My Unique Life That I Live Everyday

So many people experience everyday life as neurotypical humans, but of these humans, there are some that are actually neurodivergent and have learnt the “correct” behaviour from those [neuro]typical humans.
This blog post stems from one of my Instagram posts:

I find it highly frustrating that I don’t feel any bit of attraction to any body be they female or male, LGBT or straight.
How come do I get the body that doesn’t feel emotion for a body of another human being?
And then people expect me to get a girlfriend and wedding.
Go away with your wants and demands for me and MY life!

I was one of those neurodivergent humans that learnt the required behaviour from other [neuro]typical humans around me and I still find it easier to reciprocate humans rather than work things out for myself.
For more of my life than I want to admit to, I have been observing other people in order to observe how to interact with the world around me. I just copied actions without knowing how it all fits together and what to do with the dynamics of life when it happens. Really sure it sounds outlandish, but this is just the way of life that I knew how to live and use. The downfall is that I saw some people as authoritative and their words were the truth, and I saw older people (than myself) as people who had very valuable things to say of which were always true so I took it all to heart and really tried to obey by what was said by both kinds of people. I’m sure someone somewhere got me to fear my parents, cause I had no one to ask these awkward concepts and my parents were always there, waiting to lovingly answer every question that I had. I’m sitting here wishing that was not the case, but I cannot change the past and that past is not where I want to go into with this blog post.

I recall my life in colours, smells, tastes, stories, images and concepts, emotions, etc.

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!
I have a warm and soft furry sense to that phrase as well as a deep ruby red fragrance – from a white sheets wearing movie: A rough translation of the things from my brain.
Have you ever experienced me talking and describing something and everyone is totally lost? I started doing that out loud so that I would not seem as though I were silent, mute, or in some way finished with what I was saying.

I have been unhappy with who I am since I learned that I might be celibate. As I understood it back then, someone who never finds the love of their lives and sex is, oh wait…Baby making. I did not know of sexual things back then! I got taught by the authority that if I was born this way, then I’ll be celibate for life. A year later I was told that it is a choice to be celibate. I became quite confused. On one side I was celibate for life with nothing I could do about it, and on the other side, I had the right to choose if I wanted to live a celibate life or marry someone. Then my life took a tumble and I tried my best to hide it, cause there was a HUGE stigma for anything that was not white and heterosexual. I think what I was asked in primary school, by an older boy, threw me into a downward spiral inside and it crushed all my innocence flat. I saw my ideas in a negative light because people like me were eradicated (that’s how I thought back then, okay?). I’m pretty sure he was a bully, but I do not think he knew how much of an impact he would have on my life. He asked me if I was gay. Now at that time, I had already been teased for humping things (yep, I did it at my desk before “Home Time” too and it started in Pre-Primary School and carried on until puberty hit a home run!) and [teased for] chasing after a girl! I do not know why, but I just remember playing with Lady by chasing her around the playground. I did not have friends to play with because they either played soccer, wrestling, spinning tops, stingers (ball thrown against a wall with kids all standing against the wall), hopscotch, marbles or role-playing games. I tried to join in with the spinning tops, stingers, hopscotch, marbles and the role play, but I always felt cheated, so I never really felt like I should bother playing with others. Yeah, I was that guy. That boy who stuck to himself as much as possible and only played by himself. There was a strangely weird dynamic at play too. I did have friends, but at break (recess) and social type gatherings, I kept to myself. I had very few friends and I had a really great friend by the name of Greg and by that stage my other best friend, Wally, had moved down to Margate with his family. (In case Christopher reads this, he too is a great friend, but I’m talking about school ;P )
“Pan! Pan-handle, pan.” – a riff that was repeated to a tune in a distinct rhythm. Greg is now a muso (DJ artist) in a professional capacity.

When I found two girls and asked to join them one break, I think I had already convinced myself that I was a different species of human, but I did not want to seem out of place so I learnt the fascinating skill of acting. I did very well. I remember my one special interest was lighting and their controls. DC controls and direct switching. DMX was something of the future. At that spot where we sat eating our “lunch”, there stood a lighting console. It was SO freaking cool. It was like standing at a GrandMA! (Google it before I lose track of where I’m going with this blog!)
Maybe that was the reason for joining the girls in the first place.
Fun fact: We sat on the same ground where the Hatfield Gautrain Station is built.

