Of Pitfalls & Resilience

Well, this is my first blog entry here.  I made one stab at a blog before, back in 2005, but this is going to be a more concerted effort, God willing, chronicling my journey to pull my life together.

And what kind of life have I had?  Well, the kind of life that comes from someone who at thirty-three hasn’t figured out how to achieve his ambitions.  I have Aspergers Syndrome, a form of high-functioning Autism, and on top of that, haven’t had a real job since leaving college.  In many ways, I’m the living proof of a bitter social truism.

First off, I’m smart, or so everyone who’s bothered to give impressions of me has said, basically.  Teachers, shrinks, cops, businessmen, even a drunk on the bus who once said I have intelligent eyes.  I come across as so smart, even folks with higher IQs are impressed.  Even my mother, who isn’t prone to complimenting me, admits that I think outside the box.  I used to think this was primarily because I was a blathering, talkative know-it-all, but once my karate said the exact same thing after I’d been church-mouse quiet for weeks on end as he’d been training my uncoordinated self in the martial arts, which left me puzzled as to why.

Normally, people who come across as do have high five-figure, or six-figure salaries.  Normally, society finds uses for people like me, because they find us interesting, and dare I say it, useful.  Believe me, I want to be useful, to society too, and yet society can’t seem to interface very well, and thus I’m on the outside, looking in.

The reason why is because emotional intelligence outstrips IQ, friends.  Normally, if you can just tread water, socially, and have undue smarts, you’ll go pretty far, but if you’ve got a social deficit, it it will just swaller ya up because only 15% of success is IQ, and the rest emotional, they say.

No, I do not believe in giving up, friends, but it is frustrating.  I’ve got a lot ideas, but as of now, the inablility to execute; shrink even filed in his report that I was fit for little more than “light janitorial work.”  Over the years, I’ve honed my skills, but I’m still a social Philistine.  I may have bridged that gulf from 85% down to 66%, say, but it’s still a chasm.

It doesn’t help that I’m naturally dogmatic.  Arguing energizes me, but it doesn’t make me very lovable.  I’ve tried to leverage this tendency to constructive ends, but most people, I’ve found, are pansies, which has left me isolated because I’m not able even to focus on developing my strengths because there’s no one to hone them with.

In terms of the Myer-Briggs personality test, I’m a total INTJ, which affirms my best and worst tendencies, leading to immense open mindedness on the one-hand, and supreme stubbornness on the other.  I prefer seeing myself as an INTJ rather than someone disabled, but I must still live with my tendencies in any event, and it ain’t no picnic.

 

At my best, my drive to perseverate allows me to sees things that others miss, or take for granted.  At worst, my mind sifts facts compulsively, unable to let go.  At best, I’m wonderfully self-aware.  At worst, I navel-gaze.  At best, I’m a compelling conversationalist. At worst, I hog the dialog, going on and on about what I want sans regards for others.  I’m a man of extremes, and I know it.

At any rate, I’m trying to go forward with my life despite my liabilities.  I’ve been told at various times how insightful I am, despite my burdens, and hopefully you, my audience, will find some value in them too.  We all have holes we must crawl out of, so I hope you can relate.

 

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About Noitartst

You wanna know about me? Oh, I think, write, and fury. I'd say that about covers it.
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5 Responses to Of Pitfalls & Resilience

  1. Fr. Sean says:

    It looks like I get to be the first to comment. I have no time to say anything intelligent, since I am working, but I am glad you are writing.

  2. sevpr says:

    A friend pointed me to your blog. Interestingly, he didn’t know that I have a good friend who sounds a lot like you and I deal with several teenagers in my work (I’m a guidance counselor for on online distance learning high school) who have Asperger’s and are doing distance learning because they display some of the same behavior you describe in your first 3 posts. Teachers don’t do well in public school with kids that expect “consistency” and like to argue. 🙂 The high school kids, even though there are deadlines etc. they have a lot of freedom to work at their own pace and whenever they want each day (there are no “periods” and changing classes every 50 minutes) so there is a mix of structure and freedom that works well once they get the hang of the freedom.

    In all cases, with my friend and my students, they are quite intelligent (if not, perhaps brilliant in some areas). My friend got a job as a tech support person for University of Phoenix and he basically provides phone support for people who are doing online college and don’t have basic computer skills. He walks them through stuff like how to download programs, how to navigate MS Word, Excel etc. and sometimes things as basic as how to set up a folder. He has done that for 5 years now. He’s had issues with management and staff on and off, but they keep him because he does a good job because he’s so meticulous with the customers. One of my kids will probably end up being in computer tech somewhere. (That is what my friend did for years before he moved to Phoenix and got the Univ. of Phoenix job).

    Anyway, nice to meet you. I’ve put your blog on my “blog list” and will check in. My name is Steve, by the way.

    • Sean+ says:

      One of the things I hated about school (and there were many of them) was that it was either 50 minutes of unremitting misery or else just when things got good we had to quit and go to P.E.

  3. Sean+ Lotz says:

    We do, indeed, all have holes to crawl out of (great phrase), and I can relate. So let me start by describing a point of contact. I am not autistic, have not been diagnosed with AS, but my mother told me many years ago that she and the doctor had thought I might have been autistic. She had a little experience helping a friend with an autistic child, so she knew at least a little of what to look for. Since then, I have read the diagnostic criteria and various descriptions, and I tend to identify with each and every typical behavior of AS persons. Looking back, I realize that all those things I told myself, or was told my family, to stop doing or everybody else would think I was a freak– they are all AS symptoms. So… what? Maybe the mildest case of AS imaginable? I have no idea.

    Examples: When driving, my parents used to have to go through major evasive maneuvers to avoid the train if I was in the car. I remember screaming in pain at the noise.
    * Speaking of noise, how long did it take for my family to get me to stop making that noise in my throat? I do not remember, but I do remember that the reflexive action was oddly comforting, and I resented their insistence that I stop. Now, though, I am grateful to them.
    * I used to speak King James Bible English. I really did. And when I was not doing that, I had to be taught to tone down my vocabulary to a standard conversational level. I think I came across as precocious or arrogant. I wasn’t. Certain words just seemed natural for me. They fit the pattern of principles I understood. By now, this has reversed almost entirely, and I greatly value my simple, common, and colloquial words.
    * My mother used to agonize about my shyness. Her concern seemed to be that I would be so shy I would not be able to function at all. Not quite what happened, but it has been a struggle.
    * I’m still trying to teach myself to make eye contact sometimes. I hate it.
    * I remember the year I spent the first half of the summer in the library researching and writing a report about heraldry. The second half was spent with my sister and her husband, tormenting them with everything I knew on the subject (and it was quite a lot).

    Enough for today. I am not you, you are not I, but there are some points of contact.

  4. Sean+ Lotz says:

    P.S. INFP tending toward INTP.

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