One portion of “He Was Weird” that gets completely over romanticised in comparison to my own life experiences is the one chapter where everything goes right for Mark. It is true, I went away to a summer camp for a week where I was the star of that week but I didn’t have the big romance that occurs in the story. There was a girl that I liked and she was my partner for the chicken fights in the swimming pool and there was a planned liaison after lights out that never happened but nothing else like the story. In fact, most of the experiences from that chapter came during the final summer I worked at the camp. It was at this point when I experienced my first love and that was where a major Asperger’s moment came up for me.
At seventeen, I was fully immersed in the teachings of the Gospel. I remember a minister stating that short term romances and one night stands were against God on the grounds it wasn’t love but lust. Therefore, when the summer ended, in her mind and the minds of many others, the relationship did too. Unfortunately, because I took what that minister had said quite literally, I did this with many of those who were learned with religion back then, I couldn’t accept that the relationship was over and tried to carry things on with somebody who lived 85 miles from me. While I wrote dutifully to her, she, on the other hand was slow in reply. I should have seen this as a sign but instead, I saw it as Satan trying to mess things up for me. To make a long story short, I spent most of my senior year feeling confused and depressed on account of it. The advice I was given was rejected because it contradicted what that pastor had said. Even when I joined the marines, I carried on the relationship in my own mind. It was only after I began to loosen up on the tight grip on religious teachings that I finally realised that the relationship wasn’t what I had made it out to be.
That might have been my first major experience in the world of women but there were a few minor ones that my Asperger’s mind got in the way of. It seemed that there was always some mental block or misplaced thought in my head when it came to this area. I once got friendly with a girl on a church retreat when asked if I was going to ask her out, all I could think of was the fact that I didn’t have much money to do so. Furthermore, I had a few other wrongly pre-conceived ideas on dating and relationships that made me reluctant to get to know a girl. However, the truth really is that my Asperger’s made me incredibly shy, not just around girls but in general. I could go into volumes about this but I will save it for a future post.
In spite of all my adolescent shyness and fumblings caused by the phantoms in my mind, there was a more major occurrence that totally affected my view on the fairer sex for a long time. When I was in the marines, I got engaged. The girl in question was making all sorts of wonderful plans for us when we were going to be married while at the same time, when I was off serving my country, she was not only cheating on me but was practically flaunting it in front of many of my friends, secure in the knowledge that none of them would say anything out of fear of how I would respond. It was only when my sister witnessed something not right about her she ended things in order to save face. It was only then that I found out about all the cheating and boy did I feel totally humiliated. People I didn’t even think knew the girl would come and tell me how much she had slept around on me. On top of that, one of her friends began spreading lies about me and even threatened to have my ass kicked if she had found any bruises on my ex. To make another long story short, the entire episode left me with a complete lack of trust on women.
Taking on board some rather twisted logic from a former marine buddy, I found some consolation in literally sleeping my way around the world for the remainder of my time in the service. I have to admit, that the vast majority of those encounters were merely business transactions and thinking back, it’s not something I’m very proud of these days. But what had happened to me still lingered in my mind. That with the fact that joining the marines didn’t take away my shyness like I had hoped, (that’s another point for a future post) I found myself experiencing the same problems I had had in my youth. While, I could talk to ladies, provided they broke the ice, I could never bring myself to ask them out. This was compounded by the fact that the two or three I managed to ask out were all in relationships. That left me feeling not a very happy person and as a result I mentally beat myself up for being the way I was and branded myself a hopeless loser.
I know that in some respects, I am coming across as a victim type here, although that’s a common trait with people with Asperger’s and though I intend to go on, I don’t like to write to much in one post as I don’t want the reader to have to read volumes in one go. There is a happy ending to my story but I am going to save that for the next time around.
Next post: Part II
To buy He Was Weird, go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400065688&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird