Portrait of a Social Outcast: Age 3

Dear Reader,

I wanted to go in-depth into my childhood and try to work out what exactly went “wrong”

When I was assessed for Aspergers I went alone, the assessor was shocked that I hadn’t bought anyone along with me and even said that they find it easier to assess someone when they can get two different views on a person. After my assessment had finished, she told me I had an incredible knowledge of myself and my past and was surprised by my ability to be so self-aware of some of my biggest problems. I have incredibly vivid memories of certain parts of my life. Mental health has always been a big problem for me, even though I did not realise it at the time. And So I wanted to try and narrow down specific times in my life where I now realise I was receiving the effects of negative thinking and things that could have caused my problems today.

Before I started school, I spent a lot of time with my brother and cousins, we would play a lot so interacting socially was never going to be a problem. I spent time with my cousins who were roughly my age on a regular basis, so when I began nursery school aged 3 I already had a good footing on communicating with others.

The most vivid memories of this time I have, are sitting in a circle and drinking orange squash from a metallic cup, I could taste the metal in the drink, or maybe that was from the tap water. Either way, the drink was so diluted it may as well have been water. The cups were horrible shades of metallic colours, some where pink, some blue and from what I remember green and yellow. The colours reminded me of the way oil looked when the sun shone on it. And they are battered to death, they looked like ancient artefacts. They were cold and horrible. The only redeeming feature from this period in my life was the biscuit we would get at the same time. A digestive biscuit, which I still associate the taste of metalic diluted orange squash with.

Sometimes we got to play outside in a tiny fenced off area. It was fenced off by one of those chain link fences. I remember holding on to the fence and looking at the field beyond it. The field that would soon be destroyed and turned into my second primary school. We could play on little plastic tricycles. There weren’t enough to go around and from what I remember they tried to make it fair, by only letting people use them for a short time. I remember not wanting to use the trikes. I didn’t want to hurt myself, I didn’t want everyone would stare at me wondering when it would be there turn, I didn’t like being stared at. I didn’t want to fight with anyone, especially if they really wanted to use a trike, I was happy to pretty much do nothing from what I remember.

In the classroom, we had this strange water “pit” I guess you would call it, you pour water in one side and it made a wheel turn. I didn’t like this because it made my clothes wet. I didn’t like being wet. We also had a similar sand pit, both of these “pits” reminded me of sinks or baths. They were large plastic tubs on what looked like table legs. I used to play with the sand a lot, trying to make sand shapes in the plastic moulds. It never worked, the sand was too dry.

I remember cooking, well. Not exactly cooking, watching a teacher bake biscuits and not being able to touch anything. We had to wear these aprons that were too long for us, I hated it. I didn’t know who else had worN it, it felt dirty. The biscuits annoyed me because they tasted the way the nursery smelt, like burnt biscuits. They had a weird combination of sugary and savoury tastes, with a bit of burntness mixed in. They didn’t look burnt. At the same time they also had the texture of rubber, when I bit into it, it was almost like a cake, the way a Jafa cake tastes, except I hate Jafa cakes and this is probably why.

The most important memory of my time here is my absolute terror of this bright orange climbing frame, well, not climbing frame like a thing you climb inside. It looks about a hundred years old, it was held up with poles that looked like scaffolding. Inside it was quite dark, the light from the room lit it up, but it was like a creepy orange box. kids would speed through it laughing not me, I was terrified I would get stuck in it. I always felt I was fatter than other children and that i would get stuck and die in it. These are incredibly morbid thoughts for a 3-year-old. I only ever went inside that climbing frame once, to try to face my fears. But I got stuck. I got stuck because I refused to move once I got halfway through. I cried and cried. I’m not sure if someone got me out or if a teacher tried to coax me out. For some reason I feel that I got shouted at, or maybe angrily spoke to for getting stuck, I’m sure the teacher must have known I was scared of the climbing frame. I never went near it again.

The only other thing I remember from this time, is when Santa visited and gave us all a present. I received a small blue plastic bear. And whilst it was truly terrible and fell apart almost instantly. it meant a lot to me and for a long time became a symbol of Christmas for me.

Thinking back to my time at nursery has made me realise something. I wasn’t interacting with others. I have no memories of other children from nursery because I didn’t acknowledge them. It genuinely surprises me that not one teacher ever remarked that I was socially outcasting myself. I used to take a toy with me every day to the nursery. It would get put on a shelf until the end of the day. I had a lot of cuddly toy cats. I think it was usually one of those I bought with me.

I was destined to be a crazy cat lady age 3.

But, on reflecting on my childhood, even at this age. It is so clear to me that I must have been on the autism spectrum. I was attending nursery in the early 90s. Maybe even then, 20 years ago. It wasn’t something teachers were really trained to look out for. I wasn’t disruptive, I was probably just “quiet” to them. And I guess being a quiet child isn’t cause for alarm when there are disruptive children running around breaking things and hurting people. A quiet child is actually probably a gift.
As Always,

The Elephant in the Room

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11 thoughts on “Portrait of a Social Outcast: Age 3

  1. I love this blog entry! For one thing, going back into the past is very important and I think that people who won’t do it, even once in a while, lose that chance to learn from it and have the better understanding that time and distance can bring. So many more insights are available to you as an adult and looking at the past can help fill in some pieces and maybe even lay some issues to rest. Secondly, this is so vividly remembered and written that I could imagine it and see what you were describing. Just awesome story telling ability!

    I too have some very vivid memories of some of my childhood experiences. When nearly everything makes a deep impression on you, life can be more difficult. There’s a lot more going on in your mind than for average people. It can get you stuck.

    I think you are right that you had characteristics of Asperger’s from the very beginning. One time I asked my father what he remembered of his grandparents–once I realized that he was a teenager when they died and he should be able to remember them. His memories consisted of the inside of the car he was riding in when he was taken to visit, a trip to get ice cream that he was excited about, and the collection of arrowheads that his uncle had at their house. Other relatives when describing the grandparents remembered things that the grandparents did and that they spoke with an Irish brogue. Quite a difference between the person with Asperger’s and the average people. Just a different way of seeing and interpreting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are right! It’s so important to go back and look at your past, I think it helps you learn about your present! I think you are right about Aspergers, I think we do see things in different ways. It’s interesting to hear about your dads way of thinking. I can relate to that!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was unreasonably afraid of the teeter-totters. I was sure that once I was on the up end, that I would fall off. It wasn’t until I went off to junior high, that I went on one and then regretted all that time I could have and didn’t. I was showing signs as early as about five, as I can’t remember anything before then.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Many people are quick to say “don’t dwell on your past”. These same people give no thought at all to their past yet they find themselves in the same distructive patterns time and time again without a clue as to why. I say that to say, it’s great that you’re taking an opportunity to take a look. You’ve already gotten some answers! And hopefully as you continue on you’ll even be able to heal. You’re right about the “I guess being a quiet child isn’t cause for alarm”. Big mistake society! Many times it is those quiet children that are the most troubled. Thankfully folks are beginning to pay attention.

    Liked by 1 person

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