Sunday, 23 November 2014

I'm not doing this shit deliberately

Sometimes, I feel like society at large has a basic, fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be on the spectrum.

I wonder if there's a perception that Aspergers is a disorder of will or personality, rather than something with a basis in neurology and the physical body.

Maybe it's because I wasn't diagnosed until relatively late in life or because I don't "look autistic" (whatever that means) but there's a long, long history of people assuming I'm doing stuff deliberately when in reality it's either outside my control, like stimming, or something I have to do to manage my sensory shenanigans.

For instance, my inability to wear makeup or heels is usually seen as a refusal to do so, and people read all sorts of imaginary political and philosophical statements into my appearance.  Even after I've explained that my disordered sensory processing means I can't wear makeup and low body awareness means I genuinely can't walk in high heels, people act like if I really cared I'd make the effort.  My pain, loss of mobility and dignity, and inability to focus on anything or talk to anyone for the duration of the event (because it's hard to do that shit when you're in constant pain) is less important than looking pretty.

Same thing with social issues. When I was a child there was often an assumption amongst teachers and other people who one might have reasonably expected to notice something was amiss, that I was deliberately weird, deliberately unfriendly, deliberately made myself a target for bullies, deliberately set myself up to fail.  Even when I was too young to even be aware of the concept of social conventions let alone have formulated a philosophical objection to them, people thought I was being willfully difficult or making some sort of point.  It's like assuming a child with vision impairment bumped into the coffee table and broke a vase as a protest against the wasteful 21st century consumption-based lifestyle, rather than because he can't see. 

I don't know what it'd take to convince the world I'm not doing this shit deliberately.

I have Aspergers.

But I'm not having Aspergers at you.