Monday, February 1, 2021

Autism Answer: My "That Reminds Me of Me" Problem.


Me, mom, and my brother, Dar, in the audience.

I love being an audience. Seriously, listening or reading or watching is my jam.
I crave hearing good stories and music; seeing art and nature. I think I would quickly wither away if I was denied these delights. 
In a way, I'm a fantastic audience member. I show up ready to like what I'm about to see or hear and my entire being works to prove why what I'm seeing or hearing is good, valuable, entertaining, and brilliant. I like the feeling I get when I let myself respond with laughter or tears, so if I'm audiencing you and you are there, you'll get feedback. I nod, lean forward, ah-ha, and rarely daydream. 
But, problematically, I also often think or say, "that reminds me of this thing I think, saw, heard, wondered... "
I crave stories and visions from outside of myself, from outside of my scope of thought and experience, in order to learn and be connected with others. In order to be moved by what I don't know. To consider beliefs I would never have conjured alone. And yet the moment I feel a familiarity or recognize myself in the story, I practically pounce on it. Rather than allow the yarn to unravel I attack it with my claws and tear it to shreds. "That reminds me of me!" and at that point I'm no longer really listening. 
I mean, clearly I'm still interested and involved. But - as my children and my love can tell you - I'm less listening and more telling.
However, there is a listening involved in my telling. I'm listening to what reminds me of me and seeking to connect it to the universe around me, and so I'm feeling my way through all the listening I've done before to piece it all together. But in the meantime, I'm not really listening to what's in front of me anymore. And, to make it worse, I'm not letting the folks around me listen either. Or, to make it even worse, I'm not allowing the person talking to continue their story and discover what they may have needed or wanted to discover along the way. I interrupt with "that reminds me of me!" 
I am trying to get better at not doing that. I'm trying to get better at letting the story play out and NOTICE what reminds me of me, FEEL the connection without having to pounce on it. 
Considering how much I love listening to what others are willing to share, and knowing how deeply I adore being shared to and with, you'd think it would be easier for me not to interrupt with "oh, and me!"
But it isn't easy. 
Especially since a little bit of "that reminds me of me" is good. When I've told a story or written a thought I love hearing that it resonated with others! That it reminded them of them! And I like being interrupted with such things as well!
I also love when folks say I made a point they'd never considered, and it gave them pause. This, I love most of all. When it happens to others and when it happens to me. And it happens when someone is a good listener. 
So I'm working on being a better audience. A better listener. 
It sounds so simple but takes work.
Or, is that just me?
*Feel free to say this reminds you of you.*