Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Read this article

I have lots of feelings about this article appearing in the NYTs about love among young adult aspies

It's relevant to you interests


What are your thoughts? 


Is love true love possible?



Friday, December 16, 2011

Womhood.

So, I've been here in Kygyzstan since the end of August. I love it here. I'm learning a lot and making friends.




Of course, there are those weird quirks that pop up whenever you travel.

The biggest one for living in Bishkek is the idea of Womhood.
 


Wom: a combination of the words Mom and Wife

The word Womhood, also to be used as a noun (Wom), and a verb, (Womming) came into being after Paris, and had a very long day in which we were asked multiple times why we weren't married.
Uh obviously because books are way more interesting than husbands or partners. 


It being very late at night and all of us being very very tired, Paris said,

I don't want to be a Wom.



Dudes and Dudettes, we get asked that all the time here. Most girls who are between the ages of 16-22 are married or about to get married.They think about weddings that last for many days and having a husband who will take care of them.

Count the number of wedding dresses at this soviet monument


It's gotten so bad that I've contemplated telling blatant lies to get out of explaining why I don't have a husband and two kids.  

It's like a big deal. 

Like if you don't want to get married there is something wrong with you kind of big.

I want really hard to respect their culture but I cannot think of something that I want less, except maybe to become a teacher.

I want to be this powerful



So with this topic in mind, let's begin today's post.

MARRIAGE TERRIFIES ME.

I'm pretty sure I'm too "quirky" to get married. read: I'm not sleeping unless all the dresser drawers are closed and all the lights are off. I own at least 12 nail clippers because I pick at my hang nails and have a compulsive need to clip my nails. I cannot stand the sound of people sniffling in a quiet room.

I've got mad flair, yo.


We all know that NNTs are pretty awesome and unique. But it's also hard to find a partner, they usually have to be as smart as we are AND willing to be patient with the weirdness that comes along with being different.


Also dating is really freaking complicated: there is so much social stuff involved, Like smiling and stuff. I'm not super good at that.



Issues so far with the whole Womhood concept:


1. Any partner I had would have to be at least part saint and part astrophysicist



2. Other qualities include: editor, social navigator, and key locater person

One time, I put my keys in the fridge.



3. They have to be interested in some of the same things I'm interested in, including: astronomy, gender theory, philosophy through pop culture, space, social justice, literature not written by dead white dudes. They also need to bathe regularly, show up to class on time, wear clean sock and underwear, and chew with their mouth closed. This is only the start of my list.

Also, they can't be a terminator


Relationships are a ton of work.

You have to listen to the other person
and remember what they said

And like care about them and stuff

You have to like, know what they're interested in
and remember their birthday
and then remember to get them gifts



That seems exhausting to me. Like for real.



MOTHERHOOD TERRIFIES ME EVEN MORE

My mom is pretty much awesome. (HI MOM) I think she might be a wizard. Like actually. She had a career and stuff and then had a baby and then the baby wouldn't sleep ever.



This one time, a babysitter called her at work to come and get the baby because the baby had been crying for like the last three hours straight. So the Matriarch had to go and pick up the baby and miss work.  True story.



I think The Matriarch did a pretty good job at raising me. I'm pretty self sufficient. I'm pretty good at going to school and getting stuff done.

She spend so long teaching me math and stuff it would feel really weird if I didn't do something with it, like have a career or something.



If I had a baby how would I ever raise it? My parents did a pretty bombtastic job at it that I don't think I could do any better.

Like it would probably grow up to be weirder than I am. 


 Even these points aside: Pregnancy is still scary
People say that pregnancy is beautiful. They say that it is a miracle to grow another life inside you. It scares me. When people talk about pregnancy and the miracle of it all, all I can think about is that a baby is essentially a parasite growing on the inside of me.

Like a tapeworm. 





I also could not handle that many people wanting to touch my belly.


















Among other reasons  I am not fit to parent I also find the following pictures Hilarious





I like babies, babies are cute. They usually smell good. My issue is that babies are also fascinating and the temptation to use them for *harmless* social experiments is almost overwhelming.



Babies are not predictable. Babies do not sleep when they are supposed to sleep. Babies cry when they want. Babies need constant attention.

Do you know what I don't do well with? Constant change. Babies are constantly changing/in need of constant change.

