All About Me, Part 1

Thanks to youtube, I recently learned about a study by Arthur Aron (and others) that explores vulnerability and intimacy, and involved 36 questions that are supposed to help speed along intimacy between two strangers. I’m pretty bad at allowing myself to be vulnerable, so I like the idea of tools to help me along. And really, vulnerability with a bunch of internet strangers can actually be a lot easier than vulnerability with someone I already know. So I figured I would answer the questions here on my blog. Part practice at being vulnerable, and part all my lovely readers getting to know me. an autistic adult who likes to write. Now, these questions are intended to be done with a partner and some of them really reflect that, but I’ll just do my best answering them myself.

The questions come in three sets of 12 questions each, and I’m going to give each part it’s own post. So here we go with part one!

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

Ugh. I always feel really awkward having dinner guests. My house is always cluttered, I don’t have a proper dining room table, eating happens in the living room. But that’s not really the point of the question, I think. It’s about who I’d like to have a meal with. So taking out the “dinner guest” part of the deal, then… um… I don’t really know, actually.

I’m not super interested in dinner with famous people. I imagine that it would just be a performance on their part. So I’d want to dine with someone I could connect with. I don’t know who that would be, though.

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

Sort of. I want my blog to be more popular. When I started it, I had a fantasy of eventually reaching an audience of hundreds, or even thousands. I think being blog-famous(ish) would be pretty cool.

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

Not exactly. I used to – I would rehearse out exactly what I wanted to say – but that always went badly because no one else followed their script. Now, I never, ever call people on the phone just to chat. Of course, with the rise of texting it would not surprise me if talking on the phone just to chat is going by the wayside anyway. Right, so when I make a telephone call it’s because I have something to say to someone. Before I call take a notebook and write down all the points I want to make and all the major things I want to say. I also write down my phone number and, sometimes, Nee’s phone number as well. If I think I’ll need it, I’ll even write down my home address.

Every phone call gets it’s own reference sheet.

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

It would start with having gotten a good night’s sleep. I would wake up rested and ready to do stuff. I’d spend my day crafting and creating, maybe learning a new craft in the process. At some point towards the evening I would get to spend time with someone I am close to, complete with cuddles and conversation.

Only this is a really broad “perfect” day. It’s a day I could have every day and still feel really good. However, if we get more infrequent, I would want to include things like going to museums, seeing more of my friends, and connecting with new people. Those are things that are wonderful, but I always need recovery time from. I couldn’t do them every day.

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

Ooh. The closest I get to singing to other people is singing to my cat. Which I do a few times a week, I guess. To myself? umm…. eesh. Close to never, really. I really like singing in groups, not so much by myself.

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

I don’t think I can answer this one. I mean, my mind is housed in my brain, right? My mind ages because my brain ages. Only my brain is part of my body, so if my body is of a 30 year old, then my brain is of a 30 year old, and thus so is my mind. I’m sure someone will tell me I’m nitpicking this and that it’s supposed to be about outward appearance or something. However, I am who I am, I answer how I answer, and the answer you get is overly literal. You can blame autism if you want.

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

Honestly, I used to think I would eventually commit suicide and that was how I would go. Now that I’m on these antidepressants, I don’t so much think that anymore. I haven’t replaced it with any other thought on how I’ll die, though.

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

We both enjoy crafty-type things.
We can both be very analytical.
We’re both terrible at remembering dates (holidays? anniversaries? birthdays? all terrible).

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

This is going to sound cliche, but I’m honestly really grateful about where I am right now. Sure, there are things I would improve if I could, but I’ve been with Nee 10 years, I’ve managed to control my depression and anxiety, I know I am autistic and can understand myself better, I am slowly pushing my comfort zones, and all of this is really wonderful. I’m not sure who I’m grateful too, exactly – it would include Nee, my psychiatrist, my horse riding instructor, the people who helped me find the aforementioned individuals, and probably others.

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

I really wish I could have been properly diagnosed as a child. Growing up autistic when no one knows it is really awful. I wish my difficulties had been treated as actual, real challenges, rather than as personal, moral failings.

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

Well, I’m doing this for all of you, so how about I give you a really quick run-down of my life so far? I was born and raised in Wisconsin, in an extremely conservative Christian family. I totally bought into all of it because I generally figured that if someone presented something to me as a fact, they must have strong evidence behind it. It took me a long time to learn that people don’t always work that way.

I went to a super conservative christian college, where I learned that I was REALLY not ready to be out and independent like that, until I got kicked out of college for self injurious behavior.

Then I lived on a sheep farm for about a year.

Then I went back to WI for a few weeks or so, before heading off to central PA. I lived in Gettysburg for about two years.

