You know those things that are broken a little bit but you continue to live with without fixing? Like a door that sticks in winter but still closes with a little hip-check. Or a car that makes a loud noise when you reverse slowly but otherwise drives just fine? Or a toothbrush that should be replaced according to the blue “wear indicator” stripe but you know is just fine for another month? I’m kinda that.
In any of these cases, if the problem got worse then they’d get fixed. The door would be shaved down, the car would be repaired, and the toothbrush would be demoted to the one you use to clean the sink drain and the hard-to-reach spots of the toilet.
Well, that’s kinda how I’ve always felt about myself. Broken, but not broken enough to fix.
Here's what I mean:
If my depression / anxiety / licorice-addiction was worse, I would load up on meds. If my sleep was worse, I’d be a legit insomniac. As is, I can squeak out something resembling a “normal” life. I can work to buy food and cook it well enough to feed myself. I have some friends and family that I talk to often. I’ve done some cool things and occasionally please a woman. I pay my debts on time. And I even have a loan-free car that, granted, makes a weird noise when you reverse slowly.
The point is that I’m functional without much assistance and that’s a great thing.
But I’m still kinda broken.
My sleep is wildly erratic, my brain turns to paste more often than I’d like, and group activities are stress-inducing nightmares.
A while back I read an amazing post by an autistic person, called I’m a ‘highly functional’ Autistic. It takes a lot of work. I recommend giving it a read.
In it, they detail the compromises made to live an enjoyable, productive life. I’m not autistic, but I found the ideas behind this post 100% relatable. My list of sacrifices would be different, but the central idea is the same -- giving up a lot so you can handle the basics. What surprised me more was, upon sharing the post with some people in my life, they did not relate.
That was a woah moment.
I always thought my coping mechanisms were mine, sure, but also that everyone had their own problems and their own way of coping. Apparently, some people find the “normal” things “easy.” Huh.
You never really know which of your experiences are things we all go through, and which are not as common. Particularly for the parts of life we talk about less, like sex or being all cray-cray in the skull zone.
I guess my point here is this: if, in interactions with others, I come off mean, or distant or strange, it’s not my intent. It’s no slight against the other person I may be ignoring or not responding to enthusiastically. That person — most people — are probably wonderful. It just takes me a lot of work to nail down the basics and there ain’t always that much left in the tank for others.
Like an old home though, maybe that’s my charm. And the place ain’t fallin’ down so I don’t expect I’ll be doing any major drug-induced renovations to my house-personality anytime soon. Maybe some more frequent dusting. And the closets could be more organized. And maybe a new rug for the hallway.
I like my personality-house generally, even if it's not as suitable for the harsh world as others may be.
Photo By Jacob Sierra