April 11, 2016

How functional am I?

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:35 pm by merelyquirky

My family are quiet people, so my lack of interaction was not noticed. But also, my change of behavior as a toddler was received with disinterest. I’m the youngest child, and though I’ve always heard stories about my sisters when they were little, somehow no one could ever remember any involving me. No first words or steps, no amusing vignettes. I was an afterthought, and I felt it even then.

My sisters, both older, obviously knew more than I did about anything. But my parents also thought of me as the dumb one. My voice wasn’t heard, my opinions generally disregarded or scoffed at. If I dared to offer a fact they didn’t already know, I was instructed to cite my sources in order to have a shot at being believed.

When the middle school called asking to put me in a program of special classes, my mother replied that that was a Good Idea, since I seemed a bit slow. When the school corrected her misunderstanding, clarifying that, no, these were advanced classes for the highest intelligence kids, Mom replied Oh, you must have her mixed up with one of her sisters.

I never knew this story as a kid. My mother thought it was a funny story to tell me at a party 35 years later. It was hard enough to go to the thing in the first place, but after hearing this story, everyone was starting at me. Staring at me. Staring.

I hadn’t driven my own car there, so I was stuck, an hour’s drive from home. I excused myself from the room, found my bag (and it’s ever-present book) and hid in my sister’s bedroom with the pile of coats, and read until my ride was ready to leave.

Nowadays, I don’t go to gatherings without my own transportation, a warning that I might have to duck out early, and a book.

It is strange to me, that my family thinks I’m dumb, weak, and untrustworthy, but everyone else thinks I’m smart, strong, and ‘too honest’. I’ve had folks ask me to be their body guard, their interpreter of local customs, their legal advisor, social service conduit, and to diagnose that weird sore on their shoulder. Clearly strangers’ high opinions of me are a mixed blessing.

But after a lifetime of being adamantly told who/what I am by all around me, it is exhausting trying to weed out their self-interest, insecurity, or sociopathy, to find a grain of value. In myself or others.

Aspergers and Me

I’m told I’m high functioning.

As far as I can tell, mostly this means that for short periods of time I pass for normal. When I’ve saved up my spoons and I’m not overloaded, if a random stranger glances at me they don’t see anything unusual. So, to the people who use phrases like “high functioning” and “low functioning,” I’m high functioning.

Now, intellectually, I know that’s full of bunk. I know that “high functioning” means “we’ll ignore any help you need” and “low functioning” means “we’ll ignore any strengths you have.” I’ve seen it in practice many times, and I’ve had people deny my difficulties or insist that I’m just “quirky” based on nothing more than their idea that I’m “high functioning.”

But turns out that as much as I know this way of thinking is incorrect, as much as I understand that functioning is not linear, it turns…

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February 16, 2015

We’re Women with Autism – Not Mystical Imps, Sprites or Fairies….. Get it right.

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:09 pm by merelyquirky

This is one of the things I’ve been criticized for, yet another interest I am “wrong” for not being interested in. I’ve always figured the super-power metaphor spoke to the comic book obsessed, which I am not.

Seventh Voice

Artwork by Devushka Artwork by Devushka

Sorry to disappoint all of those who wish to believe that Women with Autism are made out of some kind of unique fairy dust that endows all of us with “special talents” or “super powers”, because we are not magical beings.

We are Women Wired Differently…. not Women Wired Magically.

Please stop confusing our different skill sets, ie, our tendency to focus on the finer details of life that often make us more likely to pick up on the inconsistencies that are usually hidden within the bigger picture that people present to us, with being the equivalent of having a “super power”, “gift”, “unearned talent” or whatever else some would like to call it.

The truth is, that for us, our intense focus on fine details, whilst it may have started out as a fascination, has also become a survival mechanism.

Our intense focus is not magical…

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January 26, 2015

“Aspergers” in the media

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:15 pm by merelyquirky

More and more television programs feature characters portrayed as Asper-like. Though not officially characters with ASD, some actors do comment that they keep Aspergers traits in mind when they make their acting choices. Some characters are, in ASD circles, presumed to be on the spectrum.

My personal reaction is ambivalent. Sometimes I resent the appropriation for entertainment value, and sometimes I am so happy to feel even vaguely represented that I will even forgive that these characters are the butt of so many jokes on the shows. Then I realize how much that is real life, and I am just jealous that the characters have a stable group of friends or colleagues who accept them as they are.

As Viola Davis commented after her recent Screen Actors Guild award win:

We want to see ourselves. We want to be inspired by that. I sometimes want the fantasy, but more often than not, I want reality. I want to feel less alone when I look at TV.”

