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Confessions/Revelations…

February 24, 2005 at 2:52 AM

I came up with the idea for this post a few hours after New Year's Day begun (before I went to bed), and have been working on it whenever I had the chance, until it was ready to be published. I'm considering this part of a New Year's Resolution I've made - Some of these things have been bothering me for a long time, and I felt it'd be best to post them here, and finally get a few things off my chest. In my personal opinion, I personally feel that the revealing of these things will be one of the most important things I've done in my life, given the nature of what I'm about to disclose.

(Note: What I'm about to say about the people mentioned here does not mean I hate any of them...On the contrary, actually, I like them - I just hate some of the things they did - or continue to do, intentionally or not - and I want to say them here.)

Do you want to know what these confessions/revelations are? Then read on - These are in no particular order, by the way:

I have a mental disorder: I'm autistic.

Believe it or not, I do have a mental disorder - It's a high-functioning form of Autism called Asperger's Syndrome, and I've had it since birth. This explains (at least part of) the reason why I tend to obsess on certain things, why I don't socialize well with people (because I tend to avoid eye contact), and (excluding how certain events in my life affected me) why I act the way I do.

I have self-restrictive tendencies.

...And I can recall the one incident that was the beginning of this: It when I was five or six (I can't remember the exact year). I walked up to my Dad and said the "S"-word in front of him - Dad spanked me on the butt a few times for it, it hurt, and I cried.

Though I do agree that he should have punished me for this (he was also spanked as a child), I don't agree with the method of punishment he used - I personally consider it a traumatic experience, as it frightened me to the point that I'd blindly listen to both of my parents for at least the next few years, because I didn't want that to happen again...And I'm still (to a lesser extent) doing that to this day (I personally feel like I'm a bit of a slave to my parents). As good as the intentions were behind doing this, I can see now that they've only served to hold me back instead. I honestly wish I never put myself through all that after that incident - It's caused nothing but problems for me...

(Of course, given the language I hear from my family at times, I really hope I didn't hear it from them, and especially not from Dad...)

I've put restrictions upon myself in a number of other ways, too. They started out with good intentions, but I see now that they've only served to hold me back:

I can't stand up for myself; I do what people tell me to do, without questioning them.

Aside from the spanking incident, punishments by two of my teachers also played a part in this:

  • One day in 2nd grade, I picked up a book I dropped by the page (I didn't know any better at the time), and accidentally tore half of the page out...Which ended up with me getting slapped on the back of the hand with a metal ruler as punishment.
  • In 3rd grade, I bit someone on the chest during recess (done in self-defense - I was being punched, and I didn't know how to fight back any other way)...And the punishment was being spanked five times with a wooden paddle.

These things above are the reason why (even if I were justified in doing so) I never talked back to anyone higher up than me (parents, teachers, etc.). It's no wonder I can't stand up for myself, and also why I just do as I'm told, even if it's against my will, without asking questions (or, fairly often, without getting answers to my questions in the first place)...

I can't show my true emotions; I'm scared of other people's opinions of me.

After the swearing incident, there were other incidents where, when I did something bad (or was acting out of line, though I couldn't always tell), I was (usually) spanked for them...And, of course, I cried as a result. Of course, sometimes it took me awhile to quit crying, and (as far as I can recall) my Dad didn't like that (in the sense of wanting me to "grow up" - Some things I really shouldn't have cried over, but if I'm crying over something, give me enough time to get it over with)...And his method of stopping this was to yell at me to stop crying - Which only served to keep me crying, and an absolutely stupid thing to do to someone when they're trying to stop crying in the first place...

...And when Grandpa Wolfe passed away (in 1997, if I recall correctly), I wanted to cry...But Dad was standing beside me, and because of all the past times I was yelled at for crying, I just held myself back (even though, in this case, he wouldn't have any problem with it - but I didn't know that at the time). I decided it'd be better to keep certain emotions to myself, rather than expose them and risk punishment as a result.

I can't say certain words.

