, , , , , , ,

My life is characterized by a series of “tunnels” and “rabbit holes” of obsession. Each of these is a name for the obsessions that overtake me, as all extraneous distractions (which sadly includes my personal connections/relationships, responsibilities and even paid work) fall away.  Obsessive research results in physical manifestations of creative inspirations. Hyper-focus takes over.

The key component that differentiates a “rabbit hole” from a “tunnel” is the sudden and unexpected nature of a “rabbit hole”. I know in advance when a “tunnel” is coming up. It is clearly marked on my mental (and sometimes date) calendar. Going into the “tunnel” helps to prepare me mentally, physically, energetically, emotionally for an upcoming event, performance, or art show.

A “rabbit hole” sneaks up on me in the form of a sudden realization or sudden inspiration and then WOOPS, I’m down the rabbit hole. It can take weeks for me to reappear from either.

I’ve spent the past 2 months “down the rabbit hole” of Asperger’s. I have spent many, many, many late nights (more accurately very early [and some not so early] mornings) researching, researching, researching. I am a puzzle solver. I love to get my teeth into a good puzzle. Give me a hopeless knot and I’ll pick at it, pick at it, pick at it, till all the threads loosen and the order begins to emerge from the chaos. Transforming chaos into order is my creative process through which I drink the nectar of life. And, what juicy nectar it is!

My research into Asperger’s has been extensive, broad and very, very interesting. My research has presented me with a whole new set of lenses with which to view the knot of my life. I feel like my life has gone from an impressionist’s painting to the sharp focus of a photograph. While one is not more beautiful than the other, the photograph provides a lot of new detail for me to see, process and integrate into my psyche.

Paradox – A seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.

I have been thinking about paradox recently. After 44 trips around the sun I have come to a comfort within myself, even as I continue to be very uncomfortable in my relationships with others. After all these years, I have become comfortable with the discomfort!

As an artist I know how important discomfort is. It is through discomfort that we humans challenge our own perceptions and begin to see things in a new light. It is the tension in the dance that holds the power, and the paradox of finding the grace with/in that tension. A good writer challenges us to cast off our preconceptions, rethink our own truths, entertain new notions, and perhaps even to embrace paradox.

Truthfully, human existence is rife with paradox. The bliss of Love and the pain of relationship; the connection between the sensual pleasure of eating and the social taboo (and even sometimes sensual experience) of pooping; there really is no end to the paradox that exists in our everyday life.

Artists exist and thrive in the realm of paradox. Perhaps, so too do those with Asperger’s?

We Aspies are human, yet the manners in which humans traditionally connect are not easy for Aspies to access, navigate or sustain. Yet, Aspies still need that connection, if we are to maintain our humanity. Paradox, non?

Irony – incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result; an event or result marked by such incongruity.

My life journey has taught me to deeply and strongly believe in the uniqueness of every individual. And tied to that uniqueness is an imperative to value each of our individual contributions, including the unique flavour with which they are presented.

Fact is, each and every one of us is unique; even identical twins (despite their common dna) are unique. Aspies are very, very unique and not cut from the same cloth. So why then do I still hold a desire to get an official to tell me I have Asperger’s?

I can see the irony, paradox, and potential folly of this desire.

My research has taught me that even if I could get the referral, even if I could find someone who deals with Asperger’s in adults, that I likely still wouldn’t be diagnosed, since women are missed due to our habit of displaying our AS differently than men. Yet, I still haven’t completely let go of the desire for that validation from someone who is (supposed to be) an expert.

If I do get the diagnosis I seek, what then? I’m certainly not going to submit myself to medication. There is little other assistance that can be offered me by the professionals. What is the point in seeking/getting a diagnosis? How is this going to make my life any easier?

It’s not. In fact, paradoxically/ironically the obsessive research I have been doing has made my life more difficult – as I have been surfing on a sleep deficit for 2 months, my financial state has suffered, and my family members are feeling somewhat neglected by me. All I have to show for this latest rabbit hole is a “new set of glasses”. (I‘m not convinced that my partner will value these glasses as much as I.)

Yet, that new set of glasses may prove yet to be a wonderful gift to me as an artist. Time will tell on that one.

I have only just popped my head up from the rabbit hole. I am feeling a bit raw, quite disoriented, and still a bit confused. What does it all mean? What does it mean to be an AsperGal? Nothing has objectively changed in my life (well, except for my bank account…Yikes!) but EVERYTHING has changed subjectively.

Which brings me to:

Balance – an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.

When I got new progressive lenses a few years back, for my middle aged eyes, it took me a while to figure out how to now walk or climb steps. Everything was a bit wonky and there was a definite transition period as I learned how to navigate in these new lenses. (Most people who have reached/passed middle age and the accompanying progressives will know of what I speak). My balance was affected then, as it is now, by new lenses.

Popping my head up from the rabbit hole, for the first time in 8 weeks, I feel like my pupils are dilated. I look around at all this (harsh?) detail in a new light. In my raw and vulnerable state, observing now through these brand new glasses, I see and feel the deep soul need for balance.

I need to rest.

I need time, space and energy to integrate.

I need to spend time being present with those I love.
I need to make some money.
I need to go to my studio and make art.