Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian

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meeemoi
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29 May 2011, 2:06 pm

this seems very intresting and its nice to know that some one feels like they can be different. Its something i am really looking in to and this book seems like it will be a good read, I still have yet to read some posts form people that have found a way to be socially happy though but ill keep looking



Malisha
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17 Jun 2011, 8:32 pm

The thing that I like about John Elder Robison is he shares a similar attitude with me, I feel. I'm happy to be autistic. I'm grateful for the things I am able to do, and the reason I am is because I am autistic. Not "in spite" of it, because of it! I've had plenty of painful struggles, and still do. I have had an amazing and unique life, and through much of it, was unaware that I was autistic. I've had medical professionals diagnose me with everything from Bipolar to Social Anxiety to thing that were quite literally made up (Unless you've all heard of the famous Adolescent Avoidance Disorder?).
I have been in bands and worked as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer. I have had three tattoo apprenticeships and bred aquatic snails for fun and profit. I have lived variously on my own, with four people in a two bedroom apartment, in a 400 square foot studio apartment and in a commune. I have resided in four states for extended periods and visited twice that. I have put up to three ferrets in my shirt at once. I have screamed at the needling chirp of crickets. I helped my mom study for nursing finals when I was 7. I have 20 years' worth of illustrated poetry in spiral bound notebooks that will never be shown to anyone. I was married for 11 years and lost everything I owned, including who I thought I was, when I left, and never looked back. I have been a phlebotomist and a cashier, a housewife and a janitor. I have been forcibly institutionalized twice, and spent 12 years on psychiatric medication I didn't need, and that only made me feel worse. I spent almost all of my life told I was lazy, crazy, and didn't "live up to my potential". I decided to go back to college a year ago, and have grades good enough that I'm applying to Cornell University, and have written papers one of my mentors is trying to publish this summer.
I still can't bear to watch anyone else fill the dishwasher(INCORRECTLY!), and have awful temper tantrums when I forget to eat. I still can't drive a car. I still don't understand more than half of what people say to me. I still say things like, "I can't hands! Can you make do thing go?" with complete sincerity. I have lived the pain and the glory of being truly unique.
None of that would be possible without autism.



joestenr
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19 Jun 2011, 4:43 pm

so here is the devious plan i am trying to set up (mind u there may be more on this in another thread.
I was diagnosed (finally) this spring, 1st by me and since then two psychiatrists have agreed (pretty rare in and of itself) .
my brothers 1st born daughter also was diagnosed on the spectrum a couple years back.
As I have gone about educating my family my father and my aunt (his sister) have become convinced that their brother is clearly an aspie. This would be based on him being oblivious to others feelings or needs, always being a bit eccentric, and well also I guess the fact that he has been obsessed with trains for more than 60 years, like he plans a vacation around seeing a specific train, builds model trains, had a train set up to run around his home, has built a home for his trains. (do i really need to go on here)


so in any case the fact that there is a train on the cover of the book may be the only way my uncle will ever read it and realize that it is about him too. I know if I, or any of his siblings tried to bring up the subject it would just put him on the defensive.
However sending him a book for his birthday might change his life even though he is almost 70.
I know that being diagnosed changed my life (and very much for the better). Arguably as an adult obtaining a diagnosis of AS has a very diff meaning than it does for young people. We find ourselves suddenly releaved of a burden, we now know why all of those things happened the way they did in our lives, while also being able to see the positive things that it has brought to us as well.


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bruinsy33
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10 Aug 2011, 7:36 pm

XLCR wrote:
John, I just read 'Look Me in the Eye' as well as your brother's book and thoroughly enjoyed both. I will be ordering your new one soon. Though your brother's thought processes seem foreign to me, yours are very familiar. In fact, your LIFE seems very familiar. Mine followed many of the same paths. My father was probably an Aspie, he certainly had gifts, he was a card-counter who never lost a game of poker that I saw, and a superb pianist. He could in fact play almost anything. I guess parent wise, I was considerably more fortunate.

