Me? A Moron?
There are so many things I want to say on a daily basis to other people. Nowadays, I’m aware that there are boundaries to people, and especially in regards to their time. So chances are that I’ll never have enough time to say what I really want to say.
This results in a two possibility problem; either I: talk too much and annoy them, or I find myself unable to say anything at all. They say that autistics see things in black and white; well, we do to an extent, but we also find ourselves doing things in extremes. I can or I can’t. There is no halfway point. That’s not just my personal view, but rather a view influenced by past experience. I either do or I don’t.
Interesting search terms show up on my stats page. Like mentioned before, most of these have to do with the words “autism” and “quotes.” However, there are also other ones that I get that make me occasionally scratch my head and go, “huh.”
For instance, someone found my page by looking up the words, “Can autistics get married?” I feel I should be careful answering this question, since it’s not something I’ve actually spent any great time thinking about. On one level, I think the answer should be “of course,” but then there are other details that need special consideration as well. Thus, I change my answer to, “if they want to.” Which, if you think about it, should be the answer always, I think, for everyone.
If they find a partner who accepts them for who they are, and they accept that person–and love them–then if they indicate in a way that indicates to others that they want to be married, and the other person agrees, then they should be allowed.
My answer was carefully worded, because, as I think you should know, the autistic spectrum is a very wide and diverse continuum with many different levels of understanding and awareness.
It makes me suspect that there are people out there who might say to an autistic person that they do not know what they are doing; that they do not know what they are getting into. Well, there are NT people who use that sentiment who have it thrown at them as well, but in the end, we’re all people with wills and minds of our own.
So what if that person’s mind is not recognized as a mind? Does that happen? Of course. Even those of us on the higher functioning end have experienced prejudice in regards to what we can or cannot do just in reaction to how we are, or how we represent ourselves.
I cannot tell you how often something I have done or said has been met with the reaction of either a blank stare, a “you are stupider than hell” look, or someone feeling the need to talk down to me about why I cannot do this or should not do this or haven’t the [mental] capacity to do as such. Oh and let’s not forget laughter; laughter is a common response, and I suspect, also a common one.
I say that. Me. People look at me like I’m a moron every single day because I don’t follow the so-called social “norms” of society in one minuscule way or another. Perhaps I should also say that the minuscule importance is a personal view of certain social norms.
Me. For those of you who probably don’t know, I’m a college graduate, with a bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education. Not only that, but I also graduated in the top 10% of my class. I know that because I’m a member of Alpha Chi, an honor society only for those who were in the top 10% of their junior and senior classes. I graduated with honors, magna cum laude, with an overall GPA of a 3.83. AND, as a music major, I graduated in four years, as opposed to the traditional five (or sometimes six), with, [get this], a measly total of 163 hours. That’s: 4 years. 163 hours. 3.83 cumulative GPA.
And they think I’m a moron?
I gave a paper at the Alpha Chi national convention in 2005 in St. Louis on Chromaesthesia. It was a paper that I wrote back during my freshman year in college (if you’re wondering about the difference in writing styles). I was on a science panel in front of an audience; no one looked at me like I was an idiot then. Plus, even though I have a horrible fear of speaking in public, I did a better job delivering my paper than either of the other people who were also part of the panel. I spoke clearly, slowly and deliberately. I kept eye contact and I remained outwardly calm; inward was the another story altogether.
I took a year off between undergrad and graduate school; partly because I decided to change fields too late for admission. In my year off, I taught horn lessons and worked six months at a gas station. It was a good lesson in people skills. I also taught myself how to draw.
During this time I also applied for graduate schools. I was in North Carolina with my mother, where I had spent the previous 13 years of my existence. Prior to that, I had lived in Oklahoma, with both of my parents. I was accepted to two different graduate programs at two different schools: Florida State University and Texas Woman’s University. Now looking at those two pages, it would perhaps seem more understandable to want to go to FSU. FSU has an entire purpose and philosophy page devoted to their music therapy program. TWU has a music page, where if you click on “degrees,” you can find out about the technical aspects of the various degrees, including music therapy. What is not shown here on either page, are the ways in which each school responds to information requests, financial aid needs, or personal status updates.
Speaking from personal experience with both schools, I must say that on every aspect, TWU wins hands down. Within a month I knew that I was accepted, had financial information, and had a pile of brochures in my possession. FSU? At the end of the summer, around late July/early August 2007, I knew that I was accepted at FSU. It wasn’t until October came around that I actually was given any information on financial aid. Besides, in October of 2007, I was already at TWU, attending graduate school.
All that to say that I’m also a music therapy graduate student in one of the oldest programs in the nation; a program that also, subsequently, has a 90% placement rate. Woah.
In August, with the much appreciated help of my mother, I drove from North Carolina to Texas in a car that has somewhere around 279,000 plus miles on it. ’93 Nissan Sentra. Good car.
In my year off from school, I also started seeing a psychiatrist for the first time ever. I got diagnosed with OCD, GAD (general anxiety disorder), ADHD and Cyclothymia (which, as my doc explained, is like having baby bipolar). That’s an interesting collection of diagnoses; you think?
My new psychiatrist in Texas thought so too. Soon, I found myself listening to the words, “so, has anyone ever mentioned the words “Asperger’s Syndrome” to you?”
I’m diagnosed now. I have been since October 2007. That doesn’t mean that I’m any less of an aspie; what with only having been diagnosed this year. I’ve been an aspie all my life; difference is, now I know and now there are others who can know.
Plus, now I’m part of something that I completely understand, and am around people whose experiences mirror my own so closely that I feel as though I’m dreaming sometimes.
~ by lastcrazyhorn on December 8, 2007.
Posted in Art, aspies, Autistic Spectrum Particulars, bullying, communication, education, music, music therapy, philosophy, Writing
Tags: '93 nissan sentra, ADHD, alpha chi, annoying people, Art, Asperger's Syndrome, Aspie, autism, autistics, black and white, can autistics get married?, chromaesthesia, Cyclothymia, florida state university, GAD, grad school, magna cum laude, marriage, moron, music education, music therapy, north carolina, OCD, philosophy, psychiatrist, ratemydrawings.com, texas, texas woman's university