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Friday, 24 April 2015

Aspergers Syndrome and Me

My favourite quote is from the Doctor Who Virgin New Adventure Left Handed Hummingbird:
Benny looked at the Doctor and wondered, wondered if he ever felt the human fear of waking up at 4am knowing you are going to die.

It is 3:26am and I awoke from a dream I was watching a let'splay of Zisteau's Lynx-0 The Night Cat Skyrim series knowing for the first time in all my life with perfect clarity that I was really fundamentally weird.

Unlike some people (apparently) I have never been proud to have Asperger's Syndrome. I have felt ashamed, like I was being labelled as defective. This is probably a result of growing up as a kid in quite a conservative town. It was basically a school full of Malfoys where anything different is wrong.

Of course I wasn't proud of having Asperger's Syndrome. Of course I denied it. It was an excuse. A patronising license to be weird know it all. An excuse to have my opinions and thoughts ignored by my mother. Any time I disliked having to do what she wanted on a whim because I was still vainly trying to have a life she would say "It's because of your Asperger's Syndrome"

Well so fucking what? My desire to piss and shit is because my digestive tract has finished extracting nutrients from the diet coke and pizza I ate, does that mean you're going to deny me the right to use the toilet because they can be explained away by science too.

That was my childhood, a world where my parents were fucking clueless about my condition and too fucking clueless to understand the person with it. She still brings it up now. The usual refrain except now I know better and see it for what it is. The autistic equivalent of being a woman and having your every bad mood laughed away as "Your time of the month"

See here's the thing my mum was a psychiatric nurse and she studied Asperger's Syndrome like I studied sharks and Doctor Who. She read all these books trying to find a way to understand me without ever once doing what I begged her to do, the most simple and obvious and best thing any parent can do for their child, understand and appreciate and get involved in what they spend their free time doing.

A person is not an adjective. I am not an "Autist" or an "Aspie" I am a 22 year old male with Asperger's Sndrome, a love Sharks, Doctor Who, Farscape, Minecraft, Skyrim and the science behind science fiction. But to my mum and the outside world I am an alien in human skin, a square block in a round hole. I am a riddle to be solved, a specimen to be studied. Never just a person.

I thought Doctor Who was my real family but then I sprouted tits and found out I have low testosterone at right about the same time that every podcast I listen to and Doctor Who fan friend I had cried out in horror at the new female incarnation of the Master and suddenly I realised that everybody I knew was a bunch of transphobic dicks and I no longer felt safe around them because trans people get murdered and my gender now apparrently seriously confuses people.

I have felt so alone these past few months since I graduated from university and my every attempt to reach out has been greeted with failure but at least my medical problems can be cured. Not my autism though, that I have to learn to understand and accept myself and it was a Cracked article that did that.

Cracked.com was doing one of these 7 Things You Did Not Know About Autism type list articles and this was the first time I had ever read anything about Autism my entire life. Well aside from The Curious Incident Of The Dog In the Night Time, that book had me raging because "So that's what these Assholes think I am!?"

There was one line of the article that stood out and said something new to me, it was a joke about the Irony of people getting autistic people wrong the same way they get Vulcan's wrong. Vulcan's feel things too much and so have trained to repress emotions and so similarly autistic people actually feel too much. Which brings me back to the start of this article. It is 4.07 am and I am terrified because I know Ronnikin, the little fluffy ginger cat who is so loving and loyal and bitey, will die.

I know that my cat will die and I don't don't think I can cope with it. We are talking about something years away but I am done. I have had my heart torn open too many times and I am done with this shit.

"Oh but he's so cute" cries my mum, as if th\at makes a fucking difference. Teddybears are cute, cats on the internet are cute, driving to the vets to have a loved one quietly and humanely murdered is not cute.

I can't think in the moment and not think about the future. Vat grown food, holographic headsets 3d printers, demographic changes. All these things are already happening and in my lifetime the shit will hit the fan. As a kid I lusted after the science and technology behind the future, as an adult I am terrified by it.

