I have long had this discomfort having conversations, especially about emotional topics. It feels like I’m playing out a script: I speak, you speak, I speak, and I can see the galleys of dialogue that we’ve been working our way through. As if the point of conversation is not to connect with another, but rather to work through this scripted dialogue successfully and without deviation.
Sometimes my mind drifts in the middle of a conversation. It’s accomplished what it wants to, and it wants to switch its emotional state to meet its new needs.
The song I’m listening to right now is “Ghost in the Machine” by Dawes, which is a different song than the one with the same title from The Police.
(I got distracted when I realized that that’s the name of an album by The Police, not a song; the corresponding song is “Spirits in the Material World”.)
My brain is not naturally linear. I have to force my brain to think that way if I want to communicate with most people, because otherwise people have trouble following my threads.
So I have to pull out the script and do my best to follow it. I’m told this means I’m organized, but I feel like it means that human communication is inherently flawed. We take this yawning, roiling mass of thoughts and force it into an extruded string of linearity so that others can understand it.
I feel like this right now:
I used to think I was broken, that this was yet another way that my brain didn’t work. So I’ve limped through scripted conversations, feeling like people’s attempts to connect with me have just left me feeling more alone.
So many conversations I’ve wanted to interrupt with, “Okay, I’m good now” and boom, it’s over.
When I was a child, one my father’s parishioners died. He had been an old man. I was crying at school, and a parapro tried to counsel me through it. I mentioned, just for context, that he’d been a principal at the school years ago, and the parapro latched on to that detail and just started going on about how it’s painful to lose a role model like that.
That’s my first memory of feeling like I was locked into a script that I didn’t know how to navigate.
I used to think I was broken, but now I realize: So many times in my life that I thought I was broken was because my thoughts were being assessed by neurotypical rules.
My thoughts are birds and butterflies, and others have demanded that they walk in a straight line along the cold concrete, when they’re meant to fly chaotically.
My mind is not broken, it is a work of complex beauty. And I’m so tired of trying to coerce it into scripts it was not meant to follow.