I had no idea that this would turn out to be such a… verbose series. So many words! In case you are just joining me, I’ve been breaking down the Females with Asperger’s Syndrome Non-Official Checklist and this is the second to last entry in the series.
Section I: Confusion
I feel like I spend every day of my life beung confused. I’m confused about the state of my marriage (are we trying right now? is he about to leave me? is he going to kick me out soon?). I’m confused when Facebook changes. I’m confused about how to use things like Twitter and Pinterest and even WordPress, which I’m trying to overcome right now.
Learning that people are not always honest (or good or kind or right) was very difficult for me. I’m not sure I’ve learned it yet, actually. I still think that if someone has lied to me or treated me badly, I must have done something to cause it. It never occurred to me that I should avoid being around people who lied and so I didn’t avoid them and it’s gotten me into pretty distressing situations. When people, ” ostracize, shun, belittle, trick, and betray”, I am also convinced that I must have deserved it. I was recently shunned by a group of bloggers who had taken me on as a writer. Then, suddenly, I’m wanting to talk about some vibes I was getting from them and the next thing I know, they have removed me from the group, changed my password, and refused to respond to my request to get my article back. Who does that? I have no idea what went down there but it felt bad.
Without my calendar, I cannot keep up with appointment times. If it’s not written in my calendar, I will surely forget it. That said, I’m good about referring to my calendar so appointments aren’t forgotten or missed around me… ever.
I’ve never really thought about it before but I’d say it is true that extreme emotions are easier for me to identify than more calm, even emotions. In fact, I’m not sure I even recognize those more calm emotions in myself. In those states, I’m just being. And then bam, there’s a feeling and it’s big. I think it might be fair to say that is why I seem to be having mood swings at times… because when a big emotion hits, it feels like it came out of no where but in reality it was creeping up inside and I didn’t notice until it was so much bigger and impossible to ignore.
Jokes have often been difficult for me. It’s not so much that I don’t understand them or they “go over my head” but I just don’t think they are funny. Which is interesting since comedy is one of my passions. I guess the truth is that jokes aren’t a type of comedy that I like. If someone is telling a joke, I may or may not think it is funny. I find humor in the awkwardness of reality. Which is probably why “The Office” is my favorite show. To me, there are no jokes in those scripts… just a bunch of awkward and subtle interaction that gives us a glimpse inside of the people and their awkwardness or their desperation or their weakness. Now THAT is funny. And relatable.
Many a time I have felt sorry for people who have persecuted me. Rarely has there ever been a person who has been mean to me or done something to hurt me who didn’t end up with my sympathy. It takes a LOT for me to fantasize about revenge against a person. There is this one particular person who I am especially annoyed with. I have never met her. But she keeps doing something to me, indirectly, that I am really hating. And as mad as I am at her, and as good as it felt to block her from my business facebook page just because I don’t like her, I still feel bad for her. I can’t tell if I’m pathetic or a good person. It’s just how I am.
I’m not sure that I really think that a small fight might signal the end of a relationship so much as in my experience, small fights HAVE signaled the end of a relationship. I cannot think of too many times in my life where there has been a disagreement and the person didn’t abandon me afterward. Occasionally they came back but when they did, there was irreparable damage done.
Small compliments do make my day and I will remember them for the rest of my life. No joke. I remember probably every nice thing that has ever been said to me.
Section J: Words and Patterns
Speaking of remembering things… I forget more than I remember but the things that I do remember about people or events are very odd things. And it’s awkward when I see someone for the first time in years and I spout off something strange that I remember about them. I hear, “I can’t believe you remember that” a lot.
You mean, liking to know word origins isn’t just a sign that I’m a nerd? Hmm, who would have know?
“High interest in song lyrics” just makes me laugh. I mean, I have spent so many hours of my life reading the lyrics to my favorite songs. Analyzing them, memorizing them, clearing up parts that I may have misheard. I see this in my daughter too. She’s currently obsessed with the song “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. She’s studied and learned every single word and now she proudly says she can rap. I learned so much about history and pop culture from TMBG lyrics. Their lyrics were a gift to my brain… learn the lyrics, look up the references, learn something cool. Yay!
I wouldn’t say that I’m confused by multiple meanings of words… but I am exhilarated by it! It’s so much fun when words have more than one meaning. I want to learn them all!
I certainly have emotions that are connected to various words. I use words or phrases from my past and emotions or memories come to me. My favorite word is “salient”. I learned it in college. It makes me happy because it reminds me of my days of feeling smart for making good grades and doing research. I also love cathartic for similar reasons. Words are cool.
My assumption is that I have a visual memory. I don’t remember things like I am reading a journal entry. I remember pictures. But the pictures rarely include the people in my memory. They are blurred, like they would be in a dream. What I see are the places, the environment. And I remember emotions. How I was feeling. I am thankful for photographs or else I’d have no memory of what my kids looked like in their younger years.
Writing is one of my best anxiety relievers. I’m using writing to relieve anxiety right now.
(Optional) Executive Functioning
Learning to drive a car was so terribly hard for me. It took me years. I had to take my driver’s test five times before I finally passed and even then I think they just finally gave me the license so that they could get rid of me. Certain aspects of driving are still difficult and I prefer to avoid driving. But my mom was like that and I hated it because we never went outside of our town because of it so driving is one of those things I do despite the anxiety it causes me.
Rounding corners sucks. Just ask my poor bruised up hips and thighs.
Simple tasks can definitely cause me extreme hardship. For instance, back when I used to try and balance a check book. That. Or reading and understanding “Lord of the Flies” in high school. Or finding my car in a parking lot. Or following the directions my gps gives me. It’s not enough to have a gps. That requires being able to follow directions and once in a while, that is too much for me all together. Doesn’t help that my gps often leads me to the wrong location.
It is quite likely that I am dyslexic. I definitely cannot follow steps, follow choreographed dance moves, fix things, assemble things, learn how to play a game from reading directions (I always rely upon my husband or my daughter to teach me), and yes, a trip to some grocery stores can be overwhelming. There are certain days when driving and going out in public are just too much for me. Most of the time, I just have to suck it up. And I end up offending someone or something because what I really needed was to stay at home!
In Part 7, I’ll talk about where I am in my journey and making peace with this self-diagnosis. Thanks for reading.