So, I have survived another week at work. The disaster I feared at the end of the previous week did not materialise. Instead, while very difficult for me socially, the actual working time was OK because I spent it mostly on getting to know the equipment I’m going to specialise in.
I can relate to this and wish I was in Washington, DC.
As many other aspies I was bullied. Some bullied me just for fun and others did it to crush me and bend me to their will, most notably my family and my first teacher. What I have discovered is that bullies have something in common with universalist ideologies: both want you to accept that their truth is the only one.
What do I mean by a universalist ideology? First of all we have the global monotheistic religions that teach that there is only one god and no others, and everyone that does not believe in this god is wrong. Then we have the political mass movements that so much dominated the twentieth century. Their founders, followers and leaders claimed that their ideology possessed the only truth and that everyone not sharing their ideology was inferior, and therefore prey.
I grew up in 1970s Sweden where the currents from 1968 strongly influenced society. I was a pariah because my father was a businessman and my first schoolteacher made it his personal contribution to the world revolution to make my life hell. To him I, a seven year old, was the local representative of world capitalism and was therefore legal prey.
What does this have to do with reading and writing you the reader, rightly ask?
As I stated above, it is vitally important for bullies to make their victims accept that they are right. However, reading opens up other worlds and other opinions to the reader. When the real world was too unbearable I could disappear in the written world and discover that there was more to life than what my tormentors tried to force me to think. I, like many other aspies, discovered science fiction and fantasy and escaped into their alternate realities; both helped me to recharge and to tackle life.
The French author Houellebecq in his analysis of the horror author H P Lovecraft states that healthy people do not read. He might be right there, but he misses the real point, and that is that reading also comforts and heals.
Since being diagnosed earlier this year I have of course studied about Asperger’s Syndrome. There is a lot of literature out there, and much of it written by people actually on the Autism Disorder Spectrum. I have also looked at on-line resources by and for aspies. In a later post I will review and recommend some of the books and resources.
When deciding which books to buy I researched them by reading the cover blurbs, excerpts and the reviews. I was, obviously, very interested in books written by other aspies. What I found posed a problem for me: most of the aspies – of those I found – that wrote about our condition either had had the support of their families or had one or more of these ‘aspie superpowers’ that more than compensate for their handicap. I wonder whether these people really have anything to tell me? Yes if you have a wonderful, loving supportive family that accepts you for who you are then you’re more likely to do well by following their advice. If you have an aspie superpower all the better because you can use it to create a special niche for yourself in the world and in the workplace.
What about us that lack either or both of these advantages, though? Is there a reason why we don’t write and publish? Is it not so that for every aspie that is a resounding success there are others – ten, or even a hundred – that struggle just to stay afloat like me? Who tells our stories?
I felt that I wanted to write from the perspective of those of us who are not special – just aspies. This is why I’m here, because I’m an ordinary aspie.
This relates to my previous post. It is not just about writing. Tasks that can be simplicity themselves for a neurotypical can be very complex for me, an aspie, since they involve so many decisions. I am at the moment doing the laundry. Instead of just taking it out and hanging it after I am done with it I want to wait a little bit before I open the door to the machine. After I have emptied the machine and put the laundry in the basket I take a break. After yet another pause I hang it. What I do is that I split each and every operation into a series of discrete actions with breaks in between. I do that to destress myself and to prepare myself for the next task.
I can get very stressed when cooking, and baking with all its intricacies is most of the time beyond me.
Imagine then the effect more complex situations, i.e. social interactions, can have on me.