I’m at Grandma Janneke’s in Zeist. Arrived at Amersfoort station yesterday afternoon at around 2:00 PM. Went to have lunch in a nice coffee house near the station with Grandma. After that, we had to wait for quite a while for the bus to come.
Grandma lives in a senior group home, so this morning we had coffee in the general apartment. I got to meet several of Grandma’s neighbours, some of whom I already knew and some who were new – well, relatively, since I’ve not been here in about two years. The group will have its tenth anniversary this year, so its celebration was discussed. Grandma was the first resident, cause she’d come up with the idea of this home – we still laugh at the anecdote of the local government person who didn’t like the idea at all.
I’ll be home again tomorrow. It makes me feel overwhelmed when I think of what all I’ll have to do then. Travel home by train. Feel scared to ask Dad to pick me up at Apeldoorn station- probably egoistic. Besides, I don’t guess he’ll have the time to, cause I’m most likely going to get home in the afternoon and he has to work. So that means travelling home by bus. Have to go to the supermarket, cause I need to buy washcloths and towels. Things I never bought for myself and always assumed were there. They are, but it’s probably egoistic to take some to the training home with me, even if it’s only for the few days till I have time to go to the supermarket or wherever they sell these things. Mum found it strange I’d bought my own toothpaste and shampoo, especially cause my parents had jsut bought four bottles of shampoo cause they were extra cheap. Who talked about not paying my own things? Now you’ll get me paying them. Only I hate the time being consumed on going to wherever they sell washcloth and towels – I don’t even know what kind of shop to go for those things. Feel rather stupid about that. Makes me feel as if it’s a terrible flaw in my development, or whatever. Sigrid probably knows – she knows everything and can do everything (the old “everyone is good at everything except for me” feeling is back, stupidly irrational as I am) -, but she’ll have class till 4:30. Hmm, maybe I should dig into the little bit of creativity that I have in that mind of mine – Grandma was reading an advertisement for washcloth at some shop called Wibra, and while we don’t have one, we do have a similar shop in our shopping centre, so I guess that one seels these things, too. Hoping I’ll be home before that damned shop closes. Oh, am I ever stupid, fussing over that damn linen cause I consider (or think I should consider, or wish I did consider, or think everyone considers) it egoistic to ask my parents for some of these stupid things to take to the training home with me until I can get to that damned shop. I don’t think I truly consider it egoistic. What do I consider, yself? I have no f*cking idea, and it’s been something I’ve been thinking about ever since last Friday. I keep hearing from my parents about social conventions. Stuff I guess most people feel, or pick up incidentally from friends I don’t have. I remember my father in July, when an acquaintance visited me, telling me that I should’ve given her a bus ticket home. It’s one of those situations that make me think of the difference between egoism and egocentrism. The latter I admit to being about the personification of, but the former connotes to me not caring about other people, or only caring about them when you have everything you want. Well, no, cause if it were the latter, now I could just as well have started caring about people when I went on disability and had enough money to buy that stupid bus ticket for Vera. Oh, maybe not right then, cause there was a time when I didn’t realize that, because I made more money than Sigrid, it was logical that I, for instance, pay travel expenses when we’d visit someplace together. Arguments people used to build the fact that I should buy travel tickets on, were, by the way, never about income, but about Sigrid being my guide and if she didn’t go, my having to pay just as much, cause guides can travel for free. Such an argument makes me even more defiant, even though they weren’t – Sigrid paid travel expenses and probably my ticket as well (cause I at least didn’t) when
she’d asked me to go to Boris’ concert cause she had to have an older person go along with her. The reason these arguments made me want to defy even more, was, of course, that it reminded me of having to make up for my disability, ie. my inability to travel unassisted. Should I go into a discussion of the illogicality of this equation? I don’t want to waste my time and computer space on it.
What, however, is the issue about the buying a ticket for Vera, was not that I felt I didn’t want to give her the moeny for it, or that I didn’t want to care for her, or any other “your interests don’t matter” argument. The reason was that I simply hadn’t thought about it. That is what I consider egocentrism: when it doesn’t come to mind to think that the other person might be having a problem getting a travel ticket. Egoism, I think, is when Vera had asked me for a ticket and I wouldn’t give her one.
I also feel a form of not being creative, in a sense of not being able to think of what is considered normal, fits in here, but I don’t know exactly where. That’s what I meant with the statements about having to consider or feeling everyone considers asking to borrow linen for a few days egoistic: I just don’t know anything about this stuff. I wonder what would be more egoistic: asking my parents to borrow the things till I have the time to buy them myself, or asking someone else, who may be going to the shopping centre, to buy the things from my money. The one is asking for goods, the other for services. Man, if I even rememberd all the other things I have at my current home that I won’t have at the training home unless I take my parents’, which was considered alright when I went for rehab, but I want to see this move as a form of moving out, and, even though my parents don’t think of it that way, I want them to.
Why that? Why do I feel like this is about moving out. It has to do with what’s happened to me over the past few weeks. This not wanting to have my parents involved in everything anymore. I decided purposefully not to invite them to the admission interview at the training home. On the other hand, I felt obligated to invivte my father to the final discussion at rehab last June. It had a positive effect, cause a lot of what I’d been telling about everyone at rehab during that entire four days, was about what I assumed my parents expected, and most of it appeared to be wrong. Furthermore, my parents had, I felt, to agree with my going to rehab. I don’t really give a damn what my parents think of the training home or its staff, whom they by the way don’t even know yet. In some ways, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been wanting to have nothing to do with them
anymore, to do everything myself and not to even let them know how I’m doing. I think this is part of adolsecent development. There’s a term for it, but I don’t even remember its Dutch word, let alone the English equivalent.
