A Mid-Forties Butch Aspie
Makes Her Way
(blog originally kept at WrongPlanet.net)
The Road from Here to There - Part 8
Assessment in Progress -
Awaiting the Fourth Appointment
Composed on November 28, 2011
Since last week's panic, I've calmed down quite a lot. I've had moments of relative peace, during which I've felt that I can work things out and go on, regardless of the outcome of my assessment. In between, I've had some tough times, but they haven't been too terrible or long lasting. I've mostly been able to maintain a sense of equilibrium, which is both a relief and a source of satisfaction to me.
I've also been doing quite a bit of reading. The latest is that I'm now getting into books specifically addressing Asperger's as it pertains to girls and women. This has been a plus, but it's also had its down side. As I've been plowing through the first one, my knowledge base, and the reassurance I feel when I read things I can relate to, have increased. So, also, have my sense of just how often I've misunderstood others, my understanding of just how strange I've appeared to them, and my awareness of what a tiny subcategory I actually belong to. I'll have to read more of these books before I judge, of course. However, certain things, I suspect, are too specific to ever expect others to get around to addressing them. My heart sank, for example, when I discovered that not wearing fashionable, feminine clothes or taking an interest in boys is apparently always, in a diagnosed Aspergian girl, attributed by experts to her Asperger's and always considered a mark against a girl's social acceptability. Feminism and gay rights have progressed far enough to be reaching into the schools - even grade schools in some places. However, when it comes to Asperger's, everybody's thinking is still in the dark ages. Sadly, if I were in school today, I think either my Asperger's would be missed because I came out as gay and butch, or my ability to come out would be stifled by my Asperger's diagnosis.
Another thing that's been on my mind lately is the matter of "pride" in one's Asperger's. Here on Wrong Planet, I've contributed the following to a thread on the subject - comments which clearly have ties to the things I've mentioned above:
As I await Tuesday's results from my assessment, I continue to struggle with this sort of thing. It doesn't feel like gay pride to me, but I came out as a teenager, and I'm finding out if I have Asperger's in my 40s. I've noticed many people who come out as gay later on in life seem to have a similar struggle to mine about Asperger's, and I think now I understand them for the first time.
Tomorrow is the day. What will I do? Be angry if I don't get the answer I've been hoping for? Be relieved if I do? Whichever way it goes, I'm sure I'll have a whole host of new things to think about, complete with a full range of emotional reactions, both pleasant and unpleasant. There's more on my mind than just what I've mentioned here, but I'm not ready to get into it yet - not until I know one way or the other. Tough challenges are ahead, as the holidays and other events draw near, and I won't know how I want to approach them until I have this answer. It's not the only important element, but it could be pivotal. The truth is that I didn't just embark on this journey to settle the past. I've also been very concerned about some aspects of my present and what they mean for my future.
But I also think maybe I don't view Asperger's in the same way as being gay. I'm troubled by the increasing degree to which I'm realizing how I've appeared to others and how uncomfortable I've made them, even as I now understand that it's not out of any moral failing on my part. So, I guess I'm less inclined to be harsh with myself, but I also feel less justified in being angry with others for how they've treated me.
I also don't feel certain that I possess any particular quality that an NT couldn't have in equal degree. I know a lot of people who are more talented and knowledgeable than I am, and I don't think I'm any more kind, or whatever else, than other people, either. I'm not terrible or stupid; I'm just not anything to write home about. So, I guess I'm not sure what the source of pride would be for me. On the other hand, I can easily see how others could take pride in it if they're getting more of the up side of having it. If they have pride, I'm glad.
I can't really tell whether a diagnosis will make things better or not. I'd be foolish to make such an assumption. But I do feel the need to be armed with information and self-understanding. No matter what I find out, and no matter how little or how much it improves my current state of affairs, I'll need it to navigate as I go on through life. I have to know. And, unless I've misunderstood something again, tomorrow I will.
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A Mid-Forties Butch Aspie Makes Her Way
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