I hate kids shows


I do not do well with change. Change makes me want to sit in a dark room for many hours and not leave. Change makes me cranky. Change and especially unpredictable change makes me less flexible than normal.

This makes me jolly


I am totally not responsible enough to handle being in charge of something else. Like today for example, I totally had milk that was at least a week expired, and I didn't notice until I was done with my bowl of cereal.
I submit this as evidence that I am not able to take care of another living thing.

I will go and bury my head in the snow now.


I totally admire you Moms who can do it all.  Seriously parents make my day, you do you so much.

I'm just not ready to be a mom. Like ever.

I wanted to show you this awesome video that Paris showed me. 



Is  this video disturbing or awesome? Thoughts?


Also, y'all I'm going to be traveling to China, the US, Hong Kong, Macao and finally back to Bishkek over the next 6 weeks, so I don think I'll have time to post. I'll see you all in February.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

All hail the nerd culture.

How's y'alls November going?

Did you know that Kindle let's you download a bunch of classic books for free? Guess who has 40 new books to read?



As you know, I claim to be a nerd.

I'm also on the spectrum. I have a shinny certificate from a nice lady doctor who told me I was different.

Unfortunately I don't have a certificate for my nerddom, but that's okay I know you all will believe me.

offensive/awesome? 


Today I want to talk about a very special nerd who is also on the spectrum.

You must be familiar with 90s cartoons and The Big Bang Theory to find this amusing.

Have y'all seen this show called the Big Bang Theory?

I know you have a life so let me tell you a little bit about it.

It's a show about a group of super smart nerd  scientists and the waitress who lives next door.

Mostly, waitress says boring blond things and some downright weird things about being from Nebraska.
I do not like the waitress character but maybe you do, so I won't say anything mean about her.


BUT I DIGRESS.


The best character on the show is totally one of us.



His name is Sheldon, he is an awesome scientist.




But How Do I Know This?



I did scientific research for you.

Your welcome


I watched an entire season and took  notes.



Sheldon is from East Texas, he graduated college at 14 and is a theoretical physicist living in California.

"I'm not insane, my mother had me tested"True story.

He has a spot that no one else can sit in.


He gets mad and no one else can sit there. Like ever. It's his spot.



He does not understand social things, sarcasm, or people in general.

But we already did that, for example, once I learn Finnish I'm not going to learn it again.
Here, his friend is trying to convince him to hang out with girls again.


He doesn't touch people on principal.

He loves comic books and video games. 


He is super smart!!


He has problems with situations that are unfamiliar to him. He has a set rigid schedule. He knows he is smarter than most of his peers. He does not temper his language to social situations.

However, the creators of the show continue to deny that Sheldon falls anywhere on the spectrum.





BUT!!


How can this been when we have overwhelming evidence otherwise?



I have some theories.



1. The writers of the show don't know what ASDs are, they didn't have anyone to use the Google for them.

2. They didn't want to offend people who are on the spectrum because they were using what could be a serious disability as part of their comedy.

3. They are waiting to reveal that this will become a major point in future seasons.

I think that theory one is possible, but theory two is the most likely. I've thought about emailing the writers and creators of the show with a list of helpful and informative links to eliminate theory number one from being a possibility.

But even without my super creeper status it seems pretty far fetched that they would have no idea about ASD. I think the only people who are super ignorant of ASD are elementary school teachers and administration.

That's a story for another post.



Here's why theory number 2 is wrong.

Sheldon is pretty self sufficient, he lives away from his parents, has a job that he gets to everyday, has friends, and feeds himself.

SEE! Food and Friends, Functioning Adult!!


There are very, very few NNTs visible in popular media, and even fewer that are portrayed positively.

Off the top of my head I can't think of a single person who is in the public eye who is NNT.

The only one who comes to mind is Temple Grandin, while I'm appreciative for all that she has done gaining publicity for ASD and raising awareness, cows kind of scare me.



A Google search turns up Jett, John Travolta's son who died after having a seizure and Dan Aykroyd, who might have been kidding about being on the spectrum.

It doesn't really give me, or any other young person on the spectrum a whole lot of  hope for role models.

Sheldon may not be the best role model, he can be inflexible and come off as uncaring, but he has friends and a job and is mostly a functional adult. He even has a girl who is a friend starting in the 4th season. I would rather admire Sheldon for the things that he has done then think about how he could improve.

