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My AS does not Define Me...
posted at 08:53 am on 01-29-2009
I define my AS.
I recently revealed to a friend that I had AS. Our relationship immediately changed. He began defining me by my AS, treating me as if I was dumb, inept, weak, helpless and the dreaded "D word," disabled.
While I can appreciate the fact that many NTs don't understand the intricate challenges that AS can pose to a person, and those challenges vary from person to person, I can not stomach being treated as if I am not the strong, intelligent, capable woman that I am.
I have a very good job that give me great intellectual challenge and responsibility. I have raised three children to be strong, capable, independent and smart young adults and teenagers. I have a small circle of friends who are loyal, loving and think I am a rockstar. I live on my own, pay my bills and cook a healthy, balanced dinner for my family every night.
Sure, my AS does present its fair share of challenges that many folks do not experience and, in many cases, are unable to even fathom. Sure, I may be "different" in many ways, but in other ways, I am no different than other "norm" women.
See, my AS does not define who I am. It is no more or less a part of me than my blue eyes, my red hair, the fact that I am 6 feet tall, my quirky sense of humor or my caring nature. It does not make me helpless, weak or stupid. In fact, I am highly intelligent with an IQ that is well into the genius level.
Over the years, I have taken steps to learn how to navigate the bewildering waters of social interaction. I have taken courses in college, read books and asked relied on the guidance of some loving friends to make my way in this world of aliens (they are as alien to me as I am to them) and I am doing just fine.
I DON'T need to be rescued, fixed (God! I HATE that one!) or treated like a stupid weakling. I don't need to be enabled by being treated like I am disabled. I am who I am, I just operate in ways that may be different to some. It doesn't make me wrong or less of a person, just DIFFERENT. And that isn't such a bad thing.
Yes, the "norms" may be more adept at navigating the social waters, but in many ways we Aspies have some advantages, even the upper hand in some things. For one, we often tend to be very, even brutally, honest. It is a "rule" and we don't violate our rules. If you ask an Aspie a question, you are very likely to get a very honest answer, whether you want it or not. My kids joke that I should come with a warning label that you should be absolutely sure you want to know the truth before you ask me.
Yes, we are very literal and the rules keep us literal, balanced in our black and white worlds (it is the grey area that is maddening to us).
My AS does not define me, I define my AS. I have taken the various characteristics that come from it, the challenges, and I have made them work for me. I have used my unique view of the world to pen interesting, engaging pieces.
My friends come to me for advice and a different perspective because they value my wisdom and my "different" view of the world. Quite often I will present them with an aspect of a situation that they had not considered. It's the details that I enjoy, the minute parts of a situation, a painting, a person, that I focus on. I put the pieces together and see a side that many miss.
See, there is nothing about me that is "disabled." Different, yes. But is that such a bad thing? I will never be like the "norms," then again, I will never be unoriginal either.
Not Meant for this World...
posted at 02:53 pm on 01-22-2009
Or at least that is the way I feel much of the time. It seems that too often the world is waging a full scale assault upon me and I am powerless to stop it.
My entire life has been a succession of too many sounds, sounds that are too loud or grate on my nerves - or both, lights that are too bright, people trying to touch me, avoiding contact with people because communication is such a struggle and, most of all, never, ever knowing what the rules were for dealing with people.
That is probably what gets me the most. I love rules, order. But people change their silly rules all the time! What is up with that? Why can't people be consistent? Just when I think, "OK, I can talk to this person, deal with this person." They flip and everything changes.
Canines. Canines are always steady, always accepting, never make fun of you, never tell you that you're strange. Yes, my Canine American is my lifeline, my link to sanity.
I have kids - all three are like me (in varying degrees) and we never had a clue why we were different, just that we were.
Then a doctor suggested we pursue a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome. At first I balked, I mean, that is a "D" word, a disability. I am weird, sure, but I'm not disabled. Or am I? Eventually, I settled into the idea, read up on it and things began to fall into place. Suddenly my weirdness began to make sense.
What a relief!
When I was in college I knew I was a social train wreck, knew I was different. I took courses in communication and sociology so that I could learn how to interact with people and at least pretend I was normal. It has gotten me by, but I do much better when I am left alone.
So, this first post here is more of a stream of thought I guess. But it is a bit of an introduction. More to come...