ chronological albums playlist (the only way to listen to a band’s back catalogue), which has been described by Nicky and James as being a very reflective album (as they enter middle-age), and it certainly seems to fit the mood I’m in right now.
To those of you who took a chance and signed up to follow my blog, my sincerest thanks. Please feel free to share with others, as I hope that my writing can help validate others in their everyday lives in one way or another, suspected Aspie or not. I wish you all the best for the new year and having a clean slate… the sense of renewal is nice and comforting.
Cherry Blossom Tree xx