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mertonparrish
A MERTON READER: Click the above art (and see its artist comment) for a link to detailed "About Merton" info, frequently updated Merton literary deviations, reviews of Merton works, and favorite Merton creators, creations and quotes.
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MERTON'S JOURNAL

Fri Apr 18, 2014, 8:50 PM


Sovereign Seeker by mertonparrish

ASPERGERS, THE LABEL MACHINE, AND LIFE IN THE MODERN WORLD

As the Witch of the West has said, “What a world!  What a world!” (and “I’m melting!” … what a relief that might be for us, at times!)  To label or not to label (ourselves).  What are we to do when we do not quite fit the expectations and requirements of the world?  What is one to do?  A friend’s suggestions give me pause to think about myself and such questions.  How are you doing trying to cope and fit?  It is tempting to “stop the world” and get off the merry go round.  Should we?  Entirely? Partially?  Shall we keep trying to make our own little merry go round? Can we?  It seems to get harder in some ways as we get older and more tired, or when the world yanks the rug out from under us.  Here are some thoughts from Merton who is still trying to make his life fit him as best he can, without completely opting out.

A friend wrote suggesting that he thinks perhaps I have Aspergers.  We are close and I value his opinion.  He knows me well, intimately, from literally thousands of letters between us.  Below this intro is my reply. 

It is interesting, contemplating what diagnosis we might have, and people and professionals might have all sorts of opinions.  And, diagnosis can help or hinder us with our lives.  It depends on how we, how others, how the world, and how the hands of fate handle such a thing as a diagnosis.  I am wary of diagnosis, though, and would (I think) rather just stick with being a human being and trying to make a life that fits me. 

I have been struggling a lot lately, trying (out of necessity) to recreate myself, once again.  There has been no choice, since I rather lost everything in my life about a year and a half ago.  I had to jump in the water and swim upstream against the current to a destination that I could only dimly see, rather against my will.  But things are smoothing out, getting all worked out, and becoming clearer. 

At times like this, we can be very emotional, almost drown, and it is tempting to give up, say we cannot handle it all, turn ourselves over to "professionals" and let them label us (and try to "make it all better").  I did the therapist, psychiatrist, pills thing years ago, whilst trying to stay in the world.  It was nine to five, carwash and cleaners on Fridays after work, chores all weekend, etc.  It was soul killing.  

I made and spent lots of money, racked up lots of debt, was a good debt/money slave for a long time when I was young.  Then I gradually took myself out of the world, answering the Muse’s call, pulling further and further away from the world, turning inward and towards creativity, over several decades.  I found an art hermit life that fit me and finally all was, pretty much, well. 

Then God, the Universe, Fate (whatever one might call it) sort of pulled the rug out from under me about a year and a half ago, taking my entire world away from me:  partner, doggie, home, work, etc.  And so now I am immersed in the world again, with the money wolf yapping at the door, as he does for so many of us.  I am struggling to make a life that fits me and also makes enough money to keep food on the table, a roof over my head.  I have a new partner, a busy life of teaching and performing music, a new role as a step parent of sorts, and there are lots of pills and shots for my various middle age physical ailments to pay for and pump into me. 

It is a tightrope dance. I will not even go into the incredible dance that the new health insurance system requires.  I know you all know about that.  I continue to try to make my life and schedule fit me, and avoid therapists, psychiatrist, antidepressants, sleeping pills… all the things which so many need to function in this ridiculous, stressful, misery making world (which still is at times sweet and good, despite big pharma, a crooked, greed based world system, etc.).

It has been hard, but things are working out.  Here is a series of letters to my friend who suggests I check myself “in,” get a diagnosis, join the ranks of so many on disability today, and carry on with my art hermit life.  While it is tempting (and who doesn’t feel like doing that at times, since modern life is so incredibly stressful and almost impossible to keep up with!), I think this is not for me.  Despite my troubles with nerves, anxiety, etc., I do not think that is what I want.  Here is my response to my friend, with several letters strung together to make one long-ish and complete one.

