Thursday, April 9, 2009
My brain works differently than the brains of other people. One way it works differently is that - by default - it processes other people as objects rather than as people, unless there's something unique about a person that stands out to me. With nothing to make a person stand out to me, my brain basically ignores strangers to varying degrees. Because of this, I can literally see someone one minute and not recognize them a minute later.
It doesn't even matter what color skin color one has - if you're a stranger to me, my brain is most likely going to process you as an object regardless of skin color. It's not that all whites or all blacks or all Hispanics whom I don't know look alike to my brain on this default setting, it's that EVERYONE looks the same to me by default.
However, if someone stands out to me, it forces my brain to switch gears and actually pay attention and process the person as a person. In person mode, I can memorize a person's face perfectly in less than 30 seconds. With nothing to force my brain to switch gears from "objects" to "people," it can take hours, days, weeks, even months (depending on various factors) to remember a face. Which is really odd because I have the ability to instantly memorize places visually. It's like places and people are both objects by default, but places are far more interesting to my brain than people are.
Things that can get me from object mode to people mode can be anything - jewelry or other objects on their person that I find particularly cool (especially pagan jewelry), unnatural hair colors (pink, purple, etc), or if they were nice to me or interesting to me on some level. Then the memorization of faces becomes almost instantaneous, and is generally permanent.
I know this because I can see actors or actresses once and, if they stood out enough to me, I recognize them years later even if they've aged a lot... even if they were children when I first saw them.
There's another oddity about how my brain works. Sometimes I will remember groups thanks to one or more members, but not remember everyone in the group, so that if the ones I don't remember on their own come in on their own, I (of course) don't remember them. Because I'm a child at heart and keep wishing I could be a child physically again (only with the proper gender that time around), I tend to pay a lot more attention to kids than to adults. So the most common way this "memorizing a group by one or more members and not others" thing manifests is memorizing a group by their children. One case in particular at my last job, this pair of parents had a girl who looks like a young Michelle Tractenberg. So every time they all came in together, I instantly knew them. But if one or both of the parents came in on their own, I had no idea who they were unless something they said or did reminded me about their daughter.
One good thing about the combo of my ability to instantly and permanently remember faces when my brain gets into "people" mode plus my tendency to notice children, I could potentially save some kid by spotting them and recognizing them from a missing person's flyer.
Well, that's all.
Not sure why I finally decided to join Blogger, aside from the fact that a lot of good stuff comes from this site and I follow it on my LiveJournal feeds. That, and I need to go more places online than just LiveJournal all the time.
Let me explain the title of my blog. As an aspie and as someone who spent 10 years of their childhood (about age 6 to age 16) lost in my own fantasy world to escape the bullying, once I finally came back to reality... I've been playing a game of catch-up ever since. And this is compounded by having Asperger's Syndrome. I haven't had the money to get officially diagnosed, but my roommate (who IS officially diagnosed) pointed out to me that I might be. I did some research and some tests and found that it is very very likely that I have Asperger's.
As if all that wasn't enough, I am also a Multiple. The old term is Multiple Personality Disorder. The new term is Dissociative Identity Disorder. Again, not an official diagnosis, but the evidence is frankly overwhelming. But I don't have the typical DID. I don't actually dissociate anymore, and the various people living in my head with me can all be "out" at the same time. We've learned to pretend to be a single mind by cooperating and sharing the body. As I said, we can all Front at once (though there's usually at least a few who hang back). Basically how we're set up is as a collective mind similar to the Borg but without the whole "lack of individuality" thing. And without the assimilation or the cool body electronics. I tell you, it can be very useful at times: for one thing, we all have our own independant moods; so if one member is pissy or depressed, chances are good that someone else in the collective is in a different mood. This is helpful with depression because if someone else in the group is in a better mood they can play the optimist angle. Also, I tend to forget things and sometimes another member of the collective will remember what I can't and remind me.
This cooperation doesn't always work right, though; we don't always get along. We're all unique individuals with our own thoughts, skills, passions, and quirks. There was this one time that we were riding a bike and one of us wanted to go forward, another wanted to go back, and another wanted to stop. We all tried taking control of the body at the same time, and ended up on the ground with one of my shoes torn open.
Also, when one of our rank is too stressed out, depressed, angry, or a combo of things to tolerate it any longer, they sometimes vanish into the subconscious mind for anywhere from several hours to several weeks or longer. One of us, Ian, had such a bad psychotic episode (only violent to inanimate objects and to this body we share) that he disappeared into the subconscious for TWO WHOLE YEARS before coming back out. And he still visits the subconscious frequently even now.
Well, back to the point: this blog's name. Well, because of that missing 10 years of my childhood, my Asperger's, and my multiplicity (four of our number identify as non-humans/sentient aliens, and a fifth may well be the same way himself but identifies as human), and given that I'm also anachronistic(1) soul (I believe I may have had past lives in "The Future" (2) ), well... I read the Wikipedia definition of "culture shock"(3) once several weeks ago, and I realized that it perfectly describes the kinds of feelings I've been experiencing ever since I started to come back to reality. I'm a foreigner in the culture I was born into! I like bits and pieces of various modern and historical Earth cultures, but none of them fits me perfectly. I get so disgusted by so many of the types of behavior, the interests, the morals, the ethics, and the ideas of this and other Earth cultures. Especially:
1. I'm disgusted with this society's valuing - even worshipping - of ignorance and stupidity.
2. I'm disgusted that anyone who isn't Perfectly Normal is ostricised even by people who claim to be accepting people. (Everyone has a line they draw; "you must be at least this normal to ride the Acceptance Train." If you don't believe me, read this.
