13 May, 2006

I am an Aspy

I am one of the, quite probably, hundreds of thousands of American adults with a form of Autism called Asperger's Syndrome Disorder. It differs in several important regards from "traditional" autism but the most important one is that we appear more or less "normal" to the rest of the world – more or less.

If you have ever encountered a seemingly normal person who has little or no social skills, keeps to himself most of the time, does not seem to function well with groups and crowds, is brilliant in very focused ways but seems kind of clueless otherwise; you may very well have encountered somebody with Asperger's. Asperger's shares many of the same traits with autism in that communication with the outside world is difficult leaving the autistic "trapped" inside their own head; its chief difference is that this inability to communicate exists but, it exists chiefly in the non-verbal, subtextual ways humans normally communicate with each other (body language, facial expressions). This leaves the Asperger feeling cut off, alienated, lost, confused and generally unable to connect with others in those elusive, non-verbal modes of communication that "neurotypicals" enjoy instinctually.

I am going to attempt in this blog to share my experience as a middle-aged man living with Aspterger's It is not easy much of the time. I have had very little success in my career due largely to my inability to fit in to work "team" situations despite my talent as a digital artist.

I am married for the second time. My first marriage was a disaster that should have never happened in the first place except that my self-esteem was so low that I married the first woman who would have anything to do with me. I had two beautiful children from that marriage, one of who has inherited my Asperger's (more in another post some day).

Throughout my entire life since early childhood, I always had problems socially. I spent much of my childhood friendless. Throughout my adult life, I had one, sometimes two friends. I have always avoided social situations, crowds, rowdiness, parties, etc. I even hate the sound of laugh tracks on TV sitcoms. I spend much of my time either with my wife or alone and frankly, am quite happy to keep it that way.

I have strong, narrowly focused interests in life, the rest of it I could really give a crap about. My interests include computers, technology, electronic music, science (physics and astronomy mostly), and science fiction (hard SF, not the fantasy crap). I have my quirkier fascinations such as trains, tunnels, earthquakes, explosions, and nuclear bombs. I also have a particular obsession with the ongoing culture wars – especially the fight over evolution vs. creationism in the science classroom, and the Religious Right's ongoing crusade to push their "Biblical Law" on to this nation.

So, that is a little bit of what being an Aspy is about.

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