Along with the swearing incident that started it all, there are three related incidents:

  • The first was in elementary school - I nearly tripped over the leg of a desk, and was just about to swear...But recalling that swearing incident, I held myself back, only getting out part of a word...And haven't sworn since.
  • The second was in the Kittanning Area Middle School, during lunch. I was talking to some of the other students about what I thought was the proper pronounciation of "Deutsch" (German for "German")...And I (mis)pronounced it as a certain type of hygienic product.
  • The third was on the way home from middle school again - Mom had picked up me and Bill (my third-cousin) from school, with them in the front seats, and me in the back. I saw a license plate cover that had a car dealer's name on it (Kuntz - It's pronounced "Koontz", but I didn't know that back then), and said the name on that plate (to point it out, and to pass the time), but I (mis)pronounced this word as something vulgar (twice - I did it second time after they asked what I said before). I didn't realize what I really said in either case until it was too late (I also didn't know what the mispronounced words I said meant at the time, either).

The swearing incident kept me from using swear words (even if in the appropriate context), and with these two incidents with pronunciation, I'm being extremely careful about what I say nowadays...And it makes it real awkward for me to speak to people sometimes.

I can't manage my time very well.

My parents have just become involved in way too much stuff lately...Not to mention they've stuck me with a good deal of that work too, even though I shouldn't (and don't want to) have anything to do with that work in the first place. Among the things that go on in this house as a result:

  • We're constantly going back and forth in this house, moving things around, because of all the stuff we have to store and retrieve here, from all the things my parents have been involved in.
  • The phone rings constantly! We've had to run around just to find a phone (all but two are cordless, and usually aren't in their bases; the two corded ones are in the kitchen and in the upstairs bathroom), and even then, the answering machine usually gets it first...And right after one call has been completed, the phone rings immediately after with another call (somewhat exaggerated, though that really has happened a few times)! On many occasions I've heard my mother scream not to get the phone because she doesn't want to talk to anyone (she usually gets stuck on the phone for a long time). We've also changed our number once (to a private number) just to stop all the calls...But we just ended up having to give it out anyway, so what was the point in changing numbers at all?
  • When my parents want me, rather than come down to the same floor I'm on first (and I'm usually downstairs), they yell from upstairs in the bedroom (or a little lower, in the upper living room) down to the lower living room/kitchen. Sound travels poorly in this house though, so it's nearly impossible to hear what's being yelled, and I have to go up and down stairs constantly just to get a message...And I usually end up getting yelled at for not coming up earlier - Is it really my fault I can't hear you, when we all clearly know that it's difficult (if not near-impossible) to hear something that's yelled between the floors?
  • Dad's addicted to playing Solitaire and FreeCell for long periods of time (many times it's half an hour, and, in rare cases, an hour or more). Once he comes downstairs, I have to get off the computer, as I can't argue with him...And if I don't, he'll question me about what I'm doing, and he gets mad if I don't tell him what I'm doing. To be honest, what I do is really none of his business - Mainly because he'd keep questioning me anyway even if I did tell him, so I see no reason to tell him in the first place. Plus, Mom yells at him a lot when he's playing these games, as he usually has work to do instead.

I do have a lot of free time...It's the fact that it's so badly split up between things that keeps me from being able to manage it properly.

I'm not sure about my beliefs.

I am a Christian, and I have gone to church for as long as I can remember. I go to the second Limestone-Reesedale Church of God, and it's the third church I've attended - The first was the Limestone Church of God (a small church, adjacent to the cemetery), which eventually got too many people to function properly, and so we had to merge with another church, the Reesedale Church of God (which became the first Limestone-Reesedale Church of God; the old Limestone church was converted to a Head Start center). Eventually, the first Limestone-Reesedale Church of God became too full to function (not to mention it was falling apart in some places), and so they ended up building another church, beside the parsonage, and close to the cemetery beside the former Limestone Church of God. It's got plenty of room, although work still continues on it in places...And Dad is not happy with the way some things are being done in the church (namely regarding how some things are built, as well as how parts of the service are handled) - Given what's going on there, I side with Dad in this case.

You may recall that I blindly followed what I was told, mainly due to the swearing incident before...But what helped me to "see the light" and tell that I shouldn't just follow every order, regardless of what it's for? Well...When I was (I think) fourteen, I recall having seen a pamphlet in the Limestone Church of God, that I read when I was bored: I can't remember it's exact title, but it was regarding "X-Mas", and how "Christ" was being taken out of "Christmas". I blindly agreed with everything it said...

