Okay, so I’ve been thinking more about why the flashlight had such an impact. I do have a cellphone that has a flashlight and I do use that flashlight a lot. However, I think that since I use my phone so much that it is a piece of every day equipment to me, like my inhaler or my shoes, that the flashlight app doesn’t seem out of the ordinary.
Now, you take the flashlight, which is just a cheap flashlight that I’ve had since forever, and you have this object that has only one purpose, to make dark areas bright. I don’t think I mentioned, but the flashlight was on my bike so I could see where I was going without running over rocks or something. I only had it because I can’t bike safely in the dark while trying to hold my phone up for illumination. I would get hurt.
The flashlight’s sole purpose in life is to make light. The light was yellow and it wasn’t the brightest, but it was there. It was a tool outside of myself that helped me calm down. I’ve always relied on sensory stuff to calm me down, things that I could feel on my immediate person. This was something that affected the world outside of myself and showed me that I was safe. There was nothing to be afraid of.
My phone is almost always on me. I use it for just about everything, from music to games to messaging people to emails to shopping to weather and more. It’s an extension of me. I had to go dig around for the flashlight, even though I know we have at least a half dozen floating around the house. We also have a bunch of candles and lighters.
This entire thing made me realize how much I try to make do with what tools and skills I have and how I tend not to ask for help. I grew up believing that I had to be self-sufficient and do everything myself and if I couldn’t do it myself then I wasn’t trying hard enough or I was stupid and worthless. If I absolutely couldn’t do something, I needed to give up on it and just accept that I’m an idiot who can’t do such things.
The way I was raised, I was taught that God tested you all the time and your family and your friends would test you as well, to make sure you were staying on the right path. You couldn’t ask for help for these ‘tests’ and you couldn’t ask if they were tests. You were just supposed to know what to do and how to overcome the challenges. And if you didn’t know, you were supposed to pray to God and He would tell you. Beyond that, you were on your own. If bad things happened to you, it was God punishing you or testing your faith.
I still think that way a lot. I can’t ask for help because I’m going to get punished somehow. I need to wait for someone to offer to help because that means they see that I’m trying and helping me helps them in some way. And that’s some majorly fucked up thinking. I mean, who goes around believing that they aren’t truly worthy of being helped? That the only reason they get helped is because the helper gets something out of it? I help people because I like making people happy. However, clearly other people help me because then they get to have the satisfaction of helping that ‘poor, disabled autistic person’. It’s fucked up.
I should really talk to Charon about this on Monday because, holy shit, I had no idea I was still harbouring such intense feelings of self-blame for things.
As always, thanks for listening. Have a good day. I’m going to read and watch a horror movie.
-The Sarcastic Autist