Marcus and the Club

I’ve come to realize that one of my greatest obstacles in life has been (and probably will continue to be) getting people to understand my sensory processing disorder. This rings true in college, the epitome of social involvement. But as you know, social-ness is not part of my expertise, as my sensory needs consistently seem to trump successful leisure activities. I have a very specific moment engraved in my memory that highlights this struggle.

This is me sitting in class at my local community college about three years ago:



(Yes, in case you were wondering, I was the coolest person on campus…if you couldn’t tell from the illustration).

That day was unremarkable. I, along with several other students, were waiting for the arrival of our professor, who never showed up on time. During this time, most people were on their phones viewing pointless crapsauce, or chatting with their neighbor about pointless crapsauce. Meanwhile, I spent my time doing more important things:


Suddenly, and I mean like outta freakin’ nowhere, this guy smashes his body onto my tiny desk, interrupting my wizard battle drawing.


After I succeeded in NOT crapping myself, I realized he swiftly took the empty seat next to mine. His name was Marcus. He looked roughly similar to this:


Marcus never talked to me up until this point, I doubt he knew my name. He normally sat on the other side of the classroom and generally made life annoying for the professor with his shenanigans. Every now and then, he was incredibly insightful during class. This was not one of those moments.


I was all like:


I realized I had to, you know, respond. So I did.


Without missing a beat, he fired right back.


Hold up. Did I miss something? Didn’t I already address this invitation? I didn’t feel like diving into the hundreds of reasons why I didn’t want to – and probably should never – go to a club in NYC with this random guy from school.

Luckily for me, Marcus was a real charmer.

“But, sugar, you should come tonight.”

I tried politely turning down his offer.

“No thank you,” I said again.

Marcus replied, “But why don’t you want to go clubbing? I mean, I’LL BE THERE.”




It became apparent to me that I needed to give Marcus an explanation for why I couldn’t go to the club with him. I tried the simple response; nice and straight-forward.



Marcus stared at me with silence and uncertainty.

With nothing left to lose, I began rambling on about what I’m sure was a complicated mess of crapsauce. On the bright side, it sounded great in my head.





This ridiculous charade went on for several minutes. Marcus was a persistent bewb, and I was slowly losing my faith in mankind. I was beginning to worry that I would run out of ways to explain my SPD issues to him, because no matter what I said or how I said it, Marcus didn’t grasp the concept of me being physically unable to go clubbing…whatever the heck that means.

Just when I thought it was nearly over, a female classmate with very yellow hair and about ten thousand bracelets joined in the madness. Apparently, she was also going to the club, and now I had the pair of them giving me this look:


It was at this point that I attempted to smile, because I was out of options and kinda stressed. KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS….ERR SOMETHING.


Fortunately, since there is mercy in this cruel world, the professor FINALLY arrived. Marcus and bracelet girl stood up and returned to their seats on the other side of the classroom.




Moral of the story: If you get invited to “the club” or someplace similarly sensory dangerous, do a better job explaining yourself than I did. If that doesn’t work, smile intensely until you scare the person away. The latter method has rarely failed me.


xo kelly

Do you have a funny experience trying to explain your special needs? Share it in the comments!







  1. Congratulations to you, Kelly for your bravery! Thanks to people like Marcus & Crazy Braclet Girl who
    give us no other choice but to be brave 🙂

  2. That just sounded kinda like the story of my life, with slight variations (I happen to love clubs and dancing as that kind of immersive experience can actually be comforting to me AT THE RIGHT TIME – other times it could kill me, yes; but then those times the color red or a whisper could kill me…). Tho i can’t help but feel on some very real level that “we” are not the “problem” 😉
    More seriously speaking, i think having a strategy or script in advance might be helpful in such situations: “I have SPD. that means for me that loud noise hurts my brain.” Or some such.
    I am a Community College professor and I do keep my eyes out for you and me…

    1. I totally get what you’re saying. It’s amazing to me that for one day, a certain noise won’t bother me, but the next day, that SAME sound is horrific! Also, I think I should make small flyers or something along those lines to handout to people who aren’t catching onto the meaning of SPD. I’ll just be like, “AND HERE’S ALL THE INFO YOU NEED. GOODBYE..” ;p Throw the flyer at them and run away!!!!!

  3. So funny in a “I know how confusing and unfamiliar SPD can be for people to understand” kind of way! Nice to meet you and your blog. Love your format and your humor and the pics and the owl hat. I happen to have the same one. Hoot hoot.

    1. thanks – glad you enjoyed them so! I’m thinking they asked me because I looked like an easy target (like I would say yes to anything). Little did they know that I have boundaries, and more importantly, standards. 😀

  4. This was awesome! You SHOULD use your art to tell them to get lost 🙂 It’s a great idea. I may have to try that some time, too! Of course, I am not nearly as good at art, but I have found that drawing a social story for neurotypical adults, or say…doctors, helps a lot!

    1. I should keep a travel sketchbook with me at all times and just draw my SPD issues whenever an explanation is needed – you’re right! I can think of a whole handful of clueless doctors who could use some SPD guidance!

  5. So I have to admit…I laughed. Your photos “and I was like” got me. I can’t wait for my son to be able to explain himself. Thanks for sharing.

  6. That was truly hysterical, yet enlightening as to what my son’s experiences will be like in the future. I can only hope that he can express himself as eloquently as you did and with humor….though right now the only humor he has is potty humor.

  7. Oh my god, how I love what you do LOL – I was dying at your Kristen Wiig Target Lady face. This is essentially the story of my life – proud that you attempted an explanation! I used to just lie about why I couldn’t do something, but these days I attempt an explanation too 🙂 You are the best.

  8. On the third date with the guy I married, he tried to take me to a jazz club. At the time I didn’t have an SPD diagnosis, just a case of things making me confused, scared, and unable to explain anything. I tried to explain and he suggested we watch TV together. It wasn’t exactly the moment “I knew,” but I was very impressed and very relieved. He’s a keeper for this reason and lots of other reasons.

  9. There is a girl in my math class who has acted slightly similarly to this at times. A few months ago I spent several minutes attempting to explain to her why I couldn’t “just wear jeans.” Ugh. -_-

    Also, I too seem to have a rather hard time giving any in-between description of my disabilities/medical issues. I tend to either give the person a 10-minute explanation of SPD/my medical history, or say “I have some stuff.” and try to change the subject as fast as possible. Neither of these are strategies I would particularly recommend.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s