...Until some time later, when I saw in another pamphlet that the "X" is actually Greek for "christos" ("Christ") - It also made sense, and conflicted with what I believed regarding the previous pamphlet. It also made me question the things I've read/done/etc., as I never came to such a conflicting thing in my life beforehand (and if you're curious - I side with the "shorthand name" explanation, as, to me, it made far more sense than the "taking Christ out of Christmas" one).

When I was in Junior Church (in the first Limestone-Reesedale Church of God), there used to be people of my age that I could talk to...But when we moved to the second Limestone-Reesedale Church of God, there were only two or three people from the previous one that still went, and since there were so few of us, we all got put in the adult Sunday School class (exlcuding us, I'm pretty sure there wasn't anyone there under 30). Eventually, though, the others stopped coming to Sunday School (college, military, etc., though they'd still come for the church services when they could), and I am pretty much the only one who comes there often (because I have to go with my parents).

I feel out of place in the church now. I stopped saying my prayers awhile back, because I've said them so much that they've lost all meaning to me...And I want to stop saying the family blessings as well, for the same reason, especially because I'm almost always chosen by the other family members to say it, even though everyone else there can say it just as well (not to mention I've actually messed up saying it because I've already said it so many times before).

Personally, I don't even want to go to church anymore...I blindly thought I was following it as I should, but due to the above incidents, I realize now that I can't believe it all (especially not literally, as that's how I interpreted it before), and I want to leave the faith - at least for a while - to help clear my mind up on this. Unfortunately, I'm too scared to bring it up with anyone (in a personal conversation), as I fear what will happen to me as a result.

I want a girlfriend.

I used to have a "girlfriend" back in elementary school, but I later realized that the only reason I did was because (mostly) everyone else had one, and not because I was actually in love with anyone (hence why I quoted "girlfriend" here - I was too young at the time to even have an idea of what love was anyway). Of course, when you stay at home as often as you can, you tend to get lonely...

In high school (9th grade), in my Mechanical Drawing class, I took notice of one particular girl - She was (IMO) very attractive - She was pretty, had an attractive figure, long blonde hair, and was wearing flared jeans and a colored striped shirt that just barely covered her waist (which I later stared at for a moment when she put her arms behind the back of her neck and stretched). I don't know why, but looking at her gave me a feeling in my "heart" (OK, technically the brain, but it felt like it came from the heart) I never had before.

I had a crush on her now - I found out her name (Jessica Karaffa), followed her when classes were over (but only up to where my next class was at), and even made sure to go to the table she sat at during lunch...But I never talked to her, because I feared being teased by others if I did. The only thing I have from her (other than the memories of, and feelings for, her) is from the following year, during yearbook signing in the gym. It was a short note she wrote when I asked her to sign my yearbook - It was on the first white page, in the center, and just below the middle:

Hey Tim,
Remember lunch!
It's been great.
-♥-
Jess

I still thought I'd see her again, even after going to Lenape AVTS (later renamed to Lenape Tech), while she stayed at Kittanning. I took notice of the girls there too, but unlike Jessica, I just didn't have the same feelings for them...

Unfortunately, after all this time, I don't know where Jessica is now...And I'm afraid to ask anyone (in person) about it. If anyone here who reads this is a friend of hers, or knows where she is now, could you contact me by E-Mail?

Also, if my parents/relatives/friends ask whether or not I think some girl (usually very close to my age) is pretty (probably to find me a girlfriend - I am single, after all), I just act like I'm not interested at all, even though I'd definitely agree with them - I fear that they'll interpret a reply of "Yeah, I think she's cute" (or something similar) as a sign that I want to ask them out, and that's not what I want to do (especially when I know they'd keep bugging me about it till I do).

...

That should cover everything that came to mind here.

*Breathes a sigh of relief*

I feel a lot better now that I've said all of this...Thank you for letting me get this off my chest.

6 Comments

  1. Well, you're not alone with a whole lot of that. Whether or not you consider pseudotumor ceribri a brain disorder, I can say a lot of what you just said about myself, minus the part about my beliefs perhaps.

    Comment by Don Luchini — 2/26/2005 @ 11:29 PM
  2. (I went ahead and removed an extra "http:" in your link that kept it from working earlier. Just letting you know of this =) )

    It's just that I'm not around people that much, and I don't talk to people that much about things like this, so I tend to think I'm the only one like this...And though I know that's false in the back of my mind, I'm not around people that much most of the time, so I usually think I'm the only one with these problems.

