Sunday, December 21, 2014

Musings On Solstice And Autism (yea I am weirdly tying them in together)

I prefer to think of Winter Solstice as Mid Winter up here in Canada...and not the beginning of Winter as it is said to be. Starting tomorrow days get a little brighter, and Christmas with it's sparkles and joy (on good years anyway) is just a few days away. If one suffers from SAD, this tends to be the time, that hope is seen around the corner. Weather is regional anyway, so I do not judge my weather by the supposed "official" seasonal times of the year. However, I do love Solstice. If we were to have had another girl, Solstice would have been her middle name. Despite how hippie that sounds, it brings meaning... Meaning of beginnings, of beautiful endings, darkness and light, and of the rhythm and flow of life.

Yesterday, I was having a dreary day so I decided to make something of it. I mustered up the strength to fill the house with the smell of cinnamon and baking. At first it wasn't too fun but eventually my mind was triggered and a feeling of safe, childhood feelings was evoked. I cleaned the house to innocent Christmas songs of peace and helping the world at large. The Christmas tree was glimmering and I forced myself to sit in front of it, inhale deep breaths of the spiced air, and stare at the lights the way I used to when I was little. After a few minutes, my forced reverie turned into a natural state of wonder. For a fleeting moment I had to remind myself I was not wasting time, but only for a fleeting moment, because my practical side does not often win when my childlike joy of beauty is in competition (probably because I tend to live in my practical logical way of Being more- but that childlike wonder is STRONG when it does show up.) I don't know how long I savoured this moment, it felt like forever and also like an instant...a very good sign that I just WAS, and in BEING I AM.  The lights shimmered and my soul sighed. Yes, there are bad events, life will bring my own share to my door and has in the past, but there is also the good. The good of simply forcing yourself to BE in a moment, and in BEING suddenly you ARE. Any Solstice reminds me of this. We do not mark them with huge events, but we make sure to have a form of light purposefully set (a fire, candles, the fireplace) and to take some time to BE in whatever state we ARE.

I felt my child self at five, sitting in wonder, care free to the worries of the world, and enjoying the fact that I could stare at a tree for hours and not be told that I was wasting my time. Peace is for everyone, if only for an instant. Crimson is in the embers, bells are tinkling, and the snow outside is melting ( a refreshing change from our LONG blustery winter last year.)

I have two sides to myself...most Autistic people would describe themselves as a Paradox. Part of my brain is logical, practical, reasonable, assessing and in tune with continual new is open to constant evolution. It's the side that is often shown to myself on a daily basis but is hidden when I am uncomfortable or not accepted. I can come across quite ditzy when my brain is actually a phenomenon. A metaphor for those who do not understand would be similar to Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory (except a lot more complicated and less straightforward.) Half of my brain really relates to Sheldon. But the other side of my brain is mystical, childlike, overwhelmed with sensory data, the source of my clumsiness and inability to feed myself, and the place that causes me to automatically clap and squeal when I am filled with joy. I could not stop this part of myself if I wanted to. Perhaps it comes out a little less in the daily but it shocks me how often it shows up in  unsuspecting moments. It's the reason why I still cry at the song "Where are you Christmas?" or why I look forward to the Muppet Family Christmas EVERY year. It's the part of my brain that forces my logical side to step aside for a moment and to STOP assessing, stop reasoning, and for heaven sake stop criticizing every philosophy or thought or perspective from each angle and just ENJOY. While I do believe there are certain gifts that come from being able to step outside boxes, think from another person's perspective (even the craziest person or the seemingly most mundane) or critiquing philosophy or religion, sometimes it can get a tad exhausting. There are times when I find it wearing to be the one who has to rise yet again to put myself in the other's place to extend grace, and find that they can not replicate back in quite the same way. There are times when it is slightly jading to be able to say in my mind, "I have already been through that transition that you at 60 are going through and it happened to me at fourteen." It may sound pompous but it's just a fact, a fact that leaves one a little more alone if not in the company of those who share this brain state, and a little bit misplaced. It's also disheartening because it can not be shared or stated unless in the company of others who KNOW because people just take it as attitude, judgement or haughtiness. Most do not see this as genuine. They also get  confused by the juxtaposing paradox. Who could really be truly like that? It seems to conflicting, but I know it to be my truth. There are perks to having a paradoxical way of being and some of them are quite enlightening.

