Monday, March 28, 2011

I made a Formspring!

While I think some aspects of social media are a bit ridiculous, I figured it could be cool in case any of you would like to get an Aspie's perspective on things. You can be anonymous, and I'm anonymous, so really, what have we got to lose?

All I ask is that you be respectful. Not too hard, right?

Some example questions: Do you stim? What do you think the good things about being an aspie are? What are some aspie-friendly activities to do while on a date?

Go on, ask me something good! I dare you, haha.

Happy asking!

Social Commentary Through Fox's "Glee"

Okay, I'll admit it: I'm a total gleek. I adore this show, not just because the spontaneous songs remind me of my high school musical theatre days, or because of the silly humor, but because of the awareness of others that Glee is cultivating.

I believe Ryan Murphy's main goal in creating this show has to do with spreading the ideals of social justice. A lot of season 1 is based around Quinn's hardships in being a pregnant teen, while the majority of season 2 has dealt with the adversity Kurt has dealt with in being an openly gay teen in a midwestern town. Within these stories, there are plenty of smaller plots based around the need for self-acceptance and loving oneself.

The show has done a good job of bringing in characters of all different backgrounds, and while not every type of individual is represented, most every viewer will be able to find a character whom they can relate to. I can see a lot of myself in both Tina and Kurt. Even though Tina's character has been neglected this past season, I found myself hiding behind my shyness like she has, and it is nice to see her come out of her shell. With Kurt, I can relate a lot to the bullying storyline, as well as to the feeling of being impossibly different - In the episode Laryngitis, Kurt tried to put on an act of being a heterosexual, John Mellencamp fan, modeled after his father, but he realized that his efforts were futile, as this wasn't who he really was. I feel like my entire four years of high school consisted of me adopting different identities, trying to be someone I'm not. I'm sure everyone can relate to this story.

I know a lot of critics are angry at Glee for pushing the "liberal agenda", but tell me this: how is spreading hatred okay? I don't care if the bible tells you homosexuality is wrong. If it encourages the condemnation of any group then I don't care what book you're following, I will only see your hostility.

This show's critics need to understand that aside from the fluffy songs, these are experiences that real people go through at some point in their lives. If anything, we should be glad that such a show exists because it helps educate viewers on accepting others and oneself.

Glee doesn't look down on any characters for being different. Artie is seen as equal to the rest of the kids despite being paralyzed from the waist down- he's even able to play on the football team. Becky Jackson, a cheerleader who has Down's Syndrome, is treated with the same respect as any other student. The only character whose actions are discouraged against are those of Dave Karofsky's - but even then, his bullying is met with empathy, as well as hope that he can learn to accept his own homosexuality.

With all of this work toward social justice, though, it makes me wish for a character with Asperger's Syndrome. I know you can't have your cake and eat it too, but COME ON PRODUERS, MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Still in doubt of the good this show can do? Then check out this tumblr. Happy viewing!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Aspie to NT, and Back Again

Be polite. Don't talk behind a person's back. Have a firm handshake. Learn to properly recognize the occurence of sarcasm and jokes. Learn to deliver sarcasm and jokes in an appropriate manner. Play coy. Don't butt into places you're not wanted. Don't drag the conversation down. Don't be a hermit. Don't draw unnecessary attention to yourself - hide that which makes you different.

As an Aspie in a Neurotypical world, I've had to, along with numerous other folks, learn how to blend in and not put a spotlight on my differences. From the outside I am what appears to be a perfectly average young woman, molded to a counter-culture which has become the norm (we're all hipsters here, espescially if you attend my school). I listen to alternative music with the occasional ironic hip-hop; I buy clothing from secondhand stores and H&M; I enjoy making fun of Justin Bieber and Ke$ha but am secretly fascinated by them - aren't we all?

To put it bluntly, I'm about as unique as a molecule of salt on a Big Mac. The only thing separating me from the rest of the world is the way my brain functions, and even that barrier is slowly starting to break down. My attractive appearance and (learned) pleasant disposition have either cancelled out my social mishaps, or have given me new opportunities to learn the ropes of socializing in an appropriate manner.

Though we all may moan about how our lives suck, I've been dealt a good hand, I guess.

In all of my learned appropriateness, however, the thing that haunts me to this day is the memory of being bullied. Yes, there was a time when I was disliked: death threats, harrassment, cyberbullying, you name it. I've been picked on for every feature on my body, every strange interest and/or social mishap, every honest mistake I've ever publicly made. Shit happens, you know how it goes. Everyone has their own sob story, and mine is no different from yours.

Perhaps my internal optimist stepped in, though, because while parents and teachers and therapists and guidance counselors and school officials were trying to change the structure of the school to make things easier for me, I wanted to relieve them of this pressure and change myself to fit in with my pre-existing environment. I resisted every accommodation that was made for me and instead turned myself into a chameleon.

Now, being socially malleable isn't so bad. I work well on teams and like to think that I am able to adapt to many social situations easily. I often appear eager and friendly. Being this way has made me flexible but flimsy - always wanting to please everybody but never having a backbone. Since I've taught myself to "go with the flow", I am often indecisive and may end up doing things that are unrealistic, or that I don't want to do.

Individuals who are bullied often take two routes: become severely depressed, or fight back with kindness. I've chosen the latter. While it is an arguably more pleasant and humane thing to do, falling under the teachings of virtue and goodness of most religions, I now realize I have set myself up for repulsion. I've become so sickeningly sweet that I repel many of my peers. I hold a strict moral code: never talk negatively about a person; never partake in the spreading of rumors; and never cheat, steal from, or deceive another person.

Though I've managed to protect myself from bullying, I've also managed to protect myself from having a fulfilling life, always living in the shadows of my fears, afraid to offend. I fear being an abrasive, obnoxious individual - but aren't those the people who get the furthest?

I need to re-learn some of my Aspie tendencies. Maybe I shouldn't shy away from talking about the Super Mario games if they're something I'm really passionate about. Besides, who the fuck cares how odd I am, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone? Such outspokenness will teach me to be more assertive, so I can maybe talk my way into getting a promotion at work or avoid being given bitch work because I'm so damn "easygoing".

It has taken me years to acquire the social understanding I have today. As far as outward appearances go, I've gone from Aspie to NT. Now, I think it's time to regress back to being the oddball. I'd rather things be that way.

Guys, we've got it good. Don't forget it.

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