Thursday, April 2, 2015

April is Autism Month -- On the Gap Between Knowing and Acting

April is Autism Awareness Month.

I recently found a poem I had written in which I discuss my sensory issues. The poem was written well before I learned I have Asperger's. It was untitled, so I gave it the title An Intense World. One of the great things about discovering I am on the spectrum is that it provides an explanation for how I experience the world.

I'll be honest, that experience is frustrating much of the time. There are things I understand on an intellectual level, but which I have exceeding difficulty in realizing. The importance of social networking for any kind of success, for example. The fact of the matter is that anyone who is successful at anything at all tends to be a brilliant social networker -- at least within their area of expertise. It is all about the number and quality of social links.

But this sort of thing is precisely where I fail. Making social connections creates anxiety. And the perception that I'm strange and/or arrogant strains the few social connections I have.

In addition, there is a certain degree of "I want to do only what I want to do" that I find it hard to get out of, even if I know I have to do so to succeed. The ideal situation for me would be to have a lot of time writing -- poems, plays, books, blogs, articles and essays -- and a secretary making sure that everything I was writing was being sent out.

I have 473 poems on my poetry blog, either posted or scheduled to be posted. Shouldn't I have a few chapbooks at the very least? I decided to publish them on my blog because that was the best way for me to get them out there for someone to read. Further, I have numerous plays, but I have only had one performed, while another made it to a stage reading. Given that the one that was performed won first place, I should have had more plays performed by now. Had the theater in which I managed to get involved stayed open, I'm sure I would have. But I have a great deal of anxiety even trying to figure out how to get into another one.

What I really need is a secretary or a partner who does the work of making sure my work is sent out. Once arrangements are made, I can typically deal with people; it is often creating the situation where I am frustrated. I'm never sure what to do, and I just abandon things and do back to doing the work I'm comfortable doing. I have found some success in doing work on Austrian economics precisely because people keep inviting me to write articles and to attend conferences. I haven't had to pursue them, so I have found success in getting work published. This is also how I have managed to network, with the people at these conferences.

I am best when my work "speaks for itself." But of course, rarely does work speak for itself. More often than not, you have to speak for it, push it, insist upon it -- all while not appearing to be arrogant. Unfortunately, the confidence which arises from obsessively learning something until you reach a high degree of certainty creates the appearance of arrogance. Especially if it is combined with social awkwardness. If you don't know how to sell your knowledge/understanding well, you will always come across as arrogant. So such accusations seem inevitable.

In any case, all of this means that I need some sort of representative, a go-between to ensure I actually interact with the world, and interact well with it. Without that  kind of partnership, it is difficult to succeed. Constant creation is not enough; you also have to get that work out there. I am good at the former, but cannot seem to achieve the latter to the degree I should and must. Which is itself frustrating for so many reasons.

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