Stop peering into my soul!! Lol it does feel like that sometimes when people look me in the eyes. It feels like they are staring into a big twilight zone of hidden secrets inside of me.
I’ve managed to learn social scripts and how to act in certain situations quite well however eye contact is still a challenge. I’ve only been able to come up with tricks rather than solutions. Tricks like looking at the other person’s nose or space between their eyes etc. However this can turn into the appearance of staring very quickly.
One of my tricks is for glasses wearers, in particular glasses with more rectangular shapes and thicker frames. I let the glasses come down my nose a little and look at the frames that cross my eyes when I’m talking to someone. It gives the impression that I’m looking at them in their eyes when really I’m looking at the black bar frame of my glasses…At least I hope it gives that impression anyway.
The importance of eye contact when establishing connection with someone is dismaying to me on the spectrum. It’s really the one thing I still struggle to fake. Also from a social perspective its just downright rude to not look at someone in the eye. This is also dismaying.
When I am talking I usually pick a particular random spot in the room to fixate my eyes on. This is important, as from this fixed point I can focus my senses while accessing the hard drives of my mind. Then the reeling off of information commences. I will then look at the person’s face every 7 seconds or so and my mind takes a mental snapshot of their face and expression. Then I return to the fixed point in the room with that snapshot in mind as I continue to speak or think. Sometimes this fixed point can also be on a person’s face or on another’s face who may be in the room. This presents a problem to me however, as this kind of objectifies the face and blinds me even more to reading it. There are times when it feels like the sockets of my eyes are trying to apply pressure and spin my eyeballs in my skull. This is because my eyes don’t know where to focus as I cant have them on the eyes of others.
I have gotten better but it’s a constant conscious effort to maintain.
Whenever I ask people about dating I often hear people say things like, “if there’s no connection, then its not happening” or “If we click I will go out again…” and so on.
I still don’t know what this connection or “clicking” really means. I believe it is based mainly on non-verbal communications and facial expressions rather than intellectual or emotional exchanges …all of which are challenges to people on the spectrum.
These challenges cause me to miss attempted connections by the other person completely, or completely misinterpret them (which is often worse). This leads me down a train track of thoughts and actions. These are based on blindness to a connection that the other person is trying to make in reality. They can also be based on a misinterpretation of the connection, most of the time by me. For example, theres been a few times when I thought I was in a relationship but the girl had not even thought of such a thing yet, we were just dating.
I still don’t know how types of relationships transition from one status to the next…like colleague to friendship to dating to relationship to marriage etc. I don’t know what actions make such transitions happen. Do things ‘click’ and then develop? How am I supposed to know when I’m in a relationship? These uncertainties cause me to ask aloud questions that sound so childish when I hear them come out of my mouth. They are probably real turn-offs for the girl too. Things like, “so are we boyfriend and girlfriend now?” Ughh. I need certainties of statuses though. This often clashes with romance, which is based on uncertainties and a degree of mind reading in my opinion.
Its been a long while since I’ve posted and I’ve promised myself I will write much much more now, especially in related to how autism affects me.
The good news is I completed my Masters 8 months ago! 🙂 Its to do with how art/culture/heritage projects can regenerate urban areas, build skills and help things like health and wellbeing. Its also to do with place making and place branding.
The dissertation (which strangely I miss doing) was about the benefits of art participation projects for autism.
Since graduation I’ve been going around freelance trying to be a bid writer for non-profit organisations. I have had little luck due to their lack of funds and having people in-house who do that for them. I have been out networking a lot though and have taken a more serious interest in other people.
I have been given serious thought into becoming an autism life coach/speaker/advocate. I hope that having my dissertation and by writing on this blog I can build up a body of work and a bit of a discussion about the spectrum.
I dont think Id last 5 minutes in an organised crime career mainly because I ask too many questions. I asked one today about how an entrenpreneur makes his money from this commercialised ‘socialised’ art project I visited. Whenever I ask such a piercing question it feels like this scooping chasm appears in my chest with a black wave whooshing over it. I end up looking into space when I ask such things and as I’ve already started the question, I end up finishing it. I don’t realise how invasive the question is until halfway through saying it. No wonder people get so defensive around me. I just don’t notice this defensiveness until long afterwards in hindsight. I also don’t regret asking the questions to be honest.
The university essay I’m writing at the moment is like a damn illness. I got a deadline extension on it a month ago and its due a week today. It on the ability of arts community projects to raise social capital. I was working in an arts organisation and planned to do a case study based on a project they did last year but for some mysterious reason they wouldn’t give me any data for it or answer a few questions. So in other words I was really let down by them. So I was stuck then for data on some arts projects. Luckily my lecturer helped in finding some new ones for me but this essay is still with me. its remained 80% complete for like 3 weeks now and I can’t get it over the line. It keeps expanding and expanding with no great progress on my literature review. Ive never actually written a literature review before. Ive made some progress today with it so now its 85%. Its just like churning rather than progressing. Im visiting an arts project tomorrow and I hope they answered my little questionnaire I sent them for data. This damn essay needs boxing off by Thursday as this week I officially start my dissertation. I’ll have 3 months this week to do it. Ive been finding every possible method of procrastinating over it. Ive got to get structured and disciplined about it and ask for help when I’m really stuck.
I go out alone and I drink alone when I go out. I drink to feel a connection with everyone else in the room and to have an excuse if to go up to people and talk. It also gives me an excuse if I say something eccentric. I smoke too which is pretty stupid and again a purely social thing. I don’t rely on alcohol and I don’t need it to function but drinking does have a self destructive element to it for me. When I do drink I don’t just have one, I drink to get drunk. This is quite a British/Irish/American drinking culture.
When I do drink I look around at everyone in the bar/club and see the same looks and acts of lost people. I think I drink more because I’m bored than anything. Its a way to pass the hours and I delude myself into thinking that drinking for the purpose of getting drunk is a form of work and attainment. Its extremely rare that I drink or smoke at home and its only when I know I have to be out in public in a crowded or noisy place. I have an undercurrent of anxiety that alcohol and smoking tranquillises me to. Its still there but I forget about it.
One thing I’ve been doing in more recent times is posting things on social media when I get home drunk which is very personal or confessions of repetitive, intrusive thoughts from OCD. These intrusive thoughts are often violent or about suicide. This social media sharing and drunk texting to girls obviously makes the morning hangover ten times worse. I think theres a part of me that does all this out of depression and expression of frustration. I don’t do all this from a happy internal place. It comes from a really dark place, a place that must scare even me, hence the denial and cognitive distortions I have about myself.
Somewhere along the line I’ve disconnected myself from my real thoughts and feelings in order to protect myself from more hurt. This disconnection internally then causes me to desperately seek connections from others externally. However in order to do that and deal with all the anxieties that go with that I’ve acquired some bad habits.