Asperger’s & The Neverwhere of Pop Culture


“I want to love, but it comes out wrong,
I want to live, but I don’t belong,
I close my eyes and I see
Blood and roses.” –The Smithereens

I’m sure that the Smithereens didn’t know this song would prove to be somewhat prophetic for people on the spectrum, especially those of us on the higher end of it, but here we are. On the way to a concert one night, we listened to the Best Buy guy’s Zune and this song popped up. I’d forgotten about it. These lyrics held a great deal of meaning for me in my late teens because they seem to epitomize my struggles in defining myself on this weird alien world where I landed. I’ve always struggled within the parameters of relationships with other people. This definition seems to constantly elude me. I think it feels that way because every relationship is different. Unfortuneately, no matter how many social stories I build into my life, the card for that situation never seems to repeat itself. About the only thing within relationships that seems to be a constant for me seems to be my inability to process it into any sort of closure that makes sense to me.
I often find myself at the end of relationships with my broken heart stomped into thousands of fractured pieces and no idea at all how we got there. Then I madly scramble trying to fix something that’s unrepairable because stupid me didn’t understand any of the signals that the other person was so kindly sending me.
I know that a little bit of me goes a long way. Hence, my feelings come across as too much for the other person to process. Relationships tend to be a little like obsessions for me. I tend to throw myself completely at them and all my energy goes into making that relationship. I also expect the other person to make that big leap of faith commitment and I’m always surprised that they don’t. I’m a little disappointed usually, too. I guess that the experience is a little akin to being stalked for the other person because it becomes all about them and being with them all of the time. It’s the same with new CD’s. I listen to the songs I like until I’ve worn them out or gotten tired of them, whichever comes first.
Of course, the overwhelming problem of being on the spectrum is that you feel as if everyone else in the entire universe gets it but you. Your words are never right, your face is never right, your clothes are never right….let’s just face it, nothing about us is ever right! We find ourselves as passive observers in a superhero world. When I was in high school, it just seemed so much like everyone else knew exactly what they were supposed to do, but I was this awful, painfully backward thing that didn’t get anything about it. By the time I realised that they didn’t get it any better than I did, my life had whizzed past in a blur and a path of relationship wreckage was stretching for miles behind me.
I have always struggled with the definitions within relationship outside of the giant glaringly obvious one of the relationship itself. Another song comes to mind: Sarah McLachlan’s “Forgiveness”. She sings “I’ve sheltered my heart in a place you can’t touch.” Sometimes, hell, who am I kidding? Most of the time we are cold and somewhat unaffectionate with other people. It’s very difficult to open your heart and your feelings to someone when your experience is that no one else has the same way of thinking as you do.
The Best Buy guy complains that I don’t trust him. That’s just not the case, though. I just don’t trust the same way that he does. I trust him to come home every day and to be next to me every night. Those are two really big picture things for me. So our interpretations of these definitions clash fairly often.
So in thinking through these lyrics I have finally understood how they shaped a small part of my identity as an alien invader on this strange litttle planet.
How, I came to realise that my feelings were strange little snippets of music locked inside beautiful lyrics and music to boot.
More than all of that, however, these particular lyrics remind me that we are all social beings by virtue of being human. My inability to do it well, does not hinder my need for it. I still need to have relationships with other people, I just seem to mess them up more often than other people do. I crave these relationships as well. I want to live like everyone else does and I want to do it with someone else. It just seems that I have to figure out how to make it work within the parameters of me. I want to love, but it can be overwhelming for the other person. It’s a quandary.
I’ve learned that I have to keep trying. I think in the end, that’s what counts. That you keep trying. It’s not easy roaming through the wilderness of getting along with other people. But you just have to keep trying. You may have to try 500 times with only one success. But isn’t that worth it? I think so.

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