It is Thursday morning and I am standing at my bedroom window opening the curtains, much to my relief, blue sky and sunshine greets me. It is so nice to open the blackout curtains and find an energy giving day outside, a view with gives me a positive vibe rather than one that seems to suck any enthusiasm out of me. I think to myself, “I might miss this [the sunshine] by going to recorders”. My wife comes into the room wanting to have a shower before heading off to work and since I feel she has priority over the en-suite (work trumps leisure) and I find two people in the room an uncomfortable crowd, I climb back into bed. It comes up in conversation that I am in a dilemma over going to recorders and my wife comments that she has wondered how long I would keep going because it seems quite rare nowadays for me to enjoy it. I reply that it is loyalty that keeps me going. She moves onto other things.
As I lie there, I review the situation in my head and it strikes me as being a typical autistic situation. What do I mean by that? Let’s look at the recorder playing weekly timeline. The first thing that happens is that an email is sent out, usually on Monday, reminding the members (there are seven) where the next meeting is being held. It has been agreed on, in my absence, that people will reply to this email letting everybody on the list know whether they are going to make it or not. This is a logical thing to do because not everybody has music for the sessions and so it is handy for those of us that do, to know how many people are going and whether those going tend to take music with them. It is unfortunate though, that I have great difficulty replying to these emails. I was aware that I hadn’t done it this week yet as I lay in bed this morning for instance.
So what is the reluctance about? Well I think there is the typical autistic wavering going on here. At the beginning of the week, it seems far too much to plan what is happening for Thursday. Thursday is days away and I am not even sure how today (Monday) is going to go, so though I am probably free, I don’t reply immediately because it feels like I can’t commit to it yet.
It is at this point that my NT training kicks in, and tells myself that really is quite pathetic, what is the problem here? The “problem” though isn’t a problem because the point is that I don’t think in an NT way. I understand it doesn’t fit with most people’s realities and I could say I am sorry for it, but I don’t need to apologise for something that I can’t help. My Aspie voice tells my NT voice that I need to be compassionate and forgiving (ooh, that has giving me an idea about counselling models – interesting).
Back to recorders. So I don’t reply to the email and because I get caught up in dealing with everyday life, I keep not replying to the email because I forget about it. There are the occasional reminders though, since other people answer, and some weeks that is enough to get me to make a decision. That is not the case this week though. So why is that? This week’s group is the same as last week’s group of four. But I need to say more than that. Basically, I am the best player of the four there and I get frustrated because another member doesn’t practise and the whole thing slows down to accommodate them.
I write that reluctantly because my NT voice is kicking in. It says that is arrogant and lacking in understanding of someone else’s situation. Show some compassion for goodness sake and let’s not forget that you are the reason that person was taking in by the group. It was a good deed you did, your heart was in the right place at the time so just live with the consequences. Step up, you can lead them to a better musical place. Or has that changed to my Aspie voice that doesn’t like change and confrontation? It’s complicated. I am not a good teacher. I lack patience and though I try to apply it, my frustration leaks out a couple of times because it feels like they can’t be bothered to try something simple. Who am I kidding though? I know that look, I understand the bewilderment. I am giving them too much information that they cannot process quickly enough, they close down. They need to go away and think about it in their own time but it seems really difficult for them to do that. Why don’t they practise? Perhaps they are autistic too. Thinking about it, that is possible. Time for more forgiveness and compassion then.
And I come back to loyalty, another Aspie trait. I am one of the founding members of this recorder group, the only one left in fact. It would feel wrong to leave it after over 15 years. That is history that is riding with me, a responsibility to the much-maligned musical instrument that is the recorder to improve its profile. Music making is good for me, it gets me out of my head, provides relief to the crowded mind full of thoughts. It is a social thing where we always have something in common to talk about. It should be good for me. Sometimes it is. Last week it wasn’t. And I don’t want to repeat last week. I would rather be out in the sunshine enjoying the feeling of warmth and seeing the blue sky once more. Yes I feel guilty for not doing my duty to the other players, but I can live with that. I deserve a break as much as the next person.
I send an email to all apologising for the late decision that I won’t be going this week.