why not for us?

Wednesday 2 June 2010                 Turners tarting

Again I’ll break in on my copying of the original Mishi posts to write a new one, starting off with material quoted from Michael John Carley’s book Asperger’s from the Inside Out:

      “Because we are different from the rest of the world, often it takes, not concessions, but a different mind-set in our potential significant others to be able to see past our differences and find qualities they like. Holliday Willey again provides another beautiful example in Pretending to be Normal as she recalls someone she once knew:

                        ‘To him I was a friend he liked to do things with, someone
                         to share life with for a while. He never batted an eye when
                         he saw I lived with two dogs and five cats, instead of a bunch
                         of girls. He never expressed any concern over my weird habit
                         of grilling people for way too much information. He always stood
                         by me patiently when I freaked out from having had too much
                         sensory stimulation. He never questioned me or criticized me,
                         he just let me be. If only everyone could be that gracious —
                         maybe then, we would not even need a definition of Asperger’s
                         Syndrome.’ “


And I myself had a male friend like that for a number of years in my life. Not a romance, but we were good friends. Sadly, our families and our lives went in different directions, and we lost track of each other. But after 34 years, his sister has found me again, and we are in touch. I hope he’ll hear through her how good his friendship was.

Carley is discussing these issues in his chapter that deals with Aspies dating and forming couples, but I will apply the material above to all relationships. Why is there so little tolerance of our differences for so many of us with Asperger’s? Why is it like trying to find a needle in a haystack to find friends/partners who will accept the way autism makes us different? I suppose I already know the answers: people are selfish; people want sameness and conformity; what’s different is regarded with suspicion, et cetera. Narrow mindedness, shallow thinking, emotional laziness that doesn’t want to make the effort, intellectual laziness that doesn’t want to learn about the condition.

I want the right not to smile without being disliked for it, lectured about it. And the right not to look people in the eye when I’m not up to it. I’m tired of my autism symptoms making me a bad person in shallow minds: the absence of a smile is malicious. The absence of eye contact means I’m lying. The need for truth and for direct speech is nit-picking. Extreme attention to detail is nit-picking too.

Many people who will go to the trouble to understand diabetes or blindness or the needs of an amputee will not exert themselves one iota to understand mild autism, autism not severe enough to land us in special homes, but still enough to make us “weird” and very much not average.

part of the book Neverending Solitaire

all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2008-2011 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved 

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  1. An Imperfect Servant said,

    July 28, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    I’m pretty sure I am not Autistic or suffering from Asperger’s, however, I recently watched the movie Ben X which is based on a true story of a man in Italy with Asperger’s. I have felt shunned and alienated because I was WEIRD and did not fit the norm. I am the idiosyncratic, not by way of “Dissability” but by way of personality. In reality, however, so much of which is not normal then gets labeled as “Disabled” but who is the one with the disability for while we do not agree with the shunning, or the fear that causes it, we do understand it, which is more than they can say. Is it not they who are really disabled in ways only we will understand?

    • mishibone said,

      July 28, 2010 at 9:48 pm

      That’s one of the reasons I hesitate to call any form of autism a “disability,” though I have no problem with that term in reference to my palindromic rheumatism. As J.M Carley says: Asperger’s is neither a disease nor a mental illness. It’s an alternate neuro-biology.

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