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10:38 a.m. - 2011-05-29
From a mosh to a waltz.

My feet were nervous at the grocery store yesterday.

Wait. I'll explain. I know I sound uppy and off my chump lately anyhow and my talking about nervous feet isn't helping, but it's not as nuts as it sounds…nor am I. Really. There's a lot of stuff going on offstage right now. A lot. The recent addition of Sandwich Girl duties isn't helping. Turns out I'm ferrying the folks to some medico or other at least once a week now. Not a huge imposition, but seeing them so often (there's MIL at the gym twice a week and usually a weekend meal together too) and I've run out of cheery small talk.

There's big whacking hunks of my life I can't talk about with MIL, not because I have anything to hide but because MIL simply wouldn't get it. Not dumb by any means, just naïve and narrowly focused. I love her so much! Her fierce love for us is a big squeezy hug around my heart. I'm lucky to have her, I just don't have anything left to say to her. Need to let the chit-chat well fill up again. Or broaden things up a bit. Perhaps I can coax my non-reading MIL into starting a book club with me. That'd be ideal. We could use the time on the treadmill to discuss our reading and could stop chewing the same old family stories and what Cousin Annie said in her last letter. This could work. Except for convincing a woman who can't sit still for 3 minutes to curl up with a book and read. Meh, I'll figure something out.

So. Back to nervous feet.

Yesterday Mick and I did the food shopping and I was wearing flip-flops in public for the first time this season. After the long winter and wet chilly spring snug inside boots, shoes and sneakers to have my feet all exposed made them feel vulnerable. They were anxious about getting stepped on or run over by a shopping cart, that's all. Maybe nervous feet aren't common, not like a clenched jaw or balled up fists, but it made sense in context.

Of course I was looking out for strangers, but mostly my feet were nervous being in proximity to a husband driving a shopping cart. In my heart and mind I am confident Mick will never hurt me. My body is slower to believe. Not after 27 years of accidental (yet endless and constant) head butts, elbows to the solar plexus, body slams, and mashed toes.

As with so many things having to do with communication and coexisting peacefully with other people, Aspies tend to have problems with judging personal space. Namely they can't understand the concept at all. Since I met the ex and his tribe o' Aspies I've had all the body safety of a crash test dummy. These people carom off each other like pinballs. They are so BAD at knowing how much room they take up! Maddening. Not only because I've had to spend my life in a perpetual rugby scrum being bonked, shoved, gouged and stomped half to death by my own husband and kids, but because Aspies, mine especially, are typically near-savants at things which need a great deal of physical delicacy and finesse.

Can you imagine the frustration of living with a man who could tear down, repair and reassemble an antique pocket-watch yet couldn't manage to cross the kitchen without knocking me headlong into the sink or opening a cabinet door in my face? Or if not actually wounding me at the moment then he'd be exactly where I needed him not to be. Between me holding the boiling pot of pasta and the sink, for instance. Happened dozens of times. And he'd stand there like a stupe, looking right at me completely unable to comprehend that a woman with a huge steaming pot of water and pasta is going to the sink to drain it. I wasn't taking a stroll with the damn thing. Duh. But I'd have to say, "Michael, I need the sink. Please move."

And guess what? Instead of moving out of the way like any sane person would, he'd startle and lunge right at me! Ever do the flamenco while holding 8qts of boiling water? Quick-stepping and twirling to keep that idiot from crashing into me and scalding me to death.

I'm serious as a heart attack here. It's like living under siege. Never know when or where the next attack is coming from. Mike is really that horrible, and my kids are only less damaging by comparison, but they're both pretty bad. I haven't been without a Wolf bruise somewhere on my battered bod in 14 years.

This seeming carelessness about my physical self (Mike never apologized. NEVER.) and how often I got jostled and banged around had two side effects- one, it reinforced the idea I was this HUGE beast. I must be taking up too much room, why else would they keep running into me? And two, it made me feel ground down, even more worthless. As always I took it in and wondered why I wasn't respected or precious enough to handle with care. I didn't know they couldn't, it always felt like wouldn't. Especially with Mike, too much bother to be mindful of where he was and how he moved, it was only me and not worth the effort.

If I have a regret it's that I didn't know this sooner. If I had known I could have put so many things into better perspective. So much of Mike's contradictory behavior would have been put where it belonged- on him. And I wouldn't have torn myself to bits thinking the deficiencies in his behavior were manifestations of how he felt about me. All the difference in the world between wouldn't and couldn't. The latter you can fairly judge what you can live with and work around and what the deal breakers are. With the former, if you're a doormat like me, well you kill yourself in the effort to turn that 'wouldn't' into 'want to'. Sad waste, so much of it.

This is where Mick comes in. Mick is as careful of me as I've always craved. It's wonderful to be this relaxed. I don't have to live tensed up all the time, always waiting to fend off the next blow and never knowing if it'd be an emotional or a physical gut slam. The ex hit me with the car and laughed it off, and the other night Mick leaned on my arm (it was under the pillow) and when I said, "Ow." Mick got off my arm instantly and started gabbling apologies. After getting none at all since forever, sometimes Mick's remorse seems outsized and excessive. But I have no guide stick for what a 'regular' amount of apology should be. More than none but less than cutting off an ear, I guess.


Flinchy of feet but steady of heart, ~LA


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