With what’s been happening over the past few weeks, I feel an inclination not to go home for the week-ends, no matter how boring it’ll be at the training home without friends to visit. Dad made a comment a while back about my spilling chocolate spread all over the kitchen. He said I wasn’t allowed to eat chocolate spread anymore – they cannot control what I eat, even in their own home. I replied that in two weeks they wouldn’t be bothered by it anymore. “Then we’ll be bothered during the week-ends,” he said. Even though, when Sigrid talks about wanting to move out, she talks about moving her entire room, including her bed and all that, while I will buy a new bed once going to Nijmegen (we’ll have beds at the training home), I currently feel as if going home for the week-ends is an obligation, and even some societal obligation, cause I can’t imagine my parents like me home each week-end.
But I was talking about stuff being normal. A lot of what I do insofar as caring for others goes, is out of knowledge that it’s normal. Not that I don’t feel bad when I don’t do it – the feeling about buying my own washcloth is very real -, but it’s more about “breaking the rules” than about sincerely not caring for others. That is not to say I don’t care about others – I genuinely do -, but well… I don’t know how to explain and even this writing makes me feel as if I’ve read this before, written to describe a certain aspect of some psychiatric label I once suspected, but I can’t remember which. Was it something about not being able to feel, at the deep emotional level, that you love someone? If it was that, I don’t think it applies to me, at least not if the inability to feel love is meant. Maybe the inability to identify it, or even the inability to express it in something that doesn’t feel like pretence. That’s probably the most correct description of how this whole buying travel tickets or washcloth, being egoistic, the stuff about birthday presents, etc. is all connected: I must admit here to having pretended, last Saturday, when buying my father his birthday gift. Pretended, in the sense that I was applying my rules about what would communicate that I cared about and loved Dad: buying him presents he liked, spending enough moeny, baking apple cake on Sunday morning that ended up having failed if Sigrid hadn’t stepped in? Dad’d told me that he wanted a Michelin road map of central Netherlands and a certain type of screwdriver. Mum’d told me he wanted a certain book. I wanted to buy two presents – I always buy multiple gifts, a “rule” adopted from Sigrid -, but couldn’t decide which. To make things worse, they didn’t have the correct map – only northern and southern Netherlands, which together make up the whole country cause Michelin doesn’t make a special map of the central region anymore. I was convinced Dad’d told me he wanted a Michelin map, so I found it was easy: I’d buy both so he would have the country complete. Sigrid was convinced Dad didn’t want this type of maps and felt real bad about perhaps buying the wrong present. I did, too, but I was convinced he’d said this type of map. We got into an argument and it all made me feel as if I had no idea of what importance buying exactly what he’d asked for, had, and it also made me feel that I didn’t know Dad well enough cause he’d told me he wanted this, but Sigrid was convinced he couldn’t want that. Eventually we ended up buying as I’d said and I told Sigrid I’d take the blame if it were an inappropriate gift. For some reason, I didn’t feel really guilty or whatever feeling it was that Sigrid had at all – I felt it was stupid for me to break the rule by buying a bad present, but soothed my mind with the idea that first Dad had told me he wanted this type of map and second, I had the image of buying inappropriate presents anyway, judging from what they’d told me that evening. Then I wanted to buy the book. I found that buying exactly what Dad had asked, would only highlight the fact that I didn’t know him at all and wasn’t creative either. I don’t know if it’s true, but anyway. But what about the screwdriver? We, by the way, had now only bought the book cause the argument about whether the gift was the correct one had led us to leave the shop we’d look at the screwdriver, too. The shop that sells this type of screwdrivers only had them in sets, and I didn’t want to buy that cause maybe Dad had all the others. When we left the shop, Sigrid told me he didn’t, and I felt maybe it would’ve been good to buy the screwdrivers. Buying three gifts, I thought, would only come across as pretence. It’s not unusual for me to buy three gifts, but given the discussion we’d had, it would be kind of wanting to follow the rules. Never mind that I was doing that anyway. I hope Dad isn’t going to find out by reading this stuff, cause he may think I don’t sincerely care about or love him, like people who feel obligated to come to a birthday party sometimes do: buy some goodies cause they have to buy them – not cause they like the one who’s having his birthday. And I do! Eventually, I ended up buying the book and the maps, calculating silently how much I’d spent on them. Sigrid knew, of course, cause she’d read me the prices, and she herself calculated loudly, so we know of each other how much we spent. I don’t think it really matters, and neither does it, in my view, matter that you calculate that you can spend so much on presents cause of some reason, as Sigrid now openly did. But I have no idea what does matter, and I don’t understand why people actually care. I mean, there are pretenders enough – the folks who pretend they care about you by giving you what you wanted – and there appears to be at least one person who sincerely cares, but has no idea how to show it – and if someone were to tell me what is the key to making clear that I care about my parents, it might even feel like following a rule if I did as I was told. This does not apply, of course, to the very emotional types of caring that I apparently cannot show either. If I could change my behaviour so that no tantrums or fights would occur anymore – something I’m convinced would send a positive message -, I wouldn’t feel like it was following a rule, except if it were. And I’m even afraid it would be, cause most attempts at changing my behaviour have been about educating myself about the rules of good behaviour. I didn’t make up that statement myself – I got it from an autistic -, but the feeling is sincere. Unfortunately, I never found a rule of behaviour that is going to increase my frustration tolerance. It’s in fact a rule of its own: you ought to have high frustration tolerance, or, applied more practically: when frustrating things happen, you ought to tolerate them. Duh!
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