I wouldn't mind if I grew up to be like Sheldon, I think that would be a pretty awesome goal.

 
GOODNIGHT PUNY HUMAN





The big issue is that we aren't seen. We are invisible.



And life is hard when you're invisible. It's hard when you don't see anybody like you on TV, hear about them on the radio or read about them in books or magazines.  You end up (at least I do, I obv don't speak for everyone) feeling very, very alone and like no one in the whole universe understands you. Which is why it was really refreshing to see Sheldon and have ( kind of for the first time)  someone I could really relate too. 

It was really nice to see someone on TV who is like me, at least a little bit.


But doesn't he get laughed at by the other characters for being different, or being Other?


Yes, it's true that his weirdness is often used for comic humor.


But the show is a comedy
And the other character's weirdness is also used as comedic relief.

For example, one of the other characters can't speak around women. He whispers to the other characters when there are women folk in the room.



The other characters are just as weird and nerdy and different as Sheldon. It's not as though Sheldon is the only comic relief.

Penny the waitress really bothers me.


I think it can be really good to learn to laugh about what makes you different, sometimes it keeps you from crying.

Watching the show there were so many moments where I could relate to Sheldon and a couple of moments where I've said the same thing as Sheldon.

Learning to laugh at yourself makes the disability seem less serious.



Sometimes, it can feel like an all consuming monster that is going to eat my life. If you are NNT or know someone who is, you know this feeling. It is the single most awful terrifying feeling ever.

Seeing anyone, even a fictional character not be bothered by the disibility is really refreshing.

I was talking with my Mom and she mentioned that having a kid on the spectrum is hard because you never know how they're going to turn out. They might turn out to be like Sheldon, pretty happy and functional or, like so many with learning disabilities, they could end up in jail.

Thanks Mom and Dad, for always being awesome!


When I first wrote the letter to stark raving mad mommy the thing that overwhelmed me the most was the responses from moms who were just happy to know that someone with ASD had turned out okay.  I think it gave people hope that maybe they could turn out okay too.

Victory is mine!!


That's what's nice about the show: It's about a character who is smart, funny, has friends and has his own difficulties.

I would really like to see more sucess stories both fictional and non fictional.


What do you all think? Are their good NNT role models out there and I've just been living under a rock this whole time?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Friends.

Hey Ya'll. What's up? How's life going?

It's the same old same old here. You know. Living in Kyrgyzstan.
This is Kyrgyzstan


So, in Kyrgyzstan there are these things called Marshutkas. They are like super tiny buses. And usually they are filled like clown cars.  LIKE CLOWN CARS.


Which is funny, until you have to ride one.

Did I mention that I'll be here for the next 9 months? 

Marshutkas, they aren't airconditioned.

So riding a marshutka is like riding a sensory overload mobile.


SENSORY OVERLOAD MOBILE

 Riding a Marshutka is like riding a small sweaty crowded clown car.

So, there is that part of what I'm doing with my life. But I'm also doing other things, like learning Russian. Which is awesome. And I'm also making friends. Which is the subject of today's post.

I spent so many sleepless nights thinking about how to write this post.


Making friends is possibly one of the single most anxiety inducing processes ever. Possibly more anxiety inducing than an outdoor concert.

No Kanye.


So here are some things that I have handily discovered about making friends.


There are 6.94 Billion people on Earth. There are probably only about 7 people I would willingly hang out with for more than four hours.

True Story



WHY:

NT's are weird. They find weird things meaningful, like touching each others hair, and braiding it. And talking about which Spiderman character is the best.

Wouldn't you rather talk about the number of endangered languages, or compare Starwars to modes of philosophical thought?

YES.

Because I would way rather do that.

People are kind of a  lot of work. Sometimes it feels like interacting with them is job. NT's don't have a readily compatible interface. Like a Mac and PC. It feels sometimes like I need translation software.

Yes!! (from leacyclan.com)


SO a conversation usually goes,

Think of something to say.

Think of a way to say that follows social norms so that NT's won't be offended/confused.

Wait for a response.
Life would be easier if I had the force!



Retranslate verbal response with body language clues to figure out what the NT  ACTUALLY (because why use perfectly good words to say what you mean when you have body language and other less useful ways of communicating.)

I have this thought often during social interactions


Do you see where this becomes exhausting?



I spend most of my time doing this and the other part of my time figuring out what  Weird Social Thing I've missed.

