Sunday, June 26, 2011

People with Asperger's Syndrome Have True Freedom

People with Asperger's Syndrome have true freedom.

True freedom doesn't come in the form of superficial, legislated rights, like the right to vote, the right to assembly, the right to drink...

No, true freedom comes in the form of abstract rights that have never really been spelled out. These rights include challenging gender expectations in EVERY form, having aesthetic tastes and a sense of humor that don't fit the mold, and overall questioning and challenging social conventions that everybody else takes for granted.

Aspies challenge social conventions and expectations practically from the day they can speak-- at least, I did. I resisted a lot of attempts by my parents and Society to try to conform me to them. I eventually picked up the ones that made sense to me and rejected the ones that didn't. I am freer to reject social expectations than most people because I am not affected by peer pressure and don't care what most people think. I would rather have a few friends who like me for who I am and who understand me than dozens of "friends" who "accept" me once I conform to their standards. These challenges we make to Society-- especially when growing up in Public School Society-- come with great risk. We get rejected, harassed, ostracized and generally burned-- badly. But despite all that, we keep doing what we want because we are free in the truest sense of the word.

Friday, June 17, 2011

She's Going to Be Fine!

On Wednesday I met up with a mother I had interviewed (for the Asperger's book I'm writing) several months ago and her 18-year-old daughter. They flew in from Tennessee. We had a late lunch at the Tick Tock Diner near Penn Station. The girl is not ready to drive, and not ready to go to college yet. But I know she's going to be fine. She's very intelligent, very high-functioning, and I think just a "late-bloomer." When will she be ready to begin taking adult responsibilities? I don't know. If I had to make a guess, five years. She's not going to need "supported living." All she needs is more time to reach adulthood.

Anyway, I had a good time with mother and daughter, and we hung out in the restaurant for over two hours. We laughed a lot-- the daughter has the same deranged sense of humor I do-- talked about issues with Asperger's, and more. I listened to the daughter's interest in Nintendo and Pokémon, and they listened to my theory about why I think the late Dr. Jack Kevorkian had Asperger's syndrome. And we laughed. And laughed. And laughed some more. And that's important. Not all conversations have to be serious, and not all (or even any) have to be about "social" topics. What matters is the participants have a good time. 

The daughter is going to be fine. Just give her time.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dreams that Would Make Salvador Dali Cringe

Sorry, it's been too long since I've done one of these, but it's been hectic with losing my job and trying to find another... excuses, excuses. Anyway, I will continue to put up new blog posts every Friday from now on...

I don't know if this is an Asperger's thing or just a "creative" thing, but I have weird dreams, some that would make Salvador Dali cringe. I invite you to share yours. Here are a few classics:

  • About a decade ago, I had a dream that I was getting my period and oranges came out instead of what you'd expect.
  • When I was a teenager, I had a dream that Michael Jackson was robbing a Dunkin' Donuts at gunpoint. Frightened, I hid in the bathroom.
  • I had a dream that my mother was laying spider eggs (fortunately, this was just one of those "I knew it was happening" dreams and was spared a visual representation of this). 
  • My cat was cut into pieces and put in the refrigerator, but once I defrosted him I could reassemble him.
  • I was consoling a crying Conan O'Brien because he didn't think he was funny. This is just weird since I never even watched his show.
  • When I was in high school, I had a dream that a burglar was trying to rob my house. My father stopped him by strangling him with a Nintendo controller cord.
  • My (late) dog needed a snout replacement. My father cut her snout off with a circular saw. There was no blood. Then he put a new snout on her.
  • I had a dream a few years ago about scooping Woody Allen's brains out with an ice cream scoop.
  • A few years ago (I think shortly after the Terri Schiavo case, though it might have been much later than that), I had a dream that someone survived on life-support for 200 years and looked like they should be dead. Social commentary in my dreams! Ha!
  • When I was 13, I had a dream that an old man with no arms and no legs was chasing me and throwing rocks at me.

And my latest: Last night, I had a dream that it was Thanksgiving. My mother was debating over whether to make lamb or ox. The lamb had stuck its snout in poop, and so it was going to taste like poop. But according to my mom, that was part of what made it a delicacy! Then she yanked the tongue out of the lamb and said we could eat that too. Disgusted, I said, "Let's just have ox!"

Let's hear your weird dreams!