I showed my “true colours” when I left Primary School (graduated). I lost contact with all those friends when I got to High School!
I went to an all boy High School because it was small and it included a number of special interests: Acting, Books, Computers, Standing tall (excellent posture) and the fear of meeting new people. Most guys were at Primary School together, so they were sorted with friendships. I had to attempt to make friendships because I was the only boy from my Primary School. One scary thing is that I found that I enjoyed the dynamics of the discipline at school and my overly creative mind went ape imagining rather interesting (what’s a good word?) predicaments for myself. I do not know why, but I craved after them and I never knew why this was the case – read on to find out why.

(TW! Self-harm & suicide Trigger Warning ahead for The following paragraph and the next three. TW!)

Inside I had some odd feelings and I knew I was different. Thinking I was Celibate and possibly gay led me to extreme emotions which probably (cause it’s unknown why), almost got me killed at the end of the best academic year of my life! We had one lesson in the school Chapel where the Chaplain asked us to look around at our peers because some of us might not be back next year… (I phased out and did not pay as much attention as I should have, because I was convinced that he said some of us could die…): I was in Form 1 (Gr8).
I tried some of the things that I thought would help mend the gaping hole in myself. I do not think I had much or any real self-confidence in me, although acting normal worked wonders except when I sought after the weird fixes I became addicted to. They were like a drug to me. I just HAD to do them and I think they stemmed from my fear of disobedience and the authority dynamics that I enjoyed so much because it gave me a strange feeling that I enjoyed.
I also found myself a cutting bully. He was so happy to show me what he did as he cut himself with his scissor blade and licked his blood. I did not do the cutting thing, but I think the other activities that were my fixes should be considered self-harm.

After my attempt at suicide the day after Christmas, I was hospitalised for many weeks and stupidly (I destroyed my academic life…) out of some fear (and laziness too, cause no school!) decided not to return to school till the start of the second term of school. I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression and put on medication that I’m convinced led to my hands being shaky. Till this day I have no idea what caused me to try physically end my life – no medications, chemicals or drugs (I was found next to a ladder with a tow rope around my neck – I asphyxiated on vomit. And I wish somehow I could find out the real reason. I had to have been truly emotionally sick!).
Thinking now as I’m writing this, I’m wondering if I felt something negative about my life and some strange [good] reason to end my life from what was shared at school? Who would even miss me because I was friendless! I felt stuck in a miserable place of rejection, fear, loneliness, etc. Or was it that my fixes were halted and I failed to keep my acting together during the end of year school form camp. My brain has successfully blocked that trauma from ever coming out. I do remember my psychiatrist at the hospital (who NEVER cut his moustache that was growing over his mouth on the right!) trying to hypnotise me to extract what perhaps made me attempt suicide. I did NOT want to go there. I remember saying something about nails being forced into me, but during that time I could not figure out if I was making the violation up or not. Did something get sexual and I was hurt? No cooking clue on that one!

I felt like I lost all my friendships when I came back to school, so I gravitated to the library when I could not decide where to go. At the Second break, each house was given a big box of sandwiches. Back then I really lacked self-confidence and I eventually stopped trying to get some sandwiches and I equated my feelings of hunger as self-punishment. Slowly I lost the ability to know when my body was telling me that I was hungry. I ate less than what I should have during my growth spurt. I tried to make friends with girls, but they were very similar to my attempts at making friends with boys.

In Form 3 (Gr10) I was writing about my feelings in a book. Not quite journaling but very close to that. I wanted to be like some of the boys at school, especially the older guys who did so well in everything they did. I wanted to talk to my parents about it when we went on a holiday to the South coast, but I chickened out of it for the fear of possibly being gay. I should have spoken to them. It could have stemmed from having dropped down to the D set in school from being promoted from C to B set at the end of my Form 1 (Gr8) year (each Form/Grade was divided according to their academic strengths), although I don’t think I knew about the promotion before the suicide or when I stayed away from school until the second school term. All I know is that I said absolutely nothing to anyone because I was petrified that I would be persecuted till near death. I did not want that to happen again!

The Matric Dance (school leaver’s Prom) was the worst in terms of not knowing what to do and an intense fear of the dance floor.
During the beginning where we all found our tables and chatted to the people at the table, I was the odd one out and I was silent. When the Grace was said I had to find something to do with my fingers. All I remember is that I did something strange enough to be laughed at and teased for during the prayer. I guess I was stimming – I had no idea of being autistic. When our pictures were taken, I remember feeling very out of place and awkward with how the photographer wanted us to pose. After dinner, the dance floor opened. I did not even budge. There was absolutely NO way to get me to dance with so many people looking on. Tammy found the only way. We danced together right at the end of the evening. I enjoyed moving around, but WHERE to place my hands was a complete mystery!

