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[personal profile] dancingdragon3
For friends and visitors new to me, I moved away from my hometown for the first time a little over ten years ago. Though I did travel a lot in my teens and twenties, I had never been away from Knoxville for more than three weeks at a time. I’ll be 44 this summer. Since about six months after moving here, I have had serious issues with homesickness, including nightmares, a spike in generalized and social anxiety/agoraphobia, depression, and a hard to explain mental mapping issue.

One of the things I’ve been doing recently to counteract the homesickness is to find places in Charlotte where I will be comfortable going to on a regular basis, similar to places in Knoxville I would visit regularly. Besides bookstores, movie theatres, and restaurants, ‘pagan shops’ fall in this category big time. So, while on an unexpected break from work, I went to a small pagan shop in the same neighborhood as my job.

It’s only one of two such shops that I know of in all of Charlotte, but I’ve only been there a couple of times. It’s very small. So much smaller than the like in Knoxville, that it was depressing and discouraging at first, but also fear of knocking something over in those tiny aisles. They burn too much incense with not enough ventilation. And also, the name of the store bothers me because it’s a derogatory term for a homeless woman. (Surely, the owner has a good reason, and I plan to ask next time I go in.)

But, if I want to find familiarity in Charlotte, and have reassurance that ‘people like me’ exist here, I need to set such trivialities aside, right? The answer turned out to be yes, lol, and very glad I did, because after seeing that Llewellyn publishers has put out their own gigantic book on mindfulness, I spied another book...

The Asperkid's (Secret) Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-So-Obvious Social Guidelines for Tweens and Teens with Asperger Syndrome

Incredible! This is the book I’ve been looking for and believed all ‘normal’ people had already read. Just knowing that I wasn’t the only one who felt like there was a rule book out there that I’d never had access to, did so much to evaporate much of the bitterness that had built up over the years against normal people, life, and myself.  (Note: I have not yet been diagnosed by a professional, but that's on the to do list.)

Why I personally like it: It is filled with info I imagine many people wouldn’t bother to tell me, as they would be right in assuming I should already know it. I am so very glad that this is where I’m starting in learning about Asperger's, beyond online sources. You can start watching a show in the middle of a season, but until you go back to the beginning, there will always be things you won’t understand.

Also, as a survivor of child abuse, I understand it is likely (and I definitely feel like) parts of my psyche have not and will never ‘grow up’ properly. But I thought it might be good if that part of myself finally got the info they should have received thirty-five years ago. (And it is!. Like each thing I learn, and the realization it causes, the reassessment of past events, makes another scab of bitterness fall away.)

Why others would like it for themselves or family members: Very well written and organized. Written by an asperwoman, partner, and parent of such. It explains how NT's see the world and typical Asper behavior, and how they differ. It covers so much, like social etiquette (and the whys!), grooming, how to choose and keep friendships, boundaries, NT ‘honesty’. Bullying and teasing. Giving feedback to others. Online issues. Just everything (except explicit sex, but it does touch on dating.).

Also, it does not at all read like a 'kids' book, though there are some cute illustrations and occasional fun fonts. (Confession - everytime I look at the cover, my inner child gives a joyful squee and imagines Encylopedia Brown gave us this. I don't care, at least I'm happy and learning important shit!)

So, that’s my latest mental health exploration. I’ve been reading a little everyday since I got it last week, and everyday, I learn something new, or something I’ve only recently figured out is confirmed. And it makes me feel...so much better and more at home. Not so much regarding Charlotte, but more at home within humanity and my own skin. Which in turn, makes me feel better about being here, (and in theory) there, or anywhere, and I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to be the real goal, eh?
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