It’s been a while since my last entries. How much has changed? Some days a lot, some days none. On some days it’s still the same weird core issues I was puzzled about as a kid, on others it’s charging the energy, on some days it’s getting frustrated for not having a “proper” way to do anything. Too impatient to switch to full listening mode with computers, and unable to find the things right in front of my face.
But back to blogging. Because it helps. It’s always been easier to write or to type than to speak. When I write my words become my voice. If I speak, people insist there is always a “tone of voice”, even when there isn’t. I take a lot of effort and energy to speak, and it just feels fake that I should learn to use to intonate my voice like age and gender peers. I should learn to speak like a female of my age and current geographical area, just because… it will make them feel better? Whatever. I rather be quiet, listen, observe people and guess the rest. All while maintaining an expressionless face and wearing dark shades indoors and outdoors.
Today I saw the video in this post. That captures me well. And my mum too, I imagine. She never smiled in photos, and I had a blankface or a horrible fail of a grin attempt in all old school photos. I liked and still like comfortable clothing, still feel like crossdressing when actually wearing a female dress. I liked climbing on trees, having “special interests”, and spent hundreds of hours in the public library as a kid. I learned body language and facial expressions from printed books there. Add in adolescence and I was the casebook case of closet autism. But because my adolescence happened years ago, and in a culture which in the whole is a lot more autistic than American culture, no one noticed, or cared, or provided any kind of support for that.
Fast forward many years, and only now I’m slowly starting to embrace my autism. So what if I bundle it with other disability and life issues? It takes courage to say “Hi, my name is So-and-so, nice to meet you. I have no facial recognition, so if you see me somewhere, say hi”. It’s often necessary though. I meet people who remember me from somewhere, and I have no clue who they are. I met recently someone who had fixed something in my home a few years ago; he remembered my tattoo. So, enjoy my wine, have a small laugh, explain my tattoo and how this whole meeting people I can’t recognize is not a new thing. It happened a lot in Italy and elsewhere in Europe, and it happens around here too. I’m ok with it. As goes with explaining people about voice memory. (Another frustration when it happens. “have we met?” when both have no facial memory and one or both have no distinctive voice. At least my voice is unfortunately distinctive).
Aspieness has good aspects when put in use. I can explain what problems the inability to see facial expressions means, and depending on the situation or audience, it can be more focused on aspie or VI point of view. I can use it to explain why accurate GPS locations matter, and how I use my Apple Watch to get walking directions, or why the new Magnifier app is so great in iOS. Because I don’t try to analyze which part makes it more relevant for me, inability to see or the social cluelessness. And all on the same time people forget.
Accessibility makes a perfect “special interest” at least. People love stories and personas. And it’s easier to start from close to home. How does someone with (insert type of disability) use their phone, tablet or computer? I know what I need and really need to be productive (and that includes braille keys on my keyboard = so much easier to type when my fingers don’t keep moving on random keys), am fascinated about switches and devices that allow eye control or voice control. Time to dig in deeper and finally land in the field.
One thing people seem to forget is that people can have more than one kind of disability or neurodiversity issue. I’ve been told I can’t be autistic because shitty eyesight somehow prevents that. Just like blindness would prevent dyslexia. It’s possible to be dyslexic in braille, and it’s possible to be visually impaired or hard of hearing or even deaf blind and have asperger. It’s possible to have a random number of other neurodiverse issues on top of another thing. It’s time to stop thinking about every difference as a disability or lesser ability or a fault. Turn it around, prove the world a perceived weakness can be a forte.
I am glad I’m not neurotypical. There, I said it. I’m also glad to live in a time and a place where using assistive technologies does not automatically does not bring stigma.
As it’s fall, and the days are turning shorter and the dark hours are turning longer, I’ll have plenty of time to write. I hope. Well, that’s it for today…