The older I get, the more I notice the nastiness around. It could be that my awareness has been heightened in several areas- mental health being one of them. I can typically read people very easily, but as of late, I have been able to foresee truth behind falsehood, giving people my insight. Usually, my intuition proves right and I hear “I should have listened to my gut. You were right.” Well, I don’t know why this happens, and it doesn’t happen all that often- nobody should feel alarmed at this information. I simply feel a lot. Bad things have happened to me and others and, for me, it’s hard to ignore. I want to fix things. Clean things. Create things. I’d rather learn from the mistake and be wiser than choose to ignore the warning signs and stick around to see what happens. I notice when someone isn’t making eye contact or when they are using a hostile tone. It’s easy for me to tell if someone is full of shit. I guess because I’ve been able to harness my addiction to distraction, so I just generally sense things a little easier. Unfortunately, it’s exhausting to feel this way this much.

My whole life has been fun and exciting to me. Even though there have been dark areas in my past, I always try to focus on what is actually around me in the present. There have been moments full of danger, romance, grief, and rage. The older I become, the more I challenge people. The wiser I become, the more I question things. My insights have reminded me regularly that, yes, bullshit is everywhere. Nothing and no one is perfect. Some albums are incredible and inspiring- but again, nothing is perfect. We will all disagree with opinions some time. And as time passes, the more I notice division, rather than unity… which discourages me. My point is, the more I experience, the more I want to help others- in whatever individual way I think they need help. Some people receive my advice, some receive music recommendations, some receive my art, some people receive scripture, some receive my dirt and humility, some receive my physical presence, some receive my humor. Rarely do I extend every bit of that to a lot of people. I do things to my best ability and it wears me out, which makes me want to be alone.

After working in mental healthcare, studying and writing about autism at a Master’s degree level, reading articles and books written by autistic savants (Born on a Blue Day being my favorite), I felt stronger and stronger that I could be on the spectrum myself. I could relate to certain thought patterns, habits, compulsive behaviors, and sensations. All of a sudden, it made sense why I clung to my mother, my security blanket, and music early on. I was my mother’s shadow and just wanted to observe or help constantly. Anything I tried, I obsessed over, but would quickly move on to the next thing once I’d become bored. I would actively listen to music through headphones- for hours. I was alone (and liked it), a lot of the time I was living under my parents’ roof. Jim Carrey describes his childhood as “a lot of alone time in his room- but he loved it- it felt like Heaven”. I felt like I could relate to that on the most spiritual level. I can also vividly remember being deeply moved to tears to certain songs or movie scenes as young as age three. When I was a child, I watched Atreyu painfully watch his friend Artez drown. I wrote a story about my horse drowning but I saved him “and we never went to the woods again”. When my best friend moved to another school, I wrote a story about her move and the story ended with a new friend moving in.

I always wanted happy, especially when I saw and felt pain. I have always had the mental capacity to comprehend pretty much everything, and excel at most things I try. The problem for me is completing a task or goal, or sticking with something (or someone) who has made me uncomfortable. People who know me will tell you I’m very opinionated and vocal, but I am actually timid around certain people. I never had issues with speaking or singing in front of crowds, or putting myself out there- but I was cautious in certain settings. I was the girl at the party who wasn’t worried about being social- I was just dancing (by myself or with someone, it didn’t make a damn to me.) But in church, I was pretty shy and would cling to my mom mostly, helping her with whatever she was doing.  It has taken me 32 years to try to figure out how to convey all of this to the outside world.

While it seems regretable to admit these things publicly, I do in part to help others who may be able to relate (to help you), and in part because I know that it feels amazing to be liberated (to help me). And despite all that negativity that indeed is all around… I grow wiser in the fact that life requires us to be free in order to maintain happy. And I still want happy.

I do not work in mental healthcare anymore. I moved on to something else- something I enjoy. For now…

Several years ago, my sister and I were in a vehicle spinning out of control at eighty miles per hour, with large metal obstacles all around. Death was there. But so was an angel. Before we were even on the road, we both had felt her there. I hope my sister remembers this. This is what I cling to more and more.

My grandfather was buried and as they were lowering his casket, the sun peaked itself out from behind the dark gray cloud, and a sundog appeared. I hope my uncle heard me when I asked him if he saw it.

All that time I felt that I had to be alone, forgive me. But please don’t forget me.