Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree

This has got to be, one of the single most "happiest days of my life" in a very long time...

Those of you that read my posts, especially those close to me, have known of the strained relationship I've had with my family for so very long.  While there's enough room for blame all the way round, I don't care about that anymore.

On a social networking site I came across the profile for my nephew, let's call him "B."  I can hardly believe that it was him, but he messaged me back and accepted my invitation.  We just spend nearly an hour chatting online.  My only experience of him, prior to today, was two things, I held him when he was days/weeks old...that was the last I remember.  But he reminded me, that some years ago "on a sunny Friday afternoon" I spoke to him on the phone.  Then I remembered.

So many tears, so many years.  And while I could go on about how "my disability is to blame for my separation from my family, blah, blah blah" I don't want to go there, it doesn't matter.  When we don't question our thoughts, we suffer, enough said.

I come to find out that B is quite literally just like me.  While I haven't clearly confirmed that he may be ACC (he seems to think that was mentioned), he, like me has had lifelong issues around emotions, confabulation, and Tourette's Syndrome.  The more we talked, the more we both realized it was like looking in a mirror.  He doesn't have the social awkwardness that I have, but we do share many of the same problems and manifestations of "whatever."  Apparently he was told that his issues were inherited (big surprise there, ehh?) and although I "know the facts" about my own disability, and they are incontrovertible and medically proven, I still go through many cycles of self doubt.

Apparently, so does he.  There are no mistakes.  There is a time, and a season, for all things.  He is now 20 years old, has grown up, despite his disabilities into a fine man.  He'd mentioned that he'd been looking for me for 6 years, checking the social media site we use.  He even mentioned that my ID, which is Justa Guy, looked odd, and that he was going to reject the friend request, and how glad he was he didn't.  Oh My God...so am I.  

The more we talked, I was utterly shocked, beyond anything imaginable.  We like to say "this person was just like me", and often we'll view reality in such a way that "makes it so."  But in this case, it really is.  I don't feel alone anymore.  The "apple" that fell from my brother's tree...it is just like me.  I have harbored a lot of beliefs, and while I think many of them are true, I simply know, that I don't know anymore.

I do know, that my parents, my brother and family likely became exasperated with me many years ago, emotionally I was all over the map.  And those of you that understand AgCC know that there is a lot of evidence that what was imagination in childhood contributes to something called "confabulation"  that can carry over into adulthood.  Many people might simply dismiss the phenomenon as wild bald faced lying. I know my parents did.  And yet, we with the condition don't know why we do what we do, we just do it.  I myself, remember telling my parents while in my 20s that I had ALS, and God knows, probably a dozen other things.  This wasn't necessarily lying.  Dr. Lynn Paul does a much better job at explaining the phenomenon, but suffice it to say that many AgCC/ACC people are believed to function largely in the right hemisphere...fantasy can equal reality...makes for us being wonderful poets, but we can confuse ourselves so much that we often mistake fantasy for reality.

B described much the same thing, telling me he'd say he had diabetes, etc...because it intrigued him.  I almost laughed so hard I fell off my seat, off the keyboard.  So I asked him, "...was it like this? Part of you, knew it wasn't true, but the fantasy part, the imagination so strong that you had to go with the thought, that in that moment it appeared both logical and true?"  And he answered in the affirmative.

While I don't wish these types of disability on anyone, I am thrilled to get to know my nephew, sad that he's had to deal with these types of things, but perhaps, there is indeed a time for everything under Heaven.  He's far more socially integrated than I was at his age, and he seems to have a really good sense of self-acceptance, something that didn't come about for me until recent years.  So I believe that he'll go really far in life because of that.

It isn't that my parents didn't work hard for my learning such self acceptance.  No doubt, my mother told me time and again that "I could do anything I put my mind to."  But, as in all families, at least modern American ones, our parents and parents even today, are filled with mixed messages.  As is talked about in the Alanon forum and others, we pass on our illness, or in this case our ignorance, and often it is done without our tacit knowledge or approval.

There is no doubt in my mind, my parents meant the very best, gave their all for me.  No one can possibly be responsible for what they do not, or cannot understand.  This is where forgiveness comes in...as I said in an earlier post, forgiveness is understanding...anyhow...

B's "lost Uncle Scott" (Scott is my first name, Joseph my middle, that I've gone by since adolescence) isn't lost anymore.  Carefully navigating the waters of family life, I don't want to step on my brother or sister-in-laws feet, so I did let B know that he can share freely anything we'd talk about (that he cares to) and that I want to make sure it is ok with them.  I so  cannot blame them if they approach me cautiously, given the bizarre "track record" it seems I have with them.  I would do the same.  If they care to reach out and communicate with me, as has B, I'm here with open arms, needing nothing, offering everything.  

Moral of the story "When life gives you apples, make apple pie" (I don't know what that means in this case, but it sounds good! ROFLMAO)
~Justa Guy

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