I don’t have what you might call a robust social life. My weekends are never busy, I try to keep in contact with friends during the week and I usually wind up watching whatever has captured my interest on Netflix while most people my age are partying it up. I wish I could say it doesn’t bother me that my place seems to be at home while everyone else is out enjoying themselves. I don’t enjoy spending all my time by myself, but sometimes it beats the alternative which usually consists of spending time doing menial tasks with little long-run impact.
I remember when I was younger wasting time at the mall or watching movies with friends while getting high, getting drunk and oftentimes both, but when you live your life trying to construct things like stories destructive behavior like those that involve drugs or alcohol can seem counter-productive. It’s hard to lead a constructive life while engaging in destructive behavior and vice versa. How people like Hunter S. Thompson and Ernest Hemingway were able to write while drunk out of their minds will forever remain a mystery to me. All I can do is work with what has worked for me. My routine is to spend my day accumulating as much knowledge as possible, reading books, thinking through ideas and planning out stories so that at night I have some things to write about or concepts that I can develop later.
I have given a great deal of thought to the subject of people and society more broadly. Coming to grips with a life altering syndrome like Asperger’s isn’t easy and many times the more you learn about something the more questions you have. I find myself on a journey trying to find out as much as I can about this mysterious problem that irks me and has in many ways come to define me. I also am trying to understand how Asperger’s affects me directly. One thing that I have noticed is that I am not a terribly likeable person. That’s a difficult thing to admit and an even more difficult idea to live with. Most people don’t like me. They find me pretentious, condescending, elitist, and just plain weird. I used to tell myself that I was okay with this, that I didn’t care what other people thought of me, but I was wrong. I then told myself that it didn’t really matter because there was nothing I could do about it. This last point is where I have my most fervent disagreements with those clandestine few who choose to interact with me. I am very confrontational by nature. That is my unique Asperger’s characteristic that makes me who I am. That is also the trait that ruins almost all of my social relationships.
I have Asperger’s but I also have Depression. This is not unusual as most people with Asperger’s usually suffer from a psychiatric impairment as well. What I have found is that I cannot stand positive people or people who try to be something that they are not. This may sound overly harsh, but this is how I feel and there really is no changing this. I suffer from this rather unique problem where I can’t take criticism and I can’t take credit. If you tell me that I’m awesome I’ll know you’re a liar. There is very little that you could ever know about me that could lead you to the conclusion that I am awesome. You may like my writing, but that does not mean you like me. I have found over the years that people confuse these things quite a bit. It’s one reason that I don’t like a lot of people reading my work outside of what I choose to publish. Some people become so attached to what I’ve written that they think they have seen a window to my soul. There is nothing more frustrating than dealing with someone whose emotional needs get caught up in a universe that they don’t quite understand.
I think the story of the woman who wanted to kidnap my dogs is a good illustration of why at a very basic level I am just not a very trustworthy person. I am also a very judgmental person as well, but that is a separate essay. This woman who I had a class with one semester asked if she could read my memoir Indian Summer. Being a young writer, I was more than willing to show my work to just about anyone that was willing to read it and therein lies my mistake. This woman thought that because she understood the person in the book that she understood me. She then tried to get romantically involved with me and became an absolute psycho when I turned her down. I know that rejection isn’t something that anyone takes well, but she somehow managed to pull my FBI file, find out how to potentially break into my house and kidnap my dogs as well as other nefarious activities. Thankfully, later on in that semester I became good friends with a former linebacker who is even more intimidating than any possible caricature you could conjure up in your mind.
In short, my problems in life stem from how my brain looks at the world. There’s a difference between creative and imaginative, empathetic and compassionate as well as integrity and character. I’m creative not imaginative. If you were to give me a bland, seemingly uninteresting character I could probably write a semi-interesting story about him because I’m creative. I could not however come up with a whole new world for this person to live in with Harry Potterish people and things roaming about. If I see a homeless man on the street and I have some change to spare I will give it to him not because I empathize with him but because I dislike the social awkwardness of the situation. If you were to ask me what made me who I am today my response would be: a litany of personal experiences the likes of which you could not possibly imagine. I have character because of what I’ve been through not integrity to do the right thing. Indeed there are days when I don’t even trust myself and that is the scariest of positions to be in especially for someone suffering from Depression who has a creative, Aspergian mind. Some days I wake up in the morning and I don’t know what I’ll do and there are many days where that scares me, but having Asperger’s means that my mind is ruled by logic and I know that my sense of the real and of the things that matter will guide me towards doing something that reflects the character that I have accumulated over my lifetime. I’m not a perfect person and I don’t try to be, but I am trying to get better I only wish the rest of the world would try to.