I can be so logical about what I must do to survive, but in the end, I will go with my “heart” even though Aspergers are said not to “have emotions.” That’s BS. When my “gut” speaks, everything else, including reasonable or even necessary plans, go down in flames.
In fact, I’m beginning to think that the reason that Aspergers have money and employment problems comes down to the fact that we know ourselves too well and that “meltdowns” (some anyway) are the result of this dilemma. We must cope with a social environment built on plans.
You know the drill: put aside personal feelings. Follow the plan: grow up, go to school, pick a career or the best job you can get. Find a partner, have kids, buy a house, etc. Live comfortably if you can. Retire to a nice sunny place.
It’s not a bad plan. It sounds simple, but it’s a struggle for many people for practical reasons. For this Asperger, it’s simply impossible. I made a good start when young; at least I had a career and plenty of money, but I was so restless. I jumped – gave it all up. I’ve lived a precarious existence for so many years now, but have managed to “fund” my curiosity about “big questions” and other things. My life has been completely “wrong” according to the social scheme that dominates the U.S. – get into the middle class and stay there, but the middle class is rapidly shrinking.
Periodically I try to be “logical” about how I live. It doesn’t work. Why? Because one doesn’t choose to be Asperger, or intuitive, or a visual thinker, or curious about where all that leads. But always, there is that little “logical” part of me that recognizes how much more safe and comfortable I might be if I could just be a bit more conventional.
Aspergers aren’t supposed to be risk takers – but I think that’s wrong. It’s a big risk just being Asperger. I think we learn to fear ourselves when very young. Our urge to be ourselves is in constant conflict with the status quo – we try. But unless we are lucky and have parents who support us and stand up for us, we confront a constant onslaught of alien expectations that we will live according to The Plan. That we can be forced to live The Plan.
Our town has community stables available to those residents who own horses. Mostly they stand around, day in and day out in small shelters and corrals. Rarely do I see anyone ride or exercise them; maybe they are hauled out during hunting season. They’re fed and watered and can get out of the weather and appear to be healthy.
We also have small groups of wild horses that are outdoors in all conditions; but they are free, which doesn’t mean comfortable and they are often muddy, shaggy, and not at all sleek and pretty. I pity those “town horses” that stand around all day, but I don’t pity the wild ones. They live in family groups; the stallion protects his mares and foals( which I know, having been chased a few times). They live according to their own rhythms and habits and don’t live as long as those owned by humans. Neither group has a choice about how they live.
When you look closely at the human condition, very few people have a choice about how they live either. We are all born into the same pool of living beings. Americans have it good compared to most of the world’s human beings and think that creates an illusion that we have almost unlimited choice. I’m Asperger, and that fact has dictated many of my choices; some bad, some good, and I suppose I’ll be struggling with that to the end. I can see now that the inability to be who people in my life wanted me to be, has been the most regrettable conflict I have faced. The fact that all humans face this predicament can be explained to people, but it seldom hits home: modern social typicals are under the spell of believing that they are not negatively affected by trying to be all things to all people, which is the cause of much unhappiness.