Friday, September 3, 2021

Autism Spectrum vs me

I surely do relate to some of the key items of the low-end of the autism spectrum especially when I look back into my past.

I am told that I didn't start speaking till I was four. I do not make eye contact. There are stories that I did not look up at the teacher till second grade. Supposedly, it was such a big moment the first time that I did. The teacher personally stopped by our home to report the "happy" news. I was always very quiet till 15-16.

I probably don't have it, but reading some of the articles help me understand myself in a way where others fail to satisfy my questions. I believe I do a very good job of masking normal behavior.

I believe the biggest factor to my drive to understand to be normal is my insatiable need to understand the world. I ask a lot of questions to that point where people would put their hands up and walk away. Even if I agree with their point of view, I will play devil's advocate to better understand. So this is my drive to go against some of my natural tendencies.

I still struggle with some things like eye contact. When I really get into a conversation, I stop looking... at anything. I couldn't tell the person's facial expression, other conversations, time, place, etc. I get so hyper-focused that I do not sense anything else. Nowadays, I have to conscientiously remember to look at the face. I will naturally look at the mouth at best, but usually will just stare into space. I am really not sure where I am looking at once I am engrossed in a conversation.

The more background noise, the less I am able to understand people. I am terrible when there is noise. Not that it bothers me, but I cannot "hear" what people are saying. Sometimes I wonder if I am deaf but I hear sounds. And I can hear very minute sounds that others cannot hear. But when there any sort of sound, my ability to hear what people are saying drops exponentially while others can hear perfectly fine. I have had little to explain this phenomenon, but the article by Burgess has the best example thus far. On her "spectrum", there is a category for sensory filter. I believe this is where I am rather weak on.

I also struggle with expressing what I feel. I think the problem for me is that I really do not feel anything, especially things to an extreme. I do not really hate, nor do I really love. Things just is. People's fascination with art and music is lost on me. I still go to museums, and I just fail to see what other's see. There is no particular music that I love, none that I hate. I am unable to really mean it when I say that I totally love this song, music, artist, etc. I like the beat, the rhythm, the lyrics, but I approach it more analytically. For me, it is amazing how well they can maintain a beat, how they can change the beat but keep the sound coherent or lyrics that uses limited words that rhyme yet still send a message. Although I do not have extremes, I do have preferences but the reasons seem to still be consistent. If the lyrics is repeated too often (bores me) or distracts me from whatever I am focusing on, then I do dislike the song. But I have not heard anything where I would want to ever consider ripping my ears off. I don't even plug my ears or even change the radio station.

To me bad music is like food that has a bad after-taste. There are food that tastes good and there is food that does not taste good. And that pretty much is the summary of my taste palate. There is very few foods that I dislike. Even fewer where I refuse to eat. But there is nothing I wouldn't try for free, and I would hate to waste money by paying an exorbitant amount of money for something that tastes good. Yes, it tastes better but is it worth paying 2x to 5x the food and labor? I am perfectly fine with eating unsalted boiled chicken. It does not taste great, but not worth $10 for an alternative.

I still consider myself a loner. Ironically, I was told that I was like a social butterfly at the office. This is due to the fact that I go around and talk to people (about work or their social problems). But for me, this activity is extremely exhausting. But I "force" myself because I want to understand. And I learned that people do not share as much information when I do not share some information.

I do get frustrated. This is usually when I am unable to understand more about the situation. But I think the blame really goes to people who do not make very coherent logical steps. Uusually there is still some reason they do things that are more self-centered, for their big ego, etc. I just do not understand why they think that way. I get most frustrated with people who have no interest in self-improvement except to manipulate others for their own life improvements.

From what I have analyzed about people, I find that I have a very different approach to the world. And my biggest worry about this thought is that everyone seem to feel that they are different (like how everyone thinks they are right or good). So how do I actually gauge how different I am?

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