July 1st, 2013

margot, pearl

Question: to call by name

I have a question for you all: do you find it difficult to call others by name?

This is really hard for me. If I see someone I know and want to greet them, I feel like there's an inner wrestling that takes place. I know their name, but I have to fight in order to grasp it and vocalize it. Their name seems like a mighty thing and one that backs away as I approach. Most of the time, I don't win the battle and I just greet them without speaking their name. An exception would be when roommates come home. In that case I sing-song their name as a greeting, kind of like Japanese people use the greeting "okaerinasai~!" In any case, this makes it difficult for me to get people's attention, to interrupt people, and to comfort people when they're hurting. I recently asked some friends to give me advice on social interactions and a few people told me that others like it when someone says their name. I also feel comforted when people say my name, but it's so hard for me to do myself!

Strangely enough, it's often easy for me to refer to people by name in email. I wonder why? I asked one of my roommates about this and she told me that my "email voice" and my "speaking voice" are quite different. My coworker concurred, explaining that my emails sound relaxed and confident while my speech feels more nervous. Is this what Tony Attwood meant when he wrote, "I have noted that while the person with Asperger's syndrome can have considerable difficulty talking about emotions, there can be a greater eloquence and insight when expressing his or her emotions typing an e-mail, writing a diary or composing a poem; or perhaps choosing or playing music, drawing a picture that represents the emotions or recalling a scene from a movie." The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome p 157.

Some people rebuke me for "trying too hard" or "trying to be someone else." I'm really not trying to do either of those things :( I probably come across as trying too hard because communication and social interaction often feel like work. I probably appear as though I'm performing because I'm trying to suppress myself, lest I give people the impression that I'm too immature. This past weekend, one of my roommates encouraged me to just be myself. Ah, how much I wish for that! But is it appropriate to bring stuffed microbes into my office and jump up and down when I'm agitated? I don't think so. I want to be genuine, but I also want to be a good witness for the Lord in a world of adults. How can I do that when, as they say, I am "a child at heart"?