Tag Archives: relationship

Expectations, ASD and me

9 Apr

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aspergers_pr.html

Been reading this and thinking a lot about my relationships. For years in school, everyone told me I was a brilliant communicator. But I did really well in English and writing and academics. So I got to be on stage. I ran for school council, I was popular, I learned to negotiate a setting I knew really well – I nodded to the teachers, supported their endeavours, tried not to get involved in social groups (weird) and always felt intensely emotionally attacked in any kind of argument even if I were only an onlooker. So I stayed away from them.

In Wales, I was quiet most of the time. The things I misunderstood – I let slide. The things that could hurt like being a foreigner in a little town working with kids who’d never been exposed to ‘foreigners’ – I said little. I’ve broken my hand or part of it twice – both times, in public, I didn’t mention how much it hurt. Just that I had fallen. 😉 It took me a day or half a day to be taken to the hospital after I’d finally communicated or someone had seen. In Oxford, they told me I had to learn to be pushy and I got uncomfortable in several personal situations taking this advice rather literally and yet struggling with its execution and having intense social misgivings. I know no other way. If you know Oxford, you know this 🙂

I worry about the little explanations – why doesn’t that one thing make sense in conversation? This makes me explain things really well to an audience verbally. But in one-to-ones when I realise uncomprehension – I explain it over and over again. I don’t know if they understand unless they respond. And I don’t let it slide in personal, intimate conversations – like with one’s mother! My mother and a couple of others that I know well – they tell me I go over it over and over again. And I do calculations with number plates, all the time 🙂

I’ve always liked it. 🙂 It’s fun.

But now I’m wondering more seriously if there is something to it. I’m also thinking of a couple of cousins I have. And friends. I know people who are very different from ‘expected’ – perhaps a lot more so than I. Knowing this would allow me to make sense out of why some relationships (some of my most treasured ones) in particular are especially hard at specific times. Also my mother is one of the most normal people I know 🙂

On the other hand, I do get sarcasm. I might just be particular, and fussy, and very sensitive to relational inflection and simply analyse things too much. That might be just it.

But I can definitely see the challenge of ‘doing society’ in a culture that needs some impressive personal marketing skills! Susan Cain on TED also got me started thinking…

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Songs in the night

3 Apr

It’s one of those days. I bet you want to stop reading now… 😉 But it’s one of those days I really want to hold on to someone and cry. And no, I promise it’s not because I am just being a bundle of moodiness.

 

Work has been crazy – I am responsible for a community house of students at Oxford. And it’s been a pretty horrible day for the community with some serious letting down the side.

My supervisor emailed and asked me for more work tomorrow.

I am scared of all the things that are coming up in my life that I cannot predict and, for the most part, cannot help. Read visas and job applications.

Tomorrow we have a ‘community meeting’ to discuss this troublesome thing in the house that I wish I could tell you about, so you could be my collective, virtual someones to hold and cry!

And I am in the midst of a lot of personal upheaval involving someone quite close to me.

Aaaaahhh and the exams are closer.

 

 

But here is what I know:

You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?

Then my enemies will turn back
when I call for help.
By this I will know that God is for me.

Whether morning dawns or evening fades as it is now, O Lord, you are he who calls forth songs of praise. (Psalm 65: 8)

That girl

2 Apr

It’s been days since I wrote. I know.

I’ve been reading and avoiding reading. And worrying about the future, and realising that oh, He knows so much more than I do. He knows everything.

I’ve also been thinking about all the people that I miss. The fact that everything about this whole course and all the effort and resources depend so much on my getting the data, and of course, successfully not procrastinating for the exams.

And in the middle of all that, I am culturally dependent enough to look at a friend’s photography page and wish that I were that girl.

You know her – with the fire in her hair when she’s in the sun, and the beautiful eyes and the wonderfully poised social interaction. The person everyone loves and admires and respects.