(Link to that article here.)

You Don’t Know What It’s Like

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:17 am by merelyquirky

FeministAspie’s current post is so true I am speechless.


You Don’t Know What It’s Like.

January 15, 2015

Laura Nagle: Vectors of Autism

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:14 am by merelyquirky

I shoul watch this, though just reading the post made me feel like a bit of a slacker. (Ok, I feel that way anyway since I have a menial prt time job, and my talents are not exactly resume material. I hava a BA but work at a laundromat. In high school, I was an honor student with free reign in the art room, but my most fun afternoon was spent rebuilding a shale stone wall.

My mother has often told me “all work is honorable”, but in a context and tone even I can recognize as condescending.

October 30, 2014

AStrangerInGodzone: On Making Mistakes

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:39 am by merelyquirky


The above blog post really hits home for me. My first reaction to the list was that I don’t peresverate, but actually I do now. I believe it is a result of having such difficulty fitting in with society, I have turned my own life into a sort of anthropological research project, and am constantly reviewing the “data” in my down time.

August 28, 2014

What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:12 pm by merelyquirky

An excellent analogy of a hard-to-hear issue.

A Little More Sauce

The phrase “white privilege” is one that rubs a lot of white people the wrong way. It can trigger something in them that shuts down conversation or at least makes them very defensive. (Especially those who grew up relatively less privileged than other folks around them). And I’ve seen more than once where this happens and the next move in the conversation is for the person who brought up white privilege to say, “The reason you’re getting defensive is because you’re feeling the discomfort of having your privilege exposed.”

I’m sure that’s true sometimes. And I’m sure there are a lot of people, white and otherwise, who can attest to a kind of a-ha moment or paradigm shift where they “got” what privilege means and they did realize they had been getting defensive because they were uncomfortable at having their privilege exposed. But I would guess that more often than…

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August 10, 2014

The unrecovered

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:53 pm by merelyquirky

Thank you. This is so accurate I am speechless.

Chavisory's Notebook

I have had a lot of reaction in the past few of days to that New York Times Magazine article concerning “The Kids Who Beat Autism.” Here’s about all I have left.

The parents, the teachers, the therapists and researchers without a clue who are celebrating “recovery” because they have, in their heads, defined autism as a fixed set of permanent inabilities—

-Are not the people doing the work of passing, and are not going to be the ones to find out first-hand just how long it isn’t actually sustainable.

-Are not the people who get told we’re too articulate to be autistic but have to ration our hours of speech per day.

-Are not the developmentally disabled women who suffer a sexual abuse rate of over 90%, no thanks to the compliance training that teaches that allowing others to control our bodies is desirable behavior.

-Are not the…

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July 12, 2014

What Do I Want?

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:32 pm by merelyquirky

Strategies 1-6 are my life. Does not work out terribly well. No focus. College was nicely structured, but things since have been one long downward slide.

Musings of an Aspie

The Scientist has proposed a 30-day experiment. He says I need to practice doing what I want to do. He says, in addition to being good for me, it will help him to get to know me better. We’ve known each other for 28 years, so this feels a little late in the game for getting to know each other better. And yet . . .

What really intrigued me about his proposal is how it might help me get to know myself better. If you’re a long time reader, you might remember that last year I wrote about how much difficulty I have figuring out what I want. I often haphazardly make minor decisions, only to find I’m unhappy with the results. Here’s an example, the one that sparked the idea for the experiment:

I tried out a new recipe for dinner last week–a light summer mix of…

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July 11, 2014

Asking for Accommodations

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:16 am by merelyquirky

My friends and my mother have been very accommodating on these issues.Actually, when I’m feeling overwhelmed my friends can actually remind me what works for me in that situation, since by that point I’m not really capable of remembering useful tactics.
But at workorextended family situations, I haven’t raised the Aspergersflag
it out.

Musings of an Aspie

Accommodations make life easier, but as Otterknot pointed out in a recent comment, asking for accommodations often sounds simpler than it is.

Why is that? Why are we so reluctant to ask for something that will improve our quality of life, our relationships or our ability to succeed at work or school?

The biggest obstacle is often disclosure. Asking for an accommodation or support means disclosing that we’re disabled. Accommodations are for disabled people, after all. For those of us who have spent a lifetime instinctively trying to pass as nondisabled, it can be hard to make the mental shift to being openly or even semi-openly disabled.

There is also the question of whether the other party will understand the nature of hidden disabilities. Unlike a visible disability, a hidden disability carries a certain burden of proof. So we hesitate, wondering whether the other person will believe that we really…

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