I was 7 when l first asked of my parents ‘I don’t understand, so what is it that l have l done wrong?’ And now some 45 plus years l still find myself asking a variation of the original question.
Back then as a snippet of the man l am today, an undiagnosed and unrecognised Aspie on the spectrum of autism – the family doctor described me as a mentally hyperactive child with both a quirky sense of deviant humour and behavioural pattern and gifted with an inappropriate communication skill set!
So you can see, and l am sure imagine that having that ‘bundle of joy’ piled onto your shoulders just added to the annoyance of the slowly arriving process of aging!
Growing pains or leaving my younger years to enter adolescence was something that l have no wish nor desire to return to. Acne, l thought l had lost for ever when l was early to middling teenager status but find in my 50’s that acne seems to love haunting old ‘spots!’
Sexuality and spending ‘inappropriate times’ in the toilet with my Mothers’ copy of Cosmopolitan , is not something l wish to repeat either – l can honestly say with hands upon my heart that growing up was a once only affair that l wish to experience in this lifetime. Don’t even ask of me how l learned to kiss – my Mother today still occasionally asks of me why the corners to my pillows were soggy in the mornings!! Because l am dark haired, shaving for me commenced when l was early 13, birds and the bees talks began when l was 12, but were wasted on me, as l was painfully shy and especially around girls, whom when in the vicinity l developed a pretty profound stammer and started walking into walls!
The one thing however l did seem to have on my side or a flaw in the eyes of the others was l was not shy in coming forward with unusual questions that apparently were not to be raised by 1], a boy of my age or 2] were not to be asked of a boy of my age!
What’s the point to being curious if you cannot actually be curious?
I was curious about all sorts – not the candy – just everything and if my peers were useless with the information, then l would ask the same questions of my teachers! I would ask of drugs, religion, race, sexuality, why this, why that, what’s the point to this and the list went on! I was accused of being insensitive, of being non empathetic or lacking in sympathy?
My parents were brought into the school constantly by my teachers complaining about various issues they had with my humour, my behaviour was insistence to ask awkward questions of them and l feel that had this happened in a school today l may well have been expelled as schools seemingly have no tolerance of anything that is slightly unconventional, so in many ways l was very lucky!
Constant was one question in particular, “Does your Son actually have any morals whatsoever?”
Constantly at home l was under the scrutinising eye of my parents and l was always asking ‘What have l done wrong? I simply asked some questions, or l laughed at something which l found funny!”
People are so easily offended l would say. “It’s not like l am asking anything that ‘bad’, it doesn’t warrant being burnt at the stake and hung drawn, quartered and beheaded you know!” I would cry in frustration.
My Father had a strict way of disciplining me, so after a few aggressive conversations, l tended to not ask too many questions at school.
However, the question was continually asked at other places and over the course of my growing up and maturing into who l am today and yet still l am baffled at times – as to why certain questions are regarded as so terribly controversial, but l suppose l am uglier and older and now with a bit of ‘swagger savvies’ about me, l can ask in a deliberated manner that doesn’t cause offense so often.
“I don’t understand? What have l done wrong?” I ask this a lot of my partner, because in truth l am still acting in such a way that more than occasionally these days, l either understand less than l ever did, l am now dumber than a box of jittery frogs or my Aspergers’ simply asks more unconventional questions. But it’s not just questions, but queries.
Many a time my partner baffles me, equally as much as she says l challenge her, she means that in the frustrating way – ask any Neuro partner about their Aspie/Autie partner and l feel sure that as much as they know us, we still confuse the shit out them as they do us. The question really runs like this now ……What? What, what Have l done? I don’t understand?
I am met with that knowing baleful look, so still none the wiser unless l am lucky enough to get ‘It doesn’t matter” which usually means it does, or it is too irksome to explain it.
Equally, l hear this question asked a lot more these days from all walks of people and not just those on the spectrum but others – and l guess because we are now living in a world of less tolerance, one that is upset and offended more by a slip of the tongue or a slight misspelling or typo. These days you DON’T have to be on the spectrum to upset someone – it can just happen.
Someone once said “Why do you always sound so guilty?” Which is an excellent question and all l could say was “Oh that’s an Aspie thing l am afraid!” That is it, the confusions, the misunderstandings, the inappropriateness it’s not an excuse it’s actually just the way we are built!
How about you, what have you done wrong of late?
Rory Matier – The Tee Shirt Blogger
Ps: These posts are my views on my autism/Asperger’s, they may not be everyone else’s who is on the spectrum.