Letting Go of Normal

The person I want to be is normal.

She moves gracefully.  She wears flattering clothes and her hair is in a pretty updo.  She can strike up a friendly conversation with someone she’s just met and become friends.  She knows what to do most situations and the words flow easily.  She walks into a room and people smile and move closer.  She is holding the hand of an elderly woman and giving her comfort.  She’s wearing a pretty dress and making her husband’s co-workers laugh.  She is laughing with her girlfriends and eating cheesecake and talking until 2 a.m.  She’s throwing a laid-back party in her backyard and everyone’s having a good time.   She’s in the mom circle and her kids get invited to all the birthday parties.

I am afraid to be alone with myself and my own awkwardness.  I go out and I see the coldness in people’s eyes, the puzzlement the on their faces; I see them move away and I hear them speak to me differently, and then I go home and I visualize myself being her.  I keep thinking that next time I will be.  It is a mirage in the desert I keep on chasing.   Sometimes it’s so close I think I can touch it.  But I never get there.

The mother of a special needs child once wrote about how she needed to let go of the child she had envisioned so that she could embrace the child she had.  I know that is what I need to say goodbye to that woman in my mind.  But I want to be her so badly that I can’t.

It is a bit like grief in a way.  I was in denial for a long time, angry for awhile.  Now I feel sadness as that person slips away.  Maybe someday, I don’t know when, I will let her go. 

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13 Responses to Letting Go of Normal

  1. This is so painful. I can relate. All I can say is that you are very inspiring and beautiful the way you are. I don’t know if that helps or not.

  2. autisticook says:

    I accidentally saw your first draft of this post because I got an email saying you’d published it. Ever since then, I’ve been hoping and waiting for it to get published again because it was just so incredibly powerful and moving. I can see why you’ve rewritten it, but your words haven’t lost their power.

    It’s so hard giving up on that dream. I’m trying out a new dream in my head, though. A dream where I am throwing a sensory-friendly party in the backyard, with sensory-friendly food and a safe space inside the house, where all the guests are happily and unselfconsciously awkward, flappy and bouncy, and nobody is forced to talk about things they’re not interested in or getting begged to stay just a little bit longer. That would be fun too, I think.

  3. Astrid says:

    I understand your point of view. I grieve the woman I could’ve been sometimes too. It is good to take your time to grieve. You need to eventually let go, but take your time.

  4. bjforshaw says:

    This was so poignant: I can totally understand where you are coming from. For a long time I used to wish I could fit in; to be like other people I saw around me to whom socializing came effortlessly. I didn’t like myself much and had acquired some self-destructive behaviors including self-harm. I kept asking myself, “Why can’t I do this? What is wrong with me?”.

    It’s only in the last few years since discovering I have Aspergers and coming to understand myself better that I have been able to accept my differences as natural rather than wrong, and not be ashamed or embarrassed of them. It has taken years and I’m not there yet, but I’m in a much better place than I used to be: I like the person I am today.

    I still feel the occasional wistful “I wish I could do X”, but it’s no longer a sense of despair. I hope in time you will be able to let go and accept the way you are.

  5. suburp says:

    i can relate to this too. i was a really social kid, but things that have happened in my life now make it difficult for me to connect with people as easily as others seem to do. seeing my son going through this because of his ASD from early childhood breaks my heart. we are also working on acceptance A LOT because you are even more socially awkward and sad when you try to become someone you are actually not. it’s a work in progress…

    • Aspermama says:

      It must be really hard to see your son struggle with the things you did. I’m afraid of seeing that with my own kids. It’s so true that we are much less awkward when we can be ourselves. I think it’s so important to surround yourself with people who are understanding and accepting and give you the space to be who you are.

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