Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shaping Clay Celebrates 1000 Ausome Things #AutismPositivity2013

This has not been the easiest month for me, but I'm finally back to blogging. May is the start of novel writing season for me, too, so I'm excited. I just hit a point last month where car shopping, the sudden shift in direction my business was taking, and teaching 20 credits was wearing me down. The thought of blogging on top of it was a source of stress, and since this is what I do to de-stress, I just decided it would be better to take a break.

What I didn't expect was that the very first day I would be back to writing would also be a flashblog--and what a flashblog. I was aware of this event last year, and I read a lot of the posts, but I wasn't in a place yet where I was comfortable participating in group events like this. I appreciated it, though, and it did inspire me to keep writing.

This year, it's almost like this event was built to keep me from pushing out what I really want to push out. Reflections from the last month are not going to be totally positive. At the same time, though, this seems like a good idea. It seems healthy to take a moment and to remember the good things about my life and my way of living before I share the painful things.

On that note, here are some of my ausome things.

  1. Time is a structure that is divisible, classifiable, and controllable to me. Because of that and because of hyperfocus, I can do things like trying to get a publishing company off the ground, running another company that buys and sells collectibles, teaching six university-level courses, and shopping for a new car. The only sacrifice I had to make was blogging. Between my organizational skills, my attention span, my comfort making quick decisions on my own, and the fact that my emotional health blossoms when I'm working on concrete goals, I'm built for this lifestyle. This summer isn't a break for me, it's a challenge. I'm going to try to post my blog 3 days a week while writing 2 novellas, my memoir, and a novel simultaneously.
  2. This is possible because I have very low social needs. When I do have those needs, though, I have a partner who supports me and an ausome cast of online companions that are all in tune with my needs because they all (more or less) share them, just in different ways. Some people might see this as a downside--who doesn't like to have friends, after all--but I don't. The fact that I can enjoy myself when I'm with a group of people is good. The fact that I can be in solitary confinement for over a week before I start to get weird is great. I have a friend that is the opposite of me. He stops working whenever he gets too busy to go and hang out with people, but when he does hang out with people, he's not working. I would not want to be like that.
  3. I'm blunt, relentless in pursuing an objective, and unafraid to walk away from a conversation when I feel that I won't get what I want out of it. This makes me horrible in job interviews. It also makes me brutal when I'm haggling. I mentioned that I buy and re-sell collectibles, right? I have a bottom line, and I have a line where I would like to be. If you're not between those two lines, I really don't have a hard time walking away from you, because in the moment we're negotiating, I don't see how happy you would be if I let you have my stuff at your price. I just see whether or not the deal "works", and since I don't need to sell the stuff (after all, I have a day job), I don't feel any pain when I walk away. Your (the buyer's) need will eventually bring you back, or I will find someone with a greater need than you.
  4. I'm a synesthete. I realize that this is not ausome on its own, but when you combine the hypersensitivity of my sensory processing issues with the natural tendency to have one sense bleed into another... well, the phrase "bass in your face" gets a lot more interesting. I'm an all-sense synesthete too, which can really help me, because feeling "itchy" when I hear a certain tone of voice makes it easier for me to identify and deal with negative social cues that I normally wouldn't pick up. The really cool thing is that I have emotional-sensory bleed on top of the usual stuff like audio-tactile or visual-scent-taste. This means that my alexithymia is offset by knowing that if the room suddenly takes a blue tint, I'm probably starting to feel alienated. If my clothes start riding up after being fine all day, then someone is annoying me and I should excuse myself from the conversation. See how this works? A symptom is my tool for battling another symptom. And it has the side effect of making Pink Floyd taste like bubblegum and feel like a backrub.
  5. Everything is structure to me. I don't think in sounds, I think in images. Most of the time these are images of words, which I don't construct into sentences so much as I visualize them in logical lattices with the connections being made out of prepositions, articles, and helping verbs. This visualization lets me also see whether or not these ideas are connected to one another, and if they are not, where the lack of connection (words indicating explanation is offered) is located. I can spin this lattice in my head and identify the broken points at a speed that's roughly triple the speed of my reading comprehension, which means that I will be able to identify where logical fallacies and stylistic errors in writing are at in a paper before I comprehend the topic of the paper. The best part is, I have a strong enough memory that I don't have to read a paper twice. I can scan it and mark out all the errors, and then I will remember what the words meant halfway through writing out the stylistic commentary, which means that halfway through telling you what you need to work on in your grammar and sentence structure, it occurs to me where your research is thin, where you're over-generalizing, and how your word choice (tone) might be affecting both of those other things. All of it is connected, all of it is one object.