So typical friendships usually only last as long as I'm willing to put this amount of effort into them.

So what is the best way to find friends?

Other NNTs.

You know that other weird kid in class? The one spending 2/3 of their time out in the hall because they can't sit still? They are pretty much interested in being your friend, because you can't sit still either.

Side note: do they even send kids to sit out in the hall any more? Because I'm pretty sure I spent more time in the hallway than I did the classroom in kindergarden.

People who have siblings who are NNT.

You know who knows how to handle weirdness? These people.You know you also might be weird. These people.



Adults who know that children are actually just tiny adults. (And treat them that way)



Adults are awesome. They use big words and are not interested in Bratz/My Little Pony/ Spider Man. They are often interested in Ancient History/Astronomy/Current Events in Central Asia. And if they are super awesome, they will talk with small NNT's about it.

And they use the big words and not look at you weird when you understand them and can use the big words too.

Where do you find these kinds of people?

Clubs/ Activities with a beginning and an end and predictability and something to do with your feet.

Like Dance!


Have I mentioned I love predicatable things? Because they are my favorite

So one of my worst nightmares is being thrown into a room with people.

What do I do?

Who do I talk with?

What am I supposed to do with my feet?

All of these are important questions. I like people (sometimes) But I need a structured enviroment with predictable modes of interaction in order to feel comfortable!

This means dinner parties are out indefinately and so are cocktail parties. Any glamourous images you have of yourself with a martini glass making everyone laugh can be replaced with awkward girl with pigtails sitting in the corner.

Awkward face.


There simply isn't enough structure in these kinds of situations for me to feel safe.

BUT you do have to interact with people at some point. Because, they are like everywhere.

SO, why not join a club, or some other after school activity?

Why:

Glorious Predicatability!

Tom Cruise approves


They have a beginning and an end time. This means that I can predict when it will start. I can also predict when it will end. I know that it will end. I know that I will only have to interact with my peers until time runs out.
 

For Example: I swam competitivly for 7 years. My parents decided I would be less injured if I was boyant for most of the time. I knew the plan.

2:30 arrive at pool.
2:35 go into locker room
2:45 go out onto pool deck.
Spend 10 minutes on pool deck avoiding getting into pool/socializing with others.

Wait for coach to say get in the pool for the 4th time.

Get in the pool.

I knew this was the plan, every day. Every time. It was wonderful, because this was predicatable, the Weird Social Stuff was also predicatble.

For example:

Acceptable topics to talk about on the pool deck:

How cold the water probably is
How sore you are from yesterday's workout.
How sore you will probably be from today's workout. 

If I want, I can practice these conversations.

And they happen pretty much every day. In the same manner, with the
same people.






Perfect. Mostly.


The other reason for things like this:




Activities.


The focus isn't on the Weird Social Stuff that's happening (for NNTs) The focus is on
the activity.


Activities are more goal oriented than Weird Social Things.


   I am going to swim across the pool and back

   I am going to learn how to make this knot

   I am going to learn all of the notes to this song.



This is really different than doing the Social Thing.

Although, I don't get most of the social thing.


Talk with my peers about make up? 
Find this conversation meaningless as it does not pertain to my life.

Activities are handy because I can (sort of) opt out of doing the Weird Social Stuff thing


Activities also give NTs something to do too.


They sort of put everyone on the same page as to what they should do with their feet. And a level playing field is the best thing.


Friends:


I didn't really have very many friends growing up. I had my sister, I had my Mom and Dad. I had our dogs.


I did have a couple of friends at school, and at other activties but to be honest with you
Most people were so mean to me that I didn't really want to interact with them, they were scary.


I still have a lot to say about this, because having friends is super important, and I love the friends that I have. I know it seems like many NNTs don't have friends, or don't have enough friends, but that's because we need a different kind of support than the kind that comes from a conventional friendship. We need different things to help us make friends than other people. We can have happy, successful lives, they will also be filled with some kind of interaction, it might not be the typical kinds of interactions that are expected or that fufill the lives of NTs. What matters is that you find something that makes you feel safe and happy.

People are really really weird and they don't make sense, but I don't know a single person NNT or not who doesn't want at least some form of companionship. The best advice that I can think of that is the truest to me is to keep trying.


They may not seem like they're around right now, but soon you'll find them.
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