Weeknotes S06E04

Brought to you by the sudden empty silence of a sound you’ve heard every day of your life suddenly stopping.

1. This week was slightly better than the last. I’m settling into my role and expectations are becoming clearer about what I should and shouldn’t be doing.

Forming a new team means forming multiple new and complex relationships, and considering that I struggle to form relationships with people I’ve known for most of my life this is the absolute pinnacle of “hard mode”. For example, at a certain point people trust you to do things, but they don’t say that you’ve reached that point. They also oftentimes express frustration by withdrawing. All this means you just have to guess whether they’re withdrawing because they trust you to do the work or because they don’t want you to do the work any more.

Neurotypical people are an absolute trip lads, I tell you. They move through the world as if everyone’s brain is connected or like, similar enough to theirs that explaining what’s going on is unnecessary. Consequently navigating a work environment, particularly one that operates at pace, can sometimes be an incredibly stressful experience. I’m doing okay, I think, but it’s definitely flagging for me that this might not be the job I do for the rest of my life.

2. I met with Jen, an old friend from university, and we dived into complicated conversations. There’s an absolute and sheer delight in being comfortable with being vulnerable, surpassed only by a friendship where you can express that. I am always struck by how my Aspergers bumps against the world and the ways in which it is different to me or I am different to it: my friend is, to me, a well of mystery and a list of attributes. She by contrast has a fully formed idea of who I am. I think this is perhaps why I am good at remembering faces and names: because they’re attributes attached to a person. I suspect that people, to other people, are a cloud of feeling and emotion: to me they’re a nose and a mouth and a silhouette and a laugh and the shape of their eyes when they smile. But the person…how do you get a fully formed idea of a person? It’s so strange to me. It’s as if someone told me they understood the ocean. It’s almost nonsense.

Despite this chasm between our realities, we talked about so much. We planned great plans and cracked ourselves open and swapped stories and stole bites. We competed to flatter each other and made translucent bubbles from ideas. We doodled clever things the other said on the tablecloth. We caught up, as old friends do, by talking about the things we talked about and noticing what we weren’t talking about and being comfortable in the space between talking.

We also left one-and-a-half profiteroles, and I’m still mad about that.

3. The flat may actually happen. I’ve received fresh paperwork. A date for completion – not moving, mind you, just the brief moment when an enormous amount of money passes briefly through my bank account before going onwards to someone else’s. I am browsing the John Lewis website for things to buy, because I am now extremely bourgeois, and I am doing my best to make friends with a John Lewis employee because I am not literally made of money.

I’ve still not got any idea when I’ll actually be moving, but I expect it to be in the next six weeks. With that in mind, I think I’m going to start re-packing the things I know I won’t need for six weeks: certain books, a globe that will form part of a bookcase display, Christmas wrapping paper. And I can start the hard and heavy process of accepting that some things won’t be coming with me: that I won’t learn Mandarin any time soon; that I’ll never get round to reading a huge tome on the history of oil and gas; that a gorgeous, hard-backed book of cocktails might better suit the home of someone who drinks alcohol.

4. The job and the move are really just opportunities to pause and take stock of where I’m going and what I’ll need to take along the way. Some of it’s completely unknowable, but some of it could be known if I just decided. I need a strategy, and like Sam says about strategies

its not scary lads, its just some options, a plan and some recommendations

Sam Villis

Therapy is a good way of doing that too: sitting down with a living reflection board to pick you up on things you’re saying, but also to make the space that encourages it. I’m never more deliberative than when I’m with my therapist, and I’m really uncovering things about myself that are core. It’s like following back refracted light to where it comes from – understanding that the red light over here and the green light over there have been refracted in different ways in different spaces, but underneath they’ve come from the same place. And if you identify these ideas that drive you then you can stop acting as though your red light and your green light are completely different and actually examine this source. Why is it like that? Is it too bright – or too dull?

And of course there’s not one light, there’s loads; and you don’t have the fine-grained control I’m describing – in some cases the controls are in another language, or were passed down to you from a simpler time when there was only an on/off switch, or haven’t been touched in so long they might break if you push them too hard.

Anyway. My point in all this is that I am uncovering better ways of being, and it’s terrifying and marvelous in equal measure.

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