3. I'm disgusted that this society rewards meatheads without two brain cells to rub together ("professional" athletes) and beautiful people without the brains to fill a robin's egg (Paris Hilton and her ilk) with fame and millions of dollars a year, and yet force teachers and clergy to scrape by on very poor salaries. Oh, so you can hit a round thing with a stick/run really fast while holding a ball/smile pretty for the camera? Whoop dee fucking doo. If it were up to me, anyone expecting special treatment for being pretty or athlethic but without a brain would get this response: *Maniacal laughter* "What, you were SERIOUS?" *even more maniacal laughter* "No, seriously, these groceries won't bag themselves you know."
4. I'm disgusted that - despite lots of bitching and moaning - no one ever does anything about corruption in politics. They just keep voting in the same corrupt assholes and supporting the corrupt system they're a part of. Of course, this might change if people stopped worshipping ignorance and stupidity.
5. I'm disgusted that any idiot who happens to be 18 years of age or older can vote without having to know even one iota of anything about politics or anything else more complex than who won the superbowl or what Beyonce is wearing now. I'm disgusted that such vapid fools are allowed the right to make decisions that affect me and my life.
6. I'm disgusted that the system the founding fathers put in place to prevent this country from becoming a true Dem
onocracy (thus protecting us from the tyranny of the majority) has gone to shit and this country is now under what amounts to mob rule. (Mob as in a horde of slavering idiots, not mob as in the Mafia. I'm not sure which would be worse.)
7. I'm disgusted that the system for gaining employment is inherently biased against people who are neurologically atypical (translation: "different in the brain"). For me, having a job is so much easier than hunting for a job that it's like having a job is a summer's vacation in Cancun compared to burning in Hell for five years which is hunting for a job.
8. I'm disgusted that the systems for getting much-needed help from the government, and for getting the diagnosises (yeah I know that's not right) that one needs to get said help, are inherently so fucking difficult that they are biased against the very people they seek to help.
9. I'm disgusted that trying to find someone to give me the level of help I need to get the help I need (see above) is like trying to find a bone needle in a haystack of white plastic faux-bone needles.
10. I'm disgusted at the "dog eat dog world" mentality that says "If you can't cope without help and you can't get help in time, you go homeless. Thems breaks."
11. I'm disgusted that this society which claims to be built on the principles of Yeshuah Ben Yosef ("Jesus Christ") has such an utter lack of compassion for anyone who isn't Perfectly Normal.
12. I'm disgusted that the list of things that DON'T disgust me about this society and other Earth societies is MINISCULE compared to the list of things that disqust me.
13. This space intentionally left blank to represent the myriad other things that I could go on and on about how much they disgust me. From big things like I mentioned, to niggly little details.
14. Because I couldn't resist: I am disgusted that people put so much emphasis on race, heritage, ethnicity to the point of insanity. You get some people who go on and on about "Those damned n*****s/Mexicans/what have you, they're evil and ruining the world and we're better than them." I'm also disgusted with the people who accuse anyone who's white of being racist and keeping them down because of "white privelege" and whatnot. Everyone is priveleged or not in various ways to varying degrees. Yes, there's inequality in this country and yes it should be opposed, but there comes a point where it crosses over into victim mentality and I just want to tell people "SHUT THE FUCK UP" because the horse is a million-year-old fossil and they're still whipping it. If you think you have it so bad, look at Africa. If you don't think foreign countries are on topic, then consider this: can you make friends without losing them constantly? Can you hold down a job without being fired for being too abnormal? Are the people who want to kill or "cure" you merely a tiny but vocal minority? If you can answer yes to all those questions (or all but one), then you have it better than me. You think you're being discriminated against? At least discrimination against blacks is illegal and is increasingly being viewed as immoral. The same is also becoming true (slowly but surely) about homosexuals. But there's something about aspies and autstics that makes most neurologically typical people weirded out by us on a visceral- gut - level. It's still legal and socially acceptable to discriminate against people on the autism spectrum. We're still seen by many, maybe even most, as less than human. Seriously, this.
15. And I am disgusted that there's going to be a shitload of ignorant people who call me racist for being tired of people playing the race card and being all "I'm such a victim." I'm disgusted that they'll be all like "But our status is immediately apparent by the color of our skin!" May be so, but the status of an Aspie is no less apparent in our behavior. And what what makes discrimination against Aspies even worse is that most people don't even realize they're discriminating against us. At least if you're discriminating against a person of color, you'd have to be denser than a neutron star to not realize what you were doing. So goddamn it, don't try to tell ME what it's like being discriminated against! I have LOST JOBS AND FRIENDS and been bullied and ostracised all my fucking life. And since Aspies can't read body language very well, it is much harder for us Aspies to find each other than it is for people of color.
So yeah, culture shock. Because I may have been born and raised to this culture, but it IS NOT MY culture.
(1) = anachronism = something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time. It usually pertains to things from the past, like how Renaissance Faires are anachronistic. But in my
(2) = That sounds confusing, I know, but just bear in mind that Time is an illusion and all there really is is The Now. For more info, read the "Conversations with God" books by Neale Donald Walsch)
(3) = "Culture shock refers to the anxiety and feelings (of surprise, disorientation, uncertainty, confusion, etc.) felt when people have to operate within a different and unknown cultural or social environment, such as a foreign country. It grows out of the difficulties in assimilating the new culture, causing difficulty in knowing what is appropriate and what is not. This is often combined with a dislike for or even disgust (moral or aesthetical) with certain aspects of the new or different culture."