Discovering The Aspie World

For as long as I can remember, I hated socializing. Sure, I'd have one or two really loyal, good girlfriends I'd hang out with as a kid, but I was incredibly nervous in social situations. Others brushed it off as being shy. People would ask why I was so quiet and lacking "confidence" (Oh, I hated that). My mother said I was like my father - an engineer - and never really connected with me.

It was worse when I was young - I would go out in groups of kids and not understand the social intricacies. I would always feel left out, left behind, or just plain dumb. But I seemed to manage to find at least one person who was geeky, bright and imaginative. We would latch on to each other, become close friends.

In high school, I forced myself to join clubs, play tennis, join a prestigious choir; even try out for school plays (my hands were shaking and no one could hear my timid voice on the stage, but they gave me minor parts anyway). I never quite understood why I did all those things when they terrified me. I hated them! If it was up to me at the time, I would have stayed home and played video games, which is what I had done during much of my pre-teen years.

But I see now that I wanted to learn, I wanted to see how the "other side" functions, because I was afraid I would be a failure and never land a job, never conquer my shyness, never find a mate or have children, never be LOVED. I grew jealous, maybe even a little bitter, as I watched other people take the stage, both literally and figuratively, with such amazing confidence and social grace and a certain "wavelength" of understanding that I never could seem to muster. I was the shy, soft-spoken, overly-nice girl who all the English teachers loved (because I used words like "unabashed" in grade school) and wanted so desperately to be popular, but simply didn't know how.

Later, as I grew into a woman, it's safe to say some people misinterpreted my social anxiety and "differentness" as being aloof. I was teased and taken advantage of, and ultimately hurt, because I perceived situations, well, different than them. As an example, I remember playing doubles in tennis and the other team stole my racket - no one else's - and threw it in the woods so I couldn't find it. I was attractive and compensated for my feelings of inadequacy by faking confidence. Needless to say, I'm sure I must have ticked a few people off. Some girls in high school bullied me, which I could never understand as they hadn't even crossed my consciousness. It was weird having people talk about me and say negative things, when my intentions were that I just wanted to be accepted.

Unfortunately, I went about it in many wrongs ways. I had trouble relating to men that I liked, and made poor decisions in the dating field. There are things that to this day I regret so much that I've gone through intense moments of sadness bordering on depression. I've driven my boyfriend and family mad talking about the same perpetual thought, the same guilty trigger, the same mistake I made years ago, that nobody else cares about but me.

I am a 26-year-old female, college graduate, and journalist, who has always appeared well-kempt and put together on the outside but filled with anxiety and a feeling of being disconnected (not from everyone - my boyfriend, for example, has definite traits of being an aspie, which explains our connection). I learned in my later teenage years how to fool people into thinking I was "just like them," even thought I felt worlds apart. I think it was ultimately a disservice to myself, because I wasn't being true.

After a rather long, stressful night recently, I browsed my computer looking for answers. That's when I came across an Aspie website.

To be honest, I had always brushed off aspergers as not applying to me because of the basic characteristics - it's more common in men , it's characterized by a lack of empathy, it's an autism spectrum disorder, etc, etc. I always thought I was TOO empathetic, TOO socially aware, TOO, well, not autistic.

Then I read other peoples' stories and sat there dumbfounded, because much of it described the way I feel - the way I've felt - all my life.

For the past 20 years, it was as if I didn't know who I was. Why am I so shy? Why do I have a tendency to blurt things out and not think about what I'm saying, and other times clam up? Why do I have a hard time making friends? Why do I come across as "too strong" or out of touch at times? Why am I a geek? Why do I get depressed and vent to a friend then fret for hours that I've made myself look like weak, naive or foolish? Why am I terrified of giving a speech because I don't think my brain can "keep up with" the point I'm trying to get across?

I'm not foolish - I'm just different.  And like all aspies, I may not be destined for a life as a high-level politician, CEO or public speaker, but I know I've done extremely well in journalism, and it's been my special ability.

We all have one, and the world is counting on us to use it; to balance out this insincere, superficial, fast-paced universe we've created on earth and offer some real substance - some genuine talent - in areas that can really make a difference (because the world needs it now more than ever).

Be proud of who you are, and remember that your experiences have made you more empathetic to others in the same boat. And there are plenty. 





aspiegirl44 aspiegirl44
26-30
1 Response Jul 30, 2010

I'm an Aspie too and I've had trouble with communicating with others too even before I reached my adulthood. When I'm at work (As a Courtesy Clerk at Safeway) I hide all of my emotions, I just keep to myself, and I don't interact with my coworkers.