I had my second date with PIMOJ. We went back to the park we went to last time, then on to Starbucks for coffee. We had a good time and saw some deer, donkeys and exotic birds (well, an exotic bird) in some enclosures in the park, although we were sad that the enclosures seemed quite small for the animals. We spoke non-stop for more than three hours, which was good. PIMOJ talks a lot more than I do. I’m OK with this, although she seemed quite apologetic. I had a really good time and I think she did too. I do have some COVID worries, as the park was surprisingly busy and Starbucks, while not very busy, had quite a lot of people, and of course we couldn’t wear masks because we were drinking, although we were distanced. So, this is all positive.

***

There was a Zoom meeting in the evening from my shul (synagogue) about plans to buy new premises (at the moment we don’t have our own premises and we rent rooms in other people’s buildings). This scared me a bit. My walk to shul would be more than twice as long, but I think I’m OK with that, not least because who knows where I’ll be in the spring of 2022 (the projected opening date)? I was more scared by (a) how competent people on the committee have seemed to plan all of this complicated fund-raising/purchasing/refurbishing plan, and how many people are asking pertinent questions, and how useless I seem to be with practical things like this; and (b) how much money (or other donations?) they’re going to want from me to contribute, bearing in mind that I’m unemployed and indeed I’ve worked part-time for no more than four months out of the last twenty-four (I feel that I’m being generous by still paying my full fees even though I’m unemployed). I don’t think there’s really an answer to (b) at this stage. Point (a) reminds me of something I was going to write, that lately I still do still get “I’m not working, therefore I’m not good enough” thoughts from thinking about how more successful my peers are BUT I’m finding it easier to tune out of those thoughts by staying in the present, which I think is beginning to happen automatically without my consciously needing to bring myself back to the present.

The Zoom meeting was interesting and exciting, but also draining. They limited questions in the Q&A section to one question per person, but someone still asked four in one go, which is chutzpah. I guess this is what happens when you try to stop Jews asking questions. It did go on for a long time. It reminded me of the joke about the conference that goes on for hours and one delegate whispers to the person next to him “Why is this still going on? Surely everything has been said?” His neighbour responds, “Yes, everything has been said, but not everyone has said it yet.” That’s a bit unfair, as I think the questions were mostly pertinent, although I was only listening with half an ear by that stage. I was fidgety by that stage, but I didn’t want to walk out because I thought we were supposed to be voting on the idea, although it turned out that we weren’t voting yet. But it was worth going to the meeting, even though I now desperately need some TV downtime before bed.

***

I had a thought about autism, that high functioning autism is something that has been on my radar, on and off, for about fifteen years now. I wonder if/worry that I may have unconsciously taken on various traits out of a suppressed desire to be autistic as a way of explaining my life. This might explain why my parents, and myself, sometimes, don’t remember many of these behaviours when I was younger. Then again, I think I’ve suppressed or masked my traits well and would have seen many of my behaviours as things that should be suppressed or masked either because people told me they were “wrong” or I thought they would be seen as wrong.

12 thoughts on “Date and Shul Stuff

  1. I’m so happy that the date went well. PIMOJ is probably very concerned that she talked too much. We all tend to be self-critical. I like that joke; it reminds me of faculty meetings at school. “Everything has been said but not everyone has said it yet.” There was an extremely talkative math teacher who would not be quiet, even when we needed to get to class!

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  2. I’m glad your date went well. 🙂 It’s a good sign that PIMOJI feels comfortable enough to talk a lot.Here’s what I think about the whole autism thing: If I did not have two children with severe autism, like you, I would be constantly trying to figure out what is wrong with me and why I can’t seem to march and produce like other people do. Because I grew up religious I would probably just believe other people’s assessments that I am lazy, selfish, not trusting God etc and basically have a spiritual problem. I would be drowning in guilt and shame. However, with the rapid regression of my children into autism each at 18 months my family finally came to their senses.. Although no one apologized to me they seemed to suddenly see that I wasn’t making things up and that they really had been severely bullying me my whole life. It didn’t change the fact that they had no patience for my limitations but they could see that those limitations were not just “in my head”. It turned out that they had the spiritual problem in that they could not accept and accommodate weakness. Count yourself truly blessed whether you get a diagnosis or not if you can have people around you who respect your limitations.

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  3. It sounds like it would be exhausting to try to be pretend-autistic to the point that you fully incorporate those traits into yourself. And if you were able to shape who you are to that extent, would this be the direction you would have taken?

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  4. I’m interested to know what you were like as a child. I would wonder whether you were quiet, sensitive, shy, self-conscious and lacking in confidence? Were you a bookworm – preferring your own company? Did you have just one best friend at school rather than hanging out in groups? Were you a compliant child, obedient, no trouble? Did you get very upset when you were told off – more than perhaps others did? Did you day dream a lot, enjoy being on your own? Did you write things down? Did you have one or two special interests which took up a lot of your time (when did your interest in Dr Who begin)?

    Maybe the above is not you. And certainly, lots of children like this are just shy, not autistic. But AS is often diagnosed late because these traits become more problematic in adolescence and young adulthood. AS youngsters do not “grow out” of these traits or adapt as easily as those who are just shy and socially awkward. And as dealing with life with this handicap becomes harder (the demands of adult life being far greater than the demands for a child) so certain coping mechanisms and symptoms become more apparent e.g. stimming, meltdowns, anxiety attacks, social withdrawal etc.

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    1. Thanks for this comment! As a child I was pretty much exactly as you describe, except that I had a small circle of friends (three or four) clustered around one best friend and I don’t remember writing things down much, although when we were told to write stories at school, mine were usually significantly longer than most of the other children’s. My interest in Doctor Who started when I was eight. I possibly had special interests before then, but probably not so all-consuming.

      I didn’t really grow out of these traits, no. I think I probably suppressed the urge to stim as a child because I was told by adults that it was not socially acceptable, or I thought they would feel like that. Anxiety attacks I connect more with social anxiety and depression.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, shul meetings….that is interesting that your congregation is pursuing a new building. I would have assumed that given the space limitations of COVID and potential economic/financial impact of COVID on the shul members, that there would be less appetite for a new building. I actually feel a bit hopeful reading about a congregation planning for long-term.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, we don’t really have any choice in the matter. Apart from the fact that we’ve been looking for permanent premises for years, our current location is going to stop being an option relatively soon, so we have to find somewhere new.

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