Salutations, my friends! I have just returned home from group. Okay, I got home about an hour ago. I had supper, fed my cat, took a shower, and told my mother that she wasn’t a complete failure and sometimes she’s right. Today in group, we restarted the entire learning process for DBT. We are covering Mindfulness and Wise Mind for the umpteenth time. It’s the foundation for DBT. Since I just covered Wise Mind and I’m always going on about Mindfulness, I’m going to go in a different direction.
Charon quoted something from some blog that had a weird Mom thing in the title. I can’t remember it, but the theme I got from it was that it’s important to Acknowledge people. The author (presumably a woman so I’m going to use female pronouns) talked about how if you want to feel loved, you must first love. That’s the only line I can remember.
That one line is what made the entire thing sink in for me. I had a revelation. I was sitting there in group thinking that the entire thing didn’t make sense. Did people really not see others as beings? As Mama Bear (formerly known as Baby Mama) says to me and I to her, “as a human, I want to tell you X”. To me, that’s acknowledging that we are both sentient beings with our own loves and hates and thoughts and dreams. It’s acknowledging that we are equal.
Another way to describe it would be, if you saw Avatar. The movie with the weird blue alien things and Sigourney Weaver? In that movie, they say “I see you” in Nav’i or whatever the fuck it’s called. It’s them acknowledging the souls of the other beings. When I first saw Avatar, that really resonated with me and I made a vow to always do that.
Spoiler alert: I don’t always do that. I frequently don’t. It’s only when I’ve come to know the names or have had repeated interactions or even a singular life changing moment with another being that I do. I think to myself “I see you”. I don’t say it out loud because apparently that’s weird and creepy but whatever.
This isn’t just me going “I see that you are a person who likes to draw/hunt/read/write/camp/destroy/parent”. It isn’t me going “I see that you are the relation of X, so I will constantly be comparing you to X”. Those are things that may describe you, but they aren’t you. You are you.
When I was dating Exacerbating Ex, she would constantly ask me “why do you love me” and I would answer “I love you because you are you and because I do”. When I asked her, she would say “because you do X for me or because you are Y”. That is downgrading me to a single aspect of my personality or a single thing that I happen to do. It’s not who I am. I mean, I have Autism and I constantly talk about how I’m the Sarcastic Autist, but that isn’t all I am. I am not just a non-binary being with blue eyes. It’s part of me, yes, I am not going to deny that. But that is not who I am.
I am very lucky to have Mama Bear and Kuma-chan and Cthulu Bait as friends. They love me for me and they acknowledge that I exist. They recognize me as a human. Honestly, without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. They, especially Kuma-chan, have helped shaped me into who I am by giving me the time of day and seeing that I exist. My own mother doesn’t even do that. I exist for her.
I often forget that people don’t have the same beliefs and thoughts as I do. It’s a flaw that I’m trying to work on, along with everything else. Unless I’m mistaken, it’s a Theory of Mind thing that a lot of Autistic people have a problem with. That’s why I try and actively acknowledge people, especially when I’m talking to them. I’ll repeat back what they said in my own words and add my own 2 cents. I’ll also often give an example of something similar I did or experienced to try and verbalize empathy, but that’s another matter.
Sorry, I digress. When I ‘see’ another person, my heart is filled with compassion. I start to care and love for them. It’s almost like a metally heart feeling, I guess. It fills my heart with such joy to see them smile and such sadness when they cry. I want nothing more than all the happiness and goodness in the world for them. Even now, with Exacerbating Ex and Boris, I can’t say I’m really angry with them. I’m just filled with sadness that they are suffering so much. It almost physically hurts.
Today we got new people in group. I was so anxious to see who they were and to meet them, I was spazzing in the waiting room. Twisting at my ear and tugging on my collar and banging on that area. Twisting my arms as though I was opening a door. That sort of thing. I felt ashamed and embarrassed because I try not to do that. Talking about ‘seeing’ other people has made me realize that I don’t even see myself.
I am constantly talking down to myself and judging myself and generally just being a complete bitch to me. Why do I think it’s okay for me to do it if I get onto my friends for their negative self-talk? It’s not a path I enjoy being on. In group, I tend to look around the room frequently. I don’t really notice anyone besides Charon and I moving a lot or anyone besides Charon and Brenda (the other therapist who I don’t really interact with much) looking around. For me, it’s an Autism trait. It’s something that bothers me because it doesn’t always feel like I’m in control of my body when I do that.
It makes me feel bad. However, no one except Charon and me really notice it. Okay, Brenda might, but I don’t care if she does. The other group members have commented on my tic before but never on my spazzing. Charon might not even notice it. I just bring it up a lot in individual time. But noticing that no one really notices that really hit me today. I define myself on shit no one else cares about. That’s not cool to do. That’s not a path I want to be on.
I want to ‘see’ myself as I ‘see’ others, growing and developing humans. I want to ‘see’ myself as nothing more than just me. I want to ‘see’ the person Kuma-chan and Cthulu Bait and Mama Bear ‘see’.
And I want you to ‘see’ you like I do. A being deserving of compassion and understanding.
Because I ‘see’ you.
-The Sarcastic Autist