Take a deep breath

I remember when I really learned how to handle my emotions. As in, the point when I was able to figure out how not to burst into tears over a stubbed toe. Before, I was prone to bursting into tears at these (relatively) small things.While I would burst into tears at minor injuries, I knew that I shouldn’t be upset. I knew it was a small injury and not a big thing. I knew that it would stop hurting soon. I just couldn’t stop myself from crumpling and crying. But then at some point, it just clicked. I was able to take a deep breath and walk it off. And after a few seconds, the stubbed toe or the skinned knee didn’t hurt any more and I was fine.

Part of the reason I remember this so well is because it definitely didn’t really develop until I was in college.

I still don’t really know why or how this change happened. I just know that all of a sudden, I was able to take that deep breath and pause for a second with a stubbed toe. And really, once you can do that, it makes it hurt so much less.

But before that, every time that someone told me to calm down, it didn’t work. When people told me to take a deep breath, to walk things off, it did not make any sense. I literally could not comprehend what people were saying or how it made any sense. I just didn’t have the tools in my brain to take a breath and make things stop hurting.

Some things just take time. Some things just happen late. Some things will probably never happen.

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Quiet times

I found a post I forgot to hit publish on in my drafts, and I’ve noticed how much my life changed in a little over a year and a half, as I’ve gotten more settled into life. 

For the first time ever, my husband is out of town and I am not. Admittedly, as we have been married less than 4 months, it isn’t that surprising that it is only the first time. There are only so many business trips that he has to take in a year. Eventually, though, one was going to happen and there was going to be a break in the pace.

The routines were just getting built and settled. I like living with my husband. There are the prompts to make meals and eats. I get genuinely excited every time I see him. I like our Sunday nights where we sit on the couch and watch the Simpsons and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I fall asleep much better with someone else in the bed and it’s safer to wake up in the middle of the night and not be alone. I like the patterns of our lives. And I don’t like changes. Also, recently I’ve been watching a lot of nuclear apocalyptic television, so I’m (hopefully irrationally) worried that there will be some big disaster and we will be separated by thousands of miles and never see each other again.

Still, after the first night, it’s a good break. I come home and don’t say any words at all except for songs. I can play music out loud as loud as I want without thinking about who else is there. There’s no sport. No sports! It’s a nice quiet break.

I love my husband but I love the space. In the quiet space of all alone, I can expand and relax and fill up all the space I need to. When other people are around, I can’t. But when I have the house alone, just me and my non-judgemental dog, I can expand and relax and scatter around the house.

When there are other people around, I can’t fill up all the space I need. There’s always space taken up by the other person. Always some part of me that needs to focus on what the other person is doing and how they are doing it and what and where they are. Always adding up the math in my head. Even with people I know extremely well and feel completely safe around, it can be tiring.

I never realize how much time and thoughts it takes until I have a quiet break and realize how much less tired I am. It’s a nice quiet break.

It’s not sustainable, of course. The dishes are unwashed and the dog got taken out at 1:20am and I am not entirely certain if I remember all the steps to go to bed. Managing life on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis is so much harder. I was barely making it through and I was exhausted every day living on my own. And I love spending time with my husband and getting to come home to him and waking up next to him and getting to see him more than once a week.

I would worry more about trying to make space to be alone, but it’s accounting season soon, and the taxes will schedule in those hours for me.

Now we have been married almost 2 years. Plenty more business trips in the middle (we are just coming back from 3 weeks of seeing each other for a cumulative 48 hours). The best part though is that after almost 2 years of living together, somehow some switch has happened where almost all of the time, I can completely relax with him in the room. We’ve settled into even nicer routines and my brain has managed to accept (most of the time) that a night sitting on the couch reading separately is no more tiring than a night sitting on the couch reading alone (except when I’m not home alone I will guaranteed eat actual food for dinner, which my body appreciates. There’s some other differences too, but maybe I’ll write about them later.

Faces and being important

 

“Obviously it’s not important to you, else you’d have remembered it”…Uh yeah that’s not how it works.

http://andreashettle.tumblr.com/post/157544256183/obviously-its-not-important-to-you-else-youd
And I had thoughts that were longer than my normal length tumblr posts, so I thought I’d return to bloggy-land. I like tumblr for obtaining content, but not as much for creating it.

 

So, in undergrad, we did this weeklong service trip. We got to go do some manual labor, clean up some houses, play in the mountains. It was a group of maybe 20 people. We met a couple times, several weeks apart. Before every meeting, I would study their faces on facebook to try and match them. I’m almost positive I spent more time trying to learn their faces than anyone else in the group. I’ve learned, generally, that most people don’t study faces. I also did give my general face disclaimer–bad with faces, I don’t recognize my boyfriend when he shaves, etc.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Like seriously, the mountains were beautiful. And there were lots of trains, so I was pretty happy. Since I’m a fan of trains.

At the end of the week, people went around and said best and worst things about the weekend. One of the girls said the worst thing was that I didn’t care enough about them to learn their names. Other people seconded that. I’m pretty sure I spent more time trying to learn names than anyone else on the trip. But my brain does not like to learn faces.

Sometimes I forget my mother’s face. Often I forget my husband’s face. I know this is a regular problem that I face.

My grad school friends don’t really mind. When I met them for the first time, I mentioned it. I started grad school with my brand new (secret) autism semi-diagnosis and general weird-brain-awareness (although I have always known that I can’t recognize faces) and I would mention when I met them that I was extremely bad at recognizing faces. My grad school friends–science nerds–after 4 years of knowing them I can’t begin to tell you how much of nerds they are–would just excitedly ask “oh is that the face recognizing thing?” and then talk excitedly about prosopognasia. One person even asked me if I had brain scans (and what they looked like). Because brains are cool and differences in them are useful (in learning how they work). I like scientists.

*Darn. I was hoping it would embed visually. But it doesn’t seem to be doing that.