Yes *shame-faced smile*. I’ve been that other girl – you know, the one that’s always wishing instead. The one that looks at stuff and reads stuff with a sort of unhealthy longing, as if my winter of discontent was never made glorious.

For a few days, I’ve reminded myself not to feel inadequate and alone because I am incredibly forgetful of grace. I used to stare out of windows and wonder what it was like to ever fly outside of your country. I cried because I could not (did not) go on a semester abroad and yet it was what God wanted. I used to cry about my family’s struggles as a child.

… And I am here. ME. Because God redeemed that not only to save the lost but to raise the bar as if we’d never stopped moving and moved even faster.

I’ve lived in two (ok, three) countries. Travelled to a couple more. My family has never lacked. And I’ve studied and worked abroad for six years. That’s quite a few semesters there. I have a life that is so much more than I’ve asked for.

So much.

I have so much to be grateful for.

And then I realise that this week we remember that it was ME he died for. And you. Because he made us and he saw that it was good.

You’re not inadequate. You are exactly who he wanted.

Deuteronomy 33:26.

So I’ve come here to say I’m sorry for not writing. Life has taken over, but I’m kinda sorry for when I let anything take over but God.

Trust.

29 Mar

Trust. Trust. Trust. Trust.

It’s like my mantra now.

I wish I could draw because:Image

 

 

Ok, I might be able to handle that. But er…

 

Image

Unconditional trust.

How to get work done – fall in love

26 Mar

I was listening to this video on friendship with God and he quotes someone else (whom I had to look up and found was influenced by the 24/7 movement), who says “lovers will always get more work done than workers.”

You tap into something else when you have the complete, total love of someone. When they have yours. You’ll make things happen, you’ll follow, you’ll lead, you’ll make time for them, and for the things on their heart – if you have to lose sleep, lose everything else. You’ll do it. No?

My students are always good examples because they’re the people I live with 🙂 They’ll be up at 5 am in the morning after a 2 am goodnight from writing a paper. I see them toiling on their work and then suddenly a couple of them – not all, but the ones who are in committed relationships and miss-miss-miss their girlfriend or boyfriend. I’ll hear them outside my hallway again for a quiet spot to talk to the one person they wouldn’t miss for anything.

The thing is God means so much more.

Doesn’t he?

Shouldn’t he?

I don’t know, but I’ve shortened prayer time so often. I’ve slept instead of staying up and praying. Not even one hour. And I’ve always known it is wrong – that the first thing to be taken for granted, the first thing to be cut in on is the thing I love more than life itself.

Is this what happens to relationships even if it should not? You’re in love for about three months – depending on who you are, you stay in love for about a couple of years… Because that was how I was for years after being saved. And then you love but you’re not quite a lover anymore? You haven’t tapped into the intensity the speaker talks about.

You’re on track, you’re doing the things you have to do… You take the garbage out, you give a goodnight kiss, you hold the door but – you wouldn’t give anything up for it. You wouldn’t let yourself get uncomfortable. You’ve never denied love or lost it but your serving the other is a little… off the map, shall we say? My last post is part of all this thinking on the subject… As you can see, I fail.

I don’t know how grace extends to me but it does. And I know that I have never stopped loving and can only be more and more shocked and blessed that God loves me, and how. And yet – I easily forget falling out of my comfort zone into his arms. Feeling his presence for the first time. Knowing that there is nothing I wouldn’t do to keep this. Knowing there is nothing I could do.

And knowing that he could. He wanted to. And there was nothing he wouldn’t do.

Communication in the Bible

22 Mar

I’m trying to find what the Bible says on communication.

I know the emphasis on being slow to anger, and gentle in response to a tell-off. All of that. But I’m looking specifically for how to be open, how to talk to each other, social norms.

I know I’m kinda shooting myself in the foot here. The Bible doesn’t do ‘social norms’. It merely says Be imitators of God.

But if you have an idea of what the Bible might say for how to un-hurt a friend (small or big!), how to be genuine in your care for the other in the way that you talk to them…

We have common sense. Here’s some of mine:

Listen to people. Really listen to them.

