“I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent.”
Not to withhold credit where credit is due, but if anyone can tell me what book the above quote is from, well… well then you win! Yay for you! It’s always been a favorite book of mine, and I’ve recently read it to Heather’s boys, and they loved it too… especially because I did voices, I think.
Anyway. Me? Clearly not an elephant.
In discussing the topics addressed in previous recent posts with Mom, we came to a conclusion. Now maybe this is about to state the obvious (because, well, duh, we all know why) but what goes on in my head and what comes out of my mouth can be really, really different from each other.
I give you pertinent examples for your consideration:
I think: “I cannot drive the car downtown because it is Mom’s car and Mom says I am not allowed.”
I say, in response to any number of questions: “But I can’t. No, I really can’t. No, I CAN’T! I can’t do it! No! NO! It’s not safe! (See, the reason Mom says no is because it’s not safe for me to drive downtown, right? But I skip that part and jump to the “it’s not safe”). I’m done talking!
Clearly, I had a very good reason why I could not drive downtown, didn’t I? But I couldn’t accurately communicate that reason, resulting in my BSS thinking (I think, because that whole mindreading thing that you “typical” people do honestly kind of goes over my head!) that I was just being anxious about driving and that THAT was the problem, when it only indirectly had to do with that.
I think: I’m feeling really anxious/confused/frustrated/insert emotion here because insert reason here… or… I want to know what kind of day you’re having, but I’m afraid you’ll give me too many emotion-words to process at once… or… I miss you and want to be with you soon.
I say: I have a cat.
I think, in response to being asked if I would like the radio on in the car: No, I really don’t feel like doing any more listening tonight… but if we don’t turn the radio on, you’ll talk at me incessantly, and the familiar music of KLOVE is preferable to the unfamiliar words you’ll throw at me, so yes, I’d like the radio, please.
I say: Nothankyou.
Why? Why don’t I say yes, when I mean yes? Because “yes, please” is not ingrained in me, and nothankyou is very much so. So, I say nothankyou to all kinds of things when what I really mean is “give me a second while I sort my speech out and I’ll get back to you, k?”
How do you unlearn 23 years of “nothankyou” and relearn a new stock phrase so fast? I learned early on (though, based on childhood videos, definitely not by age 3!) that questions require an answer. So, I answer. Problem is, my mouth goes off without my brain processing the question yet, let alone processing my response to it! Because, if you remember from older posts, I don’t exactly think in your language; therefore, there’s a whole translation process that needs to occur, and this can be slow.
Another thing ingrained in me is to feign understanding. I wish I could show you how good I am at faking it. See, if you met me, you wouldn’t believe- heck, my own family wouldn’t believe- how much I actually don’t understand of what goes on around me. You have to know to look for it, such as when you ask me “Can you… for me please?” and I say, as I should, “Yes,” and then don’t actually do it because I didn’t understand what you’ve asked of me. I’d say I get 75% in a conversation between me and one other person, 50% with 2 other people, and very little beyond that. The problem is both my attention (because I can’t listen long enough to understand the reciprocity of the conversation) and my processing (the actual words fly around over my head, or so it feels).
Oooh! You want an analogy? Well, you know how you can read a paragraph and have no idea what you’ve just read and have to go back and reread it six times (this has not happened to me but I’ve heard about it many times). Well, that happens to me with conversations. I hear it, at least, my ears are present, but I don’t catch much. Only with conversations, you don’t get to “reread,” and they keep moving on whether you’re ready or not.
A really big problem in this whole situation is something I haven’t mentioned yet. Unfortunately, perhaps for me at least, what DOES come out of my mouth can make, at the surface anyway, some sense, so you THINK I know what I’m talking about. But really, I don’t, and this makes messes. If you’re around me enough (which is a lot… as in, staff has begun to notice it, but even my sister hasn’t said anything so far… haven’t lived with her since I was 11), you’ll start to realize that I contradict myself and don’t always convey accurate information, even when I think I do. But, you have to either have been around for the event I’m describing, check with a third-party source, or hear me describe the event again after I’ve forgotten having described it the first time, to notice that I’m inaccurate or confused. If you just listen to me, I sound, well… like…
I mean what I say and I say what I mean. Just like that elephant.
Only, I DO mean it, and I DO say it, just… oi vey. Have I got anyone else’s brain twisted up now?