Saturday, 6 October 2012

Defining me

On my other, Danish-language, blog I have TWO pages describing who I am. One is a short description of my family mostly, the other contains not less than 100 facts about me.

Writing them was a true challenge, because I always had extreme difficulties seeing myself from outside. When people told me how they percieved me, I was always very surprised. I couldn't define me.

Many years ago I befriended a South African woman whose native language wasn't English either. She spent a lot of time in conversations defining herself. I think what she said was not entirely correct linguistically but I prefer her phrase: 'I am a person, that is stubborn', 'I am a person that doesn't like sugar in my tea', 'I am a person...'. And for years I did the same (inside my head or when talking to myself): 'I am a person...', giving myself an identity through my taste or preferences.

But a lot of it was something I made up. I still couldn't define myself. When I did the 100 facts thing, I focused mostly on preferences: Food, clothing, culture. And I made one entry one day, and described the opposite preference the next. I couldn't even define myself through my favourite candy, my style in clothing, my taste in movies.

Now, when I read blog entries from others describing the Asperger traits, e.g. this one, I feel recognised and understood. I am like that - or like most of that. An example: I try and avoid conflict, I get nervous and want to escape when someone is criticising me. I duck when others are angry. But at other times I am the one that is angry, and others are scared of me.

When I was about to finish high school, our class should agree on a performance at some matriculation function. Nobody had the time to write the song, and eventually my friend and I volunteered. We weren't very good at it and it took forever, but we did write a song. When we presented it in class, one boy said: That song can't be sung! And he made a whole scene about it. Or maybe I made the scene. At least thats how people remember me: I was nice but I could really be mad at times. In retrospect I think I had a temper tantrum, someting that happens once in a while. And other people get scared. At other times I was the one being scared about much lesser things. I wish I could just be a little bit more on the middle of the road. I wish I could assert myself without scaring others.

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