within the autos, I

saturday 7 may 2011

In whatever writing I have done online since 2008 concerning my own particular experience on the autism spectrum, I have remained largely on the surface of the thing. I’ve said I don’t smile much compared to most people, and this creates in others an immediate negative: the failure to smile is a negative thing. I’ve said I rock back and forth in anxiety, and this again sets up an instant negative response: rocking back and forth is childish, and weird. If you’re that anxious, have a couple beers, or run around the block, or do anything that we consider normal anxiety relief. I don’t like looking at the human face, for the most part. I do it, but it jangles the nerves. In most cases I don’t find the human face interesting, but rather a shifty, dangerous thing. And these are all important signifiers of a supra-normal (as I choose to call it) neurobiology, but they do not approach what it feels like to need desperately to live in the αυτος, the self. And I feel very strongly that those of us who are on the spectrum and are prone to write, should make every effort to describe as accurrately as we can the experience of being autistic, in the hopes of engendering some real understanding in the minds of neurotypical people.

But I have very little confidence in my own ability to do this effectively. I feel as though there must be other autisitcs who can fulfill this assignment much, much better than I could. And yet for months I’ve been nudging myself to try, and no doubt to produce an inadequate result, and having tried, will discover that no one is interested anyway.

Knowing all that, I still feel obligated to try. Autism is slightly different in each person who has it, so my autism isn’t exactly like anyone else’s. I can only make the best report, the best description I can. No doubt I won’t even get other autistics to come here and read it, much less any neurotypicals. This foreknowledge of futility makes the task even harder to get started on.

I try.                                     

I’m a little kid, three years old. On my bedroom floor coloring. For me the absorption in the picture and the colors I am putting on it are, for the moment, the entire universe. I am totally focussed on and interested in the colors and how they are going to go. Nothing else matters. Enter one of my parents through the door, talking about it’s time for supper or time to go out shopping. Yes, sometimes the parents come to the door bitching about something, but it doesn’t even have to be bitching to totally set me off. Some autistics act out when they are set off, others don’t. I mostly don’t. I get up and leave my colors and my pictures. I get up and leave the universe. But there are internal reactions to this interference from the outside. I am angry that I’ve been taken away from the sheer absorption of color by human voices, and therefore there is yet another reinforcement for my child’s Asperger’s mind that human voices are irriating things. They take me from absorption, they take me from beauty, they tear apart a sphere of bliss I was busy in, and wasn’t ready to leave yet.

Or, still three years old, I am just sitting somewhere, living my newly-devised life in my head. A parallel world I have learned to make for myself, where everything is safe. I make up people for my alternate life, adults and children, and I make up situations. And in every situation, I make the people behave in a way that I understand, that I don’t find confusing, and in that life where I understand, I am safe. I make up sad events and funny ones and all kinds of things to happen in this world I understand. I’m enjoying myself there, I’m energized by this world I understand. And then, again, comes a human voice. And though I usually show no signs, inside me it feels like a tearing, a great ripping, as if pieces of me were being rent from each other when I have to obey the human voices and leave my inner world where all is clear to me. In my teenage years, when I came upon T.S. Eliot’s poem with the line: till human voices wake us, and we drown, I found a line that runs through my head so very many times when a human voice tears me out of my world of the autos, where I am at home, into the sea of society that irritates and hurts and confuses me, and I drown.

There are physical reactions to this tearing, as well as emotional ones. Along with the anger and resentment can come a lurching stomach; or pins and needles in the skin; or a sudden, brief, all-over shudder; or pain inside the ears. Pounding heart, brief chest pain. And so on. Physical responses to being torn from one’s inner world.

Added to the distresses occasioned by Asperger’s, I had a whole other set that were brought about by my serious physical illness in childhood. More human voices piercing into my inner world with do’ s and don’ts and drugs and the words: she’s going to die. All of this resentment of the medical voices fused with the resentment of the ordinary voices that tore me out of my world, so that by the age of three I already regarded smiling as highly suspect and tricky; human voices as scratchy, grating and determined to snatch me from beauty and safety and pleasurable absorption. By the age of three, the human species was already mistrusted, dismissed as mostly unbeautiful and mostly unpeaceful, and impossible to decipher. Why didn’t they understand the way color can completely mesmerize you? Why didn’t they know that I had to stare at the lines of sunlight coming through the window because it was so beautiful that sunlightcould do this, and why weren’t the others completely engaged by those lines too? Why were they too dense to be fascinated by these things?

Most children can get very absorbed in play, but I could get intensely absorbed in almost anything. In watching my parents scream at each other, for example:  the redness in the face, the fire in the eyes, the tension in the muscles, the increasing volume of the voices. This made me nervous, of course, but it also fascinated me from a purely physical point of view to see that the skin and voice and eyes of the angry human could produce all these strange changes.

In light of the anomalous immune system that created so much severe illness, and the autistic neurobiology, and the non-average high IQ, what chance did I ever have to be average, or to be of any interest or value at all to average people? What chance did I have to be other than at some level a crashing weirdo, and more often than not, a burden to the average? I look back over many, many years, and still believe my chances of being anything like average and likable and acceptable and lovable were already, by the age of three, slim and none. No one knew I had Asperger’s, except me (and I certainly didn’t know what it was called, or that other people had it too), and even if they had, in the years that I happened to be growing up, not much of anyone would have tried to understand or accomodate it.

Has it been this way for scores of Aspie children, especially those of my generation?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

read…   Neverending solitaire

Share   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ website 

a href=”http://twitter.com/share” data-count=”none” data-via=”annegrace2″ data-related=”ziidjian:outre tweeting”>Tweet</a><script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js”></script

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: