This post is part of Project: Inception, written ~8 years ago. It has been untouched from its original, pseudonymous, form. It is also part of the larger “farewell” tour and countdown as I turn-off this blog and head to the metaverse where I will live out the rest of my wonderful days. I hope to see you there!
The Results of Research
I have attacked my autism diagnosis just as hard as I tackle most everything else that grips me – with an insane level of interest (but not necessarily enthusiasm, which is worth nothing that there is an actual difference). I have done my research and read more biomedical scientific and psychological field journals than most people have in their lifetime in the last few months. I have also blitzed through 20 or so of the more often highlighted books that have been recommended through a variety of channels. I have liked very few of them as they aren’t very well written and of course the text-book like ones are just totally boring.
But, I will admit that they are, informative, to say the least. Comparing my experiences with others has proven to be incredibly valuable and validating on many levels. The net result most simply spoken is that I have come to love my own person and being far more than I did before and as a result I have rejoice in my position and have never felt more at home in my own skin, so to speak. I’m sorry it took 30 or so odd years for it to happen but it feels like I’m coming home as much of the world makes more sense now than it ever has been.
In addition, my marriage and relationships have become more rich, more deep, and more explicit and clear – at least for the ones that know of my diagnosis. All the rest are still scratching their heads asking quietly, I imagine, why I do what I do and why I can be so abrasively-awkward most of the time. At some point I will come forward publicly as it’s just what I’ve done in the past with most of the things that I do – keeping something like this in the dark isn’t something I’m interested in doing as I want people to know that who I am is who I am – I can be and do no other. Come what may in terms of backlash or reprisals; I’ll deal with those when I cross that bridge.
All that to say, my research and study have allowed me to encounter an entire body of research and work done in the autism field and the collection of it in its entirety is mind-numbingly large and yet at the same time still not sufficient enough – there is much study still to be done on the autistic mind and yet, of course, that doesn’t mean that we must stand around and twiddle our thumbs waiting for executive decision to come down from on high so that we might function better and more appropriately – oh no, we live and we live today, large and vibrant lives fully of wonder and mystery and intrigue and, well, a lot of weird-funny shit.
But one interesting study that I encountered broke down 3 distinct types of minds that have been studied as models of behavior and thought with correlations to generalized struggles that the autistic person may have to cope with:
- Photo realistic and visual thinkers are generally poor at algebra and quantitative executive processes because there is no way to visualize it well. This isn’t about visualizing the numbers – it’s actually creating a visual model of the entire equation and reference material. Geometry, on the other hand, can be done with ease. I know this for a fact since I was terrible at all angles of math except geometry where I received an A+ in the course as easy as I was breathing. I can see it all, draw it out in my head, and spit back the results.
- Pattern thinkers are the music and math minds. This, in general, is a more abstract form of visual thinking. Thoughts are in patterns distinctly instead of photo-realistic images and pictures. The weakness for pattern thinkers is reading and writing composition. I used to think that I was a pattern thinker but I no longer consider this a strong characteristic of my own personal mind. I have no musical ability outside of appreciating and needing music to be productive and I cannot sing or write music. And, as I mentioned before, I am “terrible” at math. But man, can I write and I do, a lot.
- Verbal thinkers and word-fact thinkers have the capacity for a huge memory of verbal facts of all kinds. It almost doesn’t matter what the specific area is as it is a skill and reflex that just happens. Do they know and can recite all of the countries in the world including capitals and major cities with a population over 1M? Do they know the entire history of Michael Jordan and every scoring statistic since his years as a Tarheel at University of Chapel Hill? Does the autistic person know the intricate details of mitochondria and can recite the major characteristic differences that make it unique? Yes, they can. These people though are often poor at drawing and other visual thinking skills. Although I can remember some things I am very poor at this and it’s quite obvious that I am not a verbal thinker. I can barely remember the grocery list that my wife gave me a literal minute ago.
All this to say, it’s been enlightening because these pieces of research (this one specifically by Temple Grandin) has helped me appreciate even more who I am and who I was created to be. It has helped me even further isolate my strengths and has helped me admit, cope, and even relish my weaknesses. You see, our weaknesses are not and should never be a source of shame for us. It’s easy to say that everyone has weaknesses but the truth is that some people excel in many of these categories and would generally be considered great or superior in them. That’s a cop-out that level-sets the human playing field and that field is uneven as fuck.
No, it’s far better to simply say that all of us are uniquely different and there is nothing that anyone can do about it but say Ah, it is what it is. and continue to move forward with life as best as we possibly can, with grace, dignity, and a little poise.
The bottom line is that I highly recommend that aspie creatives spend time researching autism on their own and see what you can uncover. You may even learn to love oneself even more and appreciate the profound uniqueness that God’s been given you. You may also begin to see the foundation of your future work take shape and form and if you take it onestep further you may actually fine divine purpose it in all. Here’s hoping, right?