I had been going to Scripture Union Independent Schools camps every January since 1999. I joined the leadership team as a rookie in 2002. All I really recall from all my years as a leader was that everybody had either a girlfriend or a boyfriend. I was single and had been asked if I were gay too many times over the years.

I attended a Computer Training Institute in 2002 where I learned about IT engineering for nine months, even though it was an eight-month course. During my time there I had one girl approach me. I had no clue what to do or say because I really had no interest in her whatsoever. Poetry was something I wrote back then and the only response I knew I could produce was a poem. I wrote her a poem even though she asked me if I were gay because of my reaction to her.

I attended an Old Boys Day in 2003 where two friends asked if I were gay. By this time I had been asked hundreds of times if I were gay, so I figured that it would stop happening if I told them that I was indeed gay. In those days I had very little self-confidence and I was critically confused about being gay or not. In that year I started questioning it more seriously because I had felt different since early Primary School. One month while working at the School Tuck Shop I had the fantastic[ly dumb] idea of putting up a Bible Study on the notice board outside the shop, which became my downfall. I was utterly confused with what the Christian Bible said about being gay – HOW can I be gay and Christian? I had thought that I would ask the boys what they thought but through a colourful Bible verse thing. That was a really dumb idea because it backfired and I was accused of being a Bible Bashing Anti-Gay Activist. I was threatened with being arrested, taken to court, among other things too. If only I had had some self-confidence I could have explained myself. I was grappling with my identity and extremely confused. Cell phones were not smart in those days and Social Media was not really a thing in South Africa yet, so I could not google an online community for help…
I eventually left my Tuck Shop job totally confused and convinced that I must definitely be gay. The following year I was a Children’s Church Intern, which made things a whole lot worse for me in terms of my internal conflicts. Thank goodness I only did that for a single year!

Moving forward in life was a challenge and my church did not help either because I did not get answers to all my questions. I was just told that I was not gay by churchgoers and even had prayers said over me and eventually attended a Sexual Addiction course twice, within five years, for my “condition” so I would not be gay. Uhum, yes… Unfortunately, I did not know that I could be blessed with being single my whole life [and not gay]. All I got from people and peers was utter confusion for me.
When I came out to my parents as gay and they both said that I am free to live my life whichever way I wanted to – that was a lifesaver, because I was petrified of telling my mom! {thanks internet lies}

I developed a hate for working in the environment that I worked in for the last six months of my office/datacentre bound job. I resigned and joined Mission Disciple Training, known as MDT.
MDT is where I discovered that I had autistic traits (Thanks Big Anne!!). I went looking for help during MDT, and I really struggled to feel as though I had made a friend or three. I had a few trusted friends during MDT whom I shared my life story with and one person with whom I trusted my life with. It felt like I had new real friends and no fake budding friendships. It was awesome for six months, but then we all parted ways. On Anne’s suggestion I found a psychiatrist who specializes in autistic behaviours and after a few months with an OT and my psychiatrist, I got diagnosed as autistic!
We are all still friends, but I’m physically very far from all of them except for a few in Pretoria. There were five young people I was closer to than any of the other trainees. During the training, my eyes were opened up and my self-awareness started to grow.

Over the past four years or three and a half years, 2015-2018, I have been discovering who and why I am me. After being diagnosed as autistic I did lots of soul searching and research. My childhood started making more sense and my understanding of myself has improved tenfold!
When I began my apprenticeship with Raymond The Piano Man, I lacked self-confidence among other things too. By being forced out of the comfy nest in the office, I have learnt how to be me in ways I did not think were possible! My self-confidence has grown and I have not been acting to fit in since 2015. It is quite awkward at times when I don’t want to be authentic and just stop being me. I have also learnt self-control especially when it comes to personal things and spending money. If anyone would like some lighting gear, I’m still trying to sell these lights of mine that I’m stuck with thanks to an organisation that went south on a verbal agreement, but anyway. HMU?!
Knowing about and being autistic has helped me a great deal, especially with my sensory profile knowing what my strong preferred sensory stimuli are and the sensory stimuli to avoid, but are super strong senses. I love all sound and visual stimuli and absolutely love touch and honing the ability to use my love for sound and touch to my advantage (in my field)! If you have never hugged me because you thought I didn’t like hugs, think again. When you see me, just come HUG me!! The super strong senses that I have are taste and smell. I guess I could work in some trade to smell or taste things where I enjoy the taste or aroma, but those things have not come into my radar. I do not add salt because I can taste all the subtle flavours. Same with my smell. I have the annoying ability to smell a cigarette, being smoked or not, a mile away. If I were trained in detecting bombs and narcotics then I’m sure I could replace a dog or three?
I have slowly been breaking my fear for large groups of people, although going to my first Ballet class was really challenging and I vividly remember trying to shred my red mushroom chewellery (chewable jewellery). I eventually stopped taking something to chew on because I was not needing it, but the one that looks like a DNA helix is colourful and worth wearing to customers because it just looks great with my clothing style!

