Thanks / A Social Life

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the ability to relate and my hate of interruptions. I don’t know if the connection was clear to anyone but myself. Interruptions is a major downside of relating with people.

Today, I woke up noting how incredible lucky I am to be able to have good relationships, and uneasy that I may not be giving those who are most important to me as high priority as they deserve.

My husband doesn’t like when I stay up late, and I came to bed around 4 am having totally screwed my evening routines (I was not happy about that either). But in the morning he said “I hope you had a good time”. He had been friendly all evening while I didn’t want to be talked to, and I didn’t come to bed on time. Still, he is happy that I had a good time.

We live only 2 adults and 2 dogs here in this house (no kids), but the vibe is lively and playful and vocal. My husband talks, cheers, cracks up laughing and plays silly games with the dogs throughout the days whenever he takes breaks from his desk work. The house resounds with his antics. He jokes with the dogs in his native language. He rambles enthusiastically about his hobbies or purchases or newest plans. He is the most everyday-enthusiastic person I know, and also smart, caring and trustworthy. And talkative.

Besides joking and talking, socialising is a tactile sport in this place. We like hugs and play-fights, and so do the dogs …. our living room can be a bit of a dojo. Live together is fun some of the time every day.

Of course there is nothing with big parties or lots of friends or things like that, but everyday is very social in own way. It is in the subtleties, the joking, the movie quotes, the playful human-canine subculture we have build up together, unique to our family… Just like any family and any other social group has its own unique culture. Even though we are not many and we rarely have visitors, this is a very social home.

Much more interactive than, for example, the home I grew up in; and I am a much more socially attentive person now compared to when I grew up. I must have had the potential to develop the ability to relate, but it wasn’t really activated. I interacted, but it didn’t occur to me that others each have their own perspective.

It feels good to belong. I’m an insider here in this home. I have social authority. We all do. I’m part of a “We”. I feel like saying “Thank you God”. Life sure has its worries – employment and finances for example -, but I’m in it, not drifting aimlessly around in my own remote Universe. That is pretty good.

 
Aspergers

I have used and still use this blog as a base for learning about Asperger’s Syndrome. I’ve been reading aspie blogs and roaming aspie corners of the blogosphere for several years, while avoided to write directly about it myself.

The reason for my interest is that aspergers is an extremely useful lens to zoom in on what it means to be social, and what is wrong when it doesn’t work – and understand my own lifelong social difficulties (as well as other aspects).

It has also given a nice reassuring feeling that “there are other aliens out there”. People with a history of not belonging anywhere, not fitting in. Different from me but fellow aliens, often with some strikingly similar tendencies in their life histories. And some persons who I have never met but consider long term friends and trust more than most people I know offline.

I would like to thank to all you guys who share your thoughts & life experiences and makes it easier to understand life*.

Recently I gave my blog a make-over and improved its navigation structure. I revised tags & categories, and tagged posts that are relevant for aspies with “asperger’s syndrome” and “aspie”, so they can be navigated via those labels in the topic cloud. For example, the posts about non-verbal communication, social difficulties and dealing with sensory overload are relevant for asperger’s syndrome, even though they don’t mention the word at all. That change made asperger’s syndrome suddenly appear as a major topic in the cloud.

The change isn’t just practical, it is also an acknowledgement that while this is not directly a blog about aspergers, it is highly likely a blog with aspergers. It has been a slow, cautious process … from initially claiming “I don’t have aspergers” in response to readers’ assumptions, over feeling flattered in an awkward way when I saw my blog rolled by aspie blogs, to saying OK, that is the core topic… even if it isn’t mentioned much.

Right now, I see the irony that learning about Aspergers and acknowledging its relevance, has made me much more social; it has definitely improved my social understanding a lot. Right now, I am confident that I have social authority and relevance, and that my limitations are acceptable, as long as I do my best and try to be as responsive to feedback as possible. I mainly feel different rather than faulty. And it feels good:-)

Today I’m also thinking that the social gap – how most people seem more socially oriented than me – isn’t so much about the ability to relate, at least not any more. Maybe what is left of it is more of a difference in motivation, priorities, and interests – combined with limitations in sensory processing, multi-tasking skills, social stamina, executive function and other factors that are not directly a failure to develop the ability to relate**. That is very good too.

 
Artwork of dog-like alien monster

 


* I also want to thank persons outside of the Internet, but prefer to do that in person.
** My emphasis

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16 thoughts on “Thanks / A Social Life

  1. Heather Holbrook

    I have to agree with you, that learning about Asperger’s Syndrome has made me better able to socialize, too. Whenever a mom who has a child with Asperger’s Syndrome asks me, “Should I tell him/her about their Asperger’s Syndrome?” I respond with a resounding, “YES!” Some children will not accept it, but for those who do, it will be very helpful.