********************************************

Dear R,

No, I have not been diagnosed with Aspergers. I took several online tests and scored as a "normal" person, but on one, I scored just below the line for Aspergers. Interesting. B looked at the qualities of Aspergers adults online and he likes to tease me and say I have it (it is sort of a joke between us, though I know it is not a joking matter, of course). I do see myself when I watch documentaries about Aspergers  or read about it, but I think I function in the world or "pass" as “normal” (whatever that is). 

There are definitely some of the traits that I have in common with Aspergers adults. However, I think labels are over-rated at times. Again, I would say, as always, it is important to try as much as possible to make our life and our little world fit us, and then all of us function better and are happier.

A lot of the symptoms of this syndrome, if I understand things correctly, are also symptoms of people in stress, of other diagnosis such as borderline personality disorder, etc. I do not think that I am interested in being diagnosed. It is just somebody’s categorization, anyway, trained or not. I think I function well enough in the world. I just need to not be quite as immersed in the world as the average person, need consistency, calm, rest, and to live a bit on the outskirts of the world, such as the life of a self employed artist, teacher, etc. I just have to figure out how to do that with my new situation and partner.

I do think things are going better with my new life and work partner, B, with the performing and teaching, with my grief process over losing D, M, and my art hermit life. I think that B and I will pull through. We fuss, but I think gradually we are starting to understand each other, how to relate to each other, what our life and routine needs to be. I keep adjusting our schedule, and working out little details. It has just been so surprising to me how many details and things there have been to work out, spiritually, emotionally, money-wise and  schedule-wise... and all the little details about living in our present system/society.

I do not think that the psych ward and a diagnosis is for me!  I believe I understand that is your suggestion:  to enter, let them diagnose me, work out all the kinks, and start the disability process.  Admittedly, I have been very frayed emotionally lately, had some outbursts, big crying spells, etc., but who would not having lost everything, having started all over in all respects of one’s life, all at once?  I will never enter a ward. I would not be willing to let go of that much control of my life. I would rather end things that do that. I am not judging anyone who does that at all. I just know that I am not willing to do that... and I have already tried pills, therapists, psychiatrists, etc., in the past.  These things have their place and in some ways helped me as a young man. But basically, I have decided to try to make my world fit me, rather than utilize them to try to make me fit the world.

I have had trouble with making a new world that fits me since I lost everything (or so it seemed), but I think that ultimately I will figure it out.  At present, lots of things have been worked out and I am kind of accepting the swimming along in the current of the world and all that it requires of me. I am swimming along, more things have been worked out, and I feel that B and I are working things out, too.  It sure would help if there was more money, but we are working things out.

As for the Aspergers question specifically, let me say firstly that I have greatly enjoyed both my friends here on DA and various students I've taught who have this diagnosis.  When I watch documentaries about Aspergers, I see certain things I recognize in myself.  But I also know that I function in the world.   I can hold jobs, adjust in my dealings with others, sense their feelings and respond to that with ease, give lectures, give live programs which require me to easily and adeptly sense and react to the feelings of others, avoid and smooth out conflict, control my emotions and responses... etc, etc., etc.

I do not think that someone with Aspergers (I may be mistaken in this, please do not shoot me, readers,  if I am wrong) could have been a yearbook editor, president of their college choir, section leader in band and choir, a teacher in public school, a private music teacher, a director of education at a theater, write/produce/promote original materials, direct plays, etc. I think I have trouble with my nerves, with depression and anxiety, etc., and that this has gotten harder in some ways and easier in others as I have aged.  I think I got a bit agoraphobic when I was an art hermit. Aspergers symptoms have much in common with nerves, emotional l trouble, etc.  I am able to function well in the world, IF I am not immersed in it too much in any given day.

