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Interests, past and present

June 21, 2015

In no particular order. Some overlap, interconnect.

  • Nature/Environment/Science
  • Art & Design
  • Photography
  • Psychology/Jung: archetypes & synchronicity/inner life
  • Puzzles: crossword, anacrostics, Sudoku
  • Inventing/Conceptual art
  • Trains
  • Yarns & fibers/fabric/paper, especially folding & balancing
  • Color relationships {synesthesia}
  • Taste and smell {synesthesia}/mixing flavors/identifying smells in my environment
  • Earth/Gaia/”earth religions”/sense of place/ecstatic experiences
  • Spouse
  • Remote sensing/data visualization/information design/conceptualizing
  • Numbers, especially primes; Fibonacci sequence/dates {synesthesia}
  • Languages/linguistics/translating
  • Poetry
  • Family history/genealogy/genograms (information design)
  • Writing
  • Water bodies
  • Maryland
  • New Mexico
  • Names
  • Biogeography/ecology
  • Hand tools & other implements made of metal


Only yesterday realized that a person could be a “special interest” in the autism sense, and that, of course, Spouse is one of those, but other people have been too. More than I expected, once I knew what to look for.

Usually males, but not always: I think K was the most recent one.

I think times when various staples of a satisfying life were off-kilter, a person (usually a friend) became a proxy interest. If I’d known what was happening, I could have made better use of it — I could have figured out what was missing or inadequate, and tried to fix or change those factors.

In some cases, though, I was just too young, and didn’t have sufficient (good) life experiences to know what I needed that I wasn’t getting.

Circa late 2003, MR became a special interest (I now realize). The honeymoon period of my job was wearing out, but I didn’t want to leave, yet. Doing grad school and a job, both full-time, were exhausting. I wasn’t doing any art — I’d been blocked for years, but even if I hadn’t been, there simply wasn’t time available. In short, I was stymied every which way. MR was my classmate in grad school and worked in my department. For once, we had educational backgrounds that were roughly similar. They seemed to look to me to be an expert, at the job anyway.

= = =

This whole autism thing is forcing me to reconsider, re-evaluate my entire life. A lot of it is uncomfortable, even painful. Growing pains.

= = =

A particular painful motif in my life has been people I liked that, while they may have liked me (or said they did) in private, didn’t want to be seen with me in public.

Historically, I attributed that to me being an “unlikeable weirdo” for unknown reasons. On a bad day, I thought it was because I was defective, or some kind of monster.

As I got older, and went through lots of therapy, I began thinking those people were just jerks.

But now… my behavior in social situations can definitely be odd and off-putting, especially if I’m in sensory overload. What if that is part of why people didn’t want to be seen with me? Not because I’m a “bad person”, nor because “nobody likes me”, but because my behavior can be unpredictable in ways that are often socially inappropriate (so I’ve been told).

= = =

I never really spent any time with a cute guy, that I liked, who liked me, in public. Until I was in grad school.

Spouse is a cute guy, and we liked each other, but… our friendship, and then courtship, were epistolary — we were penpals. We had, essentially, one “date” in person before we got engaged. And while that one date was public, it wasn’t social exactly, because nobody who knew me saw us together. (Besides my parents and siblings.)

Presumably, people who date a long time before getting serious… go out and about with their significant other, so that their friends and people in the community who know them will see them together.

I didn’t date anybody very long. My first boyfriend took me out 2x, over 14 months: our first date, and breaking up with me. We did stuff in groups. We stayed in. I took him to one family wedding, but he tried to avoid dancing, and barely spoke to me or anyone else. (I never met his family or any of his friends.) And that was the most social (and the longest) romantic relationship I ever had, until I met Spouse 6 years later.

That feeling of knowing your significant other is proud to be with you, wants to show you off? Yeah, I didn’t have that, because Spouse and I didn’t know anyone in common, and had a very small wedding. (No dancing.) And since we’ve been married, we’re hardly social at all.

{I’m not faulting Spouse. These are thoughts I’ve been thinking only since yesterday.}

I didn’t date in high school. I didn’t go to prom. I went to one dance, sophomore year, because it was a turnabout, where the girl asks the guy. But the first 3 guys I asked all turned me down flat. My best friend arranged for a friend of hers that I didn’t know to be my date so she and I could double-date. The friend was not cute at all, I didn’t like him, and I had a terrible time.

My date with Adam, after high school but before OKC, was an unmitigated disaster. Technically, we were in public for the McDonald’s portion, and the movie, before going over to his married friend’s house so Adam and friends could drink beers and ignore me and my sister while we watched Benny Hill with the wife. But… as hopelessly clueless as I was, even I could not fail to notice that Adam was treating me badly. In short, he did not want to be seen with me. Not a confidence booster.

= = =

All that background to set the stage for meeting and befriending MR. He was cute. He was short, and very young-looking for his age, which was 10 years younger than me. He could be charming, when he wanted to. I do find a limited amount of snark appealing. Every woman on our floor at work, young or old, pretty or not, thought he was adorable.

And he spent time with me in public, among people who knew us both. He boosted my profile in a very unfamiliar way. I think something unfortunate for his reputation came out of being seen with me — not sure how else to explain why he suddenly got vicious when we were out with others. He tried to turn people against me, sometimes when I was right there. It was like a game, I guess.

I did a lot of soul-searching afterwards. I’ve continued to have guy friends, but I’ve never had another “interest” that was a man.

= = =

I like people. In theory. But the nitty-gritty reality can really mess me up.

Subjects are much more reliable.

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