Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City, #1)

Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book wasn’t really what I expected it to be. The cover-description combination made me imagine something lighter/sillier, somewhere closer to a young adult/new adult comedy with some romance sprinkles. In fact it’s a bit more serious than that, deals with adult enough lives and concepts, though it still is neither heavy not explicit in any way.
The weakness of this book lies in the fact that it seems to crumble some of its plot details a bit too much, instead of resolving them. You discover some piece of information that should have seemed important and represented some twist in the plot, but instead it brings a ‘uh, so/and?’ feeling, because it gets mentioned but not worked out. Sometimes this is explained by the fact that the reader stays with the MC perspective, and when she gets told ‘it’s been taken care of’ and doesn’t ask for more, readers don’t get any explanations either. It felt like there were a lot of small loose plot ends left hanging everywhere.
For me personally, it also walks on that edge of being just a bit too close, because of some shared issues, when, on one hand, some matters are very easy to identify with, while on the other hand the differences stand out too much because it feels like they shouldn’t be there…
Also, the writing is pretty good, and I’ve actually had to save a few quotes that really spoke to me:

‘I, on the other hand, always hovered in the space between self-consciousness and sterile detachment; my gracefulness was akin to that of an ostrich. When my head wasn’t in the sand, people were looking at me and probably thinking what a strange bird!

my therapist called me it an already natural propensity to observe life rather than live it.

Since I spent much of my childhood being left behind and ignored, one might think that, as an adult, moments of perceived abandonment would feel old hat. The truth is, as an adult, I’m always waiting to be left behind. I’m always ready to be discarded and, therefore, I spend significant amount of time preparing for this eventuality.

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I, on the other hand, always hovered in the space between self-consciousness and sterile detachment; my gracefulness was akin to that of an ostrich. When my head wasn’t in the sand, people were looking at me and probably thinking what a strange bird!

Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid

my therapist called it an already natural propensity to observe life rather than live it.

Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid

Since I spent much of my childhood being left behind and ignored, one might think that, as an adult, moments of perceived abandonment would feel old hat. The truth is, as an adult, I’m always waiting to be left behind. I’m always ready to be discarded and, therefore, I spend significant amount of time preparing for this eventuality.

Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid

Not going to work on a weekday and staying in a place where there are only the standard TV channels and no option to stick my HDD into the TV got me re-acquainted with such pearls of morning TV as 30-min discussion of bows on toiler paper, even longer discussion of a somewhat-famous couple enjoying sakura viewing in a park (seriously, what the fluff goes through people’s heads when they think it’s necessary to take pictures of two people sitting on grass in a park and looking at trees and then discuss every angle of those pictures at length on national tv?), and a very detailed discussion of the Imperial couple’s outfits as they pay last homage in shrines around the country before abdication. (Still better than what I caught on CNN and BBC before changing the channel though.)

In short, it’s days like this when I really begin to despise that part of my broken mind that makes me unable to function without having some kind of TV noise in the background…because no matter how much I try to concentrate on something else, time after time I catch glimpses of something that just sends the ‘damn, I really can’t understand or feel any kind of affinity with this humanity’ thought shooting through my mind.

It’s a nasty kind of irony… that the worse I feel, the higher the probability that I won’t be able to handle calling in sick… and I can’t even convey how ridiculous it is, because not a soul on the other end would say anything bad about it. Or act in any way that would show that they didn’t like me taking days off. But the phone is one of my triggers and no matter how many times I make myself do it next time never gets easier. If anything it only gets worse. Probably because I have to make myself do it, but I don’t know how do you even get around that.

Every time I post something on flickr and take a few moments to go through the recent photos of people I follow there, it’s like they scream at me, my mind screams at me, that I’m trapped and wasting my life on things I don’t need to be wasting it on.

But, contrary to the popular belief, I’m not trapped because I’m too stubborn and cant take myself out any time I would decide to do it. What traps me are immigration laws and my condition that makes me a care-needed individual every time I set my foot outside.

Doesn’t hurt any less though.

Being completely unable to decide anything is one of the more annoying depression symptoms.

