524: “Stupid NTs”

Author’s note:
NT is the abbreviation for the word neurotypical. It is a familiar term to those on the autistim spectrum and was originally used to describe those individuals who do not have neurological brain differences. NT is generally accepted as a substitution for the word ‘normal,’ as the word ‘normal’ is subjective. For some, utilizing the word ‘neurotypical’ is an active choice, for the act of using the word ‘normal,’ in reference to those not on the autism spectrum, implies that those on the spectrum are not normal.

On numerous accounts members of the autistic and/or Aspergers community have been alienated, ostracized, and pointed out by the majority as inherently flawed or wrong. Individuals on the spectrum continue to site feelings of extreme isolation from mainstream society and times of repeated criticism in which observers offer out measures in which the person with autism/Aspergers might attempt to fix or adapt him or herself to be more ‘normal.’ In short those on the spectrum are often criticized and taught how they might better behave in order to assimilate. I know of many who have contemplated or attempted suicide based on the intense isolation associated with Aspergers, and had a friend, who took his own life, just last year. I, myself, am not immune from the critics who want me to behave more like them. Not so long ago, I received an extended email from a professor of psychology, who, having had just found out I had Aspergers, felt it reasonable and justifiable to critique my correspondence and give advice on how to act and function as a professional at the university.

In a broad sense, as a people, recognized as the same through common characteristic traits, habits/routines, neurological functioning, gene/enzyme variations, ailments, and the like, those on the spectrum have been singled-out as different from the start, even as they themselves might not recognize the differences. To some, we (those on the spectrum) feel ‘normal’ to our own selves, as how we function and experience life is all we know, and will ever know. Yet still, despite our own inability to change to suit the comfort-level of others, we are told we are somehow made ‘wrong.’ To be told you are flawed or inferior based on various attributes, such as skin color, race, sect., or religion, is harmful and undoubtedly can lead to hurt. Though while the effects of discrimination often create the breeding ground for cruelty, and cause much suffering, there still remains a means for the oppressed to escape psychological affliction through the understanding that essentially they are not the color of their skin or the ideologies they uphold. However, it can be argued, one suffers without means for psychological relief when the majority proclaims that the manner in which a person functions and thinks is wrong. For how can one eradicate self from self, and become that which he is not?

This continual bombardment of judgment of another based on his behavior, whether the bombardment be indirect, direct, or implied, wears down the spirit—chips away at the person’s understandings of self and the way in which he or she relates to the world. In essence, destroys the foundation of his existence. The confusion brought on by criticism brings about a distinct feeling of being misplaced and plopped down on the wrong planet. In addition, often people on the spectrum can’t recognize or do not know others that are like-minded, and therefore, don’t even have a company to retreat to for comfort and support when feeling judged. And if another, on the spectrum, did know such a people akin to himself, he might shy away for a variety of reasons related to the challenges of Aspergers, e.g., distrust, frustration, embarrassment, social insecurities, sensory- and processing-overload from being in a crowd.

Accordingly, as a collective, we are thusly isolated twice: once in our tendencies to be publicly noted in a not so positive light for our unique behaviors and attributes, and secondly in our tendencies to instinctually self-isolate for what we believe is necessary for our own protection.

Throughout history it is evident that people who have been oppressed and isolated eventually reach a point of having had enough. At that junction, two outcomes can occur: an oppressed subgroup can crumble—resulting in multiple scenarios of further oppression and breakdown. Or an oppressed subgroup can rise above the oppressors through the process of connection and action, such as action based on a collective-reckoning as a result of a people coming together and sharing mutual ideas, support, awareness, and so forth.

Singling out others as NTs and attaching attributes to the subgroup of NTs is an example of the Aspergers community rising above oppression through action to avoid further oppression and breakdown. The act itself enables a previously ostracized isolated sum to reclaim a sense of power and self-worth. In theory, when a collective recognizes the existence of another group beyond their ‘own’ group then the group they are a part of becomes more real. By merely creating further separation, between ‘them’ and ‘us,’ the existence of both groups becomes more substantiated. The stronger a group becomes in existence the more members sense their group is real; and accordingly, the more a member senses a group is real the more he or she feels part of a community, and the less he or she feels alone.

Naturally, based on repeated years of isolation, if presented with the chance, many with Aspergers gravitate towards the opportunity to feel less alone and more a part of something. Feasibly, before knowing others that are similar in our making, we have spent most of our lives thinking we are the anomaly and therefore alone on this plane. Finding a ‘clan’ so to speak, provides means of much healing and growing. Because of this, when supported within the makings of a group of like-minded people, a person with Aspergers might subconsciously reinforce the ‘realism’ of the group in order to build up the feelings of unity and tear down the feelings of isolation. In so doing, he or she might reinforce this realism of the group by perceiving others beyond the group as outsiders, and then perhaps accentuate the substantiation of his or her group more by creating or partaking in opportunity to claim the others as less-than, different, or not-enough.

Thusly, through the aforementioned, there is a justifiable reason (psychological sense of belonging), behind a person with Aspergers actions when he or she points out differences between his/her established sect and another. In this light, the use of the label NTs makes perfect sense. Furthermore, using the term NT in a derogatory manner also makes sense—as defining another outside the group as inferior brings about more distinction between the two sects, and as a consequence reinforces the subgroups realism further. Perhaps, along these lines, the creation of two subgroups, that being 1)Aspies and 2) NTs, was inevitable. However, arguably, a justifiable action does not equate a just action.

As mentioned before the breaking point of the oppressed usually leads to a crumbling of self or proactive action; and often, when faced with continual insult and injury, a person must swing to one side of the pendulum or another in order to eventually find balance. As a collective subgroup, we do the same. We swing upon the pendulum—we respond and hide or we respond and retaliate. Part of retaliation is in pointing finger and blaming others. Part of hiding is pointing the finger at self and blaming self. Neither is beneficial in the long term, and can wreak havoc on multiple psyches and relationships.

Regardless of the cause, clearly, there is evidence that through the act of calling others NTs and attaching derogatory meaning to the name NT, discrimination is being recreated in reverse.

People with Aspergers know what it is like to be ostracized. Perhaps to turn around and do the same with closed eyes is understandable. And perhaps, too, to do the same to gain a sense of me-ness and union, and that long sought after feeling of being a part of something, is completely justifiable. But to repeat what was done to us through reverse discrimination with eyes wide open is to start a new type of war, one in which we set out to be the victors and the others the oppressed. This mentality of ‘we verses them,’ or even the simplicity of ‘we and them,’ creates more waste—increased harm and debris that will need to be cleaned up and rectified. Eventually, oppressors become blinded by their own hate, as they fortify their creation of sect through a cyclic self-feeding process based on various means of separation. In the end, by choosing to separate from others, we create a world that is the exact definition of what diminished our worth and standing in the first place.

With this said, I ask you to keep in mind that a subgroup of any definition is at risk of adapting an elitist attitude. For this reason, as a collective community of people who support those on the spectrum, it is crucial to heed caution in the way we choose to see others in general, but specifically in how we choose to see and classify the collective group we name NTs.

~

Author’s Note: This post was originally composed when Asperger’s Syndrome was a stand-alone diagnosis. At that time, not much was written or discussed about females on the autism spectrum, particularly not the rules of semantics to utilize when referring to other autistic women. In the four years since my online writings began, much to do about semantics in relationship to Autism Spectrum Disorders has emerged. Even the word “disorder” is a trigger word for some, myself included. Today, I prefer to write “I am autistic” or “I am Aspie,” when referring to myself, instead of “a person with autism/Aspergers.” (People-first versus condition/diagnosis-first) Primarily, because I don’t have Aspergers—rather I amAspie. Aspergers is innately who I am as an individual and not some tagline—like a disease.With that said, while I am sensitive to the ongoing terminology debate and the growing trend (and need) to move beyond identifying one’s self with a “disorder,” in order to keep the authenticity and voice of the original works, including accurately reflecting how I experienced life and trends in the societal and psychological fields at the time, I chose to not make any specific broad-based terminology alterations in this post.

Samantha Craft (@aspergersgirls) compiled this page. She has corresponded with thousands of individuals touched by autism in their lives. Sam is the author of Everyday Aspergers, a revealing memoir, ten years in the making, about the everyday life of an autistic woman. More information can be found atSpectrum Suite LLC, myspectrumsuite.com

Day 74: Fitting In

No makeup. Hair needs to be brushed. Oh, crap, I haven't even brushed my teeth yet. This is like camping all over again! Thank you Grandma for my clear skin. Thank you Dad for my Italian nose. Thank you hands for pulling back all my wrinkles!
If you click on this photo, you will see a messy study. A sign of genius. I can't even stop rambling about a photo. May the Gods help me! Everyday Aspergers -- Samantha

“Life is a pair of skinny jeans and you are a big fat ass. That’s it. It’s uncomfortable being a human being.” ~ Tom Papa (comedian)

I wanted the title to be: Fitting In. You are Weird and a Big Fat Ass, but I thought people might take it the wrong way.

The more I’m sharing about myself, my quirks, my outlooks, my geek posse, my fears, my memories, my embarrassing moments, even my empathic experiences, I’m realizing I am not an alien after all! In fact, I’m thinking some of you might be aliens.

