"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Saturday, March 31, 2012

the unbearable loneliness of being.

When you have Asperger's Syndrome, you become a bit of a sadist.

It is quite frightening to have such unconscious and uncontrollable desires to hurt people. I can control it, but only to a certain extent - which is why I am quite harsh at times; sardonic, sarcastic, indifferent. I cannot look some people in the eye without wishing them ill. For others, there are no words to say; I cannot relate to them, I have no empathy with the bold and the beautiful. It is easier amongst friends, because lack of empathy is not lack of affection, but now they are fewer and fewer and there are more and more people towards whom I can feel nothing but resentment. It is harder amongst people I love, hate, people who have cut deep and who I have pretended to forgive and forget. To forgive implies empathy, and to forget implies sympathy; sometimes I have neither. Empathy is not an instinct for me; it is something that I have learned, carefully forged to mimic others. I can turn it off at will; sometimes it just stays off for as long as I like, with frightening results.

Did you know that lack of empathy can cause you to overthink things?

Take a chocolate, for example. My English teacher gives out chocolates as 'brain food', and I happen to get quite a few. And the first thought in my head? Mine. That is mine, it is mine, give it to me. It's all me me me. It takes me a little while to stop, think, realize that I don't like chocolate, and to think of who to give it to, then I dwell endlessly on who to give it to. So many people ask me for it, and sometimes I flick it over casually - it's just a chocolate, after all. But sometimes, I say no no no. For the first few people, it's because it is mine. For the rest, it's because my mind works overtime to think of who to give it to, who best deserves it. But that calculation comes after my initial reaction of greed, of possession. For anyone else who is given a chocolate who doesn't like chocolate, choosing who should be given the chocolate is the instinctual thought. Not for me, though. I can only empathise with myself out of instinct. Empathy for others is...harder.

Sometimes my lack of empathy goes out of control. At the moment there is someone I just want to box around the ears for causing me so much humiliation. It is really only decorum that is stopping me, because I haven't a shred of sympathy left.

And then there is another...another person who has half of my heart. I have spent more than three years flirting, falling in love, being dumped, rejected, by other people. But that was only half...my thoughts have always come back to the same person, no matter how many people I love or hate. Anyone with half a brain can see traces of it here, snaking around the ups and downs of my life. It's not entirely rational or reasonable, more a coincidence than a compliment - I suppose that I must be thankful that you are who you are, and I haven't fallen in love with Jack the Ripper because, knowing me, that would be something I would do.

Love is a vulnerability I do not particularly like. It forces me to think for once in my selfish life, of other people, but it also exposes me to more deliberate selfishness. High school is simply a mass congregation of the most selfish people on earth, and our high school is a mass congregation of the smartest of the selfish. The kinds of love that I have had for people, the kind of relationships I have with some people...quite frankly, they're not healthy. They're possessive, aggressive, addictive and, when all things come to nothing, a waste of time and energy. But the best part of love, for me, for now, is that it lets me be empathatic in ways that I am otherwise incapable of. You call it kindness.

 Lack of empathy sometimes is truly horrible. For a long time - perhaps I just never thought about it properly - I thought that, if I loved someone and they didn't love me back, they were truly just trying to hurt me, and my anger would match my disappointment. It is why it was the hardest thing for me to get over K and all the other boys, because it was much more than loss or humiliation, it was a personal grudge. I could not help but feel that they had wronged me, because I was too selfish to understand that you cannot help who you do and do not love. 

I must admit I was angry when you dredged up what I had almost lost. I had become largely indifferent to you, honestly, but now I am glad that we are friends. I was much angrier with you before just recently, when something humbled me, made me realize that love is a curse but nobody is at fault. I will never again be ashamed or guilty for loving, you or anyone, I will never again think myself unworthy. But I have learned not to expect anything from love but disappointment.

Would you believe me if I said that, now, I am honestly content with being your friend, and that my grievances with you now are purely our failings as friends? Of course you would not, but it's true. If anybody in the world wanted me, at least for now, I would say no. This is the loneliest time of my life and I cannot share this unbearable loneliness with anyone, not you or Cristy or anyone else because I would not wish solitude on anyone, least of all the people I love. Which is why I do not mind that we are only friends in a strange, metaphysical sense of the word. I have reached the point when I can get on with my life, focus on more important things; I'm not fighting back tears anymore, but every day reminds me of what I used to have and what I have lost. I do not think for a second that your friends would be sympathetic to a more public friendship between you and I. I am always happy to be there for you, but I am happier still that you have what I do not, and that is a kind of love. I am glad that you will never be as unhappy as I am now, and it would break my heart if you were. Of course, this kind of empathy is borne out of something more than just friendship - especially for me -  but that's kind of gone now. A few months ago I had it all and I was prepared to stretch out and snatch something else, but not now. Not now. But, your friendship is a great comfort to me, and it is nice to know that despite the unbearable loneliness of being there are still a few people willing to check that I am okay. I love your jokes, your conversation, even your endless screwups and your endless apologies, and although I am cynical and sardonic and mocking to you in real life, you are helping me more than you know, and I will always help you despite everything.

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