There are no teabags. Well of course there is an abundance of tea of the Matcha kind, the mint sort and the rose variety, but the common or garden breakfast teabag is nowhere to be seen on this very ordinary Tuesday morning.
I feel mildly appalled, and butter a scone in compensation. Then stand over the kitchen sink eating it, noticing that yet again, I am wearing my trousers inside out and deciding that this state of affairs just about sums up my whole life right now.
On Friday night my neck went into spasm and I have been walking around like a traumatised meerkat ever since, I am so behind with my counselling skills work it is laughable and the house is wearing the outraged dusty pout of a neglected child with grandiose ideas. All this and I feel something I cannot put my finger on, but want to call loneliness. I feel lonely.
The other day I read something that astonished me. I read that other people can see images in their minds. Images! Where I only see words. Or maybe not even words, rather I simply feel concepts. In fact I no more see images in my head than I do in my hand and I cannot fathom what it must be like to have a cinema of memories in your mind. I have been querying everyone I know since. Think of a beach, I cry! And they do and they describe what they are seeing in their heads and I stare at them, mouth gaping as scenes of beaches they have been to, and beaches they are imagining are described to me in technicolor detail from the pictures they have summoned from the bank in their heads.
While my Aphantasia may be unusual (it affects just 2% of us), mind blindness simply means that we experience the world differently and nobody knows because we all presume we experience it in the same way. While I could describe a beach to you, I would be pulling the details from what I know of beaches. In the same way that if you asked me to describe my son Finley, I could not picture him in my head, but would instead share details of what I know to be true: tall, curly hair, gorgeous.
To me it explains why I have no real memories of what has gone on before: no real personal history. No flashbacks to yesterday. Though a counsellor once told me I must have experienced significant childhood trauma to have wiped my own slate so completely clean, I knew I hadn’t- that my childhood was lovely, I just don’t store the past in the same way others do and it is only when we begin to analyse it that it becomes an issue. Aphantasia means that I simply don’t have that cine-film of all my yesteryears in my head and so never think to recall it with either the joy or gloom which others seem to apply to their personal history. I simply was. And now I am.
How odd to finally be making sense of yourself at the grand old age of 46! Does being different equal loneliness? Is that what my problem is? Does it make any sense at all to try to deconstruct who we are? To explain ourselves, to our selves? Recently I have been tearing myself apart: recognising the flakiness others see in me. The avoidance of as much social interaction as possible. The failure to take part in the group conversations others seem to thrive on (and the feeling that I am merely acting the part when I try). The constant need to be in my own head: feeling too much, but never seeing. A quite deliberate loneliness I both seek, yearn for and deeply resent. A misunderstanding of the social norms that govern the rest of the world and have me wearing my clothes inside out, apparently utterly oblivious. A life made difficult by my failure to accept it simply for what it is; instead always having to construct it for myself, without the aid of image and memory.
Perhaps then it doesn’t do to think too deeply. For truths come bouncing in like a litter of over-excited puppies. Hard to handle and difficult to identify. There can be no calming a mind flustered by such truths, especially when they set us so apart that the loneliness of those who are different simply cannot be avoided.
What I need then is tea of any kind. A distraction from a head full of noise. The recording of the scone for my (appalled) Fitbit. The slipping off of my trousers in an effort to turn them the right way and conform to society. Half an hour in a frenzy of tidying and cleaning. Perhaps a mid-morning bath in pine-scented water and some oil massaged into this pain in my neck.
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.