Honour their commitment.

Be grateful that they want to spend time with you.

Consider their emotions, anticipate their feelings.

Look for detail – in their reactions and in yours!

And there’s a lot online about how to be friends, how to be a couple, how to be leaders… Especially a lot on dating and marriage from the Christian net circles 😉 Like:

Loving one’s spouse according to the Scriptures involves four elements: 1. A genuine care and concern resulting in self-sacrificial attitudes and actions to meet the needs of your spouse 2. A commitment to fulfill your God-ordained marriage responsibility to your wife or husband 3. A romantic and sexual desire and attraction 4. A commitment to separate oneself from others of the opposite sex for exclusive and permanent romantic and physical intimacy. 

– Ron Jones at the Titus Institute.

But remind me of your favourite verses in the Bible that deal with those things? Or stories in the Bible that allow us to “be imitators”? All those relationships, please! Thanks!

Still crazy

20 Mar

Sometimes I leave home and there is this funny feeling that I’ve forgotten something.

And it’s really hard to put my finger on what. So I walk through the hallway a couple of times, trying different doors, looking busy. When I’m struggling to remember, I can’t really do much else.

I forgot something today.


I forgot about being in love. Like – if someone asked you – you couldn’t really find a moment in your day when you haven’t been thinking about him. Checking your phone, checking your latest letter. I forget how perfectly he understands and I know it when we’re together. How my heart slumps down in relief like a body after a marathon because I know he’s got me covered.

You know when people are in love. Right? And I flatter myself I can tell when it’s real.

And I wonder if they hear it – this sigh of relief when I’m home not because I have a comfy, worn down, old armchair, or because I have my mug and coffee, or even murukku in it. But because I can hear his voice over my shoulder, by my side, and it doesn’t startle me. It’s old, familiar, loved.

It’s gentle.

A while ago, I wrote this and it turned out to be my most popular post. I called it crazy that I forget about this man who would and did give his life for me, this God who gave me life. I forget.

What makes me cry?

Looking at love.

Inside a dream

13 Mar

I’ve just realised something anew. I am living in a God-sized dream.

These last few days, I have been so scared of doing the wrong thing. Of messing up in an assignment, that I just haven’t done it. Fear is just that crippling.

And then, suddenly, I’ve realised that I need to let God do his work in me. I hold on to myself too hard.

This is his dream. I underestimate my life. You underestimate yours. He initiates. He will bring it to completion.

Hey, Littlest

11 Feb

My students – well, not mine. But it’s either that or calling them ‘the kids’ which is misinterpretable to the uninitiated, not the least of the reasons being that there are about forty of them!

Anyway… Start over. My students keep asking me if I have any nicknames. What is my favorite shortened version of my name? Did my family really call me by name…? My name is a three-syllabled thing. Shorter than Elisabeth. Longer than Charlotte. Not Anglo-Saxon. But it’s not hard to say and it always strikes me that people who complain about saying it, complain not so much because it’s ‘long’ which is what they think they’re complaint because 😉 but because it’s ‘foreign’ and when someone’s name is foreign AND long, I mean that’s just way too much trouble. Not only do you expect to learn something non-English, non-American – you want us to not even make it easier on ourselves…

And yet, no one complains about say, Giovanni, Madonna or even Angelina Jolie. Just something I suspect, but I daresay no one even notices as a prejudice in themselves. I am not unsuspect in this either. Me too!

But it is true. My family really always has bothered to call me by my whole name. All three short syllables of it. And the only other nicknames they gave me were terms of endearment.

And pretty unusual ones at that. Ever noticed some terms of endearment come more naturally to some people than others? I could never say ‘darling’. I don’t know why. I try – even to a puppy, I can’t manage it with a straight face.

😀

My mother often calls me ‘her baby girl’ or just her baby. I’m not baby anymore, that’s for sure. I’m definitely not any more the little, plump, curly-haired thing you hauled on to your lap that that phrase brings to mind! Lol.

