Aspie Powered

In my 40's I discovered I have Aspergers Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. It explained everything.

Aspie

The Art of being an Aspie

The Nutshell

In my experience, being an Aspie is a double-edged sword. I get some superpowers, but also quirks and obstacles to overcome. I would not surrender my aspie power though. I genuinely like the way I am. 

Asperger Syndrome is a Spectrum

Asperger syndrome is a spectrum. I am extremely high functioning. In fact, I'd guess many people wouldn't immediately spot it in me (unless they knew what to look for). However, knowing me reveals my peculiarities, such as the way I talk with them, my obsessions, the fact I always wear the same clothing, and my tendency to ask very direct and personal questions. 

I also have Asperger’s but I can manage it. It wasn’t diagnosed until the early Eighties when my wife persuaded me to see a doctor. One of my symptoms included my obsession with ghosts and law enforcement — I carry around a police badge with me, for example. I became obsessed by Hans Holzer, the greatest ghost hunter ever. That’s when the idea of my film Ghostbusters was born. — Dan Aykroyd

The Good Aspie Traits

These are the upsides. 

I have a remarkable ability to focus (and be distracted)

I can concentrate on an issue or problem, especially one that interests me, for long periods of time. Of course, this works both ways, and I have been prone to distraction. Now, I removed almost everythung from life, and use apps and timers to keep me on track. It is a littel extreme, but that's what it's taken. Removing as much distraction from my life as possible has enabled me to focus on what matters most to me.

I develop obsessions

When I am interested in something, almost nothing will distract me. I aquire knowledge in ever widening circles, and attain hyper levels of detail on the subject.

I attract knowledge and information like a magnet, reading and testing my knowledge on subject endlessly. I also study like a beginner endlessly, gleaning knowledge from even basic information years into the obsession.

Now once my obsession is sated, I tend to start another one. I realised this pattern in my 40's. My obsessions have spanned aviation, audio enginnering and music production, multimedia arts, photography, drones, video, art, marketing and most recently the nature of creativity itself.

I have an extraordinary attention to detail

My attention to detail shows itself in my artwork, and many other areas in my life. I am incredibly successful at problem solving, as like a dog with bone, I will keep gnawing at it at a problem until I find a solution. I always find one.

Although this is not always a good thing. I have an 'Eye of Sauron, or a Great Eye' as my ex-wife called it. I use this on everything. Including myself. 

I have an incredible memory (for some things)

I remember software visually. I could teach Photoshop over the phone for example, without having the app open. I know all the commands and I can see the menus in my mind. 

But, ask the name of the streets I drive every day and I could not tell you. Also, I have had short friendships and can not for the life of me remember their name.

I relentlessly search for 'truths' and rules

I have an enduring quest for truths. I always want to get to the bottom of things. I work to boil things down to their essence. I love to reduce things to simple clear guidelines, or rules. I am looking for the truth so I can apply it in my own life, or at lease be aware of how it is creating circumstances in my life.

Recently (2017-2020) I have been obsessed with personal creativity — the truths and rules behind how we co-create our circumstances, daily experiences and life events. I wanted to understand how I was creating my own experiences, and how I could manifest situations I wanted.

I have also been obsessed with online business and marketing (I run a small agency to earn enough money to do the work I want to do, and test things out). However, I only did the marketing to learn how to use it for my work, but got lost in indecision about my path, and have only now in mid-2020 began applying my knowledge and skill here on my own site.

I love deeply and completely

Aspies are often described as having difficulty with relationships. I don't think it is always the case. I have has issues maintaining relationships the last 3 years, but I was married for 20 years prior to that (a wildly successful marriage in my book).

Post marriage, the relationships I have had taught me many lessons about love, loss, attachment. They also showed me how I love. Which is intensely.

I have learnt that I truly love people. And that I fall in love easily, and with total abandon. I would not change this about myself. 

I am a loyal friend

I am innately forgiving, trusting, accepting, non-prejudice, and non-violent. I forgive easily and trust easily. I truly do love my friends.

Cure for obsession: Get another one.
— Mason Cooley

My Oddball Aspie Traits

The perculiarlities.

