For being only twenty-two, I feel like I've lived a lot of life. Or, rather, have had a lot of life experiences, largely negative, happen within a time frame that is atypical from the average white, middle-class lady experience. At the same time, though, it feels like I haven't lived at all--most of the cultural markers of adulthood have not happened to me yet. And I guess to some extent, that list is subjective; it's true that I did go to college, did purchase my own first car (or got a loan for it, at lease, lolpun), went abroad, have road tripped independently, et cetera.
The life experiences I'm referencing the lack thereof, however, are more in regards to relationships. Now that I've got my AS diagnosis, this really makes sense, because even if someone were all, "ohey, sexual," it would probably go right over my head. Conceptually, I understand flirting and its function in male-to-female relations (lolheterosexism, but in this case, it's applicable), but as I can neither understand nor reciprocate these subtle and confusing cues, I feel #foreveralone.
Rudy Simone touches upon this subject (re:sexypantsness & dating) in Aspergirls, and the entire chapter is marked to hell with OMGWTFBBQs and exclamation points because finally, finally, FINALLY someone GETS it and explains it in a way that makes it seem like I'm not a pouty, whiny thirteen-year-old who thinks it's the end of the world because a boy did not ask her to the middle school dance. It runs deeper than that. WAY deep, like in the way that my brain is wired. Here is the thing she said (one of them, anyway) that makes SO MUCH SENSE to me: "Informed thought-out choices are the best ones as opposed to 'love at first sight' for an Aspergirl, simply because we don't read others' intentions all that well at first, and we may take longer to get to know someone. Ideally we must try and take our time."
The extent to which this profoundly touched me cannot adequately be put into words. As I've said before, a lot of my friends are procreating, living together, getting engaged, married, real life employment, and I feel like I'm absolutely drowning in all the not adult things I'm doing with my life. Simone helped me to understand that not only is this a typical thing for a lass with AS, but it is actually a GOOD thing--I mean, statistics about marriages being more successful when entered upon later in life aside, I realize that at this point in my life, I don't actually want these things. What I'm feeling is partly cultural pressure, but mostly (and more acutely) the fact that I will always be behind developmentally, and it's statistically likely that everything my friends do, I'll be doing five to ten years later.
And that's okay. Good, even.
I am where I am because I need to be. What's meant to be will always find a way. Other various cultural cliches.
Also, since my brain mostly processes things on the level of Disney, these quotes from Mulan are super applicable:
Fa Zhou: My, what beautiful blossoms we have this year. But look, this one's late. But I'll bet that when it blooms, it will be the most beautiful of all.
The Emperor of China: The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.
The Emperor of China: You don't meet a girl like that every dynasty.