I am terrified of the anger and rage I hold inside me, of my capacity for violence in stressful situations, My mum used to tell me "You don't like change" but that's bullshit. I don't like dickheads, I don't like having my lifestyle trashed on a whim. I don't like the things I enjoy being taken away from me but I love change. Change means hope, means things getting better, means an end to getting treated like shit because of biological factors beyond my control.

People are to me wondrous and scary. I am serious. I can't be any other way. I have a morality, if you're immoral I don't like that. A joke is not funny if it is immoral. How could it be? You've just been a dick to someone, that is not cool. No I don't care that they're your friend and you're being funny, you're being a dick stop it.

And here I am in the minority and here I am learning slowly that it is the people that stick around even when you're a dick to them because you were too serious or you did something really weird because you're stupid and you make fucking awful decisions at times, it's those people that are your true friends. The ones that you can go months without talking to then instantly continue your rapport when you next see them again regardless of what happened last time. Those are your true friends. And nobody ever told me. I was too socially clueless to figure it out as well.

This is the scary thing about being Autistic and having Asperger's Syndrome, there are so many books studying me but no books studying you. There is no handy "How to understand people" leaflet given out at diagnoses. To figure out what true friendship means I had to make some good friends and then fuck things up repeatedly in ways obvious to my screwed up sense of perspective. Do you realise just what I am saying? Asperger's Syndrome is a social disability. In the words of the Doctor "Am I people? Do I even look like people?"

The answer is No and No. I had to learn what friendship means by accidental experimentation. Feeling shame and crippling embarrassment time and time again until I had a working thesis because you people are too busy telling yourselves how weird I am to actually throw autistic people a bone and tell us how to know you.

I have spent my entire life so far trying to be the good boy despite depression, isolation and a growing awareness of how corrupt the world really is. I grew up on entertainment, on the lies you tell yourselves about how people really are and friends really are. I became that definition of humanity because I had no other definition available and now that I am older and wiser I see that like Worf I am more my species than my species is.

I grew up with disability. A bipolar mum, an overly clean dad, wearing glasses, unable to smell, I have known blind people and deaf people and one of my best friends at university was a genius boxer in a wheelchair. I have seen disability as a curious outsider and I have experienced it for myself. Through my short sightedness I get an amazing thing, an understanding of just what I am missing through my disabled senses, to be able to see the world as the normal sighted people do but also see it through the blurry haze of damaged eyes. Through my inability to smell I have witnessed denial by my parents and idiots who think they know better and can catch me out, as if there are not taste buds on the tongue or at the back of the throat. As if being able to enjoy KFC means I can tell the difference between wines.

Through my Asperger's Syndrome I have seen what it is to go about the world blind but pretending to see. It's quiet like the protagonists in Neverwhere in London Above really. Most people don't pay any attention to your strangeness but if they focus or you do something to draw their attention they can see that you aren't quite right, that you don't quite act human. Youtube is like a voight kompf test, it forces people to pay attention to you, to your strangeness. They leave comments like they've found you out and some of them are visibly angry.

Even people who know me well seem to forget that I'm not people and wonder why I don't act more like people, quoting the Joker's refrain "Why so serious?" Forgetting of course that like Batman I'm a fucked up weirdo who isn't right in the head and that's the point. No wonder I empathize most with a perpetually heartbroken immortal alien and a curious creature that just wants to explore the ocean but can only feel by hurting things.

I am not normal and I never will be. I am a mutant living among people, thinking too much and feeling too much. All my life I've tried to conform, to pretend to be human, to pretend to be people and all that has ever done is bring hatred and confusion so fuck it I'm done with the act.

My name is Alex and I am not normal but that is only a problem to idiots and I swear to almighty Zarquon if I hear anybody else question my morality as if to say "Why are you so uptight?" then I will pirate the audiobooks of twilight and fifty shades of grey so I can review them for my youtube channel.

Now if you will excuse me I have to listen to the Co-optional Podcast while I play Skyrim and Ronnikin hunts after the mouse he bought into my room and could have killed several times now.