Today’s posting is all over the board. In part to clean out my mind and also to let you (the readers) know my background.
I got the idea of writing about living with ‘normal’ people from a discussion I had recently with a co-worker. In the last year, I started working for an IT firm where at least 90% of the workers are geeks/nerds/not typical. My co-worker and I joked that it was hard to live and interact with normal or ‘neurotypical’ (medical speak) people. So when I joined the 31 Day Challenge, I thought of that conversation.
There are quite a few blogs written by parents of ‘non-typical’ children, so I hope the perspective of a parent of a ‘non-typical’ child who is ‘non-typical’ herself might be interesting.
Time and experiences help to hone our perspective on who we are. I would not change who and what I am now, but the journey to this spot has had many painful moments. And that is one of the hardest parts of being the parent of a child with Aspergers and having it myself: I see those upcoming pain points and I want him not to experience them BUT he must experience them in order to grow and mature. All parents want to shield their children from pain, but there are some pains that seem to occur so often to those with Aspergers.
When I was growing up, I watched reruns of Star Trek (yes the original series). I felt like I understood the pain and isolation of Mr Spock, an intelligent humanoid living among aliens. While he worked and lived among his crewmembers, he never fit in. His few friendships were precious to him, but he rarely discussed personal feelings. We had glimpses of strong emotions, deeply buried and never voiced. You can think of some people with Aspergers as Mr Spock.
One aspect of Aspergers is not knowing how to navigate socially, how to act, what to say. And the pressure to do so is greater on girls than boys, society expects that girls are better at it, that they care. I just knew that I was tired of standing out for all of the wrong reasons so I started to research how people act. I read books on body language, and how people should act. I even got a minor in Psychology learning about how people act. After years of experience, I can assess a situation and make a good guess what will happen. But its only based on years of data, its not that instinctive knowledge that my spouse and daughter were born with.