But it’s the kind of protective, stepping-in-for-you surge of emotion that probably brings that phrase to her mind. And it’s the knowledge of that affection that can still make me clog up when she writes completely ridiculously sentimental stuff like:

xxx.xxx@gmail.com

I love you, my baby girl.

_____

I mean seriously – how can I ever read my email in a library?! Haha. But my eyes still well up, because I know she does love me. And I miss her.

So no. I got the whole three syllables plus a whole lotta love in eeeeven LONGER terms of endearment from that source. So still trying to find a response to my students, my mind tracked back to my dad.

The dad is pretty stoic in some ways. He’s the kind of dad who, when faced with the teary-eyed, trembling lip precursor to a good cry, will quickly and staunchly pat you awkwardly on the back and say ‘Now, now’. In as soothing a tone as he can manage. He gave pretty decent hugs though – if you managed to get one off him as his daughter, he’d grunt comfortably and give you a hug… Before, of course, patting you strongly and firmly on the back with a ‘Now, now’ equivalent.

Yet he’s also pretty emotional when he’s emotional.

And then my mind tracked again to the father who’s always been near. I must admit my father unashamedly hovers. Like he did at creation. Good habits die hard 🙂

I have so much love to be thankful for. The father, my mum and dad… Today I’m thinking about them. My dad’s nickname for me was a Tamil variant – Chinza – that simply meant ‘a little person’. I figure he didn’t lose out on the protective streak either. But it’s a diminutive (look that up, if you need to). In English, it would sound sorta like ‘Hey, Littlie’ but not in any demeaning way that that could imply. When the dad wanted a game or to pick me up or to go on a drive together, he’d often start with ‘Hey, Chinza!’

Hey, Littlest.

It is one of those words I’ve never heard without love. So last night, I pushed my bike up the hill considering my rather-unsharable nicknames. Considering proofs of love I knew. And I think my head became quite silent inside. God stopped me. My father stopped me.

Hey, Littlest.

I love you more than anyone else. More than you can ever know. 

Who moved my grace?

10 Jan

I just got asked (well, in a virtual sense)… Okay, okay, I’m asking myself to answer this question. Do I have sensitive nerves?

Yes. I do not forget hurt easily. I remember how one birthday, someone said ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter what you want’ to me. It was my birthday. I’d worked myself up to a sense of entitlement. The words still hurt. Efforts that people make for my birthday – beautiful, loving efforts by the many people who love me even when they are several countries away – still bring up a lump in my throat. Efforts the same person who said that makes – they’ve forgotten – still bring a heavy lump.

I remember a designated ‘best friend’ in primary school who I am still in touch with and excited to see on the rare, random occasion. As we walked up the main, rather grandiose staircase at school, she turned down towards me and said we weren’t friends anymore because she wanted to be friends with someone else.

Ever since then I have intense social awareness. One of my friends called me ‘popular’ and I wanted to laugh my guts out. If I don’t get an inside joke, if I stand a little outside a circle – these are very few times. People are usually incredibly gracious even in their hardest times…

But I am intensely aware. Intensely analytical. And always overly conscious never to leave someone out. It doesn’t matter if I’m the only one explaining, and it doesn’t matter if the conversation has moved on – I’ll probably make the time to explain it to you. I’m not saying I’m that nice. Possibly OCD? 🙂

Because here’s the thing – my sensitive nerve is trust. Any slight erosion of it remains with me a long time. Unless it is directly addressed, I find it hard to forget.

And yet do I not serve a God who pours out his love into my heart? Who forgives over and over, and then also trusts me  to continue to fulfil his vision, do what he entrusted me with in the first place or more? I receive this grace time after time. And – as Angela reminds me – do I not set my hope fully on the grace that will be brought to me through the revealing of him? It’s there. Everyday. If I can just remember to reach across my unwieldy self to hold it in open hands…

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