Archive | February 2012

“Normal’s”

I created this blog with Aspies in mind, but as I write, I realize that what I’m writing is as much for “normal” people as it is for Aspies. There will always be Neurotypical(NT) people in the life of someone with AS. These people are sometimes left wondering about what the Aspie is thinking or how the Aspie feels. My hopes were to put into words what others could not. My hopes are to help those in an Aspie’s life to hear the words that they could not speak.
There are mothers and fathers that are concerned for their child Aspie. They wonder how well these children will fare out in the world that can be oh so cruel. They wonder if there will be tension between their AS kid(s) and their NT kid(s). They wonder whether or not they are doing a good enough job of raising their Aspie. I write for the parents.
There are friends of Aspies that wonder sometimes what to do in situations with their friend. They wonder how their friend feels about certain things, because Aspies are not known for their wonderful communication skills. I write for the friends.
There are significant others of Aspies that wonder if they will ever be able to communicate with the one that they love. They wonder if their children will have to deal with the same hurts that they do. I write for the significant others.
There are Aspies out there that wonder if they are completely alone. They find themselves emptyhanded and lonely. They don’t know what to say or what to do. They wonder if things will ever be better. I write for Aspies.
I write in hopes of brightening futures and giving hope to those without it. I write so that other Aspies will have an easier life than the one I’ve had. I write in hopes that I can inspire others to do their best or to reach out and help others. It doesn’t matter if my audience is Aspie or NT. I write in hopes that I am doing what I set out to do. I WRITE FOR YOU.

Always,
Allie.

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Love <8


As you may have noticed, instead of using the symbols < and 3 in the title to make a heart, I used the symbols < and 8. No. It’s not a typo. It’s symbolism. It was done on purpose to make a point. The point that an Aspies love, though it may not be conventional, obvious, or easy, is just as real as conventional love.

According to professionals, a common trait among those with Asperger Syndrome is a “lack of empathy and emotion.” As you may have noticed, the words lack of empathy and emotion are in quotation marks. I did this because I don’t believe that the word “lack” is fitting. It implies that Aspies are completely incapable of these two things, but that is wholly incorrect. I believe that it would be more appropriate to say that some Aspies find it difficult or don’t know how to properly show empathy and emotion.

Empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of another. Sometimes Aspies don’t notice how people are feeling. Some Aspies find it hard to read people’s emotions. Some Aspies just don’t know how to express how they’re feeling. Some Aspies feel a great amount of empathy, but aren’t able to appropriately express it. Some Aspies feel or don’t feel empathy depending on the person or thing. Everyone is capable of feeling empathy, even those with AS.

Emotion: a conscious mental reaction subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body. When people read about AS, it gives the impression that Aspies, because they show little to no emotion, feel less intense emotions than “normal” people. Aspies actually feel very strong emotions. The issue with emotions is not in feeling them, but describing them and understanding why they are felt. Everyone is capable of feeling emotion, even those with AS.

I feel emotions in extremes. I know, even if it takes a little while to figure it out, what emotion I’m feeling. I know, even if it takes a little deliberation, how to put my emotions into words. I feel empathy and show empathy in the best way I know possible. I do still find that I don’t know what to do in some situations, but it comes easier now than it did when I was younger. My social skills, though they may not be perfect, have much improved. In the case of my social skills, practice has made more perfect. This is possible for all Aspies. If I can do it, so can you.

Love,
Allie.

Faith

I haven’t written in a while for a reason. I’ve tried to write about other things, but this keeps popping up in my head and because of this, none of my other drafts have been completed. I feel that I need to write this so that it can be written and I will be able to move on and write many, many more posts.

I’m not writing this post to preach at my readers or to force my personal beliefs on them. I’m simply writing what is on my mind and my heart, as I always do. I realize that some will read this will not agree with me or necessarily like what I’m saying, but I’m going to say it anyways. I realize that there’s the possibility that some will read this post and never read another word I write, but I’m going to write it anyways.