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  2. musingsofanaspie

    Interruptions tend to make me cross so I can definitely relate. I actually got hung up on that quote at the beginning of your interruptions post and ended up not commenting because I didn’t want to go off on a rant (and possibly I’m misreading it). But yes, interruptions, especially when I’m involved in something I’m really enjoying, are hard to deal with. I often end snapping at the person who interrupts me and then feeling bad about it, which makes me feeling guilty and ruins my enjoyment of what I was doing.

    Congratulations on your realization about AS. I’ve always “read” you as an aspie. πŸ™‚

    Your last two paragraphs really hit home for me. Everything you said there is what I’ve been increasingly feeling these last months. The acceptance, the relevance, the social choices. Blogging has made me far more social. In part it helps that I get to socialize with people who are like me and who don’t think I’m weird and who I don’t have to constantly explain myself to. One of the barriers to socializing for me has always been the aspie/NT cultural gap.

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    1. Mados

      I would actually really like to hear your rant. You are extremely welcome to comment also when you disagree with me! And I would also like to know when what I write (or quote) puts anyone off… the possibility did worry me when I published that post (Sam quoted the statement with a softening disclaimer).

      The statement and Sam’s post resonated very much with me, because I have spent a large portion of my life being unable to relate with people, really unable to understand what it was, and also because there are key typical relationships that just never developed for me and which I still don’t get. So “what it is to relate” is a key question for me, one that still puzzles me and which I am still always to get my head around. A lot of thoughts evolved from that statement (like this post and several more drafts:-) and the outcome of those thoughts is that I don’t necessarily agree with the statement; or at least I think the matter is much more complex and dynamic than just “an ability to relate”. – I would love a discussion about it.

      While I’m not great a coping with interruptions, I am actually positively responsive to critique (I think…;-) My point is: please don’t be afraid of ranting. If you regret what you say you can just ask me to delete it, and I promise I’ll do that if you ask me, but I’d love to hear your opinions also when they are critical to something I write or pass on. It is not dangerous to rant on this blog, and will not damage the relationship. Your invitation to infodump, which I fully subscribe to, extends to my blog and includes informed ranting! (and everything I have read by you has been very well informed & thoughtful so I’d always love more of your inputs)

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      1. musingsofanaspie

        Okay, I’ll go comment on that post rather than here so it’s in the proper place. It wasn’t your writing that made me feel ranty, just the quote, and I got really hung up on it and couldn’t get past it and since the part that bugged me wasn’t that central to what you were talking about I got all confused and gave up. That happens sometimes, as I’m sure you can imagine. Thank you for the invitation to share!

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        1. Mados

          Excellent! Thank you. I may reply to it a bit later, because it is morning right now and I only have 1 coffee’s time of Internet time before starting my day. So I’ll just reply to the quickest comments right now.

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    2. Mados

      And thanks! I am so glad it resonates with you. Your comment resonates very much with me too! and would like to mention that reading your blog has helped me in that process. And many others too, I think πŸ™‚

      I’ve always β€œread” you as an aspie. πŸ™‚

      I know. I remember you put my blog on a list of blogs about life on the spectrum long ago, and I didn’t know how to respond to that, so I ignored it:-) and didn’t “Like” the post, although I liked the content. Flattered + awkward is the best description of that feeling. Flattered because you found my blog worth linking to, and awkward because “wait… this is not a blog about autism!”… but I guess it is, or I’d rather want it to be “with” than “about”. Use it as a lens.

      Ps. I just “Liked” that post now… great post. I like the application of the Tibetan mountain philosophy very much

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      1. musingsofanaspie

        Oh, I’m glad you said this. When I said they were blogs about life on the spectrum I guess I was thinking more in terms of people on the spectrum writing about their lives rather than writing directly about autism, although many of the people on that list do write directly about autism. Of course, I then went and mistakenly identified you as being on the spectrum, just to compound matters . . . sorry about that. I’ve learned a lot of things since then, one of which is to ask people how they identify if I’m uncertain. πŸ™‚

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        1. Mados

          That is fine, and you were right anyway:-)
          (Your last sentence is a little bit confusing, but I think there is just missing a “you”… Please let me know if I got the meaning wrong!)

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          1. Mados

            I’m the master of comment typos… regardless of times prrofread before clicking “post”… so I understand you…

            Would you like me to correct it?

            (later… coffee soon over)

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          2. Mados

            No problem. Just first:

            Of course, I then went and mistakenly identified as being on the spectrum

            Do you want me to correct that one as well? Because you did identify as being on the spectrum at the time (hence the name of your blog!), so the meaning is a bit confusing. I presume you mean “you” or something similar.

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          3. Mados

            Done! (I have not corrected the date though… It would be confusing if your replies to my comments are dated before my comment!… if anyone goes that much in detail…;-)

            Reply to your comments on “the ability to relate to people as persons” is in progress but saved as draft outside of the Internet… Right now it is just the Monday morning coffee break, and it is a huge*, complex & very interesting discussion, so it needs brewing time.

            * not a reference to the comment length, necessarily… Don’t worry…

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