Another page in my diary

This year I bought a paper diary for the first time in ages. There’s something special about a clean crisp new diary for next year, like the as yet unwritten year about to start. I love New Year. I love the fact that the each year is a blank page that has yet to be written. And this year, I want to write a diary again. Continue reading

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Bad words

I’ve written a blog before but took it down. So here I am starting again with it.

I want to write, I’ve got plenty of ideas for things I could write about. I think I could write about these things really well. But when I try to write. I can’t. It goes something like this.

I have a good idea. Something I’m really interested in. Probably something to do with autism as that’s what I’m interested in at the moment. Think about it a lot. Think about it while I’m at work, think about it while I’m at home. Mull it over, think about writing about it. Do other things, do nothing. Think about what a good article it will be when I write it. Don’t actually write it.

Eventually sit down to write.

Start writing. That’s rubbish. Delete.

Write something else. No, not good enough and what is going with my punctuation.

Delete.

Write.

Crap.

Maybe if I put that sentence first it would be better.

Cut, Paste.

No doesn’t flow there.

Undo.

No still don’t like it.

Delete.

Frustrated because the ideas in my head haven’t flowed smoothly on to the page, my writing is stilted and bland whereas my brain is full of colour and pictures and ideas and cogent arguments.

Convince myself I will never be able to write

Give up,

Today I’m not going to give up. I’ll write this instead.

I’m screaming with frustration at not being able to write. I’ve written the word “frustration” so many times (and mostly deleted it) that the predictive text in LibreOffice knows what I’m going to say. In fact I think LibreOffice is getting frustrated with me.

Frustration – it’s a funny word. I’ve got that feeling when you see a word so many times, it falls apart and loses any meaning.

Fru-strat-ion.

To me words are good, bad or indifferent. ‘Frustration is a kind of middle-of-the-road word. Parts of the combination of letters are good, parts are not so good. It’s not a bad word, a forbidden word. There are words I dislike so much that I can’t include them in anything I write. They give me a funny taste in my mouth like ashes and I see the colour grey. You’ll never know what they are because a) to tell you would mean uttering or writing the word b) If I did tell you, you’d then associate the word with me.

I’m weird in case you hadn’t yet realised

Ever since I was really small there have been these bad words that I’ve had to avoid. They are ordinary every day words. Words you may see written or hear spoken every day of the week. On a good day I could maybe use them. On a bad day I can’t . I won’t say anything or I’ll talk around them. I remember once I used a bad word in a conversation with a senior person at work, and was convinced that the person I was speaking to thought I was disgusting. It wasn’t a sexual word, just a ordinary word. It’s just certain combination of letters and in some cases the association with a particular thing makes me feel queasy and I still remember that conversation even though it was over ten years ago.

Yes weird.

I am autistic and I find it hard to understand that other people see things differently to me. It’s only recently that I’ve realised that for other people my Bad words mean no more than other ordinary words do to me like “tea” or “horse” or “chair”. That blows my mind – that other people hear those words and don’t get the taste of ashes in their mouth.

Although I’ve never come across anyone else with bad words like this, maybe it’s just a quirk that’s peculiar to me.

I wanted to let the weird out gradually on this blog. You know draw you in, maybe even get you to like me and then gradually let out a bit of the strange. So you thought I was charming and quirky, not just weird. A socially acceptable version of autism.

And then I went and blurted the stuff about the words out. Something that, in all the times I’ve been to see psychiatrists and counsellors and therapists, I have never told any of them.

And I realised in doing that, that maybe the cause of my writer’s block is not that I can’t write, not that I am stuck but because I am still trying to be a neurotypical. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s two years ago at the age of 44 and I’ve spent my whole life trying and failing to be neurotypical and denying and hiding my autism. Although I’ve pretty much accepted I’m autistic, I STILL put a neurotypical face on most of the time. This is partially for survival, I’ve got to pay the bills and to do that I need to be neurotypical enough to hold down a job and partially because I don’t know how not to.

When I try and blog, I am still constrained by trying to have some sort of persona that will be accepted by neurotypicals. I can’t let the need to try and mask my autism go. I also can’t stop the habit of beating myself up for my inability to be neurotypical It’s a miserable place to be, wanting to be myself yet condemning myself for being myself, calling myself weird, putting myself down for not being neurotypical. Doing the bullying for the bullies. Not even letting me be my autistic self, even in my writing that’s supposed to be about autism.

OK I’m just going to post this. Even though it’s not what I thought I was going to write and maybe it doesn’t make sense to anyone else. Maybe if I keep writing I’ll begin to allow myself to be more autistic – in the written word at least. I’ll just write around the bad words.