March 9th, 2006

Evocatively me

Woes versus Accomplishments

Many people have genetic problems. Things they did not contract but manifested. People deal with these conditions every day. Is it a litany of woes? Maybe. Maybe not. I tend to think of these things - when I do actually think of them - as challenges overcome or accomplishments. People tell me I'm so well put together. So with it. I smile and thank them. Most of the time, I don't think about what I've overcome or deal with everyday.

I have scoliosis. It is curvature of the spine. More than I should have. It's a mild case. I've had it all my life. I used to do exercises for my back to retard the curvature. These days, I don't do them because I never remember. The only time I do is when my hip gets out of whack and starts popping as I walk. Or, I've been sitting funny and part of my back goes to sleep.

I had a lisp and a stutter. I spent three years in speech therapy to help me speak normally or relatively normally. I still have a slight lisp. (Hell of a word there.) I hardly ever stutter anymore. It only seems to kick in when I'm really tired. If I run into a word that gives me trouble these days, I will attempt to say it 2-3 times, then simply say, "That word I can't say." Sometimes, a person will say the word for me and I will ask them to say it again so I can repeat it.

I have a mild form of autism. This manifests in three main ways. First, I can't deal with loud sounds very well. They occasionally provoke a flight of fight reflex. This includes raised voices. It's worse if it is directed at me. Flight is the dominant response of the two.

Second, I rock. I will sit in my chair and rock back and forth or side to side. Most of the time, I don't notice the rocking. Rocking can mean any number of things. One friend noted, "You only rock when you are tired, hungry or upset." I think I can add one more time - when I'm concentrating very hard on something - a conversation, the computer, the TV. I have rocked for as long as I can remember. I used to rock myself to sleep; lying on my side, rocking forward and back on the pivot point of my side. I'm not the only one in my family to do so. I know both my older sister and twin brother used to rock themselves to sleep as well.

Third, I occasionally, though rarely, disappear inside myself to the exclusion of all else. Fortunately, this third thing only happens when I am very comfortable and feel safe. It does happen outside the home but not often. I liken it to wide awake dreaming. I will think about something so hard that all outside stimulus becomes incorporated into my waking dream. My eyes are open but unseeing. A siren becomes a bird call in my thoughts. Someone talking to me becomes a bee buzzing. My name called will become a flower talking to me. I have lost hours to these waking dreams and frightened roommates with their inability to get me to respond to them. Most times, though, all it takes is a touch to bring me back to reality.

All of these things are genetic and part of me. Kind of like my nearsightedness and like my bad eyesight, I just deal with them. I don't have a choice in the matter. I suppose I could pity myself but that would get old quickly. It's funny. I haven't thought of this in a while. I'm not sure why I'm thinking of it now. I suppose because it is a good thing to take stock every once in a while. Nice to pat myself on the back and say, "Good job, girl. Keep it up and don't let the bastards (conditions) get you down."