I’ve not straight out said it, but I haven’t circumvented it either. I am a Christian. None of my posts have foul language in them. All of my posts are written with a positive point of view. Here are some of my beliefs so that you may better understand exactly what I’m talking about: I believe that Christ died on a cross for my sins as well as for all of your sins too. I believe that my heavenly Father has given me more help and more hope than any Earthly being could. I believe that God has helped me to learn the social things that my mother has been teaching me for years. I believe that praying and asking Him for the peace that passes all understanding has helped me to stay calm in situations that I would have otherwise freaked out and acted out. I believe that people with Asperger Syndrome can reach out and to help others, just like someone with Cerebral Palsy.

Recently, my Pastors read one of my posts. This post, I don’t know which one, stated that I will have AS forever. The Sunday after reading my post, my Pastor came up to me and proclaimed healing over me from AS. He told me that he didn’t want to hear me “claiming” AS over my life anymore. Now, at the moment that he was talking to me about his, my eyes filled up with tears as conflicting questions ran through my mind. I do believe that anyone can be healed of anything ailing them, but I wasn’t so sure that blogging to help myself and others was the same thing as claiming a disability over my life.

Here are some of the questions that ran rampant in my head:
• “Didn’t God, Himself, make me this way?”
• “Why do I need to be ‘healed’? There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with me.”
• “Is it something that I want to be healed from?”
• “Since God has a purpose for everything that He does and that He allows, what is His purpose in this?”

I then, with a very perplexed expression on my face, went to my mother to ask her about how I should react to this. She listened to my dramatic rendition of the conversation between the Pastor and I, listened to my questions listed above, and thought for a moment. Then she told me, “I think you need to take as much time as you need to, to really think about what he said. Slow down and digest the information, until you can wrap your heart and your head around it.”

I’ve thought on this and prayed on it for weeks. I do need healing, just as much as the next person. I’m not a perfect person, and there’s always room for improvement. Yes, I believe that God has given me the help and strength to be a better me and to follow social rules. Yes, I do have AS. Yes, I do believe that, one day, it’ll be as if I never had it because I’ll be so used to “normal” social interactions that it’ll seem like it comes naturally to me. It may be difficult, but I strive to be social and affectionate. It may be difficult, but other Aspies can do it as well. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with having AS. In fact, it’s a wonderful gift most of the time. I am saying, however, that Aspies don’t have to be awkward socially.

Aspies can learn and they can hold “normal” conversations. They can show affection and empathy. They can abide by social rules. It is possible. With Christ, anything is possible. He is the reason I’ve come as far as I have. He is the reason that most people that meet me have no clue that I’m “normal” or not. And it will be because of Him when I no longer have problems with social awkwardness. It is both probable and possible. I have faith that it is.

Sincerely,
Allie.

College Life

From a young age, I’ve known that I have little interest in college. Colleges used to be places of growth and learning, but are now corrupted and run by the government. To me, having the mind of an Aspie, colleges don’t make sense. I want to go into child care. Why should I learn extensively about English or French Literature when that knowledge does not help me to calm a screaming child in the least bit? Why should I learn extensively about German history or Newton’s laws when that knowledge does not help me to change a diaper? Most Aspies possess a trait that is often called “tunnel vision.” I am this way when it comes to my passion, child care. I don’t want to have to deal with general ed. in order to get certification for child care. Because of this, trade school would be more my speed.

All of this is beside the point. I’m writing about college from an Aspies point of view because I have the opportunity to observe college for a day. My friend, whom I have dubbed my “Older Brother,” is going to take me with him to his classes today.

Here is my preconceived idea of college: It is probably easier on an Aspie than High School is. The cliques that are present in HS are not as tight knit and people are more accepting. Students that keep to themselves are not as looked down on as they are in HS. In college, people do their own thing. They have lives outside of school and socialization is not the main focus of the students. I will write later about my experiences and new perspective on college.

Later…

While my Brother was in his early swimming class, I sat in the car and woke myself up while observing people. People sat in their cars, alone, putting on makeup or just waiting for the time that they were to go to their class. In between classes, people went back to their cars to sit, alone, and wait for their next class. People that didn’t want to be social weren’t and nobody thought twice about it. No one thought that it was strange that a person was sitting alone in their car, not being social.

