I recently found my “mama bear!”
She’s been hiding somewhere. Out in the way-back country of my psyche, I suppose. She’s awake, and I am not so sure what to do with her. However, I notice these seismic emotional waves generated by an impulse of some sort or another. To be frank, the thought of convictions frighten me. Just yesterday, I researched “convictions”—specifically “woman of conviction”—to make sure I even understood the word.
After some classic Google-surfing, I came to the conclusion that more than likely any human harbors some form of convictions in order to live, beyond the existence of a jelly-like substance, that is. (Thoughts of recent romp at Westport beach in Washington state, with my Aspie partner, surfacing—full on images of mutilated chunks of brainless jellyfish splattered out on the damp sand; some haphazard hopscotch of clear silicone. “What’s this look like to you?” my partner had asked. “Like a bunch of fake boobs exploded,” I giggled.)
It seems that to live, to exist, to make some mark on this earth, a person must have a strong opinion about something or another, even if that opinion is that of not wanting or aiming for convictions. When considering convictions, I am unsure about what to do with the feelings that arise. When confronted with something I care deeply about (such as loving and supporting the underdog, lost, and/or wounded), I get these tiny geyser-like bursts of upset. And from there, I plummet into a discourse of whys and hows about whatever set me off balance.
Because of the complexity of emotions and the complexity of my typical thought processes, convictions—my strong feelings or collected opinions—are downright uncomfortable. It’s that simple: I have them. I can’t help but to have them. But I am unsure about what to do with the internal wobbling that occurs as a result of “them.”
Through most of my adulthood, I spent a fair amount of time sitting on the proverbial fence, kind of watching the world go by and wearing a keen, but approachable, grin. Pretty much nodding at whatever approached. I could see the reasoning and theories behind almost anyone’s opinion, without much direct effort. I could dive into infinity, it seemed. Swim out to the depths of reasoning and lap about the infinite ways in which someone’s truth could feasibly be a truth—not necessarily my truth, but sure enough “a truth.”
For the most part, in recent years, I’ve practice being non-reactive. However, lately, something has shifted, and I am finding myself at that baby stage of learning how to prowl and prance; how to stick up for myself, beyond the passive (and very effective) response of keeping my mouth closed. It appears I am some infantile-newbie learning the ropes by watching the more experienced and more comfortable-in-their-own-body folks do their thing. Watching, as others I admire raise the banner for their cause and conviction. Only, in the watching I become confused, wondering how many banners feasibly are out there, and thinking how cluttered the world is with the markings of so many banners. I wonder from there, when enough is enough, and if I ought to bring out my banners, or simply stand as silent observer.
Most who know me recognize I don’t want for conflict. When faced with disagreement, I often pull in my past learnings and collected quotes from non-violent leaders. I practice the dove/serpent combo. Undoubtedly, I’ve been the dove counterpart more than the serpent. Even so the interior snake is in here somewhere. I sense him. And then, too, this mama bear. Though I still harbor this perpetual stealth-gentleness, it appears I’ve gone about and grown some nonretractile claws and sharp, dagger-like chompers. And I am not so sure what to do about it.
Samantha is the author of the well-received blog Everyday Asperger’s and the memoir that is “shattering myths,” Everyday Aspergers. She can be reached at myspectrumsuite.com