The following is very dark, not fun except for a little detour to the Ritz, a club no longer in New York. Debating closing comments since I’m just in writing mode, not commenting until next week. Stay with me a bit longer; promise I will be fun again.
First today is the 38th anniversary of the day Ron Kovic lost his limbs in Viet Nam. The Bastard posted a wonderful article by Kovic’s in BIO Please read it; it might help save somebody you love.
When I read something like Kovic’s essay I feel so awed and that I have no right to complain about anything.
My only war has been with myself; with the people who couldn’t accept me the way I was; with the people who could accept me the way I was.
That is the saddest part because so many people embraced me, and offered me friendship, love, jobs, almost everything. When somebody would say:
“Really would love to work with you. Call me.”
I would think about the tone of his voice. He was joking wasn’t he?
People have always called me overly analytical. No, damn it, I wasn’t. I know now that I couldn’t catch all the nuances. But I didn’t know that then.
I compensated; I learned how to look at people when they spoke and how to deduce what they were saying. Actually I have always been observant; always have been good at reading people. Was I born instinctive? Or did I learn to be early in life? I don’t know.
I could always tell when people were teasing other people; but when they teased me I thought that they meant it..
When I lived with Zachary and the man who came after; I would dream about killing plants and killing pets. That signal I never missed; it told me that I wasn’t good enough to have a baby or to raise one.
Of course men had to almost literally hit me over the head to get my attention. In that area I was the queen of mixed, missed signals.
I would be either totally unaware, or too aware and way too clingy. Usually I would just walk away; it was easier.
Some of the people closest to me do read my blog; some have no time too. They are the ones who don’t have the time when I want to explain this.
It hurts because they have known me for a lifetime, and can’t understand why I haven’t written a best seller, yet. They don’t think that I really put the time in; and I don’t know how to explain how I have written enough for two lifetimes but can’t quite organize everything, or put other stupid obstacles in my way because I do know what it feels like to be rejected. Yet I never mind being rejected for my work as that is reality based rejection–a phrase I just made up, I think. The other kind of rejection is rejection based on perception
I know what it feels like to be considered very talented. Yet another person is easier to work with, so that person gets the help and the glory.
I know what it feels like to have people talk about my past glories. My fifteen minutes and I was asleep somewhere in never never land. What glories?
I know what it feels like to examine my life in microscopic depth; become one with my dark side and still not feel a catharsis.
Don’t even know why I’m writing this. Will it help me? Probably not; don’t have a great track record. Will it turn people away? Who wants to her the whining rants of a self centered liberal?
When I began Courting there were many comments in that vein. But time has changed that, and I have a security net in the people who do read not to judge. But jeez, how can I ask you to continue reading this?
It’s lightness we are attracted to, and answers, not sadness mixed with some despair. I never meant to take you so far into my darkness. For the truth is there has been much light; much joy and happiness.
Though the comment I got several months ago that said my life lacked purpose etc etc, or how wrong that person was. It did hit me exceptionally hard as I had just came home from still another oral surgery, and wanted to lash at this person who dared judge me harshly based on one story.
I think my writing is expressive; I think I know how to place nuances and more vivid expressions. But many people can’t. And as Lucia always says:
“Email knows no nuances.”
I am far from a literalist. Yet in this strange new world of communicating through email rather than face to face or by phone, I’m sometimes at a loss, and am learning to reframe my thinking once again.
Now when people call me I become annoyed at times. Send me an email, I think as I speak on the phone listening to my normally expressive voice have a flat effect. Not from depression or anything normal, but annoyance at being taken away from my work; at being asked questions that I don’t want to answer at that particular moment.
Yet I always feel obligated to answer. I feel obligated to people please yet I pull away too quickly for most people.
“Too independent. She was born independent.”
It’s an easy answer for my family to live with. My parents would have jumped at this diagnosis of Aspergers. Before I saw the testing psychologist in 1986 or 1987, my psychiatrist, a psychoanalyst who I was in “partial” analysis with, two days a week instead of five, sent me to an even more famed psychiatrist known far and wide for his ability to spot problems and to prescribe medications.
I was given instructions before the first visit. It said how long the visit would last blah blah blah. It also said to bring a person who knows you well. Couldn’t decide between friends, or the guy I was seeing who didn’t know me that well. I did what any normal adult what do; I brought both my parents as I didn’t want to play favorites.
It was interesting to hear my father’s assessment of me: I was the most beautiful brilliant wonderful daughter in the history of children with one caveat; I was shy.
My mom just looked at me and smiled as she knew that I’m not shy. It was something else that caused me to seem shy to some people. She agreed with the rest of his assessment though both my parents would want it known that all the good attributes also belong to my sister.