As I have gotten older, I seem to need more separation between me and the world.  I can do a couple of programs each day and enter facilities and function well with residents and staff. It helps having B along. We help each other. Many people are not meant to be in the world, right in its heart/face eight to twelve house a day. I am not.

I can enter the world briefly a couple times a day and function well. I do not care what the world might want to diagnose me as. I am not really interested in that. I have been given certain talents and abilities, and use them as best I can.

As long as I can work out the finances (and I will continue to try to), then I think it is best for me not to be labeled and diagnosed. I think if I am any sort of diagnosis, then I am probably as one Aspergers test said, in the normal range, but sort of near what might be termed as Aspergers (at least using one test, one way of looking at it).  I must remember, too, that several other tests put me squarely in the normal range, and that these are only online tests anyway. I pass and I function in the world, and so, I see no need to dive into a world of diagnosis, disability, etc. I prefer, if I can, to just continue on as a human being, doing the best I can.

The world needs to stop demanding that everyone work and live the same way, and stop expecting everyone to make the same amount of money (and if they cannot, they are sick, not functional, etc.). This is wrong. This is the world’s problem, not mine.  And, it just exacerbates anyone's struggles, who is sensitive, a little different, etc.

For now, I just want to be Merton. Let's see if I can do that, make things work, make a life that fits me, make it financially, etc.

We'll see.

 -Merton



Shoutbox

auronstalker:iconauronstalker:
I'm really glad things are looking up for you Merton!
Fri Sep 27, 2013, 3:23 PM
Peter-The-Knotter:iconpeter-the-knotter:
Teenage son a bit "salty" then... judging by his journal code! ;)...
Sat Aug 24, 2013, 7:25 AM
Freak-Angel56:iconfreak-angel56:
Thanks for your fave!
Fri Dec 28, 2012, 3:02 PM
Freak-Angel56:iconfreak-angel56:
Thanks for your fave! :D
Wed Nov 28, 2012, 9:18 AM
mertonparrish:iconmertonparrish:
I will post that photo of the two series, after I put everything from the photo shoot away and get it edited.
Thu Aug 30, 2012, 2:51 AM
Nobody

Complete and Subcategorized List of Gallery Folders

*********** The Arts in Oil by mertonparrish ***********

Please click the art piece above (see its artist comment) for a complete, specially sub-categorized list of my gallery folders.

A Preview of my Gallery

Blue Boy by mertonparrishWinged Angel Male Altered Oil by mertonparrishBlue Boy by mertonparrish

Both this preview and the full gallery itself (detailed in the module above and found here mertonparrish.deviantart.com/g… contain my original art and lit in a wide variety of genres and mediums on the following topics:

art, the arts, the nature of art, practicalities related to making art, the nature of time, the beauty of the natural world, the awesomeness of the Universe, spirit, spiritual growth, New Thought, manifesting, alternative spirituality, theology, philosophy, eros, health.

___________________________


“THE ARTS” IN OIL:
(Representing my love of so many genres in the arts)
The Arts in Oil by mertonparrish

SELF-PORTRAITS:
Further Altered Self Portrait by mertonparrishNew Vertical Smudged Me by mertonparrish

DIGITAL, COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS:
Yellow Bee Magnet by mertonparrishAntique Music Magazines by mertonparrish

PHOTO AND ART MANIPULATIONS:
Red Snake Goddess by mertonparrishDisembodied Figure 10 by mertonparrish