But my life was still miserable until I dropped out of school and joined a band. By the age of 20 I was on the road and I stayed out there for the better part of 20 years. The biggest difference is, though I'm also a good sound tech and I'm now doing sound for a concert company started by the local mayor, my real talent is playing lead guitar. I've even built a guitar, but it's a fairly normal Tele, with no lights or bombs. I'm also into working on cars, but right now I'm fixated on Fox Mustangs, I have two and am looking at another one.

I found out the same thing you did, musicians are more tolerant. Many are misfits themselves, and they are a lot less interested in your social skills and more into what you can do. If you can perform, you are in. I've noticed other groups that are more open-minded, like bikers for instance. I used to ride my Harley to Sturgis every year and never had any trouble getting along with people. Bike riders in general tend to be tolerant except for that whole stupid Japs vs Harleys thing.

I am 55 and have just been diagnosed. Until now I thought of myself as a failure, because everyone thought I was so smart and talented when I was young, and some have said I was lazy and failed to live up to my potential. Now I realize that without knowing what my social problems were all about I still managed to avoid getting trapped in the circle jerk of a career where progress is all about networking and social brown-nosing. I'm sure I would have found it as distressing and unsatisfying as you did. I am now working happily at the local library with a batch of other misfits, and I am content that considering everything I have not done so poorly for myself after all.
Great story .I can relate. I used to feel that my inept social skills derailed any potential that I had ,at least I now know the reason for my social ineptness.



EllenDee
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15 Aug 2011, 6:56 pm

Anyone else who is interested in going to John's talks in Australia, the blog has just been updated:

Quote:
I'll be at the Melbourne Writer's Festival which runs from August 25-September 4. I arrive in time for the Author Reception at 7PM Sept 1st. I'll be appearing at the BMW Edge theatre at 9PM Friday, Sept 2nd. I'll be participating in events Saturday afternoon, and again on Sunday at ACMI The Cube, at 4PM.

I'll also be at the Brisbane Writer's Festival, which runs from Sept 7-11.


The Melbourne writers festival has a website (I'll let you Google it, 'cause I'm not sure it's ok to post the link) - you can buy tickets on it, but the Sunday appearance is free with no booking required.



Z35TYL3M0N
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17 Sep 2011, 9:27 pm

Great book, terrible affliction



militia71
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19 Sep 2011, 9:01 am

I read Mr. Robison's first book at a pretty crucial time. I had recenty been diagnsed at the age of 39yr (while looking into finding some help for my daughter), and was trying to devour everything available to me about Asperger's -- like I do with most topics of interest. However, when I was looking at our local library for information, everything seemed to be geared towards adolescence and younger-- mostly written with PARENTS of children with AS in mind. Then, I found Look Me in the Eye. I remembered it from when I was previously working part-time at a bookstore and had even read the dust jacket. I usually have about three books going at once, but I buckled down with it, finsihing it in two days. I read it with very mixed emotions. In some ways, I found comfort in it. It helped me start my own check list of traits and memories. But, I found myself also using it like a wedge between my AS and myself. "Oh, I don't have that same trait or experience. So, I don't have Asperger's." However, since then, I have come to terms with a lot. And, by working with a great psychologist, I feel more comfortable with myself and better equiped to help my daughter.That said, I really look forward to reading the new book. I went to find it in our local library, but they didn't even have one copy in the whole county. This is odd, considerig our town has a nationally known facility that works with autism spectrum disorders.So, I decided to buy a copy, read it and donate it (maybe even two). Not the best for book sales, but knowledge should stay free, right? Thanks, John Elder Robison!



nikaTheJellyfish
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02 Oct 2011, 12:39 pm

Kiran wrote:
I just love the term ''free-range aspergian'' :D


me too. I want to read the book



mntn13
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05 Oct 2011, 6:23 pm

Malisha - that is some fine writing there. A good story in itself! I feel you and I share some similar life experiences.
As for the book, I bought it 'cuz I couldn't find it at the libraries. It's good - at first though I felt geez this guy is too smart for me to have anything in common with...
But then I laughed so hard at his escapades, (having been a bit of a trickster when I was younger) also some of his survival techniques gave me seeds of ideas for how to proceed in my life, and as Malisha said, he gets across to the reader that one can be happy.
That's big for me because of various reasons to numerous to mention.

Thumbs up for the book.


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