The Pain and Necessity of Autistic Relationships: "Being Alive"
Adrian Lester sings "Being Alive"
I was thinking about this song tonight while I was walking the dog, and then a note a friend left on Facebook made me think of it again. Lots of great talk about relationships among my aspie and autie friends lately. Lots of hope. Lots of pain.
A couple of things I want to say:
If I didn't love him, and if he weren't so hugely tolerant of me, I would have gotten very annoyed with Max today. Because he made me spend three hours in a tile and marble store. It was filthy and loud, and the people were hard for me to handle-- too friendly, too clannish, too white (I can never move back to Oregon; crowds of all white people now make me nervous and angry.)
And we also ended up doing some other things that are just sort of painful to me, things I would have asked to spread out if I'd known Max had been going to pack so many of them into one day. I won't be able to sleep much tonight because I'm too agitated.
And that's sort of annoying, and I'm glad that I get to be home in my own place and not having to be quiet.
When I told him I wanted to go home rather than sleeping at his house, he asked if I would lie down with him until he got to sleep first. And I was glad he did-- we had very nice day together, it was just hard on me. I like that my presence is comforting to him. Part of me enjoyed lying down and holding him, even though I knew I wasn't going to fall asleep myself, and part of me was sort of bored, anxious, and annoyed.
Raul Esparza sings "Being Alive"
And what was the point of all that, other than to frighten away the homophobes who find the image of me holding my 70-year-old boyfriend until he falls asleep just too shocking?
Relationships are painful to me.
They are still worthwhile.
No matter how autistic you are, you need people in your life.
No matter how neurotypical you are, sometimes having those people there will hurt you.
That's part of it. Since I've already frightened away the prudes, let me share a simile with you:
Being autistic makes every encounter a little bit like sex: messy, intrusive, either boring or too intense-- painful, even. But even though relationships, like sex, sometimes take so much out of us that we wish we could live without them, most of us can't.
Love hurts. Friendship hurts. Family hurts. The people we work with sometimes do little else.
We still need them.
Dean Jones sings "Being Alive"
My friend Adam asked about collecting things the other day. I collect music, and have gone through times when I've become obsessed with finding different performances of the same material. Here are three versions of the last song from Stephen Sondheim's musical Company. It says all of this much better than I can. I don't care which one you pick, but I hope you'll listen to it.
And that you will be as fully alive as you can.