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I recently (okay, a year ago) joined Second Life. If you don’t know what second life is, it’s a computer program where you choose a little person to represent you in a computer generated world. You can pretty do whatever you want there. True, there are a LOT of people that just go on there to have some sort of freaky BDSM sex or something along those lines. I chose a different route. I joined a Star Trek fangroup… please don’t click onto another site yet. I’m not going to you with long-winded star trek information. I do enough of that in the group. ūüėÄ

I bring it up because something interesting happened. For some reason I chose to appear as a man. The truth is, most people go the opposite, men pretending to be women. I don’t know why this is. The reason I chose a male avatar was…. as I said, I don’t know. In role playing, you can pretty much be anyone. I chose my little Vulcan guy.

Then my second life made my real life a bit complicated. I got a crush on someone. The catch is he thought I was a guy. He was straight. So I just sat around with my crush and didn’t say a word. We were really good friends though.

Then I told him that in real life I was a woman. I still am not entirely sure why I did this. It turns out that he really liked me. After finding out I was really a woman, he got a crush on me back, and pretty quickly too. Long story short, we’ve grown very close since we first met, and are madly and nauseatingly in love. He’ll be moving to my town as a result.

It’s interesting. If I had met him in person first, he probably would never have gotten to know me. My autistic problems would have made that close to impossible. But he got to know the real me through a fake me. That is ironic. I was fully myself. No inhibitions, no worrying if I was doing the right thing, none of the social rules and faux pas that I normally have to deal with, but I was just me.

In life, I am NOT popular. My only close friends I don’t even see anymore. My best friend got a boyfriend, and I have seen her twice in the year since. And yet in this online world, I have more people to talk to than I can sometimes handle. Sure, they’re probably just aquaintances, but I don’t have any in life.

I suppose that just goes to show how much NT people¬† rely on how well you communicate. People say that they don’t judge people, instead liking a person based on their personality, intelligence, or sense of humor. I believe I am proof that this is not really true. In person, I do everything wrong socially, say the wrong things, make people mad and uncomfortable, and am always left alone. In this metaverse, I am popular, well liked, and given respect. People come to me with their problems because I know just what to say and how to help them.

Why does this happen?? How is it possible for me to be the same in both places with totally different results. I’ll say this much, at least people in both worlds would describe me as weird. I guess I’m weird no matter where I go.

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This weekend I’m going with my one friend to see a friend of her circle’s. He seems alright. Apparently he had an uncle or something who was Autistic, so perhaps he’s understanding. I don’t know.

A week ago, I went to a going away party. How did I do? I have no clue.

You see, in order to self assess, you need to be able to gauge the response of others. If I could do that, I wouldn’t need to do this level of analysis.

I’ve been reading a book on game theory, and I think that this sort of idea can actually help me make some sense of this bizarre Earth ritual called association. I’m not a math genius or anything, but numbers are something substantial. Rules are consistent. 1+1 will always be two. The only way it isn’t is if it gets other things involved, but they’re always given values. There aren’t any surprises in math. There are only discoveries of the logic that already existed.

Still, I can’t go around with a pad of paper giving values for each persons traits and responses based on their beliefs and motivation values. That would be more awkward than I already am! sigh

Heh, I suppose when it comes to me and socialization, it’s less game theory and more Chaos Theory!

The previous post I made was rather indungent on the “woe is me” front. I’ve almost made another friend, and haven’t managed to drive the other one off quite yet. I’m not trying of course!

Still, I will sometimes look at the photos of a few people that I know, and I realize just how many things I’m NOT invited to.

Probably in an average year, I go to… hmm… one “non-event” party. By event, I mean things like weddings and showers, of which don’t really reflect one’s fellow feeling, but more of an “I know you, come to this wedding… and bring a gift.” I am neither counting family reunions or business things, because those all have nothing to do with WHO I am, and more having to do with things that have got nothing to do with the “real” me.

I see photos of people that I see maybe once a year, and I always enjoy them, and wish I could spend more time around them. My friend, only one really, gets invited by our “group of friends” to all sorts of places. When I see the pictures, I remember what I was doing that day. Usually I was watching tv by myself, or maybe watching a movie with my mom. I know that it is never because I had something else to do. For instance, I like singing. Some people say that I sing quite well (I don’t always agree, because it depends on how much I like anything about myself that day). I used to karaoke with my friend, then the place shut down. I tried a new place, and it was just icky. It was music that neither of us care for, and there were skanky people, it just wasn’t right.

