Anyone who tells you they always tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…is a liar. Either that or incredibly cruel.
As social beings we are careful with how much we do or don’t say to others. Economical with the absolute facts in order to be kind in the long term.
This is of course a complexity The Rose finds tricky. With maturity she has seen the impact of absolute truth and has learned that not always saying what you think can be a good thing. So skittering along on life’s slippery social surface has become a bit easier, but it doesn’t take much to fall and this time it wasn’t her fault.
Potential boyfriend had been on the cards for four months. He was at uni in London, so The Potential boyfriend wasn’t physically around very often. That meant chatting via messages and wassap plus the occasional phone call, fertilised a healthy friendship. The introduction of mild flirting as the relationship progressed, fuelled some hope in The Rose that Christmas may be a time to deploy the mistletoe.
The Rose having be stung, slapped, dumped and hurt so many miserable times before, asked outright and early on, if Potential Boyfriend was single. He replied equally as many times that he was. Cue The Rose to walk up to the foothills of anticipation and teeter on the cliff edge of disappointment. She was primed and stoked.
Potential boyfriend was coming back for New Year. The Rose has planned the next move with characteristic precision. Outfits bought, conversation scripted, date night booked.
Then she found out by accident, that Potential Boyfriend was in a committed relationship – had been for over three months.
So she lept, leming-like off the precipice – and broke.
Of course I was there for her, of course I caught her, of course we had been here a thousand times before. But this time The Rose had used everything she knew from all those previous mistakes; to check out his availability, his sincerity, his intentions and still it didn’t work.
What I saw was a girl so totally used to it being her fault, blaming herself yet again for misreading, getting it wrong, being autistic and blind and vulnerable. 23 years old and come so far yet still left way back in the playground, on her own.
I felt as sick as she did. But instead of drying her eyes, working out what she could have done diffently, interpreting the Potential Boyfriend’s point of view, I roared… “Let’s get angry”… this was new.
Usually it’s all about temper control with The Rose. But this time Potential Boyfriend really was The Liar, The Cheat, The Bad Man. So we roared together.
The Rose has never recovered so quickly. She voluntarily took herself off social media for a few days. Excercised, dog walked and shouted. When she finally believed there was nothing she could have done any better or differently and that she did not misread or misinterpret and that Potential Boyfriend was the one who was wrong, she bounced back in record time.
Life can suck sometimes for all of us, but knowing that it’s not always our fault is a trick many of us miss. Externalising blame is wrong when we should look to ourselves to do better. But when you are an Aspie, when you do so much and work so hard to be ‘normal’ it never occurs to think that us Typicals can be flawed and bungled and botched too. The Rose so much wanted to make herself ‘better’ she’d nearly missed knowing how good she already was.
I am so grateful I could help her. And when, in the depth of despair, through choking tears she pleaded with me – “what was so bad about me Mum, that he didn’t like me enough to tell me the truth? Am I so awful and ugly and stupid? What should I have done?” … I could reply ‘nothing my love. It’s not you it’s him’. And sometimes, just sometimes it’s ok to get mad and feel even.