Eye Contact

When I was younger, I didn’t make much eye contact. When I looked into someone’s eyes, I saw the person- with all their thoughts and feelings and traumas big and small- laid out like a painting. Five seconds was time enough to take in information that would take half an hour to even start to digest.

So I went to therapy and social skills classes. I was told to make more and more eye contact. Like a room where ten people were talking at once, so much information came from the constant eye contact that it all got lost. Eventually I learned to shut off the part of me that took information from eye contact so I could make as much of it as my parents and teachers wanted.

Now I am, when not under stress, “almost normal” at appropriate eye contact. Eye contact doesn’t mean anything anymore. It’s lost it’s value; that’s why I can give it away so freely. It used to be a window into a person’s heart. Now it’s just staring at eyeballs, their small circles of color and their larger blank white.

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7 thoughts on “Eye Contact

  1. Reading this post (which is wonderful, by-the-way), I thought you should revise it into a prose poem and submit it here: http://barkingsycamores.wordpress.com This is from their About page: “Barking Sycamores is a poetry journal whose primary mission is to publish poems by emerging and established writers who are neurodivergent — this includes autism, the state of being currently known as AD(H)D, Bipolar, synesthesia, and so on. “

  2. So beautiful and profoundly sad, and also true of my “therapy” experiences too—each another destructive nightmare with long term harm, but only in hindsight. Maybe it’s why i cannot now read the word “therapist” — instead, i see the word and to me it always reads as “the rapist” …

    Im so glad i found your blogs. I need to feed on truth to remember i am real—and my life is not a story.

  3. This is very sad. I have an autistic friend who told me, it isn’t true that autistic people cannot empathize; we empathize far too strongly, and it’s overwhelming. This sounds like what you are describing in your original (sadly lost) experience of eye-contact. Thank you again for your beautiful writing.

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