I find out later that there have been a couple of occasions were my circle of friends went to a karaoke place. Happy, smiling faces captured while enjoying a shared activity enter my eyes and then crash into my self-esteem. It is as if, instead of “wish you were here”, say “don’t care that you’re not here” or even “Glad you’re not here.”
True, I’m probably being overly sensitive. It’s just that nearing thirty years old, I’m tired of being excluded from EVERYTHING.

I guess when I call people “my circle of friends” I should really say “my friend’s circle of friends” since I’m not really in it. I wouldn’t want her to stop just because she’s accepted, I just wish that there was somewhere left for me!

I want to be part of a shape!

I am not the easiest person to be friends with. I do know this, and I am acutely aware, often to a detrimental degree. Still, it seems that the longer I am friends with someone, the less of a friend I should be.

There are a few friends that I have had for over a decade, and it seems that I can’t do anything right. Out of one side of their mouth, they tell me that I have gotten better at handling the problems that Asperger’s creates. However, it seems that everything I do is wrong. I ask a simple question, and there is something in my tone that suggests that I am copping an attitude. I stay quiet about something, and apparently I should have spoken up. I speak up, and allegedly I should have kept my mouth shut. No matter what I do, it seems that I can’t do anything to satisfy the people closest to me. Ironically, these are the people I want to satisfy the most. Still, I can’t keep any of them happy, and I always seem to hurt them in some way that I will probably never be able to allieviate.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I started to talk to some new people, and there’s excitement. When I disclose that I have autism, they say that I seem perfectly fine. We don’t argue and bicker, but talk excitedly and with a bit of happiness. They don’t feel hurt while I feel both hurt and guilty for hurting, but I think that we all feel that we are simply having fun.

I wish that I could blame this on my friends. I wish that I could say that they aren’t being understanding enough or that they are too critical and expect too much out of me, that they are perfectionist and cruel…

But I know that this isn’t the case. My friends are some of the most patient people on the planet. They have put up with a lot from me. They problem isn’t them, but me. As I get closer to someone, I start to feel more relaxed and at ease. I don’t feel as though I have to bite my tongue constantly and have an anxiety attack over not only what to say, but how to say it and whether all of the complicated equations going on in my head were conducted without slightest mistake.

I start to be “myself.”

That’s the fatal flaw. I guess I shouldn’t let myself become so deluded that I can ever be truly accepted as who I am(or I should say, who I am stuck as being). I will always have to keep some of me bottled up and sealed away. I can’t be close to people, because if I am, I guess they are doomed to be hurt.

I just wish I knew how to stop it… but I don’t. I have a feeling that I never will. I just wish that I didn’t try so hard to be a close friend to anyone, since clearly I am incapable of being so.

I know that I have Asperger’s, because I know that I am not normal*(footnote). When I first, out of pure curiosity, read Atwood’s book on Asperger’s, I was surprised. I sat there, reading this book, thinking, “Yeah? ” “So?” “What’s so strange about that?” and¬†“That doesn’t seem unusual to me!” It took me a while to stop and realize, “Wait a minute… if this is something that, apparently, isn’t the way the mind works for the majority of people, and it sounds to me like someone was writing a book about me… then maybe that’s a hint that the problem all of these years wasn’t the fact that I’m just a jerk, or stupid, but maybe it’s that other people DON’T think this way!” That was the moment when things started to make sense.

I always was aware that other people aren’t thinking the same things that I am. When I’m stressed or physically uncomfortable I have a tendancy to forget this, but I am still aware that others have their own thoughts. What I didn’t realize what how their brains worked. Normal people have all of these unconscious neural pathways that let them know what they did wrong and what to say and how to say it and and and….

Here’s where “the cruel balance” comes in. I’ve learned over time what it looks like when I’ve hurt someone’s feelings. I know what the face means that happens after I’ve said something that was rude and mean. Often I thought briefly about what I was going to say, but their reaction I hadn’t anticipated. I know when something shouldn’t be said, but it’s AFTER I’ve already spat it out! It’s a bit too late by then.

I can tell when I SHOULD try to comfort someone. I know just enough about communication to read it, but not anticipate it. This cruel balance I think I can actually sum up in one sentence (which I probably could have posted by itself and have end of it):

I am normal enough to know that I’m doing something wrong, but not enough to know what the right thing is.

