Saturday, July 30, 2016

I Don't Feint

Unlike with this guy, there is nothing
up my sleeve.
There is no doubt that, as an individual with autism, I don't see the world around me the same as the average person. This leads to misunderstandings and judgments that are not accurate of me as a person. These times frustrate me because, at times, they've been very costly to me in social circles. It happens on the internet the most because of the impersonal nature of posting or communicating on the net. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen in person too.

I never felt well understood in my youth. I would be referred to as "sneaky" or "shady" and usually "angry" when non of these were remotely true of my actual intentions or actions. Because I was different, I was inherently evil. There was some saving grace however with people in person. Those who took the time to actually get to know me after making such judgments, wound up apologizing to me. Sometimes it was years down the road after they met me, but it was always the same. Of course, this was all before I was diagnosed with Asperger's so I never understood why it happened.

But it still happens. In fact, I think the internet makes it worse in some ways. Mind you, there are just as many people who make a true effort to understand and just as many who live the same issues. I know I'm not alone.

One thing that happens with my internet posts a lot is the taking of one example and blowing it up into some that I did not intend it to be. It's like people lose the distinction between topic and example. My last blog post on here is a great example of this point. I really feel that internet hate is a broad and even serious problem. That was the main topic. I geared the post as an advice column (albeit rambled a bit), but that was still the main topic. Quite a few people took one example and treated it as if that was all I had to say (basically ignoring the fact that there were actually other examples or other words at all). They then formed their responses or opinions on only that example.

"That's not what your mad about and you know it." Was the accusation of one person in a Facebook forum that I'm not naming right now. (Note to person: congrats, you got quoted!). I responded that I was very specific and thus not interested (in his comment). Facts are; I wasn't mad at all. I was discussing and debating my position and trying to make my point. That was it. Nothing more and nothing less. Mind you this is an example and I will make another one to be fair.

But that person was 100% wrong about me. I don't feint, veil, or otherwise engage in such shadowy shenanigans. I do what I say, and do the best to say what I mean (and mean what I say). I only admit that I have a hard time getting my full message across. That is frustrating and has been pretty much my whole life. Oh, the other example to be fair:

This was a long time ago on another forum that I won't name. People on the forum were enacting a drive for donations for a legitimate non profit that was geared to board gaming. Great people, but for the sake of this article, I'm not naming them either because what I'm about to tell you hit me hard and deep. That means it really hurt and had a profound affect on me. One fine person, whom I respect greatly, was selling jewelry products advertised on the forum that normally wouldn't allow it and promised a percentage of proceeds to the non profit entity. I thought that was a great idea and had quite a bit of my own artwork I was willing to sell at low cost with the same offer. My post for that was taken down and I was penalized by a site moderator (of a lofty position even to this day) because said mod decided that I was running a scam to profit off the situation.

The mod wasn't the only one, rather part of a board clique of a few people who had decided they simply didn't like me as a person. Donations were to be brought to the non profit's booth at a convention that I attended. I won't deny feeling somewhat justified when I handed the check of the money I raised directly to the hand of one of the people who judged me (not the mod though). I saw that person swallow a hard lump in their throat as they took the check. That person had told me in direct message that I was untrustworthy. I was nice though. I just smiled, took my receipt and walked away. I did complain to a couple of people managing that forum above said mod, but the results were not good. They got together, called me out on public forum under the title of "manufactured drama" and proceeded on Facebook to mark everything I posted about anything as spam. But don't get lost on me here. The point remains that I was still misjudged, leading up the whole thing in the first place. In the end I blocked quite a few of them, including said mod, and walked away. I don't go to that forum any more.

I don't aim to manufacture anything of the sort. But it is common, if you ask enough of us autistics, to get accused of such, when it's really a simple misunderstanding. We aren't trying to cause any such thing, rather  make sense of the world around us. It's where the ideology of "wrong planet" comes from with us.

But I don't feint. I'm not sneaking anywhere. I'm not trying to rip people off. I do what I say I'm going to do and I really try to follow the group dynamic in what is allowed. My efforts are genuine.

Now I'm going to beat some to the punch, because I guarantee you some people out there are going to message me with:

"You just wanted to whine about these things. You are a whiner."

If that's all you get out of this, please don't bother commenting. I won't respond to you and you'll only be supporting my initial point. As a matter of fact I'm going to share this with other autistics I know and hopefully some of them will chime in with their own experiences. And being autistic isn't making excuses either. That's another rich one actually said to me.

"You're just full of excuses."

If that were true, I wouldn't have published 4 books and 2 games. My work ethic speaks for itself. So save your fingers the typing efforts. You will also, only prove my point.

What can you do to help? I would be remiss to fail in offering what you, the common person, can do to help us with this. Here is a minor list:

Don't rush to judgment. Stop and think and...

ASK... yes, ask us to clarify. It's not unheard of. It's okay to say, "hey, I don't understand what you are trying to say"

Be specific. As a rule of thumb, avoid too many "figures of speech" or slang terms. We are literal beings and sometimes words on a screen lose their intended context. I realize this goes the same for me or other autistics.

If you have autism and are reading this, please take the time to post your own advice on how people can be more helpful.

Here's hoping this reaches and understanding audience. That's all I really want, both for me and others with autism who know this struggle.
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