A dimmer switch for Sir Brain would be nice. Sometimes herbs and exhaustion help to dim the thoughts. Wine helps, and the ingredients in certain brownies that I will never try again. One word: Paranoia. I actually visited all the layers of hell—anyone smiling knows what I mean. I could digress on this subject and make you laugh hysterically. Major chocolate craving coming on…

Anyhows…(I meant to put an S there for effect. But now that I’ve explained this the effect is gone. But I didn’t want anyone to think I couldn’t spell anyhow and pass judgment. Because I live in constant fear of people finding flaws and errors in my ways and passing judgment.)

Anyhow…It’s sure nice to know I’m not alone. Sure nice to know everyone is messed up (I mean that in a good way). Nice to know, too, that most of you have all the same thoughts and weirdness I do, but you have the ability to keep most clammed up and shut away inside. Which, I guess, has its drawbacks, too. At least I’ll never explode because I held too much back. I’m not a slow ticking time bomb (despite what my mother-in-law once wrote about me).

I am like a garden hose set on slow drip—the perfect companion to a thirsty dog or playful child in the heat of the summer days.

Writing this off the top of my head. Let’s see what comes out. Drip, drip, drip…

We are All Weird

We are all weird

We are all trying to fit in

We aren’t happy all the time

We’ll never be happy all the time

That’s an illusion

We worry

We fear

We dream, sometimes big

We wish and wish and wish

We copy and imitate in hopes of being accepted

We try to figure others out

Try even harder to figure our own self out

We cry at sad movies

We laugh at dumb jokes

We light up a room

And can bring about feelings of gloom

We are powerful, magical, mysterious

And filled with a gentle charm

Our esteem is worthy

Even though we may not know

Our life has purpose

Even as we search

We are so remarkably fantastically beautiful

A reflection of beauty

One to the other

I’m so happy to know you

Each and everyone

So happy to stand in your light

Breathe in your energy

Breathe out your kindness

There is no better blessing

Than knowing you are not alone

That there is always a hand, a smile, a knowing wink

I giggle at our quirks

I celebrate our uniqueness

But I dwell and live fullest in our connection

The connection we share in seeing one in the other

Okay. This is a little beyond PG-rated, but as you’re my friend, and all, I just have to say, if you search online videos for “fitting in” there seems to be a lot of bike fitting, horse saddle fitting, golf club fitting, clothing fitting, fake male “private parts” fitting. Oops. I hope I didn’t just steer someone in the wrong direction! Don’t want you to obsess about the fit of your saddle.

Serious and Uplifting. He makes a lot of good videos.

Funny!

Day 73: When You’re Strange


Got Quirks?

(These are not my quirks. These are quirks I compiled. I have some of these. But not all!)


Food Quirks

Certain foods broken or separated, like broccoli spears

Picking out food, like onions out of burritos

Pull strings or pieces off of food

Must have certain ounces of water everyday

Certain foods can’t touch

Food eaten in specific order, such as colors, favorites, food type

Use certain utensils all the time

Must have a beverage to eat

Eat crust first

Cut off crust

Eat colored candy by color group

Save the best on plate for last

Food aversions, like running away from bananas

Exact amount of cream in coffee

Not eating the last bite

Specific way to eat a cream-filled cookie or shelled candy

Sit in same spot for meals

Hand Quirks

Wash hands often

Nails neat and clean

Nail polish never chipped

Clip nails often

Sanitizer or alcohol wipes used often

Handshakes avoided

Use certain pen that feels right to write lists and notes

Organizational Quirks

Frames on wall at straight angle

Clothes color coordinated in closet or drawer

Cds and books organized by genre, alphabet, release date

Dishes go in dishwasher or drying rack the exact same way

Clothes face the same direction in closet

Labels always face the front in cupboard

Toothpaste squeezed a certain way

Bedtime Quirks

Television on

White noise

Number of pillows

Hug or bundle blankets/pillow

Sleep on certain side or in certain direction

Bedroom door opened a certain distance or closed

Arms and legs under the covers

Lip balm applied before bed

Pillow flipper

Socks worn to bed

Lighting exact

No body part hanging over the bed

Face down, on side, or face up

Pee right before going to bed

Certain number of hours of sleep mandatory

Go to bed at exact time each night

Certain blankie

Number Quirks

Add numbers on license plates, of addresses, or dates

Doing things on purpose an even or odd number of times

Alarm clock set to an odd number

Alarm clock a few minutes fast always

Hit snooze certain number of times every morning

Vehicle Quirks

Favorite seat when passenger in a car

Favorite place in plane

Complain aloud about other drivers

Talk to your car

Talk to self

Bargain with the gods about traffic

Talk to the traffic lights

Hang a lucky charm

Change music or turn music up louder, depending on who is nearby

Bathroom Quirks

Have to pee when entering a new place

Can’t go until in privacy of home

Outhouse aversions

Public bathroom has to be empty before you can go

Toilet roll inward or outward

Toilet seat up or down

Body Parts and Bodily Function Quirks (Aversions)

Touching feet

Naked belly flesh

Flossing teeth

Ear picking

Head picking

Belches

Hair on counter or surface

Plumber’s butt

Wart hair

Eyebrows overgrown

Think of some? Feel free to comment.

