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I’m a Failure

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Zero Tolerance

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The funny thing about my Aspergers is that it blesses (curses?) me with extreme polarity. I can remember the tiniest minutiae of information, yet I can’t remember where I put my keys. I can deal with major levels of discomfort, but I can’t handle having an itchy tag on the collar of my shirt. And while it gives me the ability to tune out things that drive me crazy, it also makes me lose my shit at the smallest provocation.

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So that’s where my keys were.

My tolerance level is practically nil for certain EXTREMELY annoying things. Recently, my daughter has begun making this really strange noise with her mouth/throat that makes me nauseous. It sounds like a pig trying to stop itself from vomiting. In fact, you know what? I can’t even describe how gross it is, so I’m going to let you experience it for yourself:

My daughter’s disgusting throat noise.

I told you so.

Now, I don’t know if this is some sort of new stim/nervous tic she has developed, but I have told her over and over again to STOP MAKING THAT GOD DAMN NOISE. But she doesn’t stop. Most likely can’t stop, but that makes no difference to me. Last night she made the noise at least ten times while we were playing Life, until finally I couldn’t take it anymore. I told her if she kept doing it, I’d make sure she wouldn’t be able to play at Life anymore. And I wasn’t talking about the board game.

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She didn’t think it was funny, either.

And it’s even funnier that as I’m writing a blog post about not having any tolerance for anything, I have a difficult time making the post exactly how I want it to be and end up throwing a tantrum over it. I can usually problem solve pretty effectively, but sometimes the problem is just so frustrating that it makes me just up and say “fuck this shit” and give up. I had some other things to talk about in this post, but I’ve kinda lost the groove after my energy-draining frustration explosion.

Ignorance is NOT Bliss

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A conversation on Twitter earlier today brought up an interesting point about my aspie traits – my ability to handle bad news compared to my inability to not know what’s going on. Most people would rather not know about something bad that happened so they can go about their day without being affected by the events. Not me.

First of all, I’m hardly ever deeply affected by things that don’t directly involve me. It may seem callous and cold to say that, but seriously… have you read any of my other posts? It’s clear that Aspergers causes me to be somewhat self involved and gives me some emotional insulation from the rest of the world.

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Hey, what can I say? I’m the King of I Don’t Give a Shit.

Secondly, I can’t just not know what’s going on. In fact, once I’m alerted to something going on, I MUST know what’s up. It’s my thirst for knowledge – there can’t be something that somebody knows that I don’t know about. Or at least I have to be able to make a decision about whether it’s worth my time to investigate. Saying “nevermind” or “don’t worry about it” to me is the same as saying “you’re going to obsess over what I’m not telling you about for the next three days or until you find out exactly what it is I’m hiding from you.”

Feeling Stupid

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It really is a no-win situation.

There were some issues with the bank that needed to get taken care of this morning… ok, fine, I’ll admit it. I forgot my PIN number for my bank card. As if I wasn’t already feeling stupid for the other stuff that I’m about to talk about. Thanks a lot, dickwad.

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Yes. Yes it did.

But I digress.

In order to get my PIN number reset, I had to call the bank and deal with (errrrg) customer service. This is not one of my many talents. In fact, I usually come off sounding more awkward than that friend of yours who asks you to be the best man at his wedding after his fiancee has already cheated on him with you. We’ve all been there, right?

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“So how are things going with the florist?”

So, this situation leaves me with only the following options:

A) Call the bank myself, and make a complete and utter ass of myself in the process

B) Ask my wife to do it.

Now many of you are saying, “Well, duh. If you can’t do it yourself, let you wife do it.” However, option B comes with a whole new set of problems. See, the customer service guy ALWAYS needs to confirm my identity before anything can be done. In order to do that, he needs to ask me to verify personal information. So my wife has to hand me the phone so I can talk to the customer service guy. There’s no escape for me, and now even the guy on the phone knows how big a douche I am.

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“Hey Bill! Check it out, it’s another lame ass guy who needs his wife to use the phone for him!”

Now, bless my wife, she tries to make things better by softening the blow and telling the customer service rep flat out that I “don’t like to use the phone.” It means a lot to me that she tries, but I don’t think for one second that it makes me look any more normal in the eyes of the person on the other end of the phone. They know the deal, they know what’s up.

So, inevitably, I threw a tantrum later, because I HATE feeling stupid. I only felt better after playing a car racing game with my kids and showcasing my mad skills.

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Because video games.

It is still nice to know that I have a family who cares for me – a wife who loves me enough to do the things for me that I can’t do myself, and children who will gladly have their asses handed to them on a platter so I can feel better about myself.

When Aspie Brains Attack

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

Flippin’ Out

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My wife and I know that we can usually expect an aspie explosion from our daughter on days when she has a social-heavy event. So why can’t I ever see the same thing happening with me?