WRITINGS:
(See bottom of gallery (mertonparrish.deviantart.com/g… for letters/essays/poems)
THE THINKING CAP
THE THINKING CAP
Here is Merton's response, in verse form, to his friend and fellow poet Colornote's poem, I have a thinking cap. (http://colornote.deviantart.com/journal/44889574/ )
Thinking caps are cumbersome
when brooding over and over.
And weary artists, poets with pens
develop sore, bruised shoulders!
It's a heavy load to bear,
a worrisome hat to wear...
and does the world even care
or notice?
Maybe best not to think,
nor see, nor sow, nor shoulder-
perhaps depict only happy things
or just sit upon this boulder?
"Ow!  My head!" Mr. Gumby cries.
"A spider!" shouts Miss Muffet.
Shall we blithely paint and sing,
perched upon a tuffet?
Gumbys, Muffets, painters and such
(and all the reluctant prophets)
sat on a rock, rubbing their brows,
hesitant to get off it!
But then they each, mutt'ring "dare I?... a peach?..."
(and thinking of Mr. Eliot)
left the seaside, jumped off that rock
and wandered down the beach.
For poets and painters, psalmists and singers
know it is their lo
LONG LIVE POETRY MUSIC AND ART
LONG LIVE POETRY, MUSIC AND ART
an essay by Merton Parrish
THIS IS AN ESSAY PRAISING POETRY, MUSIC AND ART, WHICH WAS PROMPTED BY ONE OF MY DA FRIEND'S JOURNAL ENTRIES. IN HIS ENTRY, MY FRIEND PRAISED A POEM BY EDGAR ALLEN POE. THE ENTRY CAUSED ME TO REMEMBER MY FATHER READING MANY WONDERFUL THINGS TO ME AS A CHILD, AND TO WRITE THIS PIECE WHICH CONTAINS SOME GREAT LINKS FOR YOU TO CHECK OUT.
__________________________________
My father, an English teacher, used to read Edgar Allen Poe's poem Annabel Lee to me when I was a little boy, along with many other things (including another poem called The Highwayman, which I bet you would like).  Oh how lucky I was to have such a father who read to me like this. I will always remember it.
In Annabel Lee, Poe speaks of his love who lived and died in her "kingdom by the sea."  Here is a lovely YouTube video featuring a fine reading of the poem and beautiful animation.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swrriM1vuk8


ART/LIT PIECES ABOUT ME & THE HUMAN/ARTIST JOURNEY:
(Click on 2nd piece below & see its artist comment
for links to many pieces on this subject)
Its a Merton Sorta Life TCA by mertonparrishDEV ID with Merton Reader by mertonparrish

ORIGINAL THOUGHTS AND ART COMBINED:
Play YOUR song by mertonparrishSmile by mertonparrishUse your Time well 2 by mertonparrish

ART ABOUT CREATIVITY/THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
Inspiration from my Muse III by mertonparrishAm I what I Do G Rated by mertonparrish

ART INSPIRED BY POETRY:
Sunflower Sutra by mertonparrishThe Highwayman by mertonparrish

ART INSPIRED BY MUSIC:
Male Nude Harpist by mertonparrishFramed MixedMediaMusic Drawing by mertonparrishMusical Male Recycled Collage by mertonparrish

ART INSPIRED BY THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY:
Hermit Energy Series Piece 1 by mertonparrishHermit Energy Series Piece 3 by mertonparrish

ART INSPIRED BY ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS:
Male Aztec Fantasy Character by mertonparrishCentaur Colored Pencil by mertonparrishAltered AncientCiv Gold Leaf 1 by mertonparrish

PAINTINGS:
Moon Buddha by mertonparrishTrust Ask Adapt Change in Oil by mertonparrishGreen Angel in Oil by mertonparrish

DRAWINGS:
Light at the End of the Tunnel by mertonparrishWe Two Together Clinging by mertonparrish

ALTERED DRAWINGS:
Pan Pastel by mertonparrishThe Dance of Life by mertonparrishAltered MichaelangeloRendering by mertonparrish

PEN AND INK:
Cute Lil Faery Chub Close Up by mertonparrishNude Male Pianist by mertonparrish

PASTELS:
Behold by mertonparrishDo I Contradict Myself by mertonparrishChub in the Eye of the Comet by mertonparrish

COLORED PENCIL:
Framed Hand Colored FemaleNude by mertonparrishFully Hand Colored Male Nude by mertonparrishFully Hand Colored MidAir Male by mertonparrish

