Happy International Asperger’s Day. Don’t hug me!

Good Morning Friends,

While checking my Facebook this morning, the first thing i noted was a post from ThinkGeek.com announcing today, February 18, as International Asperger’s Day. Asperger’s Syndrome, for those of you living in caves (which means you probably have it), is an extremely mild form of autism. A woman named Temple Grandin explains it far better than i. You can find her on You Tube. Besides being female, Ms Grandin and i have something in common–we share the same “malady.”

Yep, that’s right, I have Asperger’s. This may come as a surprise to anyone who knows me. Not those closest to me, of course, but my acquaintance friends–those people i contact on a semi regular basis. The same people who would be shocked to realize that i’m an introvert. That i don’t enjoy shaking hands, or physical contact with strangers. And most of you are strangers.

Don’t take this personally. i’m easily overstimulated and when you touch me, your soul, or life force or whatever, becomes overwhelming. I’m empathic, many of us are. It compensates for my discomfort with spoken communication. My discomfort tends to increase with my stress levels, so don’t touch me unless i invite it. If i touch you, be honored because i consider you worth my trust.

As i’ve said, i can get overstimulated. i don’t like bright flashing lights or loud noises. i hate telephones. i’m a visual learner so talking to me over the phone about something important–like a list of charges on my credit card statement–is torture, especially if i can’t take notes. I simply can’t grasp it or verbal orders. I’m firmly convinced that the internet was invented by people like me so we could all communicate. I now have an Android phone with an unlimited everything contract. I can text and use the Internet to my heart’s content We Aspies should be issued one of these at birth.  This and social networking sites have opened up the world for people like me. We can interact, and do business without the trauma of physical contact.

My phobia of touch does not extend to animals. I love them. I get them better than most people get me. I have always had a dog, and i can’t imagine life without one.  I feel a great sense of peace when I touch a pet, and my dog can usually be found either next to me or at my feet, my pedicured toes rubbing her soft fur. My first move when i wake is to reach out and touch her. My second is to check my facebook.

You might wonder how I can tolerate pedicures when i hate being touched by strangers. I can honestly tell you–i don’t know. I don’t like manicures and massage can be torture. But Pedicures, they’re ok. Maybe i just like the bright red polish reflecting back in the light. It cheers me up and brings back my focus when I dive off “Planet Earth” into my own underwater realm.  Mermaids don’t have feet. 

I’m like a crow; I love shiny things. I’m always finding jewelry and coins on the ground. Sparkle draws me. I can spot a diamond earring halfway across a crowded gym. Of course I’m usually looking down, eye contact can be too stressful on some days and in some situations. Of course, it distracts me as well. So if you’re trying to talk to me while wearing lots of diamonds and have beautiful shiny acrylic nails. I may not be listening as well as i should…So slow down and stop gesticulating, for Goodness sake! Inside voices please. And listen to my answers. I speak slowly (don’t like speech, remember?) so let me finish my thought before you respond. Don’t but in, it just confuses and annoys me. You have no idea how many relationships i avoid because the people involved do these things. This, also, is magnified by an increased stress level.  

I’m very tactile. I love things that “feel” good. Like cashmere (I could dress a small country in my sweaters), silk, and really soft cotton. Real leather boots rock my world. I don’t do scratchy, so i can’t sleep in low thread count sheets unless they’re cotton jersey or flannel. Cheap sheets overstimulate me and not in a good way. My bed, with its winter flannel sheets and velvet comforter, is worthy of an Archduchess.  The mattress i’m sleeping on here in my Cali apt is uncomfortable. It’s only plush and I’m accustomed to double pillowtops.  The colors i choose are beautifully muted blues and earthtones. Helps me sleep.

I love stained glass. I have 6 tiffany style lamps in my tiny apartment. All in blues, greens & purples–the colors of the ocean. I just love the way the light shines through them. I digress…

See how easy that was???

Anyway, why am i telling you this? What is the point of all of this self disclosure? I don’t want the attention, if that’s what you’re thinking. I did this to help you and i (and maybe people like me) communicate more effectively. Maybe I’m tired of “normal” society treating me like i’m broken. I’m not. I’ll blow you out of the water on an IQ test, i can take apparantly unrelated concepts and connect them in a cogent fashion, and can spot bullshit a mile away.  I can also make you think i’m an extrovert when, in truth, most social groupings make me want to chew off my own arm to escape. That makes me a consummate actress. Can you pretend to be me for a day?  Probably not.

It’s people like me who are redesigning the world. Chaos theory, fuzzy reasoning, relativity, Facebook (come on Mark, admit it). Maybe we’re not “different.” Maybe we’re the next step in human evolution.

Thank you for reading…

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One Response to Happy International Asperger’s Day. Don’t hug me!

  1. Bill Kenney says:

    Bravo, tell it like you is. You go girl, and keep on writing.
    PS you look cute when you are comfortable.

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