Reflections of and on a probably Asperger's parent parenting an Asperger's kid (or 2)!

dragon pups

dragon pups

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

On Weird

Several blogs have brought "weirdness" to the discussion.  I am thinking that is a bandwagon I can definitely ride, maybe even provide the rousing chorus that keeps it rolling :)

These are the odd things, the unique things, the weird things that define me... some of them are the things that lead me to believe I am Asperger's, but I have come to learn that ALL of them are the things that convince me that God made me to be ME, and no one else, so that I am equipped to fill the niche He has made for me.  I could have come to that conviction in self-defense, true, but my experience has shown me that there is a core singularity that defies my best efforts to train it differently... a weirdness that is inherent to me.

For me, definition is all about context.  Know that I come from a long and honorable line of crazy people.  My father worked 30+ years as a police officer in Los Angeles (as if THAT isn't crazy!) and I learned that law enforcement/ first responder people have a pretty crazy sense of funny.  Lots of practical jokes, lots of finding the absurd in tragedy (I think it is what allows them to compartmentalize and deal with the gross realities they see).  Things like kidnapping the station dog and dying him pink, or putting old perfume in the windshield washer jets and turning them to face out, or the gross stuff, like finding the dismembered reproductive organ of a train-pedestrian victim ready for action ("It must have been a GOOD dream").  There were LOTS of stories. But they didn't come from no where.  My dad and uncle nearly killed their uncle when they put popcaps in his cigarettes - they were lit while he was laying down, so he lost all his chest hair.

Of course he came by that naturally.  My grandmother (his mother) once ran out of gas 3 times in one day.  First she called her husband, and he brought her 1 gallon and told her to go to the gas station. She forgot, so about 20 minutes later she called her father, who brought her one gallon of gas and told her to go directly to the gas station.  She got sidetracked.  Within the next hour she called her brother.  By that time the men had spread the word and they didn't take her gas, they went and picked up the kids....  She also loved BRIGHT color.  In my father's childhood apartment she painted their basement kitchen "day-glow orange" as my father called it.  The fire department came 3 times because neighbors reported a house fire seen through the basement windows.  I was VERY worried about what she would wear to my wedding.  Her tastes were.... eclectic.  She knew I wanted her to dress "conservatively", so she went and bought a fuzzy pink suit... yes, eye-lash fabric in pale baby pink in a well tailored suit.  It was pretty horrific.  I convinced her that I did not want her to feel so repressed, so she wore a pale blue sun dress with florescent green shoes. (Feet aren't in pictures.)

And the stories about my uncle.. whooo-heee.  Looking back, it is CLEAR that he is ADHD at least.  He is VERY social, but he is very..... salty?  A living TMI, if you know what I mean. And he taught us how to cheat at cards.

My mother's family is somewhat more refined, but after my grandmother's death we found that to be more farce than reality.  My mother has her own issues.  I will not dwell on them, because I am not really at peace with them, but I can tell stories about her family! :)  Both her parents were chemists, on the Manhattan Project.  My grandmother was a chemist on the Manhattan Project.  She convinced a small town banker in Georgia to give her a personal loan for a college degree in the 1930's.   She was a pilot in the 30's and 40's.  My grandfather forced her to meet him by setting her sweater on fire in the lab.  They were well known in their circle of academics as the destination for luaus and happy hours.  And his family... we just found a genealogy record in my grandmother's stuff recording that my grandfather's father's family had been so tight-knit that they had a secret family language, and spouses were not allowed to learn it.

Clearly the oddness, the weird goes back FAAAAAAR here.  I tell you, if you want to know weird, do genealogy!  Some other highlights are that we are related to the famous "cattle rustler" Rob Roy McGregor, and to Captain John Smith of Jamestown (by marriage), and my parents are 34th cousins.  There was a man who had a wife in 3 different counties, spelled his name differently in each county, named the first born son in all three families after himself.

So, I am weird too.  I was identified "gifted" in 2nd grade (when we moved out of a Montessori school).  I was in a magnet school, with other "gifted" kids, but that did NOT make me normal by comparison!  I spent almost every recess sitting out, doing all the written work I just could NOT get done in class.  This happened right through grade school.  Middle school is tough, but for me the "weird" felt right. I was BIG into Girl Scouting (my best friend called it our "church meeting" so other kids wouldn't think she was weird).  I got into the Academic Decathlon.  That is exactly what it sounds like... TONS of studying to take a Saturday to go take 8 multiple choices tests, perform a judged speech and do a game-show-type quiz.  I thought it was AWESOME, but soon discovered that most others did not.  I loved it.  I did that right through High School. It got even un-cooler (until the other kids realized how good it looked on a college application).

