During my trip to London, I realized that I am a rather brisk walker. As my mother trailed behind me, I thought about the things in life that I am fast at. When taking typing tests, I tend to do fairly well. My whole family bugs me about being a speed reader. My mind jumps around rapidly which is both a blessing and a curse. So, one could argue that I do certain things quickly.
However, I am slow at life.
I noticed this as well in London. When my mother tried to engage me in making decisions, I hemmed and hawed. Pinpointing my location on a map or trying to follow directions took me a great deal longer than it took my mom or others around us. Partly from social anxiety, I stumbled over words and looked at my mom for guidance when speaking to strangers.
My mother, who is truly a saint, also noticed my slow pace. Usually she helped me along patiently, at times with a mildly exasperated shake of her head. However there were times when she grew annoyed with my dawdling behavior. After all, taking the liquids out of my suitcase and walking through security at the airport shouldn’t be that difficult, right?
I hate being a nuisance In fact, when I am being abnormally slow, it probably annoys me more than everyone else. Why is it that I can’t seem to figure out how to follow simple directions or recover from a surprise? It is like I turn into stone and need someone to push, pull, or carry me through the task at hand. Unforgettably for her, my poor mother often ends up serving that task of dragging me through situations after I have frozen.
I suppose that this is part of having Aspergers; certain parts of life take more time for me. However it is difficult accepting that in the society we live in. Everything is supposed to be snappy and done ASAP. How can I survive without getting run over or forgotten! How I wish I knew the answer!
What I do know, however, is that I can learn how to cope with this hectic world. For example, writing down instructions or directions that were given to me is extremely helpful so that I can refer to them as often as needed. Concrete language saves me a great deal of time. For example, I need to know exactly how much time, how far away, what amount, etc. All of things are requests I can make of others.
There are things that I can do on my own as well. Being patient with myself while still stretching myself to proceed at a normal pace is important. After being overwhelmed with people and hectic situations, it is beneficial for me to take time alone in a quiet dark room. Breathing deeply and talking myself through situations has also proved helpful for me.
So, I am a very strange mixture of slow and fast when it comes to life. Maybe sort of like a speedy inchworm. This can prove difficult and annoy both me, my family, and others. However this does not need to hold me back from living. Instead, I need to keep learning coping skills for hectic situations as well continue to care for myself patiently afterward. With each step I take in the right direction, I quicken my slow pace of life a little.