Then I went off to the Philly area, got together with Nee, and we’ve been together ever since. Sometime last year we reach the 10 year mark together!

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Oh, goodness. Um. The ability to drive on highways. Seriously, how do you do merging? It’s so awful!

And those are my answers to the first 12 questions! I would soooo love it if you answered any of these questions in the comments. Let me learn things about all of you lovely people who read my blog!

Continue to part II.

Continue to part III.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “All About Me, Part 1

  1. Autism Mom

    Loved your answer to number 6! Made perfect sense to me. 🙂

  2. Trudy

    Thanks to Bloglovin skipping a few posts on me, I have only just caught up on this one. First I want to say thank you for being so open here, it makes me feel better that I am not the only person in the world to think the way I do! I would love to go through and answer all the questions in return. 1. Dinner guest? Given the chance I prefer to have dinner in my room n my own. Dinner guest sounds like a nightmare. Unless we could talk world history or the science of genetics. I don’t know what guest fits those criteria. 2. I don’t want to be famous in the ‘I’m a celebrity’ kind of way, but I guess everyone would like some recognition for what they do, including me! I would like to become well-known in my field – only I haven’t quite figured out what it is yet… 3. Absolutely. Ir’s the only way I can do phone calls at all. 4. Sounds much the same as yours, a bit of gardening, reading, a nice sunny day without being too hot… 5. I never sing to myself. I sing in my head. Talking to myself is another story… 6. This is just a weird question. I don’t even know how to answer this one – it’s just… wrong. It just doesn’t work like that! 7. No. Thankfully. 8. I don’t have a partner so it makes this question invalid. 9. My family. For all the times they have put up with my tantrums for reasons they couldn’t even start to understand, and they still love me anyway. Being diagnosed opened whole new doors for us. 10. Definitely for me, it would be being diagnosed younger as well. I wouldn’t have had to grow up with so much doubt about myself and my mental ability. 11. 29-year-old Asperger’s female. Kiwi (from New Zealand). Single, still lives with parents. Interested in random subjects, from literature to history to language to biology… etc. 12. The ability to make small talk. I embrace a lot of my autistic traits, but this one would be such a handy thing to be able to do, because so often people judge you entirely from their first conversation with you.
    So that’s me! Hope you found it interesting. Looking forward to your next installment.

  3. Pingback: All About Me, Part II | Aspergers and Me

  4. Pingback: All About Me, Part III | Aspergers and Me

  5. Janice

    FYI – my “partner ” is going to be you.
    1) One dinner guest? I can’t narrow it down to just one because there are too many people I love. Can I have a party? You are invited.
    2) Would I like to be famous? Hmm, I suppose it could be cool but it is not a goal. I want to be a positive influence in the lives of those I love.
    3) Rehearsed phone convo: Very rarely. I will say once or twice in my life, when the situation had an extremely negative impact on me.
    4) Perfect day… Hmm again. I am happy at this stage in my life so I say every day is perfect for me. I appreciate each day. Every day is a holy day to me (thus, I don’t really celebrate holidays. I celebrate every day.)
    5) When did I last sing? Two days ago.
    6) Age of 90 question: I would definitely take the 30 year old body. Why would a person stop their mind from growing at age 30? My mind is in a better place now at 64.
    7) Secret hunch how I will die? I have no clue, but if I had a choice, I would go by diabetic coma. Death by cookies!
    8) Name three commonalities: We are of the same blood line. We both suffer from anxiety leading to depression and take meds for it. We are both creative.
    9) What am I most grateful for? Hmm, hard one. I will say family and friends.
    10) How would I change how I was raised? Okay, more love, less poverty.
    11) Brief life story: I grew up in projects. I was white in a predominantly black world. I was picked on, ridiculed, bullied, and not much support at home. Couldn’t wait to get away from home. Left home at 19 (too soon for me. I was not emotionally ready) – partied and drugged and nearly killed myself. At age 25 (this is weird) I looked at my apartment and thought “What am I doing!? I don’t want this!” I turned my life around. Got a scholarship from the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation and and graduated from AIP at age 27. Married first husband. Had two wonderful children. Divorced after 20 years. Divorced for 15 years. Married the wrong man again and was married for 2.5 years (I learned my lesson and am not staying with with the wrong man for 20 years again!) I am now 64, single and happy, although poor. In fact, more than poor. I live in poverty by USA standards, but I am able to meet my expenses so I am good with that.
    12) Awaken with which new ability? It would be nice to read people’s minds! Then I would know what motivates them; if there is an inner fear or inner anger or inner joy. I would use that ability to reach better understanding of people. If I didn’t like their thoughts (filled with anger or hatred or envy or jealousy) I could just stay away.
    Very good blog Andraya. I’m looking forward to reading the others.