I know just enough to seem as though I should know better. I’m an american sports car. I look flash and like I could whip around corners and excel on the Nuremburg track, but in reality I would be out maneuvered by a Honda.

I know just enough to be dangerous. I can read people and anticipate what should be done beautifully… when I’m NOT in the conversation. If I’m watching people, I can analyze their reactions and anticipate what should and shouldn’t be said with wonderful accuracy and speed. I’m a Mitsubishi Evo or a¬†Porche Carrera 911.¬†Then someone asks me a simple question and I’m a lumbering Bendy-bus (the one’s in England that look like 2 subway cars killing people on the roads).

If I were more abnormal, my problems would be more evident as a problem as opposed to a choice. If I were more normal, I wouldn’t be writing about this in the first place.

* I just want to ask that no one take offense at my use of the word “normal.” I suppose “average” would be a better term, but to me they are fairly synonymous. To say that others are normal does not mean that I am trying to convey the idea that people with autism are “abnormal.” People who are normal or average all have at least one thing that would be considered bizarre or peculiar. So I guess by normal I mean typical souly in the context of the problems people with autism have. Please don’t complain if it offends you. Just realize that normal is more of a concept than a truth… if that makes any sense… which it probably doesn’t.

I will start by stating that I do not, nor have I ever, had selective mutism. I think that there was somebody in my family who did… but I don’t really know. I just watched a documentary on it, and I was surprised at how much I could relate to what they were going through.

According to this special, one of the reasons why they don’t talk is because they’ve developed a sort of phobia regarding speaking in front of others. When they do speak, it’s often to a select few that they really trust. It’s not a matter of lack of ability. It’s more of a matter of simply feeling completely terrified to speak, even if they’ve done something like broken an arm.

Although I have a different set of problems, I can relate to that. I too am often afraid of having to speak to people, who sometimes are people I’ve known for all of my memory. Although, I wasn’t always like this. It developed as I sub-consciously knew that I couldn’t socialize effectively. Eventually, after trying Zoloft for what appeared to be social anxiety, I found out that once the fear was gone, I was rather rubbish at speaking with people. Once this became conscious, there was no turning back. So the Zoloft became useless, as my fear was now a rational one that had basis for existance.

Yet I know what it’s like to be with people, wanting to communicate and say something, and being unable to open my mouth to speak. Sometimes the person I’m speaking to seems interesting, and I actually WANT to talk to them, but I just can’t bring myself to utter a word. I’m just so afraid that somehow, whatever it is that comes out of my mouth, it will somehow insult the other person and I will be percieved as a person that doesn’t care.

Also, much like selective mutism, people have a tendancy to assume that it is a conscious act. They assume that people with selective mutism are doing it on purpose- often for that same sorry explaination that they’re seeking attention. When I’m inadvertantly insulting, inconsiderate, or insensitive, people assume that I was fully aware of what my thoughtless remark (or the parts of the remark that don’t actually involve words) would induce, and that I meant it deliberately and completely.

You know, for people who spout about how inconsiderate and insensitive AS people can be, they¬†can be¬†very inconsiderate or not understanding themselves, can’t they?

¬†Alright, I warn you that this is VERY long. I’m often¬†long-winded anyway, but this is especially wordy. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, I’d suggest¬†scrolling down until you see the indicator to stop,¬†which will be an entirely capital lettered sentence.¬†If you’re going to be a trooper and go for the whole thing, then let us commence!

So, a person I know invited my friend and I to go with her and a bunch of other people to see a double feature at a drive in movie. Probably because of my Asperger’s, I don’t get invited to too many things very often. So my friend and I go, and we take a few cars, including mine. Here’s the thing… the sound for the movies are broadcasted on the radio… which my car doesn’t have. Long story, but basically I took the original radio out and put a new one in, but I can’t use the antenna with it- so I have no radio.

¬† No big deal, we’re sitting outside anyway. And then after 10 or 15 minutes… it starts raining!!¬† So three guys are crammed into a truck, three more of us are squished into the back of a Pontiac vibe with the hatch up, and I SQUEEZE in too. Nope! Can’t do it! My head is crooked, it’s hot and sticky, I’m too cramped and too close to everyone. So far I hadn’t gotten to hear any of the movie, and it’s been 45 minutes. (I had spent 30-40 minutes of that time trying to search my car with a flashlight to find a certain piece to fit into my radio that makes the antenna usable only to remember that it’s sitting on my table at home which is a good hour or so away.)

