Saturday, 25 May 2013

Missed connections

Sometimes I have trouble making connections that should be obvious.  My mental compartments, which are sometimes like sieves that allow ideas and concepts to flow and mingle in all sorts of interesting ways, other times seem to slam down the shutters and refuse to combine things that should go together.

I'm getting much better at this as I get older, although I'm not sure whether my actual ability to make these connections naturally is improving, or I've learned to look for them consciously.

Me, circa 1996
For instance, at school I was crap at physics.  I'm crap at most things involving mathematics, but I was allegedly clever and had a point to prove, so I did those subjects anyway.  And although I had trouble following in class for a dozen reasons from my own mathematical crapness to sensory overload to untreated (at that point) depression and anxiety, it didn't actually occur to me to check out a bunch of books from the library and see if they'd help.

The odd thing I was in the library all the time, and read like a fiend.  But reading and libraries were for fiction, or for research for English or other humanities-related things, and it just didn't occur to me at all that there was a whole slab of the nonfiction section dedicated to the infernal angles of refraction that were giving me so much grief.

Exactly the same thing happened a few years later, when I'd somehow muddled through university and was in my first proper journalism job.  Interviewing was the hardest part for me for a long time, for not just the obvious reasons but also my shyness and the aforementioned depression and anxiety.  And while I was aware that journalism textbooks existed because I'd just spent three years with my nose in them, it didn't occur to me to track down other books about the things that were giving me trouble.  It wasn't til I came across a book about interviewing at my boss' place (I was housesitting, it's a long story) that I realised that actually the whole world had a massive nonfiction section I probably should be using, just like the old school library did.

I wonder how much of this stuff I'm still getting wrong, or not realising.  I know there's a lot of stuff I don't get, but sadly it's more complicated than finding books about it.  Interpersonal stuff, networking stuff, and now that I'm not working and need to find sources of income, self-promotion stuff.

(Side note: why do all the other Aspie and Autistic bloggers seem to be so snappy and hip, and able to follow and analyse current events, and remember all the disability rights theory and history and social justice stuff and the correct terminology?  And they all seem to know each other and remember each other's life stories and who posted what, whereas I have no clue - I only recently realised two fairly high-profile bloggers were different people, because their blogs have vaguely similar colour schemes so my mind decided to merge them into one.)