being #aspie

One of my favorite things to hate about the human race is the way people automatically tend to anthropomorphize, ascribe, and project their own feelings and points of view on others around them. I suppose it’s an adaptive trait of some kind that might even be functional somehow, but I find it extremely annoying when it points my direction.

I generally blog in a more positive fashion nowadays, so that lead-in probably sounded bitter. Believe it or not, I’ve worked very hard for many years to sound positive because flatly making global statements like that one does a couple of things I don’t intend, like put the listener on the defensive, and put personal feelings I’m not even having into the listener’s mind. I’ve been seeing a psychologist regularly since 2007 for exactly these kinds of mixups because of my Asperger’s, and it has taken this long for me to reach the point of finally being able to verbalize them.

When I first started blogging, I was terrified. I learned very quickly to mask who I really was because of the repercussion of being discovered by my coworkers. I was not savvy enough at first to know how to avoid creating very complicated awkward situations simply by writing down something as innocuous (I felt) as I couldn’t believe the little dog who lived in the hotel was allowed to poop all over the lobby carpet when there was a $7000 one-off sculpture in the front window. I wrote it because it was my job to clean up the stupid poop and then apologize to guests as they checked in and out of the hotel. Well, the dog won, I had to leave that job because the relationships with my coworkers became unbearable, and by my next job I had learned to at least fake my name online while I entertained my readers with crazy stories about being a late night hotel desk clerk.

I guess I’m getting really good at pretending. That’s the goal, isn’t it, to pretend I’m normal like everyone else? I’ve been practicing for years how to pass off as less annoying (that’s not the normal part, sadly, but I have a special way of being annoying that apparently shines like neon). Sometimes it helps to pretend I’m a Vulcan in Star Fleet, just stuffing down what I really feel in order to get along, using rules and regs as a sort of shield. That actually backfires a lot, mostly because people don’t know I’m using a pretend world to help monitor my behavior, which overly complicates things suddenly veering off course until I find myself in yet another unfixable social mess. Attempts to logically lay out the order of events that preceded the cataclysm have always epic failed, so I have given up trying to communicate after ‘splosions go off. Something about that making it worse, although I don’t understand how or why studying the causes of a problem in order to avoid it the next time can make things worse.

In my experience, the more emotion-driven a person is that I’m interacting with, the more catastrophic the explosion at the end, and then I’m left torn and ragged with sadness and bewilderment. Honestly, these unbalanced relationships are doomed to fail from the beginning, I have the track record to prove it. As far as I can understand what goes wrong, it starts with people expecting me to ‘behave’ (in my mind I’m expected to perform on demand), and then they ascribe or project what they think I’m feeling into the relationship based on my performance of the expected behavior, and then when I try to interject a little to correct the misconceptions, all kinds of feelings get hurt and all that is left to do (if I want to continue in the relationship) is put my pretend face back on. I hate, I loathe being a fake. But when I am openly myself, I get super popular very quickly and attract people from several different points of view that don’t mesh well, and then to my horror and shock they start obliterating each other, effectively turning me into an undesired focal point of hostile territory. I might genuinely like all the people I stay in touch with on social media, but when I cross the streams, bad stuff starts happening that I can’t control. It wouldn’t be so bad if all I had to do was sit back and watch, but when people expect me to take sides, I tend to bail on the friendships. I hate taking sides.

Even more than that, I hate having to explain to people what is going on (especially since I’ve been baited a few times and stabbed later). Why did I say this, why is someone doing that, all I have to do is talk to a bunch of different people and next thing I know, arguments are dragging out with my name tagged all over them, feelings are being dumped all over public media with my name tagged all over them… More and more people project what must be in MY head based on how my friends are behaving. It’s probably noteworthy that I have a history of abruptly deleting accounts over things like this, never to be seen again. I especially dislike the feeling of being owned. What’s really nerve wracking is having a close friend who excels in starting trubbas, throwing me into a facepalm spotlight without much warning- that was a cute one to extricate myself from a few years ago.