Our family life was "weird".  My dad worked the graveyard shift most of his life.  He slept all day while we were at school (we had to play outside quietly after-school), and we all had dinner together at 8:30 pm.  My friends in high school were appalled that I had to be home for an 8:30 dinner... but eventually they all just started joining us for dinner, so it must have been a "good weird".  The sitting all together, the having a blessing, the discussing world history, the raucous jokes (usually at my expense since I was the blonde - that is my prescribed role in the play, with the knowledge that I was a Master rope splicer in the regional Girl Scout competition and had a 4.0+ GPA.  You know, I was gullible - too literal - and they apparently thought it was amusing to watch me turn colors when I got worked up about something), and the awesome international fare my mom has mastered. (She was in her sorority's Gourmet Cooking Club.)

And then there is our family hobby: Cowboy Action Shooting.  Hear of that?  Check out SASS - the Single Action Shooting Society.  It is a global sport of target shooting with historic firearms.  Basically we dress up and play cowboys.  Everyone is a character - no real names.  For a historical re-enactment group, it's pretty open.  People are actual characters (Annie Oakley), or fictional characters (Snidely), or farcical characters (Flint Westwood), and everything in between.  We started going to these events when I was 5.  I won a marble spitting contest at 5 years old.  In high school I had a scholarship interview the weekend of a big shoot - so I went in my 1880's bustle gown - a replica from a historic pattern, in a color suited to me, of course, made by my mother & I.  I bet they thought THAT was weird.  The stories there are eeennnndddllleeessss.... trust me.  Re-enactors OWN history, even when they are being flippant about it; it become an obsession.  And yes, my obsession is history.  Usually clothing and children's games, but I tend to get into most anything - looking for connections with my family's past.

And then I grew up and got weirder.  I mean I tell myself all the time that I am going through all the life events that everybody else does, but it's pretty obvious my path is solely my own...  I splatter painted my kitchen cabinets (love it!).  I have a serious fabric habit.  My favorite color is plaid!  I prefer dinner foods, even for breakfast.  Bell peppers and celery make me burp for hours, but I can eat a curry with no problem.  I had a hard time adjusting to layers of clothes when I moved to the colder East Coast (I feel like a snow man when I am in more than 2 layers - like I have no joints), so I tend to shed clothing more than some people are used to.  I think it is safe to say I have absolutely no modesty (there is a story there about my grandmother too!  The first time my mother ever saw her future mother-in-law, my grandmother was running naked through the forest. True.)  I have followed an odd career path that has led me to exactly where I need to be... using unconventional methods to teach an Asperger's son at home.  At the age of 35 I became a lifeguard and a challenge course facilitator - jobs for college kids.  My joints do not take to it well all days.

There are other peculiarities.  I am probably the worst house-keeper known to man (at least according to my mother & husband).  I can't eat til I have been awake for at least 1 hour or I get sick.  Unless I am deathly ill, I can't sleep through the night, never have.  I cannot STAND closed toed shoes - wool socks & sandals all winter.  I wear my underwear inside out so the seam will not bother me (actually my best friend noticed that one on a Girl Scout camping trip).  I talk to my dog empathically (I know that is hard to prove, but I don't have to - he doesn't make you have to pee when he wants you to wake up.)  I have some pretty odd ideas about the space-time continuum and how God permeates it.

Yes. I AM WEIRD.  The secret is to OWN IT.  Be odd, be strange, be unconventional, be unexpected.  If you own it, people don't question it, they RESPECT it.  As long as you are honest and act from a place of love, weird is GOOD, probably divinely created.

And this isn't ALL of it!.. there is more about it in the next post...
If I could figure out how to do the links in the text, I would. I will get that done later - I promise...


  1. Can, I be your friend? No seriously. I think I have you beat on housekeeping though. Would love to talk about your God and time revelations. I have many "special interests" and don't tend to get when others are done talking about them. I am really starting to see why I have always felt like an outsider even though I try to be social. I talk to strangers about things they probably don't care to hear about. I sings songs to God while walking down the street. I dance in the street. Feel more comfortable around people who live on the fringes of society. I feel the church is broken and cry out to Jesus to help us mend it by learning to live in His love. I cry too easily, and I enjoy it. Most people don't get that.and it makes them uncomfortable. I like allowing my self to feel my emotions ( except anger case it is only a mask emotion in most cases) . There is soooo much more but I am typing this from my phone lol

    1. of course we can be friends! Spirits are kindred no mater the circumstances :). I am so glad that you found some identify and peace with this share. That's kinda my point. It's that TMI Asperger's honesty that will help us connect despite/ in-spite of our selves and our "wierd". There is balance and reason in all things.... I will try to blog more on God soon... THANK YOU for reaching out to me....


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