Thursday, 9 April 2009

Somewhere in the mist

I find it not exactly easy to express my feelings to
others. I usually keep it in. Take all in, soak like
a sponge and then... Then there is that one drop
too many and I EXPLODE. Like a volcano - all my
frustration is blurted out in both languages with
accompaniment of doors and pots, sometimes even
stomping my size 2 feet (not much noise there so
I don't do it too often). It lasts roughly 5 minutes and
I'm back to my normal, laid back self.

The point is, I know exactly what I'm doing, why and
what upset me. I am aware that I choose to be so.

The different story is with my little girl. Being autistic,
she not only has the difficulty expressing her feelings.
She is very affectionate towards the close people to her,
but those who she doesn't know - well, she lacks empathy.

I remember an incident in a park. We were walking past
a little crowd gathered around an elderly woman who
collapsed. We found out someone already called 991, so
there was nothing more to do. What struck me, Cirwen
looked at this woman she talked to everyday about her dog,
and says: "Oh, she's dead." and kept walking. Just like this.
No emotion, no empathy in her little voice (6 years old at
the time).

I froze inside. Am I bringing up a cold hearted tiny person?
Is she pretending to be sympathetic towards us because
she was told that's how she should feel?

We had a chat later at home. She couldn't really explain
what she felt there, in the park. In her logic, the woman
was very old (which really meant older than me), so may
be it was her time to go. She didn't feel sad, because it
was just a lady from a park, whom she barely knew, and
she had no place in Cirwen's immediate life. She was not
bonded or used to this person, therefore, there was no
emotional attachment. She didn't feel sad, because the
lady had a "long life already". It was just pure logic. Not
inhuman - just reasoning of a six year old who took three
years to be able to sit on her grandmother's lap. That's
how difficult it is for her to bond with people. What
follows, that's how difficult it is to let herself to get
emotionally involved even with the family members.

No, she isn't a cold hearted beast. She is eleven now and more
opened to everyone. She can brave an "I love you" and adores
her little brother. Yet, she refuses to talk about the "bad
days" at school, she is very easily offended by other kids. These
are the sad feelings she is afraid to express. She knows now
she is different than her friends, yet sometimes, despite my
reassurance that different is good, beneficial, she wants to fit
in. Just a little bit.

And then there is the mysterious "I'm sad... I just don't feel
myself today"
. I haven't discovered yet, what it is. I have
to wait till she finds another words to describe what she feels.
Till then a hug must suffice, my love and kiss on the hair.

There is a very affectionate, warm and loving person in my
Cirwen. At the moment however, she is still in the mist of
confusing actions of people she knows, disorienting feelings,
looking and testing for what can be harmful or safe.

One day, I know, she will find her path to come out of
the mist and bloom.


  1. No, I do not think that you are bringing up a cold hearted tiny person. No, not at all.

    Just the fact that all of you were able to talk about it later at home, says it all.

    There is just so much that I do not understand yet. But sometimes I think that their world is so much better. They 'see' things that we never take the time for.

    Thank you for sharing this with us today.

  2. Hi Libertine,

    "One day, I know, she will find her path to come out of the mist and bloom"

    That is the hope and faith that has carried you for the past eleven years; it will not desert you.

    The are so many emotions a child feels at eleven, I think it's good and understandable that Cirwen, "...wants to fit in. Just a little bit."

    As she continues to receive the love and encouragement from you and family, she will discover her own distinct voice and with it a way to convey and express what she feels.

    I appreciative that you are sharing your family with me. There is much I do not know or understand, but I am learning. I have you, Cirwen and another blogger (Jenn) teaching me. For that I am most grateful.


  3. The other day I heard such an interesting line: "I'm here! Come find me." , that can be applied to just anybody, there is always that "better self" inside us just waiting to be found, waiting to bloom. Some flowers just need more time :)

  4. "despite my reassurance that different is good, beneficial, she wants to fit in. Just a little bit." That's what I go through a lot with my own. And you know as a mother you can't "fix" that one...and it makes it so hard--especially on the heart strings.

    The good news is...that she realizes on some level that she wants to fit in. There are many children on the spectrum that just aren't that aware of there surroundings or can process the complexities of their social environment or maybe they can but can't express it. And I would have to say that if she is able to realize her position in context of a social's awesome.

    Loved the blog...I can relate on so many levels.

    Cheers, Jenn.

  5. Since I'm new here, I've only this one entry to go on. I have no experience with Autism, so I'll refrain from speculating there. However one sentence caught me, this one....."

    And then there is the mysterious "I'm sad... I just don't feel
    myself today"

    I found it interesting because I myself have learned to say that outloud to my family when I'm having a down or off day. Some days, I'm just not happy, or chipper and instead of stewing in silence that worries the people around me, I say almost that exact sentece and they know now it just means I'm off. I'm not mad at anyone, I'm not irritated, no one needs to take anything personally, just let me be off........

    I tell you that, just to think about it in another perspective. Perhaps, it's not a bad thing.........

  6. Hey there, I'm enjoying reading your posts. Your daughter sounds like a very special little girl! She seems to be able to articulate her feelings quite well for a young girl of her age.

    You know, based on your description of people having a hard time understanding what's been said... I don't think this trait is limited to those with autism! In fact, I can think of a bunch of people who, at times, have a really hard time understanding other people.

    I know you're talking about something quite different here, perhaps, but are we really that different? Is it just that someone's been given a diagnosis and a label, and someone else hasn't?

    The diversity of who we are as human beings is simply not celebrated enough. I'm fairly certain I know a number of high-functioning people that, while they may not be autistic, have to be somewhere on the spectrum between whatever is considered 'normal' and autistic.