I’m Not Normal – That’s Okay

My brain and body work differently than most people. That’s not really a problem until someone expects me to do things “their way”.

I do things differently and typically have to teach myself most things unless I have an AMAZING teacher.

This was a problem for me in school, because my teachers couldn’t understand “my way” any more than I understood the way they did things.

I see things differently in my mind than other people. First I think visually but I also have a way to access complex language when typing. I can think of words but I don’t think in words. The words are accessible but primarily my head is full of snapshots and videos. All my memories are videos but most of them have no sound.

I have sound memories too, but they are separate from the words and videos unless the sounds come from music. Music is an amazing world for me – I feel it so deeply in every inch of my body and brain.

I don’t remember words. They don’t stick – unless they are sung or repeated over and over and over again rhythmically. Sometimes I do this in my head if I have to remember something but if you ask me to repeat back to you something you just said to me – you are out of luck.

I don’t speak the way I type. I often spend a lot of time observing in the background.

When I do speak up, I keep things short, unless I am in a chatty mood or on a topic I love. Than I can ramble mindlessly forever and nobody can get a word in. (I try NOT to do this because I realize that it’s rude – another reason I stay away from alcohol.)

Humor makes life easier and being able to laugh at myself whenever I have a social mistake (because they happen EVERY time I am around my coworkers) has saved my life.

Before I would let the anxiety of trying to be “work appropriate” get to me. I did not trust myself. Now that I laugh things off – and in my head I say “Asperger’s” as cartoon caricature of me is rolling her eyes at me in my head.

I smile back.

I don’t blame myself for these mistakes but I try to learn something from every single one of them. Hopefully I will remember next time (or the time after that) not to make the same mistake. I remind myself that I am doing the best I can and move forward.

Self compassion.

I’m not normal but as long as I am doing my best – that’s okay.

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48 thoughts on “I’m Not Normal – That’s Okay”

  1. As I always say, what is “normal”?! I think that the world is a much more interesting place when we see everyone as an individual and embrace uniqueness.

    I so enjoyed this piece and the way you explained how your brain works. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. You seem to have a fantastic grasp on your condition, and from living with my husband who has Aspergers what you describe is normal for anyone with Aspergers, embrace it and keep loving yourself and be happy you’re not like others it pretty bland:/, you’re doing really well. 🙂 NT’s just don’t understand and will try and empathise but they don’t have a clue how you feel or perceive things, they can’t understand how hard even typing this out has been for you. Keep it up and thank you for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Oh yes me too just the same! Do you have difficulty understanding the written word? I have to turn all the words into visuals before they can have meaning. I can listen and understand quicker but to use my optical cortex (or some part of the visual path) for both reading and visualizing seems to slow things down considerably! And then the frustration of being able to see what I want to say in my mind but not find any words to generate matching sounds!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. “Strumming my life with her words.”
    That’s more than half of what you wrote.
    I use to laugh at my social mistakes. I stopped as I realized how much the people around me, disrespected me, only found me ok enough, if I disrespected myself. I learned to stay away from people. You’re strong. What I have seen: normal is complacency; weakness. To have anything that parts you from the rest of the self-proclaimed civilized world, and yet, strive like you do, is nothing short of amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What is normal, anyway? It seems we spend our lives chasing after the subjective. I say be your own normal. You do you and if anyone tells you different, I’d suggest that they be removed from your life. 🙂

    You were made unique and beautiful in the eyes of God. That gives you value beyond any human word.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Man tell monkey that long ago when he teach maths & english he always enjoy 2 kind of student most. # 1 = student who work hard to best of natural ability & talent. # 2 = student who have interesting notnormalness. Man think he most probably would have enjoyed you as student.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. As long as it’s not important that they understand. I’ve exhausted myself trying (a.) to understand why I’m different from other people and (b.) trying to explain myself to other people. I only found out about Asperger’s and ASD maybe 15 years ago and I’m always looking for more information, especially from women.