When I saw the psychiatrist alone, he asked why I brought my parents:
“Because the instructions said so?”
“Oh that’s just for psychotic patients; you’re so far from psychotic….”
How was I supposed to know that was just for psychotic patients? It didn’t say so on the instruction sheet. Apparently my analyst was supposed to have told me. But therapists had a way of getting far from subject when around me. It was as if I led them; and f–k it, I didn’t want to.
It was and it wasn’t reassuring to hear that I was as far from psychotic as could be. No, I was grounded in reality; too grounded. But isn’t misinterpreting signals a form of borderline behavior? Or wasn’t borderline a diagnosis then? Still wouldn’t work; I don’t fit the criteria.
This is where I’m supposed to say that the tests I went for helped me; no, they didn’t. They made it worse for now I knew I was officially disorganized, couldn’t spell, couldn’t do math and all the rest.
There was talk about how I couldn’t sound out words properly; there was more talk that should have lead to a Central Audio Processing Disorder diagnosis. That might have been a beginning.
But the testing psychologist really did make it seem like I shouldn’t have been able to live on my own, and only his help….Would you stick around to hear the rest? He made it seem as if my accomplishments had been a sham; a shell game that I had been playing with the world.
Oh how damaged I was, and vulnerable. I was young and looked as though I had won the war; I was even officially underweight, and I wore the mantel of my bones as if I really had won a prize.
Because I hadn’t felt crazy until I began this quest to understand exactly what my problems were. Now I felt as though I was in a labyrinth, a maze that I couldn’t work my way out of.
Couldn’t he have couched anything in positive terms? Because this psychologist, a man so insignificant, I don’t remember his name, though do remember how all the furniture in his office was child sized, couldn’t find one good thing to say about me. Not one thing.
The psychiatrist that my analyst had sent me to was embarrassed. When he read the results he could see how no person with a bit of self esteem and too much pride or maybe not enough, would want to hear them.
I was searching for truth, for answers, not mind castration. I was eager to understand and to change what I could change. I would have met the testing psychologist nine tenths of the way, had he not walked into a room I was taking a test in and said each time:
“Wow, you really can’t do this can you?”
“I just began. Can’t you give me five minutes before you say that?”
When he gave me the results I realized that I should have walked out the first time I took a test and he said something like that. Now that I understand the basics of testing psychology; of social science research, I realize that I would have been right to. Not just right, but walking out would have been the proper thing to do because he biased each result. They would have been bad enough, had he not said that each time.
Did he expect me to begin to cry and tell him that only he could help me? Please let me be your first patient over the age of thirteen. I just love being a guinea pig. When he gave me the results he actually said that only he could help me as he had overcome learning disabilities, and nobody else was equipped to help me. He answered honestly when I asked how many adults he had helped. Zilch so far.
That was the day my life ended as I had known it. That was the day I lost faith in myself. I knew it but refused to give into it. My psychiatrist and and analyst both agreed that it was better if I didn’t take lessons with that psychologist. But they didn’t know who could help me.
So I went on; I continued to date the character actor I had met at an after concert thing for Iggy Pop at the Ritz. There was a mosh thing at the concert and I somehow ended up being carried over peoples arms. It was exhilarating in a way. Never met Iggy Pop before or since but I was friendly with the doormen and security people. Somehow ended up getting one of the girls I had come with a job for him. Don’t ask how. I have always been good at getting other people things.
The food was somehow better than food I had tasted at after concert things for bigger stars; or maybe I was still enthralled by the mosh. Remember looking at Tony the actor and thinking how cute he was. Neither of us had a pen; but he’s an actor and really can remember lines and numbers.
Later that year I was to fail a lie detector test three weeks before they became illegal in New York for pre-employment hiring. But people were impressed with my failing the test.
The president of the company that had sent me on the interviews and was to hire me thought that any rational person who had lived somewhat would fail a lie detector test set up the way it had been. I believe that I was the third candidate they had sent for that position, and the only one to pass the drug test. Maybe that’s what they were really impressed with.
I don’t know; I knew nothing anymore. Oh I looked and acted as if I knew everything. “The movie star,” my boss would call me, “here’s the movie star in the Fuschia mini suit.”
Everything ran together. I almost forgot about the test though I saw both my analyst and the psychiatrist regularly. Such a pleasure to talk to; I was just so darn rational.
You know something? I wish that I had let myself be weak; let myself break down; let myself not be rational. I wish that I had been hysterical; wish that I had shouted from the roofs “somethings not right; something about me is very wrong.”
Because soon I was to meet the person I had disappointed the most in the world. My birth mother.
if you’re still with me after all this, take two aspirin…no, you do deserve a medal of some kind