For many, many generations, my people have been farmers and labourers. We did hard, simple work and we did it well. Many of us were outside the bell curve. Family legend has it my great-something-grandmother was nonverbal at times, and would run and hide in her room with her books on the rare occasion company called. That probably raised eyebrows, but nobody burned her to death.
That way of life is gone now.
|This isn't my family. We weren't fancy enough for a brick fireplace. Also, half of us wouldn't be making eye contact.|
Photo from the State Library of Queensland
Even if we'd known about Aspergers since the year dot, I still think my forebears would have appeared 'less Aspie' than I am. The society I live in today shines a bright and piercing spotlight on my weaknesses in a way that theirs didn't.
As a kid, when I was under pressure, when I was being pushed to engage socially beyond my ability, when I was in sensory overload, when I was put in situations I just wasn't ready for, those were the times when I'd exhibit every Aspie behaviour in the book. I'd shut down and mentally withdraw. I'd giggle inappropriately. I'd stim, I'd cry, I'd act out. I'd have tummy aches and headaches.
All those things can be symptoms of Aspergers.
But maybe they're also symptoms of the way our society's changed.