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Distance

As far back as I can remember I can clearly recall me operating in a time and space of my own. Other people operated around me in their times and spaces. Experiences also happened in their own times and spaces. For me interaction was observing people and events, feeling something about them and a response from me from within my own time and space. My reaction would be acted out, spoken or done silently within myself. I could speak; in fact I had an unusually large vocabulary from very early on. Words were something I was interested in. I would say them to myself often and repeat them lots. I loved their sounds and the feel of my tongue when I pronounced them. I would repeat them to other people, mostly in sentences and forms I had observed. I recall it being a matter of trial and error to see if I got the right words, sentences and intonation for the circumstance. When I was very little this was a source of amusement to adults, later my trial and error attempts at conversation caused criticism to come my way. I was often told that “you should know”, “don’t be stupid”, “oh come on”, “don’t embarrass yourself”, “be quiet if you can’t say anything sensible” and so on.

 

Later in life my speech was not seen as cute or funny. School was a horrid experience in this respect. Adults in my life and children down the road criticised me. I did not know why but the children especially were growing away from me in culture and development. I tried to keep up in a world I did not understand, I tried, I really tried. But my attempts grew further from what was required by other people. A distance grew in my life. I did not know why people I had be close to became further away in culture and understanding. I knew the process was going on, I could measure it but like trying to run through water in a dream I could not close the gap. I don’t know how to describe the feeling it is deep, hollow and something worse than pain. I suppose it is the feeling of the retreat of hope into a life of the fear of death. Like being out in a vortex seeing people I love around the outside while I move on, in and down to oblivion. A fear of downing perhaps, drowning in loneliness.

 

Distance grew and became inevitable. I must have been only five; it was the first year of school, when I got to a sickening acceptance of life being a sort of death. A source of loneliness, a source of nothing, a source of no hope. I remember my first OCD at five. I began pulling hairs out. It was comforting, I could make a feeling that I could control and feel was real in all this slipping sliding, drowning and dying. The feeling was as acute as the thumps of bullies, as acute as the pain in my heart, I had control over it, I got comfort from it. People told me I was a freak so why not look and act like a freak. Somehow I got a horrid realisation that freakish behaviour was the only behaviour I could manufacture that was somehow in line with people’s expectations of me. I this behaviour I could make a connection albeit a hurting one. We humans need relationship to live and grow; the only sort available to me was something broken and odd. I hated it but it was real and I needed it, it was all I had.

 

To be happy and part of the wider scene was what I really wanted but knew I could not reach. I had a reoccurring nightmare, first in my cot and later in my bed. The nightmare was of me in my cot, later in bed and an anvil was across the middle of me and my bed. The other side of the anvil was a house with all the people I loved in it. I could never get to the house because of the anvil. I cried out and no one heard me. I would wake in the night in the dark crying, frightened and alone. I did not seek anyone out; I felt it was no good. Just as in the rest of my life I had to accept loneliness and despair. I would lay in bed too frightened and sad to move until it was light. The coming day would be like the night, a lonely, sad and disconnected experience.