Teenage Emotions

“If I ever get to sleep

I’ll be deep inside my dreams where no one bothers me”

I’ve been watching the Somnolians’ end of the year posts roll off the line quietly, unsure of what I’d say for mine. I’ve been auditing one memory after another, one hobby after another, one stress after another, trying to compartmentalize this decade in one form or another. I’m sitting on the floor of an empty bedroom in Ohio as I write this. That’s my celebration.

In reality, I have no life experience. It’d probably be the easy, mature thing to say that none of it matters much, but it matters to me. It’d be the logical, me thing to do to say no one cares about this stuff and that it’s not content, but that’s exactly what I’m hoping to get over if I just say it. I think it might explain the behavior too.

I’ll put it like this. I have Asperger’s. People don’t tend to notice because I browbeat most of the really obvious symptoms out of myself years ago. Even now, it feels a little strange to admit it because I thought it was the worst thing ever for so long. Figured if I couldn’t cure it, I just wouldn’t let it show.

I don’t remember exactly when my fear of being autistic started to creep in. Don’t even really remember when it stopped registering, though it wasn’t that long ago. I guess it was part bullying and part finding ED from some of the weirdos I was hanging around and got convinced they’d come for me. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I was young, and I was lonely. Nobody told me that, nobody taught me how to use the internet, I just figured it out myself. That autism? Would get me laughed at.

Was scared at 13, man. I took it as gospel that if I wanted people to care, I’d have to be something special and make them care. If I didn’t want to get made fun of, real life or online, I’d have to not be autistic. I started bean-counting everything I did. Walk normal. Don’t talk weird. Don’t make weird noises. Don’t like things that are too weird. Don’t be annoying. Don’t let them know.

I couldn’t just let myself enjoy things, what if they thought it was autistic? Eventually, that stress for myself got applied to people who were autistic around me. They reminded me of me too much. I had to either shout them into submission or mock them into submission. I remember freaking the fuck out at some random guy on Steam for even suggesting there was nothing wrong with being a sperg. Eventually mockery became my entire sense of humor.

Even after it stopped really bothering me and I let people know to whatever extent, I still couldn’t enjoy things. I still couldn’t just write for pleasure, it had to be for something. Still kinda can’t. And that became why no one else could enjoy things either. And again—did it to myself. I was why I couldn’t just let things be.

(And yeah, I’m sure it sounds a little strange that my solution to not being seen as a sperg was to sperg the fuck out in community after community, but I guess that’s the beauty of figuring this stuff out on your own. Can’t always see the burrs.)

It takes a cocktail of things to create a kid as fucked up as I was, but I’m not going into a sob story. We’ve all got ’em. I was just kind of a sperg with parents who had no expectations. I occupied myself with the internet, long before the tablet kids today. I lived in my own head and I made things. I don’t have any of those things anymore. Not the videos, not the Flipnotes, not the notebooks. Somewhere down the line, I was convinced they were the product of being that autistic kid and I burned it all off. I regret it now.

It’s funny when I look at Sebastian and remember Caby based him off of me. This irritable, exacting dweeb who can’t let stuff be. It’s not the most flattering portrayal, but it is accurate, maybe moreso than Colton, who I identify more readily with. I just don’t know if I want it to keep being accurate. Maybe Colton is closer to an ideal for me, and Seb is the reality. It’d make some of their interactions oddly meaningful, wouldn’t it?

I remember reading a Cracked article long before they went to shit about, God, I don’t even remember—lies in movies or something. They had one that was about childhood bullies and how they always turned out to have something going on at home. The idealistic way of looking at it. The article took the more cynical route and countered that sometimes, you just get someone who’s naturally a fucking dick.

I’ve long wondered which one I was closer to. At this point, I think they’re both wrong. I created a lot of problems for myself when I was younger, and that’s been something I’ve come around to completely separately: people create their own problems. Thankfully, they’re just that—problems. Fixable.

Last night, Somnolescent celebrated its one-year, and we had a group call for it. Whether due to the fact that I’m not at home on my proper setup or exhaustion, I just let things happen. I let people fumble over each other. I let borb make noises. I didn’t shout down someone to let Caby speak. I listened for a lot of it. It was nice. It was the moment where I kinda let go of the responsibility of being “the head asshole”, because who am I?

Exactly the same as everyone else in there, really. I just keep the lights on.

And, since I know they’re the ones who’ll read this first? Thanks guys. I’ll get in your way less next year.

“If I ever get to sleep

I’ll be deep in my dreams, just you and me.”

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