this makes sense to me on a fundamental level
March 31, 2014
so… i just read this post about a writer figuring out that she has austism and i think, now, that i”m able to properly understand myself as being autistic in this light.
part of it is that she, um, uses examples that i understand. via Abed, comics, and computers.
like this part:
In the pilot of Community, early on, there’s this exchange: Jeff, the leading man, who’s kind of an asshole, says, “Abed, I see your value now,” and Abed, genuinely excited, answers, “That’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”
I thought for a long time that the joke was that Jeff only saw people’s value when they were of direct use to him; that he thought he was being snide but actually saying something pretty nice. It turns out that the joke is that Abed interprets it as a compliment.
I, uh, didn”t realize this was a joke until now? Is it a joke? Like, of course jeff is being an asshat. I just always thought it was sad that this was the nicest thing anyone said to Abed. Because I truly believe that it very like was the nicest thing.
and this part is so me it actually hurts:
he experience I’ve always characterized as empathy is not, in fact, the same thing most of the people around me mean when they say “empathy.” Mine is more like very, very well-honed pattern recognition. I am a good listener. I give very good advice. I am very good at noticing and articulating patterns and motivations people don’t recognize in themselves.
I identify with very few of them.
Although, I”ll say this: i don”t give advice anymore. i used to give advice to everyone who wanted to tell me their troubles. no one listened.
and then they”d come back to me, months/years later, and tell me that my advice was good and they probably should have listened to me.
so i don”t do advice anymore. like at all. my brain has given up on it, mainly because i feel like most ppl don”t actually (when sharing their problems) want external solutions. and i hate engaging in futile activities. so no more advice. i stop at the ‘omg, i don”t understand this person and why they do things” stage and don”t analyze further (most of my advice comes from trying to understand via putting myself in their situation. it is exhausting.).
and the part where she talks about how her ‘passion” will turn into ‘too intense” and ‘smothering” over time.
this. is. me.
strangely, so is this:
When we talk, you’ll notice how often and how long I pause mid-thought.
of course, only the ppl who”ve heard me talk irl will note that this is a thing that i do with a fair amount of regularity
but. this paragraph:
But people also baffle and exhaust me, and I don’t trust most of them. They generalize and assume based on very limited data sets. They touch me. From behind. In crowds. They ignore the words I have so carefully arranged to say exactly what I want them to say and project their own insecurities and needs and prejudices. They treat me like an extension of them; they subsume who I am and what I say into whatever role they want or need me to fill and then punish me when I fail to follow a script I can’t see. (emphasis in the original)
god. and the being punsished to follow a script you can”t see for a role you never asked for….
i feel like this is my life with trying to have relationships with ppl.
and the bit about language. i try to be so precise with my words and what i say/write.
and this would be me too:
“What you’re describing sounds a lot like the experience of someone with Asperger’s Syndrome,” my therapist tells me. I point out that according to the DSM-V, Asperger’s Syndrome no longer exists as a discrete disorder.
and this is pretty much where i am with my personal self-understanding and shift in perspective as being neuro-diverse:
I always assumed that if I tried harder and longer, if I approached those problems from enough different angles, someday something would click.
It’s frightening to realize that fake-it-‘til-you-make-it may not apply. That there might be functions I can’t replicate. That there are gulches that can’t be bridged.
maybe a bit further along… but the ‘fake-it-til-you-make-it” has literally been my motto for years. and this is pretty much how i”ve gotten through most of my life.
it never works like that, does it?
i mean. all that faking it meant, for me, is that when i had to be around other ppl. when i had to go to school. or go to work. i would turn on the ‘fake it” set of rules and scripts and do that.
but in so doing, exhaust myself. so that by the time i go home and away from ppl, all i wanted to do was be a lump on my bed. which is often what i did. i would spend hours reading fic or similar activity just needing to not.
“No,” he ways. “They’re Macs, and you’re running Linux.”…
This is how he explains: “You’re not something totally foreign to other people: you’re based on the same core. Maybe your interface isn’t intuitive for most users, and you can’t run all the same software, but for someone willing to put in the time, you’re more versatile and better oriented for a lot of specific advanced functions and customization.”1
Lol. Of course it would take a computer analogy for finally make all of this make sense for me. i mean, if you flip it around to the user, rather than OS, i know that i love linux because of the ability to customize and interact with interfaces that actually make a great deal more sense to me.
it isn”t for nothing that my productivity with biyuti publishing went through the roof when i bought a piece of software that allows me to design books (ie, a visual object) via a text interface.
this was a useful piece for me and it helped contextualize a lot of stuff that was going around in my head.
it is funny, ‘cause while i am lucky enough to know more than one autistic person willing to talk about this sort of stuff, it is hard for me to try and translate their experiences into something i can understand and try to view my life through. in part because of the…… difference in language and metaphor used. computers make sense to me.