Why I don’t share

chain link fence
The barriers aren’t just about me and my deficits.

I’ve frequently heard “does not share” as a symptom or “tell” of autism/Aspergers.

Things like “An autistic child does not generally share observations or experiences with others” or “Healthy children share thoughts, ideas and knowing looks with others; if your child doesn’t, that may be a spectrum indicator” are just a few examples I found with a quick Google search. I’ve heard it mentioned many times (tho’ since it’s Friday, and my “battery” is running very low, I’m not able to conjure up a lot of examples), and it’s always stuck in my mind that this is one of the things that people close to me complain about the most.

I don’t share enough. I don’t “clue them in” on what I’m thinking, or what’s going on in my life. I don’t include them in my developing ideas. I don’t communicate very well. I don’t communicate at all, according to some (including my partner).

Well, okay. I can kind of see how that’s true. But it’s not because I want to block people out of my life. That’s not it. I’ve tried, many many times, to share my thoughts and ideas, and it fell flat. It failed. The things that move me, that thrill me, that bring me to live, aren’t the kinds of things that others grativate to, for some strange reason. How many times have I been told I’m boring people by going OnAndOnAndOnAndOn about 12th century intergenerational transfer of wealth, and how that at least in part gave rise to the Crusades? How many times have I been looked at as strange, because I thrilled — absolutely thrilled — over a certain piece of music, and played it OverAndOverAndOverAndOverAndOver, enjoying myself to no end, only to be called “weird” about it? How many times have I attempted to share my facination with the mint marks on pennies… my delight in the veins in different types of tree leaves… my really twisted sense of humor that can find a bunch of different ways to exit a life made intolerable by the loss of everything that matters most to me (no judgment on anyone else for what they consider acceptable levels of quality of life)… not to mention my sudden spikes of interest in This Or That — inventing a new gadget that has never been seen before in that exact iteration, and figuring out how to file my own provisional patent (which I did, and got, without expensive lawyer costs) — or a sudden all-consuming interst in Bohmian physics… Only to be “shot down” by people who “felt like their heads were going to explode” from me telling them about all the things that mean the most to me?

It’s always been this way. I’ve always been surrounded by people who were in a parallel universe from me, who had no interest in the things I loved, who metaphorically spat on my interests (and so spat on me), who insisted that I be interested in THEIR vacuous obsessions with some pop star or piece of clothing or jewelry or athlete or whatever. And if I didn’t share their devotion, then what good was I?

I’ve been trying to share my interests all my life. The problem is, I get so deep into my specialties, that I become something of an expert in those things, and I connect the dots with other fascinations I’ve had along the way, so I have this complex, associational relationship with all that information – which even the official experts don’t have, because they’ve been so specialized in Their Field And Their Field Only, that they’ve usually never looked up from their own little corner, to see how it connects with any of the other corners of the world.

So, I am doubly isolated. On the one hand, isolated from the non-specialists, the people who (for example) couldn’t give a rat’s ass what Eleanor of Aquitaine was up to on St. John’s Day, back in whatever year, once upon a time. And I’m isolated from the ultra-specialists, who similarly dismiss Eleanor outright, because they can’t see the sweeping challenge she posed to the prevailing order, and they don’t get the socioicultural connection between the relatively new English rule of law, and the rules of Courtly Love running the show down in Poitiers.

Plus, I have no college degree, so who am I, anyway? And who cares why I couldn’t finish my degree? Who cares that I wasn’t able to return to a college campus becuase it literally wasn’t safe for me to do so, and by the time it was safe, I was crippled from chronic health conditions that nobody could properly diagnose and treat? All people know is that I “couldn’t finish”. So, the blocks me, as well.

I’d love to share, but I have no standing. So, who would listen, anyway?

And then there’s the problems that arise, if I DO share, and others want to talk to me about things. Sorry… no. I don’t want to discuss. It’s too much work. I just can’t. Just can’t. Not that I don’t want to. I do. I really do. But I get turned around. I get confused. I get frustrated. I forget that everybody doesn’t read what I read. I lose track of what they DO read. And I have a hard time following what they’re saying, anyway. Because I can’t hear as well as I’d like. Everything sounds like people talking with marbles in their mouths, at times. It’s a lot of work to listen so I can hear. And I usually don’t have the energy for that, unless it has to do with making a living or avoiding some sort of disaster.

So, the thing about being socially stunted, or delayed communication-wise… that’s only part of the overall story. And it’s not actually part of my story. It’s not that I want to block people out All The Time. Sometimes I do, but not All The Time. It’s about the logistics of listening. And not feeling up to haviog people roll their eyes at me.

Again.

I have a wonderfully rich and varied life.

I have a number of all-consuming interests, that I can spend all day, every day, exploring. Nobody else seems much interested in those things — or if they are (or want to be) interested, they generally don’t have the depth or the perspective that makes talking to them into a productive experience. I’d rather be alone. I’d rather not share at all, under those circumstances.

So, there you go.

That’s enough said. Enough for now.

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4 thoughts on “Why I don’t share

  1. Pingback: What I lose when I share – Happy, Healthy Autist

  2. Speaking of intergenerational wealth transfers (and I’ve read some about the forces leading to the Crusades), I’ve discussed at length how the US estate tax was never established primarily as a source of revenue. It was put in place specifically to limit the influence of intergenerational wealth concentration we saw with the robber barons and which remains an endemic issue in much of Europe.

    In addition to boring people, sometimes I know so much about something I’m interested in, they perceive me as “talking down to them” or “trying to make them feel stupid” which is never the case. So I’ve learned to keep things more to myself absent an obviously receptive audience. And that started very young when I was accused of being a “know-it-all” or “showing off” at a very young age in elementary school.

    And I also lose track of what I know versus what others know. It sometimes mean I leave out things, which makes them feel lost. So I guess I have a problem of both saying too much when I get rolling and at the same time not saying enough.

    And yeah, no degree in many of my interests and no degree at all until last year. (Even my high school degree was a GED.) I can only imagine how much worse that would be if I weren’t also male. At least I had the presumption of competence that’s normally afforded men.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. VisualVox

      That sounds really familiar… I have written a number of pieces in past years that drew on classic themes and mythology (which not many people keep up with, apparently). Without notes to explain what I’ve written, people’s eyes just “glaze over”. But if I provide the background explanation, even though it fills things in, there tends to be so much detail and so much depth to it, that it again causes people to turn glassy-eyed. So, I just quit. For 2017, one of my intentions is to just write the danged stuff, regardless of whether anybody gets it or not, and leave it at that. Maybe someone who’s also read what I’ve read will happen upon it… and realize, hey! there’s someone else out there who’s interested in this stuff!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. VisualVox

      Also, very interesting about intergenerational wealth transfers. I always wondered about that. Tho’ these days, there are enough ways for lawyers to fashion a suitable transfer vehicle for you, so maybe they could just shelve the estate tax, to let the modestly inheriting folks have half a chance…

      Liked by 1 person

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