In the English class that I audited, no one talked to each other. The students were in the classroom learning and then left the classroom. Small comments such as, “It’s cold.” and “Hi. How are you?” were made, but not any serious communication. Other than being surrounded by people that were new to me, I was very comfortable with the atmosphere.

After the English class, I had to use the bathroom, so I went in and waited in line. A young woman wearing a traditional Muslim headdress, called a Hijab, was standing behind me in line, waiting to use the bathroom. I commented on her Hijab, saying that the fabric was pretty. She thanked me for the compliment. I told her that I’d always been curious about what it was like to wear one. She started rummaging around in her bag and took out an extra piece of fabric that she had and proceeded to wrap it around my head in the traditional style. She finished wrapping it and I looked in the mirror. I was wearing a Hijab.

In my Brother’s music class, we sat next to an older gentleman of Indian decent. He introduced himself and we exchanged names. I don’t remember his name, but I remember that it meant “good dark.” He also informed us that he was named after an Indian false god. In the conversation, we learned that he, like us, was a born again Christian and that he sings in the choir at church. We also began a conversation with a kind young man sitting next to my brother. Granted, my Brother is the one that initiated all the conversations, but I was welcomed into the conversations simply because I was there.

After his music class, I decided to venture out on my own while he was in his last two classes. I went to the library, where the comfy, calming smell of books was. I observed people there while half-reading a book. I sat in a corner by myself and noticed that there were other people sitting by themselves and no one thought it was strange to see people studying or reading all by themselves. After the library, I walked around a bit to observe people and then sat down to write my previous post.

Based on my experiences, here is my new opinion of college: Not only is it a more Aspie friendly environment, it is also a varied community. People were more open to hearing about other’s cultures and sharing their own culture as well. I saw people of many ages, races, and cultures, all mixing together with open minds. Granted there are always going to be people that are closed-minded, but I didn’t notice any in my one day. People that keep to themselves are not looked at in a strange way. They are, except for a friendly “hello” here and there, left alone. It was a wonderful experience. I may not have experienced a “full” college life in that one day, but it’s something that I’ll never forget. I still don’t think that college is for me, but I would never discourage an Aspie from attending college if they so desire.

Thoughtful,
Allie.

Better?

Chris, a close friend, inspired this post. He suggested that I write about how having Asperger Syndrome has made my life better. After hearing his suggestion, I sat for a while and wondered. I asked myself a few questions. Questions such as: “Has it really made my life better?”, “Does the good actually outweigh the bad?”, and “If I had the choice, would I choose to have AS?” It was difficult to answer these questions. I had no clue what my opinion was. If I had the choice, would I choose to make my life more confusing and difficult by having AS?
It took me about a month and a half to make up my mind, but here goes. I know now that having AS has made my life better and that the good does outweigh the bad. I know now that I would never choose to be anything that I’m not. I would choose to have AS because it is a gargantuan part of who I am. AS is a large part of what makes me who I am, me.

Here are some reasons why:
*I have always known what I want. Where most people have to think very hard to figure out what they want their future to be like, I’ve known since I could form the words.
*I am unique. There is absolutely no one that is exactly like me.
*I know that my friends are true because they accept me and love me and my Aspie quirks.
*I have “tunnel vision” that helps me to focus on important things and to “get ‘er done.”
*I view things differently from others. I will see things from a completely different perspective than you.
*I, because I know the sting of rejection, do my best to make sure I’m not the cause of others feelings of rejection.
*I, also because of the sting of rejection, am very accepting of others differences and quirks.
*My “disability” has inspired me to make a career out of working with special needs children.
*My experiences may be able to help ease the life of others who are like me.

Because of these reasons, and more that I’ve yet to think of, I believe that having AS has not only made a positive impact on my life, but also on the lives of others. I may not always enjoy having AS, but I don’t shun it or feel ashamed of it. I hope that other Aspies can realize the impact that AS has on their life and realize that it’s a blessing, not a curse.

Stronger,
Allie.