I am too intense for most people

When I talk with someone, they get my full attention. I used to match this with relentless eye contact, however I've trained myself to look away regularly in conversation, and give them a rest. I pair with this with more questions, and as much silence as possible to allow them to respond. But still, people notice my intensity. I can't quite mask it, and sometimes they will read me as agitated or hyper intense.

I am sensitive

I can be emotionally hypersensitive, and understand what it's like to feel intense hurt, embarrassment, and humiliation. I go out of their way not to hurt, embarrass, or humiliate others. Yet sometimes, I still manage to say things or behave in such a way as to upset, anger, or offend.

I speak in great detail

If you ask me something, I often tell you the entire background, relating all the details. This could obviously be annoying. But now I see this trait and am adapting. 

I can stay at home for days / weeks

I can spend whole weeks at home, working, relaxing, exercising, and speaking with friends. I am quite happy at home all day. I do like a daily hour-long walk lately though. The short of it is I can work in the studio for days. And on grey days, I prefer the blinds drawn, the lamps on, and the same album on repeat most of the day (I like Bach) while I work. 

I can work in circles

I have started many thing, only to get them up and running and then abandon them. I have had a tendency to go in circles. It's not a good thing.

I went into business for myself after leaving my tenured ANU lecturer position. And while I love working for myself, I have struggled to move in straight lines. I started too many ventures and took on too many things. The net result was a lack of depth in my pursuits. However, I have solved this now, by focusing with awareness on 5 things (art, writing, podcast, a book, and my incubator for creatives. I combine this with practicing awareness, and beginner's mind. I am blissfully free. 

I can struggle to make decisions

In the last 3 years, I have struggled to commit to a course of action. I have been working on a startup with my mentor, running my marketing agency, working on a STEAM education business, and writing on this site. It was simply too much. 

All along, I only really wanted to work on this site —searching for truths, making art, and teaching creative aware people. I am being that now. 

The reason it took me so long was trying to convince myself to do things I did not truly love doing. I only wanted to create the space and time I needed to follow my true interests, which are art, truths and standing on my own two feet (doing my own thing basically).

I tend to master things, then move on

When I have realised a high level of proficiency and success with something, I have tended to drop it and move on. I did this with aviation, audio engineering, drones, academia, fine art, and marketing for business. Now I see the pattern/ And I am bent on continuing in one direction past the point I usually abandon the work. My true loves are art making, searching for universal truths, and compiling the work in an interesting fashion.

I can be socially awkward

I have great verbal skills and am reasonably intelligent. However, I tend to ask very direct questions. I tend to ask very direct questions as well, driven by an insatiable curiosity. Many people find direct questions confronting, or even rude. However, once they understand I'm only curious and know I have compassion they don't mind at all. 

I am incredibly honest

My ex-wife coined a term to describe me — 'information-itis'. It sums up the way I tell people anything and everything. I have had a tendency to divulge personal information, even to strangers.

I enjoy almost ritualistic behaviours and routines

Most days I have the same thing for breakfast, wear the same type of clothes, and use the same classical albums to work to. I see this as a form of ritual, I don't see it as an issue, but it does seem slightly odd. 

The most interesting people you’ll find are ones that don’t fit into your average cardboard box. They’ll make what they need, they’ll make their own boxes. — Dr. Temple Grandin

Famous Autistic People

A short list of people who have or are rumoured to have some form of autism. There’s a wave of a cottage industry in “outing” historical figures with autism or Asperger syndrome.

Now I am not in any way comparing my self with these great people. In fact, I wouldn't have picked most of them to have had some form of autism. 

  • Charles Darwin – Naturalist, Geologist, and Biologist
  • Albert Einstein – Scientist & Mathematician
  • Bobby Fischer – Chess Grandmaster
  • Bill Gates – Co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation
  • Thomas Jefferson – Early American Politician
  • Steve Jobs – Former CEO of Apple
  • Stanley Kubrick – Film Director
  • Michelangelo – Sculptor, Painter, Architect, Poet
  • Andy Warhol – Artist

For success in science or art a dash of autism is essential — Hans Asperger