Once in Junior High I was supposed to give a speech. No words came out. I spent the rest of Junior High and all of High School waiting to lose my voice again. Never happened in the literal sense. But few if any people in Jericho outside of my family really knew me until Senior Year when the class intellectual/hippie girl and I began hanging out basically because we were the only girls we knew who liked to go into the city and be part of the counter-culture.
My fears, a silent anxiety that kept me sullen-faced and too scared to reach out kept me from knowing people who turned out to be very nice, friendly, and some actually wanted to know me. My aloofness added to the appeal. Trust me on that one–but it only works when you’re very young. And like the New York street face you’re supposed to develop and I did, shouldn’t be encouraged. It stays. Long after the beauty wears down. But my parents couldn’t say anything. I wouldn’t listen.
I feel the fears again. No longer free floating anxiety, they’re real fears about an uncertain present and future. I found out what was wrong–non verbal learning disorder (NLD)–too late. Who would want to coach a 60 year old who perhaps foolishly perhaps not moved from New York to South Carolina? Or probably it’s not too late. I have always been good at teaching myself. And I have stamina, staying power and persistence. Yes I do
I knew that I wanted to write a memoir years ago because I have had a life people find interesting. I never knew if it were more or less interesting because of the problems I had that didn’t have a name. I knew it might have been less interesting had I allowed LOVE a more permanent part in it, but certainly would have been more satisfying because I probably would have allowed kids in it. And I adore children. I’m good with them.
I feared neglecting or inadvertently abusing kids because I was so disorganized. Yet over the years I taught myself organization. I basically had to teach myself everything. This is a clinical discussion of NLD that “sees” it similarly to the way I do. It’s not patronizing nor does the author believe that everybody with NLD suffers from way impaired executive functioning (a term that didn’t exist when I was in grad school just fifteen years ago.Do you have any idea when people who thought you were smarter than they where, three and a half years ago, now break down everything into its simplest components when you’ve never exactly been good with simplicity? It’s demeaning.
Of course I have many or most of the problems associated with NLD. I’m totally spatially retarded. Yet I can see if something that was hung is a quarter of an inch crooked. Not a gift but a curse when you can’t fix it yourself if it requires anything more than straightening.
When I found out about NLD I had to write about it in order to process the information and I knew that I had to include it in the memoir. I wasn’t sure how to write it. NLD was so new to me. I went through an intense period of self doubt which coincided or not with the worst parts of the recession. As an adult my social problems manifested themselves very differently than the way people with NLD are supposed to. They’re kind of funny and very much for the book.
I knew that my memoir shouldn’t focus on NLD but should let it in the door. It’s never been front and center in my life but has always been there and probably shaped it. If you don’t know about something it can shape your life, obviously plays a part but you have no idea what’s happening.
That causes great mood swings. As long as I understand that I can control the mood swings.
I have been writing everything down in no particular order, and once a week or so putting an excerpt in Courting, if it reads at all like a story. I think I have actually begun to formulate an outline. For the first time I know that I can do it. I committed to do 750 words every day for the month of January. The 750 words don’t count really as they’re “morning pages,” but somehow they help the writing even if I somehow think 750 words is a speed contest and do mine in half the time than most people take. My brain has always worked faster than most peoples–not better, just faster, and somehow doing this exercise gives my thinking an easier to understand shape.
No going to New York. No using any of many “free miles.” No doing anything really but exercising and writing.
I don’t know who reads my blog except the few commenters and people who email or message that they do. Two and a half years my site meter exploded and I decided that it wasn’t worth putting back in. I took it as sort of symbol. I was big on symbols that year. I was selling my apartment and leaving everything that was familiar and loved.
I can breath here. I do mean breath in every sense. Yet I find myself working hard to stimulate my brain. Maybe I should have been in NY but was so over-stimulated by audio and sensory stimulants I shortchanged the intellectual stimulation that no job but pure writing ones provided. All had too many admin responsibilities –even, especially when I was a manager or a social worker.
The first three years of my blog, I pretty much free-associated my way through stories. This provided me with a much needed release. If only I had made good categories and stuck to them That, the over-stimulation, hatred of admin, inability to organize–NLD, my friends. And I was so happy to find out about NLD until I read the lack of executive functioning parts. Had I really been a failure? Was my life a success only in my addled imagination?
I basically went through the motions of blogging but let my blog die. It felt so unimportant when I had a mind to reconquer.
I realize how dramatic the above sounds but when you read about NLD and know it’s the only disorder that fits your life, your brain, you, you begin to wonder. And wonder. And regress before you go forward. Which I hope to do in leaps and bounds.
I’m done wondering. I’m me. The same person I always was but better. I hope that people want to read my memoir; they find it enjoyable and maybe learn just a bit at the same time. Oh do I hope.