One of the main reasons I express myself through the characters and scenes of Jelly’s World is because communication for me—especially verbal—is so challenging.
Not only am I on the spectrum, but I had a very strange upbringing.
My parents didn’t act like neurotypical parents. I was left to raise myself for the most part, which required a lot of observational skills since I really wasn’t allowed to ask many questions.
My parents didn’t read to me. They held little infractions that I made in kindergarten against me well into my adult years. They never praised me and, when I did well in school, recognition was withheld lest the other kids in my class—who didn’t try as hard—felt bad.
I was discouraged from pursuing my artistic talents. I wasn’t allowed to go to college. I definitely wasn’t allowed to express myself or my emotions. An occasional smile or quick laugh were the only two approved modes allowed. Silence was much preferred.
I write these things as a preamble to explain why social situations are so impossible for me to negotiate successfully.
I’ve had exactly one friend during all of my adult years and that person I married. Most other friendships failed to form and if by chance they did, they didn’t last long because to get to know me requires learning a secret language that words fail to relay.
First off, the world as a whole is terribly overwhelming to me. I take everything in all of the time. I’m Sherlock Holmes on steroids. Therapists are amazed I don’t do drugs.
Secondly, I am extremely sensitive to the energy around me. Most of the time I’m in stealth mode, which makes me appear to most as only mildly more interesting than a piece of melba toast.
When I run into difficulties with people it’s usually because they assume they know where I am coming from and they respond in a corrective or guilting manner.
Trust me. Unless you pay very close attention to what I am saying and ask clarifying questions you will be wrong every time you try to guess what I’m getting at.
I’m not guessable. My mind works in ways that you can’t imagine. The normal grease of social niceties fail to work for me because I’m much more focused on the clockwork underneath the facade that society wishes to show.
I pick up on unspoken thoughts. I know when words and actions don’t jive with the vibe I’m feeling. I catch inconsistencies in statements and I know when I’m being lied to or judged unfairly.
If I trust you enough to express myself all I want is a hearing ear.
People on the spectrum are prejudged most of the time. We don’t give the right cues for most people to pick up on. We’re either overlooked or shunted aside. We’re rarely engaged with fairly. People’s patience usually gives out way before we’re given an honest chance.
I know that these words won’t matter to most people. Today’s world is fast moving and most times people just don’t have time for “misfits” like me.
I get it, but you’ve got to know that I wear my “mis-fitness” proudly.
Like I said before, I see past the facade that society puts up. This is the same facade that causes so many of society’s problems because it prevents us from dealing honestly and truthfully with each other. We talk from the head about ideals but we rarely talk from the heart.
When I express myself, it’s not bullshit. I don’t play games, sugar-coat or confirm unrealistic fantasies.
When I talk about something that’s important to me, I may seem harsh or loud. Don’t mistake this for anger. It’s not. I have a very difficult time actually making the words come out—especially if I feel that I am being misunderstood.
Be patient. Listen. Ask questions. Be curious.
Only those who have successfully gotten past the obstacle course that defines my personality will ever get to see the true me—the me with the wicked sense of humor and love of facts and wordplay.
I’m a hoot to be around. If you haven’t seen this side of me it’s because I’ve sensed that you judge more than you listen.
I challenge you, take the time to learn my secret language, you’ll be glad you did.
—Tessla, Lost Soul Found