So today I found out that I failed miserably on a school assignment. It was a pretty big thing, and I’m really upset over it. My teacher is giving me another shot at the assignment, but I’m just so mad about it. I should have gotten it right the first time. The answer was right in front of my face if I had just taken the time to look for it.
Needless to say, I’m not taking it well. As I’ve blogged about previously, I can sometimes be a perfectionist. If I’m doing something, it’s gotta be right. I can’t fail, otherwise all of my effort has been one big waste of time. Because of this, I went into “IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD” mode in response to my failing grade.
Don’t ever ask me what’s the worst that can happen. Because huge bunnies could attack New York City.
It comes down to the fact that I don’t like looking stupid. I hate not knowing something, and I hate it even more when other people know I don’t know something. It’s why I lie and say I know where a street is when someone is talking about a location that I’ve never been to. It’s why I try to fix any mistakes I make with as little fanfare and attention as possible.
Nothing to see here, people.
It’s difficult for me, but I just have to accept the fact that I’m not and never will be perfect. There will always be things in this world that I don’t know, and these are opportunities to learn. And most important, I can be smart without having all of the right answers all of the time.
In general, people with Aspergers love to learn. Many Aspies find themselves bored in school, simple because the flow of new information is too slow for their brains to maintain focus on. Some parents choose to homeschool their Aspie children; very often these children end up one or even two grades ahead, simply because once they start learning they DO NOT WANT TO STOP. There’s no better feeling for me personally than learning some weird obscure fact or understanding a concept that has eluded me for a while.
Oh, I get it now! You remove the Pop Tarts from the foil package BEFORE putting them in the toaster!
The one thing that us Aspies hate about learning – it’s work! It’s hard. We don’t like it when things are hard. Being challenged is one thing, but we want to be challenged in a way where success is guaranteed. Unfortunately, in the process of learning it’s very common for people to get things wrong. Being wrong sucks. Sometimes the prospect of being wrong is so scary and overwhelming that it can launch an Aspie right into what is known as the “Failure Cycle,” shown abpve.
And shown below, more delicious breakfast pastries.
It’s all part of the Aspergers Decision Tree, which basically covers everything from “I love learning! This is so cool!!!” to “I HATE BEING WRONG, THIS IS THE WORST THING THAT COULD EVER BE!!!” And, yes, it’s that extreme. Some Aspies can be so intimidated by the possibility of failure that they get stuck and refuse to make a decision for fear of making the wrong choice. Others will deliberately make a wrong choice – because, hey, if you’re gonna be wrong, might as well be wrong on your own terms, right?
No matter what you say, Mom, I’m sure the knives belong here instead of the kitchen drawer…
As parents, caregivers, spouses, etc., it is our job to help the Aspie escape the cycle by prompting them to make a choice… any choice! We Aspies must learn that it’s okay to make the wrong choice, as long as we learn from our mistakes. It’s one of the most important lessons anyone must learn. It just takes Aspies a little longer to accept it.