Day 50: The Illusion of Normal

The idea of this concept called Normal is one of the grandest illusions of our time.

There is no normal.

Normal doesn’t exist.

All definitions of normal are debatable—as are the definitions of typical, average, and ordinary.

And what’s wrong with atypical, above average, and extraordinary, anyhow?

Normal, apparently, means behaving like most behave. But who are these most? And how do they behave? Show me the model. And PLEASE don’t point to a television program.

The definition of normal is particularly alarming, and highly debatable, when considering the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a guidebook for mental-health professionals. (Often referred to the mental-health clinician’s Bible.)

All mental-health practitioners in America categorize and diagnose millions of people by referring to the Bible of Abnormal—my word for the DSM.

No surprise that the definitions of normal changes with each publication of the DSM.

The new 5th edition of the DSM comes out in 2013, with newly proposed disorders and changes made to other disorders. It has been rumored that children tantrums will be a new disorder.

What about adult tantrums? Because I feel one coming on!

I’d like to see a Bible of Normal. I mean, if a whole thick book can list non-normalcies than shouldn’t the opposite book be available? Of course there is probably no profit to be made in a book on normal behavior, especially if the book were based on fantasy and trickery and not attached to a drug to cure normalcy.

No big surprise considering the times we live in to discover the DSM is driven by the machinations of the pharmaceutical business.

In fact, more than half of the experts who compile the DSM have ties to the pharmaceutical industry. (Published in the journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.) And other experts have other financial ties, such as research monies.

Thusly, the current idea of normalcy is a spawn of the introduction of psychoactive drugs in the 1950’s.  Hmmmm? I’m thinking I don’t particularly agree with how this normal came about. How about you?

There is a direct relationship: Psychoactive drugs were introduced to treat the DSM definitions of Mental Disorders and Illness.

A mental illness can be defined as: A psychological pattern reflected in behavior that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. The illness cannot be overcome by willpower, and is not related to a person’s character or intelligence. In the majority of cases, mental illness usually strikes people in the prime of their life.

Rather ambiguous.

The pharmaceutical companies would like everyone to believe that many people have a mental illness, but that FORTUNATELY the illness is a highly treatable condition; by (buy) their drugs, of course.

Too bad the direct relationship isn’t: The Food Pyramid, Employment Opportunities, Community Support Systems, Herbal Remedies, Acupuncture, Massage, and other healthy alternatives were introduced to treat the DSM definitions of Mental Disorders and Illness.

http://www.wellsphere.com/wellpage/semi-vegetarian-food-pyramid
Image found at above web page.

You do know the powers that be in America do hope we get sick and fat so we will buy more drugs?

Beyond the tantrum I just had over the injustice of the world, I am also a wee-bit confused about the DSM’s definition of Asperger’s Syndrome. The limiting definition is based on only male subjects. I’m a girl last time I checked. The definition is not based on a great degree of research. Yet, these DSM collaborators (insert any word here you want) feel confident and comfortable enough classifying Aspergers.


In considering the definition of Aspergers Syndrome:

People are born with Aspergers.

It doesn’t just appear in the prime of one’s life.

People with Aspergers do have high intelligence.

I’m confused about this reclassification of Aspergers coming out in the new (and improved) DSM-V.  Asperger’s might be classified as a social disorder. Please!??

So the people who act like everyone else are the ones without a disorder, the so-called normal ones?

People who don’t express strong convictions are normal?

People who suppress their quirks?

People who are social conformists?

People who blindly follow the plutocracy? (government lead by the wealthy)

People who blindly follow the presumed authority figures?

If the definition of normal means to function in most areas of life successfully, what are these so-called areas? What is most? What does function mean?

Do I function, if I come across as the norm? Feel like the norm? Believe in the norm?

And please, please tell me what is success.

If we could gather  Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Jesus, and other wise people, and ask them to explain their definition of success, I bet their success wouldn’t resemble most of what is portrayed in America’s normal media, advertisements, and entertainment.

I’m done following the DSM’s and pharmaceutical companies’ yellow brick road of normalcy. It leads to the man behind the current stuffing his sacs with money.

I’m happy with my own path. The path that leads to extraordinary!


Armless Piano Player YouTube

The Artist with No Eyes. Esref Armagan


 

Articles Related to The Illusion of Normal Below

Illusions of Psychiatry

What is Normal

A Comparison of DSM-IV and DSM-5 Panel Members’ Financial Associations with Industry: A Pernicious Problem Persists

Undue Pharmaceutical Influence on Psychiatric Practice: Steps That Can Reduce the Ethical Risk