March 7, 2020, Chino Valley-
One of the things about my level of autism/Asperger’s is that one tends to keep a distance from others, both physically and emotionally. I got attached to certain friends and to my family, once in high school, where a modicum of social grace was both necessary and fairly easy to develop.
Once I graduated, the relative anonymity of university, the factory and even the Army set me back to some of my old distance-maintaining postures. I got along, more or less, and did my jobs, with varying degrees of competence. I did not feel intimate with anyone, though, until Penny came along,
She helped me get over the tendency to distance myself-and to be comfortable with things like cuddling and the more intimate aspects of married life. It lasted twenty-nine years. When she passed, I promised myself and her spirit that I would not revert back to the aversion to proximity that I felt throughout my twenties.
That basically has held, yet only recently have I finally felt that sitting down among strangers, and not wanting to practically apologize for taking my place, is something that ought to happen as a routine. I know this is all about self-acceptance, and it has been among the most refreshing elements of personal growth, in a very long time.
In several gatherings this week, I felt perfectly relaxed among people I either barely know or have never seen before. This included tonight’s gathering of Slow Food-Prescott’s members, to hear a wealth of information about the apple, a fruit that has over 7,500 varieties, and to enjoy a sumptuous buffet of vegetarian and “pescatarian” (no meat other than fish and shellfish) pot-puck dishes.
It is just a pleasure to not feel like a nuisance or an interloper-both things that come more from negative self-talk than from any bad social vibes from other people. I look forward to a very robust spring and summer.