Asberger’s, Attacks-au-Fer, and Innocence Missions


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It’s funny how exhausting it is to think. Perhaps it’s because to think is to change, because “man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes;” the exhaustion is caused by the transformation, and like butterflies emerging from cocoons, we must rest and allow our intellectual wings to dry out before taking flight into the fresh realm of possible transformations. (If I sound a little Prousty today, it’s because I’ve been reading and falling back in love with Ray Bradbury, my admiration for whom I cannot begin to express.) Maybe it’s the Nostalgia Conundrum, but my transformations seem to me to be much more like unwrappings than growings or changings, like I’m merely rediscovering what was always there- what was true of myself, and shedding the delusions with which I, confusedly ashamed in my uncertain Pigletishness, attempted to cover it up with. Part of it, of course, is The Circumstances, but, as was wisely pointed out to me this morning by my mum, I am much more in control of them than I would like to think; and it is up to me to break out of my confusion and shame to embrace these truths in all of their, well, truthiness.

The fact of the matter is that The Circumstances have recently culminated and exploded in a great big ugly mess and it’s all over me and this has exposed a whole smorgasbord of things for my carnivorous mind to latch onto and think  (and, more often than not, fret incessantly) about. Perhaps foremost among these things is the knowledge that my best friend (she’s my best friend, I’m probably not hers, but I’m okay with that… I have a unique, Pigletish way of labeling relationships)’s mother thinks she may have mild Asberger’s. This troubled me for very strange reasons. The first thing I thought when I heard this was Why can’t I have Asberger’s, too? I have always admired this friend because of her earnest kindness and because of how… comfortable, happy, and not self-conscious she is. I have always hoped that maybe, because she was older than me (by a little over a year), she had been where I am, and had grown to become the way she is; that I too, might one day be as she is. And here comes someone tearing this hope down around me, telling me that she is able to salvage this innocence- something which by definition cannot be regained, because she has a condition. So I’m just stuck the way I am, self-conscious and afraid and jaded and sad, because I have the right chromosomes or whatever. That’s a crappy deal. Hence the weird jealousy.

This brings me back to the whole self-conciousness thing- which, if you’ll remember, is my personal (and thus very difficult to follow) diagnosis for the symptom of my inexplicable beat-attacks in fencing. Maybe it’s all part of this nervous self-distrust thing that’s causing me to hide the truths of my self; maybe I’m self-conscious and panicky when I fence because I’m ashamed of myself, because I don’t believe I can send my foil straight home, unadorned with trickery or fanciness (which is also why I had so much more trouble with epee when I fenced it on Thursday than the first time I picked one up- the culmination of The Circumstances has magnified and clarified all of this for me), more to the point; I can no longer feel my faith in God, I can no longer let go and really honestly believe that He will make everything okay. I’ve become so horribly jaded, you see- which brings me back to Asberger’s and Innocence.

The answer to everything, as always, is Kimya Dawson. An example of someone with whom I can identify on countless levels, who seems to have experienced considerable suffering, who feels the need to save the world despite recognition of the impossibility, but who, in spite of, or even because of how jaded she is has managed to preserve and regain and cultivate her innocence- to redefine innocence. Like attracts like (not scientifically, of course), and the very fact that we are drawn to innocence means that we still have our own, that maybe it’s not quite as elusive and lost as we thought it was. Because that desire to save the world, to ignore the facts staring you in the face and telling you that you can’t; that’s innocence. The flickering tea-light of ridiculous hope that we shield from the cold winds of reality is what will save us all. Because for all my jealousy, my second thought after hearing about my friend was How dare they call that a weakness?!, and this overwhelming sense of protectiveness swept over me; and I felt that need to shield the tea-light, I felt my own innocence again. Perhaps what I’ve learned from all this thinking- or rather what I’ve become as a result of it- is somebody who, at least way deep down, is able to be truly at peace with herself, self-consciousness and all; and isn’t that exactly what I wanted to be all along?

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5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Dana said,

    Asperger’s is just a word. A word for a list of symptoms. If the APA ever manages to put out the DSM V, will the list still be in there? Who knows. I bet you a dollar it won’t be. Today’s dollar, adjusted for inflation and into whatever currency you’d like.

    Your friend’s mother thinks she can look at her daughter and tick off a few items in the list. Or she can mildly tick off all of them. Something. She thinks her daughter is inadequately self-aware. You think she’s admirably unselfconscious. Maybe she’s a mother, protective of this person fate dropped into her lap, while you a are a friend, there by choice, not by fate. You’re going to see things differently.

    When I grab a grocery cart and someone’s left their old list in it, I might glance at it out of curiosity. I might even get an idea from it. I’m not going to shop from it myself.

    • 2

      aliceling said,

      Thank you. I understand that my friends mother’s beliefs may be based in a sense of protectiveness, but my worries were based largely on the fact that I, too, recognized the possibility that my friend did have asperger’s. Having given it some thought, though, I am much more at peace with the idea of it. Anyway, thanks for your wise input!
      P.S. Just out of curiosity, how did you find this?

      • 3

        Dana said,

        I’m afraid I can’t tell you how I found you. Only just now noticed the notification you’d replied to me, and by now I don’t remember. Maybe you were linked off of something I stumbled?

  2. 4

    Dana said,

    Didn’t click to follow replies. How could you collect on your dollar?

  3. 5

    I’m so glad to find another well-written blog that talks about AS. I’ll be following eagerly.


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