Website and blog for Lindsay Marks, author of Daddy Issues

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Perspective alters reality

I’m embarrassed to admit that when I wrote my book Daddy Issues, I’d never heard of the movie Rashomon, even though I play around a lot with perspective in my story. Clearly this classic movie has seeped enough into our culture that I’d been influenced by it unconsciously (or maybe it was this Star Trek episode that taught it to me).

A Rashomon Style story is where the same event is recounted by several characters. The stories [may] differ in ways that are impossible to reconcile. It shows that two or more people can view the same event quite differently. The author invites the audience to hear them all out and then compare and contrast these divergent points of view. Sometimes the work provides no definitive answer as to what actually happened. (from tvtropes.org)

I did finally watch the movie when a reader told me my story reminded her of it. And I found I had a philosophical difference with what it seemed to be saying. The perspectives in the movie are impossible to reconcile. Someone has to be lying or wrong for the story to make sense. But for me, that’s not the way life works. Usually, something takes place where several people have experienced the same events, but have widely different views of what actually happened and why.  People aren’t trying to lie and they’re not straight up wrong, they just have different perspectives.

The thing is, we believe in the reality our perspective has given us. To us, it’s not just perspective, but the facts as we experienced them. If I see things from a liberal-leaning point of view and my uncle sees only from a conservative-leaning point of view, we can look at, say, a gay couple getting married and have two completely different reactions. And, this could set off one helluva an argument.

What I’m becoming more convinced of over time is that there is no one “right” perspective. There is no objective fact out there. Even with things like the sun going around the earth, I only know what I’m told. The science makes sense to me, so I believe what I was taught in grade school. But do I myself know for a fact, in a way that I’ve observed and measured, that the sun is not going around the earth? Nope. To me, it looks like it’s coming up on one horizon and going down on the other. I have to use my ability to conceptualize abstraction to believe that I’m actually on a rotating planet instead.

So when I try to understand another’s point of view, I also have to employ that ability to conceptualize abstraction. I have to be able to put myself in their shoes. What makes my uncle the way he is? What is he trying to protect, what is it that frightens him? In that way, I can learn to respect his conclusions without necessarily agreeing with him. And maybe I can tell him a little of my life experience so he can learn from me as well. Will I ever be in someone else’s shoes? No, I can never walk the walk of life that another has walked. Even if I could for a day, I never could walk through their entire life, bringing myself to the same spot they are today. So it’s not up to me to correct them or judge them.

The first time I realized this was with a much older person, someone who was very successful in a field I wanted to pursue. He’d achieved wealth and status, and had just earned a prestigious award. He also happened to be the same religion as I was. We got to talking about some theological points, and sure enough, he had different views than the ones I’d been taught. Up until then, I’d been very dogmatic in my religious life, certain I knew right from wrong and black from white. But faced with this man’s conclusions from his own experience, I remember thinking for the first time, “Who am I to question the conclusions he’s come to in his life? His perspective is as valid as mine.” That was my first step away from dogmatism and into a more open-minded view of religion, even of God.

I try (it’s not always easy!) to keep this in mind when hearing things that jar my sensibilities. I try to remember it’s my perspective that’s being jarred, and maybe I can still learn something.

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Married to an Aspie?

This fabulous series on “Lessons from an Asperger’s-NT Marriage” hit home with me. In it, the author explores how she, with Asperger’s, relates to her “NT” (neuro-typical) husband of twenty-five years. She writes:

[I]f you’re in an Aspergers-neurotypical marriage, you didn’t get there by accident. You’ve made a deliberate choice to share your life in what is essentially a cross-cultural partnership. Like any cross-cultural exchange, an aspie-NT marriage can be a rewarding experience or a nightmare.

…It hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes it’s been damn near impossible. More than once we’ve considered whether we might be better off apart than together. But we’ve also found some surprising benefits to our aspie-NT partnership. Hopefully some of what we’ve learned will be helpful to other couples that have taken on the challenge of making an Aspergers-NT marriage work.

I’m so proud of them in reading their story. I have known couples who ran out their married lives never knowing what it was that always kept them at loggerheads. The disagreements the author describes are very like the ones I was often witness to, although what I witnessed never had any resolution because there was never any diagnosis and both parties assumed they were right and the other was wrong. I find myself wondering, what if they’d known what the underlying issues were? What if they’d been able to gain the psychological tools and communication skills that would have allowed them to cope better with the situation? What if there had been more understanding and less judgment? More patience and less taking things personally? How would everyone’s lives have been better?

What if, what if. These things are no longer possible with the people I knew, at least not in their marriage. The author of the series above didn’t find out she had Asperger’s until she was 42. Rather than tear her to bits, this information helped her to understand herself better.

In my book Daddy Issues, I offer a ray of hope that with new understanding, the NT half of a relationship can at least find some closure and peace. I’m beginning to feel that early discovery is a blessing to all concerned, because everyone deserves to know what’s going on. Knowledge is power; understanding is empowerment. On all points of the neuro-spectrum.

About the, you know, sex…

I wrote to my dear older friend to tell her about launching Daddy Issues. She’s someone I’ve known for years and really respect. She’s also the matriarch of an astonishing family and one of the most spiritual people I know. So, I had to warn her a little about the, you know, sex.

She wrote me this:

Whoo Hoo, yippee, hooray for you… I’m proud of you… Keep in mind that our sexuality, explicit or otherwise, is part of our humanness and should be celebrated, especially when we come to terms with, AND WRITE ABOUT, it… Your writing, it seems to me, is a blessing and a step forward. It’s your unique take on life. Now, go bask in the bounty of good all around you, and that includes your talent…

So grateful for that vote of confidence! And for the truth that I believe as well: that we should celebrate our completeness, see ourselves as whole, not as bits and pieces where some parts are good and other parts are bad.

It’s all good.

Why I wrote Daddy Issues

I got a new insight into this Bible passage this morning. I’d never understood the last part before:

The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. (Matt. 11:5,6)

Suddenly this morning, the last part meant to me, “Blessed is he who is not offended when I help people most others don’t like.”

Which is kind of why I wrote Daddy Issues. To shed light on things some folks find offensive or disturbing. And yes, some people are offended by some of what I wrote. So I’m doubly, triply thankful this morning for those of you who are not. You are changing the world.

Daddy Issues published

Thrilling Thanksgiving. Even though I was thousands of miles away from family, I still had the super-charged excitement of publishing my debut novel, Daddy Issues.

I have a lot to be thankful for, indeed. The support of my family in this quest, many friends who have stood by me, beta readers who gave essential feedback, and the many vendors who added their professionalism to the final product.

I send this out in to the world hoping it will increase understanding about the issues it addresses: intense sexuality, relationships in the face of mental conditions, parent/child dilemmas, and finding one’s inner truth.

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