    If anything, (some of) the things behind each of those issues would be the only things unique to myself...The issues themselves, on the other hand, would be a lot more common (as you mentioned in your comment).

    Also: Pseudotumor ceribri [sic]? I ran a search on that to see what that was (given what I've posted, I thought it might have been related to autism somehow), and on the pages I've read, aside from them being listed on the same page, there doesn't seem to be a connection between the two...If I may ask, out of curiosity, why did you mention it?

    Thanks for commenting =)

    Comment by Wolfey — 2/28/2005 @ 12:06 AM
  3. Well, there are some people that don't get out, that's why I'm glued to my laptop(s) all day designing whatever and fixing everybody's problems. The most social contact I get is making everybody copies of CDs or videos that ask for them.

    Although I might not have the exact same case of punishment that you had, sometimes I have a hard time discussing things with my father since all through my youth, I was told I was wrong about this and that over and over and figured that I might as well shut up and be done with it, and it turns out that carried over a few years.

    BTW, I'm not exactly sure of the classification of pseudotumor cerebri, but I do know that it involves the brain (therefore probably making it a mental disorder, I don't know). It's similar to brain cancer, except it's not fatal, in the worst case you can lose your vision. All I know is that it's accompanied by a month of really bad headcold-like symptoms, very high spinal fluid pressure that kept me in bed and completely stiff, and best of all, three years of diuretics. Of course, this is going back to when I was nine, I can't (nor do I want to) remember a whole lot of it. It's just wierd, though, that I didn't meet a lot of the criteria for getting it since I'm not twenty to forty-five, female, etc... even though I do remember reading that it was becoming common in male children as well (maybe not age nine, but ah well...)

    P.S. Thanks for correcting my stupidity in the link.

    Comment by Don Luchini — 3/4/2005 @ 3:28 PM
  4. As for social contact, I get a bit of it, but (unless I really want to talk to someone about something) I don't feel like socializing with people, unless they're around my own age (this only applies to people I know offline, BTW) - It's mainly because some conversations just seem...Awkward with people that are significantly older/younger than me. With most of the people I talk to (usually friends/relatives of my parents, and most of them are at least 10-20 years older than me), I socialize with them out of respect. I don't feel like having a conversation with them (nothing against them, of course - I just don't feel like talking), but I don't want to be rude and not talk to them either, especially when they started the conversation. It's similar to what I mentioned about the people that came to the Sunday School classes at my church: Before, there were quite a few people around my age that I could talk to, and now, I'm pretty much the only one left in my age group...

    As for what you went through back then with pseudotumor cerebri...Wow - I really don't know what to say about that. I'm sorry you had to go through all of that when you were younger...Ouch. At least it's over with, which is good.

    (As for the link - You're welcome =) I tried making a few "test" comments using different formats for the URL - The URL alone, without "http://" preceding it, and the URL preceded by "http://" both worked fine...But when the URL is preceded with "http:/" [one slash, rather than two], it added another "http://" before the "http:/", making it start off with "http://http:/", and breaking the link...And since that's what your address looked like before fixing it, I'm guessing a slash was missing at the beginning of the address you typed in. It's just one of those things that goes unnoticed until after the comment is already submitted =P)

    Comment by Wolfey — 3/6/2005 @ 12:32 AM
  5. I am impressed by how honest you are in revealing these aspects and confessions of your life, Wolfey. I imagine that some of this material might be hard to work up the nerve to publish. I find several of your situations easy to sympathize with: For example, I've long been somewhat confused by religion; I'm hardly the most social person around, and I'm usually very hesitant to swear.

    Comment by Andrew Turnbull — 3/12/2005 @ 1:00 AM
  6. Thanks =)

    It was difficult for me to get myself to post all of that, but I feel that, regardless of what happens (regarding how some people I know - mostly relatives - would treat / feel about me once they saw this), I'm better off coming clean and admitting these things, rather than holding them in...Especially since holding them in is what I've usually done with these things, and it hasn't worked that well with them.

    Comment by Wolfey — 3/15/2005 @ 1:43 AM

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