My point is, that my childlike side that also can seem to the world like the "worst" part of Autism can actually be quite a gift. Sure, being subject to sensory overload can be painful at times, but it also opens my eyes and triggers my brain to the state of a child. Like the Solstice, there is dark before light, and there is a transition time. There is a moment when all that is needed is a shift. Yes, being clumsy from executive functioning issues has it's downsides, but it also forces me to stay humble...willing to take help where most 31 year old women do not need help. Not knowing left from right or not being able to wade through verbal instructions forces me to compensate creatively to get through the daily. It's not all sparkles and Christmas lights, but it has it's moments or CAN if I choose to see life that way. This is where hope comes in. Hope is found where BEING is. Hope is found in ACCEPTANCE and LOVE. It is found in the darkest of places where light is needed. Hope is an ending needed for another beginning.

This is where Solstice hits my heart. It's a reminder brought in by the earth that I am enough, I am what I am, and there is beauty and brutality in BEING. Life is here now and I must rise to that.

Wishing you the beauty of sacred beginnings and necessary endings on this Winter's night with you.

Disclaimer: I am not literally saying Autistics have divided brains NOR am I actually explaining the scientific theories behind Autism but I am describing SOME of the general consensus among my Autistic friends and I about how being in our brain feels...and the general feelings I have about myself and how it feels to me in simple terms.

This song is my Winter Solstice song and evokes all the emotion beautifully in it's imaginative, descriptive and romantic lyrics:

*To see more thoughts on Autism/ Aspieness click on the Autism/Asperger's label below...there are posts on  Creating Autistic Safe HavensAspie motherhoodFeeling Younger While Getting Older, The Consequences of Growing an Aspie up to realityGender Bias in PsychologyFamous People speculated to Have AutismHurtful Misconceptions about VaccinationsWhat Autism Means to MeGuest Post from Samantha Croft on Aspie Communication, Disclosing AutismAutism Positivity/ Autistic Healers FlashblogSensory Autism experiences at the ZooAutism DOES NOT cause ViolenceDealing with and Understanding Meltdowns Autistics Don't Need Your Awareness and Other Crucial Links Doesn't Everyone Have a Little Autism in them? (And other Wounding Statements Addressed)


Rae said...

"Part of my brain is logical, practical, reasonable, assessing and in tune with continual new is open to constant evolution.... Half of my brain really relates to Sheldon. But the other side of my brain is mystical, childlike, overwhelmed with sensory data, the source of my clumsiness and inability to feed myself, and the place that causes me to automatically clap and squeal when I am filled with joy. I could not stop this part of myself if I wanted to." THIS THIS THIS. I love how you explained this paradox. Worded so accurately.

I love this post. Beautiful Solstice reflection. I'm glad you were able to reconnect to the magic. And I love the pictures! You're such a beautiful family. I love that song too. One of my favorites. :)

Kmarie Audrey said...

Aw I value your prompt response…I was just sitting here hoping to hear from someone:) LOL...well I was doing other stuff but checking in a little too much because I am sick today in desperate for a little feedback. ha ha. LOVE that it was you!!! I am glad you resonated with the words and loved the post. I am glad I could reconnect with the magic too.
I love that whole album and that song is definitely one of my favourites!
I wish you a happy childlike christmas! Glad I can share it in spirit with people like you. xoxo

Philip CalledtoQuestion said...

Lovely post, my dear. Love that I can be with you through the struggles. Let the mystery and the rational dance together during this season, an odd couple indeed but what a wonderful chemistry they have.

Love you

Kmarie Audrey said...

Thank you...ah the struggles...Love your last odd couple indeed:)
I like our chemistry better though. :) Love you too.

S said...

Dear Kmarie,
A Belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family !!
I love your Christmas tree, it is gorgeous ! Love your red dress too !
I can relate to the "Being" vs "doing" thing... I am mostly in my "being" state and have hard time defining the being vs doing concept to others.
When I think about it, about the childlike nature and needing help whereas others are very independent ...I question myself a lot in those times...why God made me the way I am and all that..
but as you said when I find someone who can relate to feels I am not alone.
Thank you for sharing all the joy as well as the pain, this season,
Wishing you all the best for 2015-may all your dreams and visualizations come true,

Kmarie Audrey said...

Thanks S!
A Happy new Year to you too! I LOVE christmas and decorating ....:)
That red dress was from my brother's wedding when I was the maid of honour:)
I knew you would be able to relate as I think you are an Aspie too- I am so glad you also loved the Aspergirl book I sent you! I am also almost always in the BEING state and you are right- most people do not get that...
I question myself about that too a lot...but find some good in it...and it is nice to know I am not alone. Cynthia's blog on Musings of an Aspie helps with that! You should maybe try reading it too.
I also wish you the best for 2015. May your health improve and may your dreams also be realized!