Sometimes it makes me have a panic attack in a store, unable to choose between a blue jacket and a green one, sometimes it makes me turn down a chance for a better work position, and sometimes I spend all day unable to figure out if I’m going to go to a concert by one of my favorite bands I brought ticket for 3 months ago, or give up and go home this evening.

It took me ridiculously long time to realize that I always have unexplainable bruises not because I’m clumsy and bump into things, but because I’m scratching myself to bruises.

I only wish I could stop doing it in front of people and at work.

Though if I wasn’t going to work I probably wouldn’t be scratching.

can I please have a person who would just care to talk at me (and sometimes for me) and not expect me to engage in any social interactions adequately
pretty please

One of the worst things about lasting anxiety attacks is that they often lock you into the place/state you are in, taking away your chances to take a breath and recover.

When you’re already ‘barely hanging on’, you will always instinctively choose the path of least resistance = the path that will bring less new anxiety. Which will also meant sticking to the ‘normal’ or the ‘routine’ that brought you into the place with anxiety in the first place.

For example, if you had your anxiety attack start during the night and last almost all the way till morning, preventing you from sleeping and making you feel like shit when you’re alarm trying to get you up for work, it would be a logical decision to call in sick and rest at home for a day, or at least take first half of the day off. However, the amount of anxiety involved in ‘picking up the phone to call work and tell them that you’re not feeling well and will take a sick day’ involves 2-3 times more anxiety than ‘make yourself get up and go to work as usual (even though there are people there)’. So you get up, no matter how bad you feel. Because, chances are, the worse you feel, the less chances there are to find strength to pick up the phone.

The same happens when you’re already at work and have an attack there. On one hand, you’re clearly not well, and your body tells you that it can’t continue on, and you need to get out. On the other hand, breaking the ‘everyday normal’, getting up to explain to people that you need to go home, bringing attention to yourself by doing all that, too often feels like something that will bring more anxiety than you can already handle. So again you sit there trying to imagine which is worse.

Getting out of your anxiety attack by yourself is very difficult, because it feels like quicksand – as in any kind of struggle you imagine attempting seems like it will only suck you deeper. It feels safer to stay still where you are and save your energy. And it’s really hard to know which of the options is actually the correct one this time around.

Last year, I actually went and printed off my whole ello blog with the intention of re-reading it from the beginning. 
At first I thought that it was because it’s a thing I do when it’s Spring, and my birthday (and trip back to Europe) was near and my memory is shit (also because I just did a similar thing with someone else’s blog). 
But actually reading it, I understand that it just falls in with the stage of looking back and reconsidering things I did and said with my new understanding of my diagnosis. It’s a little staggering… to see it everywhere now. To see myself describe compulsions, patterns, sensory overload problems, and never examine them, never see them for what they were, until now.

Every day since learning the diagnosis has more or less been: I still have no idea why/what xxx (insert an aspect of human behavior largely considered normal) is, but now at least I feel marginally less pressure to understand.

Rudy Simone, Aspergirls :



To find out you're autistic is quite a realization to have in your teens, but in your 40s or 50s it means you have to look back at your whole life and re-frame everything; every incident, every moment, with this new lens to look through. It's like getting glasses after spending your whole life near-sighted. Obviously, the longer you've gone without the diagnosis the more work you have to do in looking back. And in some cases, the more damage to your spirit, psyche, and relationships you have to undo. There are stages we have to get through once we, as adults of any age, find out we have Asperger's:
* Awareness - We find out about Asperger's and the information speaks to us but it just hasn't hit home yet. We may experience some resistance or denial.
* Knowing - The irreversible understanding that you have Asperger's. The realization clicks.
* Validation - Asperger's explains so much in a life that often seems to have had no rhyme nor reason. This is not one moments that will continue for years if not forever.
* Relief - I can finally as the song says "Lay my Burden down". We don't know what our burden is until we're diagnosed but we can tell that other people don't seem to be carrying it.
* Worry - What does this mean for my future and my potential?
* Anger - For all the blame and misdiagnoses that may have been laid upon us by others or by ourselves. Hopefully we will then get to the next phase of our lives.
* Acceptance/thriving - We become keenly aware of our gifts and deficits and use what we have wisely.


I don’t know if I’m doing this in order, but I’m pretty sure I’m hovering somewhere around anger mostly.