¬† Then I get a brilliant idea! I’ll put the old radio back in!¬† It’s in the trunk, so I go get it (it’s still raining, but I have an umbrella). within 15 minutes I have radio… except there’s only a half hour of the movie left. It’s a spy movie, so I have no idea what’s going on or who anybody is. Everyone said the movie wasn’t that good though, so I guess I didn’t miss much. Good! So I got umbrellas over my windows so that I can keep them open, and it’s comfortable! Hazah!

Then another guy, whom I didn’t know was going to come for the second movie (grumble), shows up with his Jeep. So after ALL of¬†that, I don’t need my radio after all! *sigh*¬† I really wanted to go back into my car, sulk, feel sorry for myself, and possibly have a cry. Well, I didn’t want to cry, but that would have been the inevitable result. I was hot, sticky, tired, annoyed, frustrated, sweaty (I HATE sweating), dealing with a bunch of changes while not fully recovered from some of the previous ones, and deciding if I want to try to have some human company or return to my nest I had made for myself in the car.

*IF YOU WERE SKIPPING, START HERE*

I chose company. Honestly, I’m glad I did. Although I wasn’t physically comfortable (my butt hurt because I couldn’t readjust without pushing up against the person next to me or sticking my head next to a VERY loud speaker) socially, once I let myself relax, I think I did alright. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think I annoyed the person next to me, who didn’t know me very well, too much. I wish I could tell…

Then I decided to do my own version of singing in the rain, and the heel of my boot caught the leg of my pants and SQUISH! I land right on my butt. Actually it was pretty hilarious, and even more wet. I don’t mind being wet except my socks, which were spared, so I was fine. The noise when I landed was a true “sploich.” It was like a cartoon. That noise I found especially funny.

So overall, I think that I did all right. I don’t know how my social skills were. I’ve always been useless at assessing myself in that regard… or maybe it’s assessing the reactions of the other people who it’s based on. Whatever. What I’m proud of is that I chose socializing over comfort, and it wasn’t terrible! Sure, I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time trying to get the radio in my car to work, but I still think that this was worth it this time.

I hope I wasn’t a complete “spaz” or too awkward. Each time I end up being with other people, I end up analyzing the day for something from which to learn. Sometimes it’s something positive that reflects some sort of progress, and sometimes it’s something bad that makes me depressed and not want to see other people ever again.

This time it was good. This time I learned that if I succeed at letting things go and not worry about them, then I have less to have been worried about.

I just watched a special on PBS called “The Human Spark” which is a series about the quest for the answer to what it is that makes humans unique. One of the episodes focuses on the brain itself and the areas of activity; it utilized things like MRIs and things of the like. There was something interesting…

     They found that there was an area in the brain that became active whenever we thought about times other than the present- things like anticipating the future and reflecting on the past such as putting seperate events together to find patterns and learn from them. You still awake? Good, because they found that the exact same areas were active when we think about other people. This can be something as simple as facial recognition, but also especially when a person tries to discern what another person is thinking or feeling.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Anyone who knows about Asperger’s Syndrome, although I suppose this could apply to all of the Autismy things, knows that these are two of the admittedly many things that we have difficulty with. I find it interesting that they are the same areas of the brain. This at least partially explains a possible reason for some of the common symptoms. The inability to anticipate the future, I believe, is why we get such anxiety when there isn’t a routine or when there is a change. Our brains are not able to properly use those parts of the brain. If you were blindfolded so as to not be able to use your eyes, you would be worried if you then had to walk on a balance beam, right? Read More »

I’ve never blogged before and, most ashamedly, never read any others either. That fact alone probably makes this endeavor more self-absorbed than it should be. Yet, here I am! I’m not even sure what I want to blog about, but I’m probably simply going to take a Craig Ferguson approach and just blog about whatever I feel like at that moment. Judging by the title I wrote in, that would probably be about Asperger Syndrome… which currently is not diagnosed in my case. Due to the flow of time, I missed the boat, but I don’t wish to get into that yet. I probably won’t even keep this up, and even more probably I won’t get any readers other than myself. If someone does read this out there, then behold my amazement!! Anyway, I was so excited to get started, and now I have nothing to say… that is to say I can babble on about this nothing, but I think I will spare the world of such ramblings and bring them out at a later time. The torture will COMENCE!!! maybe…