People have been telling me for a long time now that I should talk more about my autism and how it impacts my life. I have resisted not because I am ashamed or embarrassed but because I am naturally rather hesitant to talk about myself. My dad told me that I am the LEAST autobiographical writer he has ever read! That being said I think it would be a disservice to myself and my readers to neglect such an important part of my life and artistic influence. That is why I am starting this continuing series “Autism Diary”. I will talk about the subject of autism and how it fits into my life whenever I feel like or if some of my readers have questions.
Today I decided to focus on the most obvious outward manifestation of my autism. When people meet me for the first time they are often put off or surprised by the fact that I do not like small talk or show any real interest in most topics. This is hard to explain to most people without it coming off as conceited, but as an autistic person it is incredibly difficult to focus on topics of conversation that do not directly relate to my interests. So if it is not about politics, philosophy or Medieval English monarchs it is going to be tough going conversationally for a while! I do my best to overcome this deficit but I would be lying if I said it had not chased off a lot of potential friends. That being said there are some people who do not seem to be bothered by my weirdness at all…that is usually because they are weirdos or autistic as well! I like to call these people “instant friends” (you know who you are!)
This leads into another thing that bothers people about me: I very easily let go of people. I am not offended when people do not like me and it is really easy for me to dismiss people or cut them out of my life. If you bother me or annoy me or make me feel uncomfortable I will ignore you and or dismiss you rather easily. This bothers people who are used to being catered to emotionally or intellectually or who are usually the center of attention. I never claimed I was easy to get along with haha
This makes many people think I am conceited. I am rather conceited, but by default. Autistic people simply cannot focus on things that do no immediately catch their interest. That is why we have a hard time in classes we are not interested in, jobs that do not cater to our strengths, or people who take the time to consider our needs.
That being said autistic people can be very good friends to people who take the time to get past our initial idiosyncrasies. With people I really care about I can overcome my autistic self-centeredness and be rather attentive. We are also affectionate as hell to people we trust. My closest friends and family have told me that I am like a friendly little dog to them; loyal, sweet and very attentive. Again I have to take their word for it because autistic people are not known for their self-awareness or introspection! The fact that I have a wonderful wife and a family that actually enjoy being around me seems to be a testament to the idea that autistic people can overcome at least SOME of their difficulties. That being said, please don’t touch my ears or my face. I just don’t like that. Not. At. All. haha.