I wrote this to myself. I didn’t really intend to post it publicly. But I am.
Let me tell you a little about where I came from. Because you don’t know. If you tried to guess, from what you know about me, you would still guess wrong.
I come from Doctor’s offices. Psychologists to be precise. My school was a special ed school. My place, in any social circle, was off to the side. They tell you at a party to loosen up. To get out there and dance. To be sociable. This runs directly counterintuitive to the way I grew up. In middle school, I had my own special class. Before I moved up to high school, I got not just my own class, but my own school. An entire building, set of teachers, bus schedule, everything.
Why? I couldn’t really tell you. Not even if I tried. Oh, it was the right decision. There’s no doubt about that. But the reason could be any number of things and the accuracy of any given guess would be as verifiable as speculation about what the president’s sexual habits are.
I was told I had OCD. I was also told I had Tourette’s Syndrome. And Asperger’s. Heck, I was even diagnosed with epilepsy at one point. If you wonder why I distrust professional psychologists, this is why. I had a team of doctors. A team. And none could agree on what was wrong with me. In fact, the only thing they did agree on was that *something* was wrong.
And that’s where I grew up: something’s wrong with you. Or maybe right. But whatever it was, it was certainly different. Not normal. Not average. Alien. Unlike the rest. An anomaly. The exception to the rules.
Of course, being the exception doesn’t mean you can’t live a decent life, right? Well that’s true to a degree. I have friends. I have a job. That’s good, right?
I’ve had a drink occasionally. I’ve been to a night club. I’ve stayed out til sunrise. I’ve eaten food that was overpriced, unhealthy, and paid for it with money I’ve budgeted myself.
But none of these things have I ever done through your eyes. The first time I got drunk, I was analyzing the experience the entire time. Out loud. I informed my friends of my state of inebriation as I discovered it for myself.
It was a purely intellectual exercise. And that was, perhaps, what was so baffling about it. I didn’t care, even after twelve shots of vodka, to relax and enjoy the ride. To lay back and feel, instead of trying to understand.
Most of my experiences have been centered around this principle. Trying to understand. To understand the world I was ostracized from.
I hate how I sound like one of those “You just don’t understand me” kind of whiners that think no one else ever had an uncle die. And I apologize if that’s how it sounds. I don’t mean to. But frankly, it’s difficult to believe I’m normal and just like everyone else and plenty of other people see things the way I do and such when the systems set up to raise our young have been saying precisely the opposite for so long.
Today is Saturday. February 26th, 2011. I currently live in a town house that I rent on my own. I pay my own bills. I organize social events. I do everything a healthy adult should do. And what is perhaps the coup de grace of my accomplishments so far, yesterday, three articles in wrote were published on a site called Lifehacker. The three of those articles saw over 100,000 views collectively within 36 hours. By rights, someone like me, someone who comes from where I come from, shouldn’t be the kind speaking to 100,000 people in any capacity, much less one that *doesn’t* involve how I handle my disorders.
I don’t regret any of it. I’m proud of where I’ve gotten to. I’ve managed to take control of my life, become my own man, and even have what looks like it could be a promising future.
But that hole left by not just never having a normal life, but choosing not to, that chasm between how I view every normal rite of passage and pleasure and how you experience them….nothing I do can change that.