I’m maxed out again. I’ve been able to keep most of this stuff off public media for several months now. I could list the people who will contact me privately apologizing, and it’s not them. I’m not trying to prompt a discussion, in fact, maybe I should close comments on this post. (Or maybe not.) I’m very close to being a professional blogger now. I’ve been blogging for ten years solid. I’ve seen it all, been wildly popular among particular groups and completely anonymous among others. One thing I’ve seen happen consistently- people project feelings onto other people and stuff goes boom.

I understand that people get mood swings and go through depressions and menopause and losses and scary illnesses and whatever. I have loads of experience interacting with terminals, spoonies, people with mental illness, religious and political zealots, and buttholes who make everyone else more miserable with whatever problem they have with other people being open and honest. There’s a lot of discipline behind not allowing people to drag me into negative stuff, and that’s actually the coolest thing I’ve ever learned. But I’m not cool enough yet, certainly not professional enough yet to not write this out.

I love social media. I hate communication problems. The defining hurtle for me as an aspie is emotion-fraught misconceptions. Some people I have met who are geniuses of social media have learned how to master the train wreck, as it were. Their social skills at creating problems and using negativity to draw crowds borders on the power of the Dark Side. I admire that. But I will never do that, because I don’t like stepping on other people to get attention for myself. A couple of people who have quietly watched me tick on blogs and facebook and twitter have nailed me as the person behind the curtain, promoting others before myself, pumping their traffic and followers before my own, and I’m very very good at it. I play this game of blogs where it looks like I really don’t get a lot of attention, but what I see behind the curtains is who still checks on everything I’m doing in the last eight years, who watched for me to come back out public, who for God knows why still seem curious where I’m really going with my stuff. This would be happening even if I didn’t link blog posts on twitter. It used to spook me. Now I feel like those are the real friends who truly respect my boundaries and just stay back, whether they understand me being aspie or not. And they may not even be my friends, they might be crazy obsessed fans or people waiting to make money off me or maybe even people terrified I’ll disappear again or spill the truth about something. I don’t even care. As long as people don’t show up at my house, fine. That has really happened, it got weird.

If I really wanted to rock an aspie blog like other aspies are doing, it would probably get pretty popular, because I am the bluntest evil villain I know when I don’t bite my tongue in half and swallow it. But that’s not who I want to be ‘famous’ as. I don’t want the kind of popularity where followers turn and group hate on anyone who defies me. I’ve watched this happen in every venue from big time celebrities down to basic anonymous nobodies. What gets really scary is when a celebrity or author or somebody with a lot of followers has to come out with a statement about depression, because they get wind of someone committing suicide in response to online bullying. What a catch-22, inciting to riot like it’s a game and then flipping over asking people to be compassionate and forgiving. It’s so easy to walk away and not respond to that crap, and yet so hard, and the crux is when people who did the inciting admit they have the depression or the suicidal family member. They know better.

I’m struggling. I’ve been mentioning for several weeks now I’m having challenges staying public. I’m not going to say why or who or what is going on. I’m not going to discuss it in private. I will talk to who I feel like talking to on public media. I’m a public aspie being pulled in multiple directions by several different interests, and if I wanna cross streams on my own turf, that is my business. Side taking and favoritism is not a service I have to render, jealousy or freaking out about who I talk to will no longer be tolerated, and before anyone thinks this post is going to a single person, don’t give yourself so much credit, because I’ve been doing this balancing act with a number of people. If you haven’t noticed, then I’ve been doing a good job handling it. I would never have wasted this much time blogging about a single person, which would actually be a passive-aggressive way to deal with a personal problem. Speaking as an aspie, this has become an overwhelming challenge from several directions. I suppose one answer would be to block or unfollow, but past experience says that only means I wind up shutting everything down again. Simply not responding and keeping it off my timeline is preferable.

