Translation: Shikibee is my main character in an online game called World of Warcraft. 70 is currently the highest level. It is a rite of passage for a game geek and unlocks a new level of gameplay. It is customary to say ‘ding!’ in the chat window when reaching a new level.
I have been so busy with work lately that it has been very hard to keep up with non-work websites. Since most of the sites do not need much ongoing maintenance, this has not been a big problem, but Autiblogger has been needing some TLC for a while now. I had to shut down on-site registration a while back due to an insane number of splogs and anyone who wanted a blog had to contact me. Not ideal.
Autiblogger has now been updated to the latest version of WordPress MU! This new version includes security updates and more tools to regulate signups. This means that Autiblogger registration is open again!
I would like to extend a huge thank you to Andrea Rennick for doing the update! It went quite smoothly with a minimum of downtime. She also added some spammer protection above and beyond what the software itself provides. Andrea runs the WPMU Tutorials site.
In other exciting autistic community website news, aspieSocial has passed the 70 member mark and is becoming a nice community with quite a few regulars, interesting discussions, and some great bloggers.
I get very excited about the ever expanding network of autistic community websites. When I first came on the scene 3 years ago, there were just a handful, most notably Wrong Planet, a site started by 16 year old Alex Plank (now 21). Now there are many community sites, and thanks to Kevin Leitch, the Autism Hub, a network of autism related blogs.
I think these sites are very important for educating the general public about autism and especially for helping autistic people to find each other.
Your nerd might come off as not liking people. Small talk. Those first awkward five minutes when two people are forced to interact. Small talk is the bane of the nerd’s existence because small talk is a combination of aspects of the world that your nerd hates. When your nerd is staring at a stranger, all he’s thinking is, “I have no system for understanding this messy person in front of me”.
I know that not all aspies are computer nerds, but if this article were to be more generalized so that computers could be replaced with any special interest/obsession, I think parts of it could function as a an aspie handbook too.
All standard disclaimers about gross generalizations apply.
Today is the 8 year anniversary of K’s and my first date (Thursday is our 4th wedding anniversary 🙂 ). Difficult times and all, these have been the best 8 years of my life.
K has changed my life in so many ways and opened my mind and heart to possibilities that I never thought were possible.
Before I met K, I had never wanted to live with anyone other than random friends and strangers. I thought it would drive me insane and even thinking about it put me into an immediate state of panic. For some reason, that did not happen when I thought about living with K, and I have loved every minute of it since the first day she moved into my house in Berkeley (with aforementioned random friends and strangers). I have loved it even more since we have gotten our own house.
A few other things that have changed:
People that I care about now receive holiday and birthday cards.
I can be myself at home. For the most part, I am myself wherever I go, but much shyer and constantly aware of trying to appear normal. This means expending tremendous amounts of energy trying to focus on what is going on around me and making sure I don’t do things that make me look ‘weird’ even if they make me feel better, like rocking back and forth or jumping up and down.
I have done things that I would have never before thought possible like going to Europe and enjoying a surprise party.
There are many more things, but I will not list them all here. I will say that these kinds of things happen because of a kind of trust that I have never had before.
I have been thinking a lot lately about the relationship between truth, logic, and trust.
Over the years, I have learned that logic can be situational. That lesson has saved my sanity more times than I can count.
I do not necessarily need things to fit into my own logical framework, but I do need them to fit into SOME logical framework.
I have a lifelong fascination with World War II that is focused on trying to understand the conditions in the world that allowed the Nazi Party to come to power and exterminate over 10 million people and how the US could nearly wipe two entire cities and their mostly civilian populations off the face of the earth by dropping atomic bombs on them.
I have come to the point where I can understand the desperation that would allow people support the Nazis, and the fear of punishment or death combined with feeling powerless that would stop them from speaking up. I do not think I will ever understand the inhumanity of what the Nazis or US government did to so many innocent people.
This kind of situational logic can make sense of things that would otherwise seem completely illogical. Unfortunately, it can not make sense of everything.
One thing that I have learned from being with K for all these years is that there can be truth without logic. This has been one of the hardest things I have ever learned and it is still very difficult to accept it at times.
Here is an example:
Truth A: I tell K that I hate surprises and make her promise never to throw me a surprise party. She agrees.
Truth B: After knowing Truth A for years, K throws me a surprise birthday party.
When I think about this, it seems completely illogical. Why would she do something that I specifically asked her never to do?
But nothing is that simple. There are other truths to consider — other variables and frameworks that affect the situation:
Truth C: K loves me and wants me to be happy. She is aware of what is going on in my head and in my heart. She would never do anything to hurt me.
Based on my simple logic, these 3 truths can not coexist and all be true. But they are truths, so they are true. This tells me that I need to look outside of my own logical framework to understand. Understanding things is very important to me.
Variable 1: Internal logic – In a closed system, there can be internal logic. Every person has their own system of internal logic. It is closed in the way that everything affects it and you can not undo things that have already happened. It is open in the way that it is constantly changing as new information is entered into the system.
In the case of this example, Variable 1 is K’s internal logic. This is my interpretation of that logic at work:
Lori does not like surprises and has asked never to have a surprise party.
Lori has had a very difficult year and has been much more isolated than usual from people.
Lori is sad and doesn’t understand why people would want to be friends with her because she doesn’t like to be with people very often and is not always so good keeping in touch with them.
K’s Internal Logic (as interpreted by me):
It is Lori’s 40th birthday and it needs to have a proper celebration.
Lori has friends that love her just the way she is. There are reasons for this that Lori easily forgets when she is feeling bad.
I will throw her a surprise 40th birthday party so that she will know that she has friends who care about her. I will do it in the least stressful way possible – Have the party at home. No one yells surprise.
It will make Lori happy.
In this framework, it is completely logical to throw me a surprise birthday party. Even though it was totally outside of my own logical framework, the party had its intended effect. It made me happy. I had a great time and I was reminded that I have great friends that care about me.
My own completely logical logic would not have led to these conclusions. Sometimes, logic is not completely logical, especially when there are human beings involved. It is things like this that make life very confusing.
Thinking about all of this makes me realize the importance of logic and truth and how it can be especially important to autistic people that have a hard time deciphering hidden information. By hidden, I mean that it is never communicated directly. This missing information can be the difference between understanding and trusting someone, and isolation from people because of not understanding or trusting them.
To a person who takes things literally and is not so good at ‘reading between the lines’, understanding the logical framework of something can be very important. It seems to me like many people automatically understand things based on a shared logical framework that I have never had. It is the framework of human interaction and includes a set of common beliefs that seem illogical to a person who is not operating within this framework. I am not sure if other people have to work so hard to make sense of these things or if making sense of them is even so important to other people.
K is a person who makes sense to me and a person who understands me. That is a rare and beautiful thing and there is not a moment when I do not know how lucky I am.
One more reason why K rules — She just got us tickets to the sold out Grateful Dead show (to support Barack Obama) at the Warfield tonight! She checked online because sometimes they release tickets on the day of the show. Genius! The show was sold out again a few minutes later.