I’ve spent the past week being far more social than I normally am, and last night I went to a friend’s birthday party. It was lovely, the people I have been spending time with are lovely, but I’m exhausted.
Being social is something I’ve been more mindful of since I self-diagnosed as Asperger’s. I have always pushed myself to be social and worked hard at it all my life. I try not to turn down a social opportunity if I can help it, but sometimes it’s just too much. I am overwhelmed and have to retreat. I used to characterize this as having a “me day,” where I could read, watch quiet British dramas and eat yummy food. Take those naps that become delicious and rare as you become an adult.
Becoming aware of Asperger’s at first made me “regress.” I decided to behave absolutely naturally, and I spent the month of December mostly alone, and mostly communicating in a dry, monotone, matter-of-fact manner. Spending that time alone was good for me. Giving myself permission to not be social was a relief. The isolation made me more aware of my behavior and comfort levels. I began to see which Asperger’s tendencies I have, and which I do not. I began to analyze how I “present” the syndrome.
Now, however, I’m making a conscious effort to return to normal activities. I’m pushing myself to be social again. I’m moving past my comfort zone again. I’m being mindful of where my limits are and how to manage my sensory intake. I’m trying to figure out a system by which to manage a good balance between my needs and society’s expectations.
And it has occurred to me, that in this Imbolc season, this season of initiation, that I’m experiencing an initiation of awareness through my self-diagnosis of Asperger’s. It’s a strange thing to understand that your natural inclinations are just that: natural. Particularly when they go against the expectations of a woman in our culture. It’s also a strange thing to consciously give yourself permission to to act against your natural way of interacting with the world in order to participate more fully in the world.
Maybe other folks are experiencing a type of initiation right now. Maybe you’re being initiated into parenthood. Maybe you’ve just gotten your drivers license and are being initiated into the world of motoring. Maybe you’ve moved to a new place and are being initiated into the local culture. There are a lot of types of initiation other than spiritual, yet they all have a spiritual component.
Today things have not gone according to plan. Things have not gone according to plan all weekend. I’m exhausted from having to interact with people. I’m overwhelmed and need to crawl into my shell to recharge. As a water sign, I need to learn to work with the ebb and flow of my own tides. I need to learn when and how to give, but I also need to know when and how to retreat, receive, incubate and recharge.
So I’m not going to blog today. I’m going to rest my mind and nerves. I’m going to take a mental health day. I’m going to curl up somewhere where there is not too much light, color or sound. I’m going to burrow in where there aren’t people who expect me to interact with them. And in my short hibernation, I’m going to birth wonderous new things.
May you honor your ebb tide, and may you dream deeply in the dark.