I’ve really taken a liking to Nihilism memes. Guess I’m dead inside. And with the way people have been ignoring me lately, or at least never noticing I even exist, well… it’s no wonder.
Here’s how I’m treated, lately at least.
Guys sometimes try and get me to dance with them. Considering that it’s always the grinding kind of dancing, and that annoys me, it gets annoying. I get what they’re going for – it’s solidarity in guys being displaced from what was common for our side of the species. The ideas of masculinity have changed, and drunk guys being drunk guys, I think they like to joke around and pretend to be gay with one another.
It’s when they invade my personal space that I get annoyed. And I don’t handle annoyed very well. Which drunk, 18-25 year old guys tend to take as an insult. Because straight white males in pubs around that age are just paragons of self-control.
Which would be fine… if women talked to me.
If they even noticed me.
I’ve never been popular. And especially not with the ladies. And if I’ve ever wanted to meet one, through a friend? It’s not people outright forbidding me from talking to someone of the female persuasion… but the warning is always there. You better not hurt her, she’s my friend. Fair, when it’s other women looking after one another. When it’s guys, I think it’s an unspoken sense of “dibs”. I don’t know. I can’t get straight answers out of people.
I have a bit of a tendency to unsettle people. It goes with my condition, Asperger’s Syndrome. I kinda have to explain it to everyone I meet. They may have HEARD of it, but they rarely have any experience with it. It’s this subject that people without it kind of find unsettling, no matter how well-adjusted we, the people with it, might be. It’s Different. Most people do come around once you explain it, maybe even accept you for who you are, not for their perception of you. You lay it out there, you disclose it. You help them understand. It’s not like it’s so alien there’s no hope. But the representations of it in popular media are often far from the reality. We’re painted out to be emotionless and quirky and obsessive… but the truth? We feel things INTENSELY. So much so that we get attached easily to anyone who shows us kindness. That said, it’s different for everyone on the spectrum. No two people are the same, and the fact that the movies always paint us as identical is insulting. Like what I’m told women feel about the latest attempts to shoehorn female characters into movies… with zero guts to make them PEOPLE. If you dare to have a woman kick ass, it upsets the menimists. If you dare to have more than one woman, if you dare to make them NOT romantic interests, if you dare to make them more than just a stray figure… you’re afraid of offending the masses. Of taking risks. You’re averse to losing box office numbers to some perceived backlash from… what? Censors? Feminists? Well here’s the thing – Hollywood studio executives are still dominated by straight white males in suits. And as a straight while male, looking in on the industry of straight while males (in suits) who determine what I see in the movies… I’m tired of it. I’m worried for these guys’ sanity. But mostly, I’m bored. I want people who have flaws and weaknesses that aren’t just these things on paper, these tick boxes that satisfy some kind of criteria (apparently) because no one wants to lose money on a movie. Especially a big budget one.
Mad Max: Fury Road is my favourite action movie of the last decade, bar none. The writer has balls, not just because he’s male, but because he’s Australian, because he had paramedic history (he’s seen some shit, man) and he’s passionate about awesome movies. We fucking need that. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been to an action movie of the last decade and been BORED. It’s an action movie. You’re supposed to be entertained. You’re supposed to be thrilled. You’re supposed to feel something. You’re supposed to distract me from my personal woes.
You knew this was coming back to my personal life. Asperger’s Syndrome is a condition that has a lot of problems… and one of those, while it is a strength in some ways, is also a really powerful weakness.
Now, I don’t know what your understanding of AS is. But I can bet, with like, 90% certainty, that you don’t know AS, as in Asperger’s Syndrome (not Autism per se) that you aren’t as familiar with the word, or the difference to Autism. I was going to go off on a tangent (we do that, nerds do that, I’m both a person with AS and a nerd, it’s really not something I can stop, just write it and delete it if it’s really a tangential rant. I have volumes to say on this, anyway.)
Asperger’s Syndrome is essentially high-functioning autism, though. We have a lot more control over ourselves, we don’t stim as much (hand flapping or other repetitive, kind of annoying tics that help us cope with nerves) and we don’t have full-blown public meltdowns that paint us out as handicapped… as much. I can’t speak for everyone on the spectrum, but in general? I’d say we’re more grown-up than most people with pure autism will ever be.
Which means controlling emotions. Not ignoring them completely, not pushing them down until they explode. But we’re generally better at handling the severity of them.
But we still get frustrated. I am NOT saying that other people don’t get stressed, and have moments that they’d rather take back.I don’t for a moment pretend I’m a special little snowflake, okay? So if you’re going to comment to the effect “But other people DO feel stressed! It’s part of the human condition!”, then maybe check your facts. Okay? Some people don’t actually READ what’s on the page. That annoys me. That annoys me a lot.
But that pales compared to what annoys me the most. And that’s public displays of affection. Not because it’s gross or anything like that (it kinda is, but I’m not bothered by it for that reason.) I’m annoyed… because it reminds me of what I can’t have. Not never, but… well, as someone with AS, it’s very hard to find love. We get frustrated more, because it takes so much bravery to even go up and talk to a person, whether we’re Interested or not. We’re naturally shy, and reclusive. When we finally get up the guts to approach a stranger, and they leave… that hurts. When we see public displays of affection, that thing that eludes us for so much of our lives… that hurts. When we like someone, in a romantic sense, and they reject us… that huts. I think it’s the loneliness that gets us every time. It does me, anyway. I haven’t had a girlfriend in ten years. I won’t get into how seriously awful she was, but that was a GOOD year for me, in terms of dating. I never really get more than one date. Apart from the two occasions in my life where I got more than one a year? One a year is GOOD. One. A year. IF that.
Maybe ladies would ask me out if I looked good. Or when I get famous. (It’ll happen, totally). But mostly? Except for the party girls at bars, being like “Holy shit, you look like the guy from the Hangover!”, there’s rarely more than a smile or a hi. Okay, some make… well, propositions. Maybe four in my adult life. Total. Straight up, no games, which is nice at least. But here’s the thing – I’m shy. I’m not emotionally able, yet, to overcome the unease of approaching people, let alone a woman I find attractive, not in real life. Not even with a few drinks in me. Doesn’t happen. Tried it once, discouraged me. I don’t generally get many chances to try, and if I do, I’m usually too shy, too worried, too nervous, too pissed off, too indecisive… or too depressed.
Then there’s two notable instances that were downright anger-inducing. I finally summoned up ALL of my courage to ask someone out, and the person, or a colleague, casually mentioned a boyfriend… and I lost it. When you have AS, you OBSESS. I don’t really do that any more. I don’t have any feelings left. That’s not true, not entirely, but generally, I can’t summon the passion to care any more. Nihilism wins.
The lack of success in that part of life is frustrating. That’s true of anyone who’s #foreveralone, but I have read that it’s worse when your confidence is on the line, and so easily ruined. And you’re affected so strongly by your failures, and mistakes. And lonely. And thus depressed.
And lately? I definitely need friends. I need people to talk to. But when it comes to the opposite sex, no one is replying. Messages and comments go unanswered, friends or not. And in real life? Four women I have known well have all managed to walk right past me in real life and it’s like I’m not even there. I don’t exist. It doesn’t feel like being ignored. Being ignored implies being noticed, and pretending that I’m not. But lately, it’s been people who I actually know, not seeing me there despite being right there.
But at least my writing’s getting traction I guess.