My loud laughter has returned because I’m more confident around people and working face to face with piano customers has been challenging my automatic responses of shutting down. I automatically find the funny in everything that happens around me and when I don’t find something funny then I brush it off, but I still struggle to find that line of good and distasteful funnies.

I was both happy and sad to learn about relationships and the love life of autistic people. There are some of us who have no interest whatsoever in a human partner or love interest.
The sad part was knowing that I’m not going to be interested because I’m wired this way. The happy part is that I’m not gay, bi or straight. I am ME and I don’t have to have anyone besides someone who could assist me when I need assistance.
So now I know why I have absolutely no interest in anyone and am not really attracted to any person. Sure some people will attract my attention and I’ll admire them, but that’s as far as it will go.
Plus all these so-called friendship rules: Why do they exist when the very people who “live by the rules” break the friendship rules all the time. I have never understood friendships and I probably won’t understand everything when someone explains it to me for the umpteenth time! I enjoy people who are both older and younger than me. Does that matter to you? You live your life and I’ll live mine!
Sometimes I fail miserably when I try to make a friend. A fresh example would have to be in a class that I attend. I look up to people who are better at skills and there were two guys. I had made an effort with one of them, but he was not in class for long periods. The other guy was really passionate and he was really good at his craft. I had noticed certain body language patterns amongst other obvious things and one evening I was really glad that he and I didn’t have to do an exercise together. I would have felt really awkward. He said it had nothing to do with me, and then I went and probably asked him a stupid question. I will still look up to him and respect his skill even though he wants nothing to do with me, but there’s nothing wrong with that and I brushed it off as a lesson learned on how to make a friendship. For the record, I did apologise for my transgression, but he refused to acknowledge me.

Sometimes I wish I could just do something to escape the realities of my life, but obviously to return to the human world again. Zoning out works quite nicely as well as dancing in the ballet and contemporary classes, which I had to postpone because I had a weak ankle. If only I could find something more intense to do to escape my challenging human life for a while…

What was this blog post trying to highlight?

  • I’m not gay. I am me, even though I can be confused and confusing to others;
  • Autism has given me the ability to not be attracted to every sexy human;
  • I have my loud laughter back;
  • Friendship is a mystery and I enjoy both young and old friends: where’s the problem?
  • I have to find a safe escape from life sometimes.

4 Replies to “My Unique Life That I Live Everyday”

  1. Very interesting read. The path to self discovery it both daunting and enlightening. Enjoy every step

  2. He malcs took my time to read this but I’ve finally got round to doing it.
    No 1. I’m so proud of u for figuring out who u are and what u like, and how to cope in this wierd world.

    NO 2. don’t know if you’ll ever get this but celabacy is actually cool. Relationships make us super happy and then the next day wanting to kill the other person. I think u dodged a bullet there opting to be single as it could be to disrupting and confusing for u. Its so less complicated for me as a missionary married to my job to be single. Some people know if they like boys or girls or sex or marriage and other like us we like singleness.

    NO 3 seems u have just acepted who you are and how to live and work and satisfy your needs. I think stop trying to figure out who u should be and be u. It’s okay if people critisise you or me that’s how we learn how to get along with each other in the world, don’t let it get u down its up to you and God which advice u want to take. Sometimes it can be useful don’t let it get u down. I’ve growen so much in life by listening to good honest criticism about me. If the other advice is crap don’t take it on board. The real secret I’ve learned is my identity in so secure in christ. I can take most things people chuck at me because I know I’m his. And one day malcs when we are with him in heaven there will be no confusion earth is just for 80 or so then we have eternity to look forword to.

    NO 4 if u like a person and trust them let them read this blog…… your story it is good for your friends to read this if u feel u want to share it.

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