I am aspie. Mask off. I want to stand up for what I like and believe in, and not cave to pressure to behave certain ways just because someone thinks I’m stepping out of line if I don’t. If I don’t feel like condoning something, I’m not going to just because a friend tags me. (Many people tag me, few get retweeted.) If some of you out there are still too scared to tweet with me because it might upset a few other people, I’m sorry stuff happens, but time passes and we’re all still human. I interact on multiple lists, I can’t be catering to each one exclusively, especially if I’m being ascribed or projected feelings based on expected behaviors. I could be just another aspie doing a public balancing act but I’d rather not be typecast and lumped into *just* aspie, because there is so much more I’m trying to do. People talk about glass ceilings- I’m working very hard toward my biggest explosion yet. I want it to be fun this time, not sad like the last time was.

I’m sorry, but that means I have to kill you all now.

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7 thoughts on “being #aspie

  1. Hi Janika. I would never have known you were aspie until about six months ago when I read it in your blog. There are so many different types of people in the world, and I have never found you annoying. I’ve always found you to be honest, fascinating, and super intelligent. I write on my wip in the morning, ski in the afternoon, and take care of the laundry, dishes, cooking, and all the rest of everything required. Which is to say that most of the time, I’m tired. I usually don’t respond to drama. I hate it and try to avoid it. I’m naturally a very sarcastic person. My mother had a scathing tongue and I learned it. One of the first things I learned on twitter was from Nathan Fillion, whose bio says, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.’ So I learned to keep my mouth shut for my more destructive comments. Strangely, I don’t seem to attract kooks or atrackers like so many other people. My mouth does get me imto trouble, because there’s many things I believe in, and that I believe should be said. Again, I censor myself all the time. So what I’m trying to say is that I hope you don’t close all your accounts. I’m here for you. I’m not perfect. I try to be honest. I will never hold anything against you. I hope I don’t lose this whole comnect. It happens.

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  2. I’ve had to think a few days on this. I generally don’t reply to comments any more because direct interaction is my biggest fail. As long as I keep it cute/short/nonpersonal, people are good with me. This is in reply to biting one’s tongue over sarcasm. What I do isn’t sarcasm. In my own words, “I’m a natural pointer outer of incongruity.” The second I come out and reply very specifically to something, people feel like I’m taking potshots at them when all I’m doing is correcting misconceptions. (This is a global observation aspies make in general, you can typecast us based on this one inherent flaw for misunderstanding the purposes of HONESTY.) The emotions involved lead to jagged schisms in our relationships. 1- I DON’T LEARN TO KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT. It’s a given that sooner or later I *will* tell someone exactly what about them is bugging me, and nearly everyone I have done this to never comes back. 2- I LOVE TO DEBATE. And I *win*. I don’t even care if I’m right. I was told many years by a boyfriend that my pen is sharper than any sword. 3- I DON’T FEEL GUILTY. I hurt people. I have no empathy.

    If you guys aren’t seeing these things in me and my blogs right now, I am very successfully using my new interaction skills. It doesn’t mean my personality has changed. It means I’m a good actress in print.

    My only point to writing this out is that I don’t want to lose friends this time over my inherent eccentricities. You guys new to me don’t see the very slow and tentative stepping out of hiding a few people from my long past have done because of this post.

    I am never going to say any more what is in my head in interactive comments because I know I can casually destroy with simple offhand observations, and it takes a lot of guts to stand up to someone so blatantly blunt. One thing I make clear (in the subtlest of ways) throughout my bluejacky surveys is that I’m professionally trained to psychologically assess. That is a dangerous weapon to have in my hands. Making the choice NOT to say what pops into my mind and eats my soul is probably going to make all the difference the rest of my life.

    My goal is to bridge the aspie/neurotypical communication gap. Yes, there really is a book coming.

    If it helps, I’ve written more about this conundrum at -> http://www.syfydesigns.com/showthread.php?370-Pinky-Stuff&p=1004&viewfull=1#post1004

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  3. Pingback: Friendship from the Aspie’s Viewpoint (Response Letter to Karen Willis’ Blog) | Timotheus "Pharaoh" Gordon

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