Well this is one of those times where I have to jump in the deep end and hope I remember how to swim. Use whatever metaphor you want, what I’m trying to say is writing this is kind of scary and nerve wracking. This isn’t the first time I’ve told people I have Asperger’s Syndrome or written about what being an Aspie (my affectionate term for it) is like. Heck it’s even in my about me page on this very blog. Sure I shouldn’t care what a total stranger thinks, but I do. I hate to admit that, and I wish I could say I’ve gotten so much better about it but I haven’t. That in and of itself is a revelation, or maybe an admission. You would think after years of talking about and living with depression that doing the same thing for Asperger’s would be a piece of cake. It’s not.
I struggled to find a way to write this post. Not because I couldn’t come up with examples. I’ve got plenty of those. Not because I was afraid to talk about it (maybe a little.) It’s because being on the autistic spectrum is hard to define no matter where you fall. While most people who have Asperger’s are high functioning it doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days. It doesn’t mean I don’t have some of the “typical” autistic traits. My mom says I have a “dash” of autism. While it sounds great, what constitutes a dash? If you put into cooking terms it’s about as helpful as saying a pinch of something. One person’s dash could be using a few fingers of said spice, another person could mean two fingers worth. Someone else could say they used a dash when they really meant a handful. See how this could get confusing?
When I’ve told people I care about (significant others, friends etc.) I tell them I have trouble understanding certain social cues or that I don’t always make eye contact but that doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention to them. Then I wait impatiently to see if the person runs away screaming or just looks confused. If I’m lucky they don’t do either. If they do run away then I figure they aren’t worth my time. If they’re confused I give them some recent examples of what I mean (preferably between me and said friend or whoever I’m talking to.)
Another reason I found it hard to write about this is that there’s almost too much to talk about. Even doing a rough draft or stream of conscious type thing I was overwhelmed with where to start. Usually when I write I can just start writing and it comes out pretty easily. Whether it makes any sense is another matter. Thankfully after a few rough drafts in my head and looking over my ideas I just decided to do what I’m doing right now. Sometimes you just have to do something and see what happens. It doesn’t matter if you’re scared, or you care too much what people think, or you don’t think you have something unique to say. I find once you’ve done whatever it is that you’re afraid of you generally feel better. Or at the very least you say, “Huh, that wasn’t so bad. I might even do it again.”
Which brings me back to my earlier point. I care what people think. I am getting better at not caring or at least pretending I don’t. I think it’s probably an insecurity thing. Heck it’s probably directly related to my lack of self confidence. Lest I get off track again what I’m trying to say is I care too much what people think. I wish I could be more like my boyfriend and say, “Fuck it, I don’t care what you think of me, deal with it.” For the time being I can’t do that. Part of it is that I’m fairly private when it comes to some parts of my life. Ask me about comic books, the TV show Supernatural or anime and I’ll talk to you for hours on end. Ask me about depression, being autistic or start trash talking anyone I care about and I tend to get rather quiet. Actually if you don’t want me to stop talking to you or throw you out you probably don’t want to do that last one.
While I can talk about my depression pretty openly now it wasn’t always that way. Talking about something like that takes practice, a bit of courage and being comfortable with that part of yourself. I suppose that’s what this blog post is, except this time it’s for my Asperger’s. Even though it’s harder to define, it can cover a lot of different ground, and I worry what people will think afterwards I still want to do it. If nothing else for all the other people who can’t talk about it or they want to but are too afraid. I want to talk about it so I can educate others about what it’s like and help people not feel so alone.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this. I may have Asperger’s, depression and occasional anxiety but I’m okay. You may be able to relate to all, none or some of those things and that’s fine. My hope is that by reading this blog you’ll see a little bit of what it’s like to be me. If that’s not your thing that’s cool there are plenty of other bogs to read. But if you want to stick around I welcome you to my crazy, scary, and weird world.