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My Brain


My brain works a bit differently than most folks. Christmas is no exception.
A very good example of this is the whole gift-giving thing. I buy gifts for people, I enjoy giving them, I get all that. Yet I can't help it – when people hand me gifts, my immediate response in my head, even after all these years, is "why are you doing this".

Mom hands me a present, and I can fell the visceral response, the confusion, and the strange looks I want to give them. Imagine a homeless guy out of the blue handed you a gift – that's how I feel. Sort of a "Ooookaay, crazy person….I'll take your gift…"

The amazing thing is that intellectually I know it makes tons of sense. And I like giving gifts, and getting them! But that first moment, that empathic "weee a present" doesn't happen. After a few moments, my internal monologue starts, and says "remember gift giving? They love you and are giving you gifts" and I smile and nod and say the right things.

The hardest part being so literal minded is not saying what I'm feeling. I imagine everybody feels that way, though, the feelings of "Why are you giving me this, it's useless?" Even my sister, who complained about my brother giving her husband an unwanted gift, reacted with annoyance. When I get an unwanted gift I stare at it like a two-headed calf.

But see, it gets worse – because even when I get gifts I want, or love, I don't respond enough for people to know I like it. I get a lot of "don't you like it?" And I feel bad, because I don't just react the way everyone else on this planet does.