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Hi there! We’re the people who will ruin your day long after you’ve dealt with us!

Today the family went on a hike through the woods with my daughter’s nature club. We had a good time, although near the end my son started getting a little tired. I honestly didn’t feel too stressed about the whole thing, but I’ll admit I didn’t feel quite “settled” during the afternoon. During the rest of the night, I felt myself getting easily irritated by every little thing – I threw a fit because I couldn’t find the correct pan to cook brownies in! I had just about had it. For lack of a better way to explain it, I was just pissed off. So I did what we often tell our daughter to do when she needs to de-stress.

I went up to my room.

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Leave me alone; tantrum in progress…

This must be what it felt like for my daughter to go to school. She’d be completely fine at school… well not completely fine, but you get the idea. She’d get through the day, get home, and have a flippin’ fit on us until we had to send her to her room before she went completely ballistic. Then the teachers would be like “We don’t see any social issues with her, she’s perfectly fine.” Yeah, tell that to the smashed broken toys that are littered around the house because my daughter couldn’t get them lined up in just the right way. I’m an adult, so I don’t end up smashing my stuff, but I can still throw tantrums. Maybe I need the same thing she does: a little time after a social gathering to decompress myself, at the very least to avoid acting like a jerk and getting everyone in my family pissed off at me.

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Yeah, I’ll be upstairs until the urge to stab me has died down.

Don’t Sweat the Incredibly Large Important Stuff

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It’s kind of funny how my brain processes stress. I don’t know if it’s my Aspieness or just the way I am, but I seem to be somewhat immune to the rising pressure of a life or death situation.

This actually comes in handy at work. In my job, one mistake can literally kill a person. Sure, there are quality checks in place to prevent this from happening, but the checks are not perfect. The fact remains – I could seriously harm or kill a person with a mistake as small as a typo. And, oh yeah, I almost forgot… in certain situations, if I don’t work quick enough, someone might die as well. So pretty much every day, lives depend on my ability to be fast and accurate with my work. Can you imagine if every time you got the wrong order at the drive through window, you ended up dead?

Now here’s the funny thing: it doesn’t bother me in the least. I actually find myself strangely energized when I’m thrusted into those types of high pressure situations. I excel, I succeed, and dare I say it… I have fun. It’s not that I don’t understand the severity of the events. I just know I’m that damn good at my job to handle even the heaviest situation.

Ironically, it’s the smaller things that tend to drive me crazy. Situations that would seem insignificant to you end up tying me in knots: if my wife sends me to the store to get a specific item and it’s sold out, if I misplace something and can’t find it, or if I start to cook something and I’m missing an ingredient. Just the other day, I threw a tantrum because I couldn’t get the Food Saver to work properly while trying to prep meat for the freezer.

IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD!!!!

But seriously… I find it fascinating that I can keep it together at work when someone’s life hangs in the balance, yet completely lose my shit in the face of freezer burn.

Welcome to WordPress!

After excesive frustration with Blogger’s Twitter widget (IS IT THAT BAD THAT I WANT MY TWEETS TO SHOW UP ON MY BLOG?!?!?), and after much urging from my wife, I decided to move Inside the Mind of an Aspie over to WordPress. So here we are!

I’m working on getting everything set up and customized to the way I want them, so things might look a little funky until I get things settled.

Hopefully WordPress will work out, otherwise I may have to go crawling back to Blogger or find somewhere else to blog. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

You Know What I’m Talking About

I just don’t get it.

I understand when I do something weird, like starting a conversation with someone in the middle of an idea. I know that’s strange, but sometimes I just can’t help it. It happens. I get that – you don’t know what I’ve been thinking of for the past 5 minutes, and you need a recap. It’s just hard for me to waste the time catching you up on what’s been flying around inside my brain.

But that’s not it. Here’s the thing.

The other day, my wife is talking about something that she and her mom were talking about. This triggers a thought in my brain about something my mom has been dealing with recently (which my wife knows about). So I ask her if she has heard anything about it. Her response:

“You know, you started that conversation in the middle again. I mean, I know what you mean, but do you realize that you did that?”

So, if my wife admits to knowing what I’m talking about when I start talking in mid-conversation…

WHERE IS THE PROBLEM????

If she gets confused thinking that I’m talking about her mom, then I apologize and start from the beginning. But I know that she will catch on, and I’d rather not waste my time with the other stuff. She should actually be happy that I think she’ll be quick enough to get what I’m talking about.

I deal with these things all the time.

Why don’t you understand?
What was that noise? You can’t hear that?
How was that supposed to help?
Why are you wasting time?
There isn’t a way to do this easier?
Doesn’t it bother you that you are wrong?

And, apparently, I am the weird one.