Skip to main content

Am I Broken? Should I Care?

Whether I consider my oddities "autistic" or "birth trauma" (I vote for "complex entry into life"), I am certainly not normal. My wife will attest to this.

Parents of special education students ask if I would want to be "cured" of my oddities. This question is one with which I struggle, since I both value my abilities and curse my lack of social skills.

If being "normal" would mean that I must surrender some of my skills, then I would not be me. To not be gifted, a loaded word I admit, means to surrender analytical skills I value and admire in others. I admire scientists. I admire men and women solving problems with thought and through experimentation.

I don't like the idea of being as ignorant and sloppy as the people I encounter. I also have no desire to be as slick and manipulative as the most successful people I have met. I'd rather be honest and know myself. I believe there is a point at which great salesman loses himself in the lies.

Yet, I really do dislike a lot about the way I am. Someday, I would trade for being normal... even knowing I would cease to be me. It might be easy to give up being a "genius" since I have done nothing with my intellect. I certainly haven't changed the world. Why not trade a few IQ points and analytical skills for a normal existence?

Being normal would mean no more sound sensitivity. No more immediate reactions to smells I dislike. I could assemble a list of 100 things I could do with less stress if I were normal. Taking a walk in my own neighborhood might be nice — but I actually hate the idea, so I have no idea if it would be nice or not. That's the nature of my pondering on this matter: why do I think I might enjoy something I don't presently enjoy?

What I do know is I could tolerate more without sensitivity to sound, smell, light, and touch.

I wouldn't mind having a few more friends. But, I generally don't like people. Why do I think I might like people more if I were "normal" in some way? Most people are simply boring or ignorant. Then again, if I were ignorant I might not notice.

Really, this shouldn't be a question. Normal or not, I am what I am. I can't change 39+ years of life, and any instant change would make me someone else.

If I didn't realized I had changed, I would not care. If I did realize I changed, I'd probably resent the loss of some skills. Since I'm currently not seeking adoration from throngs of groupies, any change resulting in a desire for such adulation would be a change for the worse. Needing approval is not necessarily a good thing.

Honestly, I do struggle with this. Maybe traits we label as disorders are really needed for humanity to grow and extend its knowledge. It seems as if the geniuses who have changed the world were all "odd" in some way. It might have been ADD/ADHD, OCD, depression, bi-polar
disorder, or a form of autism, but most great minds seem to be different in a way others might consider a disorder.

Maybe the world needs broken minds.

Comments

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT... You hit the nail right on the head with this blog! We all are broken somehow, it's just the broken minds are the ones that out there solving world problems! Next president needs to have a broken mind!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Comments violating the policies of this blog will not be approved for posting. Language and content should be appropriate for all readers and maintain a polite tone. Thank you.

Popular posts from this blog

Autism, Asperger's, and IQ

"Aren't people with Asperger's more likely to be geniuses? Isn't genius related to autism?"

A university student asked this in a course I am teaching. The class discussion was covering neurological differences, free will, and the nature versus nurture debate. The textbook for the course includes sidebars on the brain and behavior throughout chapters on ethics and morality. This student was asking a question reflecting media portrayals of autism spectrum disorders, social skills difficulties, and genius.

I did not address this question from a personal perspective in class, but I have when speaking to groups of parents, educators, and caregivers. Some of the reasons these questions arise, as mentioned above, are media portrayals and news coverage of autism. Examples include:
Television shows with gifted characters either identified with or assumed to have autistic traits: Alphas, Big Bang Theory, Bones, Rizzoli and Isles, Touch, and others. Some would include She…

Listen… and Help Others Hear

We lack diversity in the autism community.

Think about what you see, online and in the media. I see upper-middle class parents, able to afford iPads and tutors and official diagnoses. I see parents who have the resources to fight for IEPs and physical accommodations.

I see self-advocacy leadership that has been fortunate (and hard working, certainly) to attend universities, travel the nation (or even internationally), and have forums that reach thousands.

What I don't see? Most of our actual community. The real community that represents autism's downsides. The marginalized communities, ignored and excluded from our boards, our commissions, our business networks.

How did my lower-income parents, without college educations, give me a chance to be more? How did they fight the odds? They did, and now I am in a position of privilege. But I don't seem to be making much of a difference.

Demand that your charities seek out the broadest possible array of advisers and board members.…

Life Updates: The MFA Sprint

Life is okay, if more than a little hectic at the end of this first month.

With one month down, I'm 11 months away from my MFA in Film and Digital Technology. Though things might happen and things do go wrong, so far I'm on schedule and things are going well —— though I'm exhausted and working harder than I did for any other degree. Because the MFA requires projects every week, this isn't as easy to schedule as writing. Even researching a paper can be done from the comfort of home, at any hour.

You cannot make movies by yourself, at any time of day. It doesn't work that way. Filming takes time, and often requires a team of people. It's not comparable to working alone on a degree in writing or rhetoric.

The team-based nature of film is exhausting for me, but I enjoy the results. I also like the practical nature of the skills being taught. You either learn how to adjust ISO, f/Stop, shutter speed, and other variables or you don't. You can have theories …