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Thank you so much. I’ve realized that even my best friend, who has an Autistic brother (more affected than I am), does not believe I’m Autistic. She pretends to believe but her doubts are obvious. It hurts when the people closest to you don’t believe you.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Yeah, especially when friends and family don’t get it or they minimize your experiences or blame you for things you can’t help.

            Your friend knows what her brother’s like so maybe she expects all autism symptons to share some things in common. For me, it’s frustrating with my family, because they all share a little bit of the traits I struggle with, yet they rarely acknowledge the elephant in the room, so it’s pretty focused on me being the source of all difficulties. If that makes sense…. It’s hard to communicate with people when we all have communication difficulties. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          3. I read at Autism Speaks (I know there’s a lot of animosity toward them) but they published some research suggesting women who display AS characteristics probably got a ‘double dose’, so to speak, of autistic traits. I kind of thought that long before I’d ever heard of Asperger’s syndrome. One thing about your blog is you seem to have such a positive outlook and what I get from that is how much simple acceptance and tolerance of differences can make for people. That’s true for a lot of things, but it’s certainly true for people who are stuck being basically square pegs for life by virtue of just seeing and feeling things differently because we process things differently.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. I wish I could hide it, but people always pick up on something being a bit off eventually. For short periods sometimes I can even seem quite good at socializing, but then I have a moment of panic. Some folks are more forgiving or patient than others, but I never know how things will go, so it adds to the stress. Anyway, thanks for the chat. I know I got off the topic of your post a bit. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  7. I was fascinated by your description of your process. I, too, have become an excellent self-observer in my eagerness to figure out how to drive my own brain – and to uncover the workings of “all kinds of minds” to be able to help others drive theirs.

    My worst memories of school were those where a teacher insisted I do something a certain way. If teacher training included the latest in neuroscience as much as the oldest in psychology it would elevate education considerably.

    Thanks for sharing.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 2 people

  8. It is wonderful to have much of my own experience of thinking and relating in front of me … your words mirror many aspects of my life. Will take note of the importance of humour… recently i seem to have misplaced that part of me.
    Thanks Anna.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I have worked in health care for 20 years and in that time have crossed the lives of more people than I can possibly count. I have never met someone who is normal. Nor have I met someone who never made social mistakes. All of us struggle to figure this crap out, so be kind to your self. It’s part of being human. The jerks out there are those ho expect others to do things their way. Each of us have needs and preferences. There are so many GOOD ways of doing things. It is rigid thinking that traps us. There is no normal. Don’t believe in the myth!

    Like

  10. When I do speak up, I keep things short, unless I am in a chatty mood or on a topic I love. Than I can ramble mindlessly forever and nobody can get a word in.

    I know how this goes. There are times when I can’t bring myself to speak, even though I really want to, but the moment a subject comes up that I know anything about or I’m really interested in, I feel like the words come bubbling out and I can’t stop them.
    When that happens I feel like I’m boring everyone and being incredibly rude.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My memories have no sound but each come with an aroma,a scent that wakens the snapshot in my head.If there isn’t a aroma I know it’s not my memory.It is something someone told me or I read in a book I watched on the TV.Traumatic memories have no smell and do not move.Its like a photo album full of pictures. I can get lost in a thought.Sometimes when the aroma hits me it is overwhelming.I feel like my whole life is a movie because that’s how my brain stores information. isn’t this true for everybody?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like your have visual memory – me too! Yes how your brain stores information. ❤ The picture and video memory is the only part I have any control over. Not everybody has pictures and videos in their heads but I love mine (although they can be VERY distracting). Something will spark a memory and it will start playing automatically in my brain. I have gotten to where I can stop memories from playing and avoid things that trigger them while driving – I’ve had a few close calls. 😮

      Like

  12. Hi new to seeing this blog and I love it! Everyone is different teachers jobs if they’re goodis to find out how a person learns best. I’m sorry this didn’t happen and you had to teach yourself. It’s interesting to hear about how music connects your visual and sound memories music is so powerful. Have you ever gotten the chance to do some music therapy? You might like it. Anyway look forward to reading more can so relate about the rambling thing!

    Liked by 1 person

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