Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Curse of Knowing

Many of us with neuro issues, particularly issues that involve obsessive/compulsive tendencies share a common trait.  We are hyper observant.   Something has been switched on in our brains.  We see EVERYTHING!!  We remember EVERYTHING!!  Maybe not everything from a literal perspective, but minute detail and intricate patterns appear in our view like graffiti scribbled on the walls of reality. 

In my case it's "people details".  My brain automatically builds an image of a person's "normal state".  Even the slightest variations appear in glaring contrast against my brain's image of a given person's "norms".  Subconsciously, the intricacies of hair, clothes, gait, tone of voice, facial expressions, vocal rhythms, etc. are warehoused compared at every encounter.  I see everything.  My opinion of the person "under observation" is immaterial.  I seemingly know everything observable about people I can't stand. 

With the years I've learned to try and hide the observation.  Allowing the subconscious to drive my eyes and ears makes me appear either inattentive, or inappropriately overattentive.  I dare not divulge just how much "I know".  That frightens the natives.  They think I'm creepy.

It's taken me most of my life to come to trust this little "glitch" in my wiring.  I've learned to heed my "gut feel" for a situation or person the hard way.  The observations are almost never wrong.  That is the real problem with them.  Were they often wrong, I could gleefully dismiss them as transient thoughts triggered by Tourette's and go about my merry way. 

I know too much.  Words lie.  Smiles deceive.   The small "tells" in body language and vocal inflection never do.  Superficial interactions don't fool me.  Platitudes ring hollow and cheap.   Lies have a certain "smell".    Every human interaction is accompanied by an unstoppable barrage of subtext.  There is no mystery in the denouement, whether happy or sad, benevolent or malevolent.  I saw it coming.  If I listened, I knew.  If I ignored, I become immediately aware of what my brain was trying to tell me all along.  My greatest disappointment is that which I have in myself.  

Nathan showed signs of this same ability at an early age.  He's still learning, but I fully believe that our wiring is quite similar.  Knowing first hand the path he will be forced to walk saddens me.

Knowing is my blessing and my curse.  I've learned to use what I see for benevolent ends.  Unfortunately, there's no "off switch".  I can't choose to "not know".  The superficialities and "white lies" that grease the wheels of human interaction stick and grind like sand in the gears of my mind and emotions. 

It is in this that I feel most "alien".  I live in a world of "form over substance", driven by a brain that demands substance and discounts form.  My charade continues.  Pay no attention to "the man behind the curtain".   He knows too much.

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