MIXED MEDIA:
Crazy Sunbird by mertonparrishFlowing Golden Locks by mertonparrishSovereign Seeker by mertonparrish

SCULPTURES:
Angel Recycled Art Sculpture by mertonparrishRedGold Winged Angel Sculpture by mertonparrishLovers Original Clay Sculpture by mertonparrish

HANDPAINTED PLASTERCRAFT
Greek Male Head Painted Statue by mertonparrishMale Nude Painted Vase by mertonparrish

CHARM BOXES:
Green Artists Eye Charm Box by mertonparrishStacked Charm Boxes 2 by mertonparrishArtists Eyes Charm Box by mertonparrish

DIORAMA BOXES:
Creative Fire I Diarama Box by mertonparrish Creative Fire II Diarama Box by mertonparrish

CURIOS:
Pan Music Makers Curio Collage by mertonparrishDiorama Box Dancers by mertonparrishSacred Heart Curio Collage by mertonparrish

MOBILES:
Faery Mobile of my Art Prints2 by mertonparrishFaery Mobile of my Art Prints3 by mertonparrishFaery Mobile of my Art Prints1 by mertonparrish

KNITTED HEADBANDS:
Knit Head Band Belt 33 by mertonparrish Knit Head Band Belt 34 by mertonparrish

KNITTED SCARVES:
Knit Scarf Original Design 2 by mertonparrishKnit Scarf Original Design 8 by mertonparrishKnit Scarf Original Design 7 by mertonparrish

KNITTED SHAWLS:
Knit Scarf or Shawl 19 by mertonparrishKnit Scarf Shawl 25 by mertonparrishKnit Scarf Shawl 21 by mertonparrish

KNITTED BLANKETS:
Knit Shawl Blanket 23 by mertonparrish Knit Shawl Blanket 22 by mertonparrish

WEAVINGS:
Woven Rag Rug on Loom by mertonparrishWhite and Blue Weaving on Loom by mertonparrish

APPLIQUE:
Spirit Applique by mertonparrishSpiritual Applique Whole Piece by mertonparrishBalance Applique by mertonparrish

GLUE GUN APPLIQUE:
Glue Gun Applique Jungle by mertonparrishGlue Gun Applique Celestial 1 by mertonparrish

CREWEL:
Written Spoken Word Crewel by mertonparrishFlower Crewel by mertonparrish

NEEDLEPOINT AND CROSS STITCH:
Lion Modified Cross Stitch by mertonparrishGreek Themed Needlepoint by mertonparrish

COLLAGES AND GROUPINGS OF FRAMED ORIGINAL ART:
Orange Male Fantasy Collage by mertonparrishArt Print Collages Collections by mertonparrishBabylonian Fantasy Collage by mertonparrish

ART AND FRAMING CREATED FROM RECYCLED MATERIALS:
Recycled Art Gallery by mertonparrishRecycled CD Case Frames2 by mertonparrish

BRANCH AND HATPIN CUPS:
Hatpin Art Print Cups by mertonparrishMale Couple Branch ArtPrintCup by mertonparrish

CD FRAMES AND FAUX STAINED GLASS ORNAMENTS:
Sun SharpieStainedGlassCD Cs by mertonparrishNova SharpieStainedGlassCD Cs by mertonparrish

Ty for visitng. Come back soon. Leave a friendly comment. :)

Further Altered Self Portrait by mertonparrishFurther Altered Self Portrait by mertonparrishFurther Altered Self Portrait by mertonparrish

Comments


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:iconrandallstuartpeik:
Thank you for all the faves and comments yesterday. 
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:iconfarphyni:
Hi there :wave:
Thank you very much for the Watch :dummy:
Reply
:iconrandallstuartpeik:
Thank you for all the comments and faves from last night.  I am glad you like the current pieces. 
Reply
:iconmertonparrish:
You are welcome, dear Randall.
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