So here’s another potentially offensive post to some concerning empathy, which Aspergers are known not to have, and trust me, my lack of it knows no bounds. A lot of times I find myself feeling guilty because I don’t feel it. The first time I can remember was when I was ten and my Grandfather, my Father’s Father, died. Everyone was crying and upset, and although he was my favorite person of that whole bunch, I felt nothing, zip, zilch, nada. So I cried like a baby because I felt nothing because even at 10 I knew it wasn’t normal to be that way (that was also the same funeral his wife, my Grandmother, tried to put me in the coffin to kiss him goodbye, which is why to this day I don’t go to funerals…won’t even be at my own).
Fast forward to age 16, I’m with my Mother in Wal-Mart and she runs into someone she knows with a baby and everyone is cooing over the kid. Again, I feel absolutely nothing and again, the waterworks flowed. People are supposed to feel all ga-ga over babies, right? Well, not me…I feel nothing for a lot of things I should and feel way too strongly for things I shouldn’t…my compass is screwed up.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I used to be an artist. I was coloring on things before I could even speak. It was my whole life up until about the age of 24. You would never find me without a sketch book somewhere on my person. I was the geeky kid who hung out in either the library or the art room. I had wonderful art teachers all through school up until the 10th grade. Then we got a new art teacher, I'll call him Mr. Hippie (because that's exactly what he was, as is most art teachers). He hated me from day 1 and the feeling was most definitely mutual. I had never in all my days gotten B’s in art, but he never gave me anything but, and he stuck with me all the way through graduation. We butted heads constantly.
Eventually, I think he gave up trying to teach me anything and gave me my own corner. The home-ec class made their own sweatshirts and picked some designs and I airbrushed it on for them and I also made yard cards. I did this pretty much my last two years of art in high school (but still to B grades) while everyone else did the typical class stuff. But Mr. Hippie and I still kept at each other the entire time.
For one semester we got a student teacher in. The dude was obsessed with Jackson Pollock. Now, after having free reign of my own little art world, having to actually participate in class was bad enough, but, me being the classicist and impressionist that I was (and still am), there was no way that was gonna wash…I am NOT a fan of Pollock...human excrement on a canvas splattered with paint that a two-year old could do is not art! Needless to say, the student had one class to go to finish his degree, and by the time we got through with him (or maybe it was me…I’m not admitting anything solely), he quit college completely. Who knows what he’s doing now, but I got my corner back.
Time for college rolled around and I was debating an art major in high school but Hippie told me in no uncertain terms that would be the worst idea ever and I’d never make it in any art field. I never told anyone that until now. I was working at the Path lab I work at now in high school, so I decided to start out as a Med Tech major (which lasted all of five minutes).
My Father (who one day will receive the blog crucifixion he so desperately deserves) also always pushed me into art (and push is putting it mildly). He always wanted to be an architect, and because of my Mother, or me, or both or neither, he never did, so I was his chance to live vicariously in the art world. So, with his constant pushing, and the Med Tech thing not working out, I decided to not listen to Hippie and switched my major to Graphic Design and, at the time, was the first right decision I had ever made. My college professors all seemed to love me(never got one single B, thank you very much) and for the first time I found my niche! Never was a more perfect field for an OCD sufferer than Graphic Design...lettering, drawing, design, art history...pure bliss! (except for those pesky abstract projects and my professor still gave me an A because he said that he'd never seen a student who could always find the symmetry in absractness like I could...I loathe abstractness!).
But, for some reason to this day I can’t explain, one day I woke up and my love of art had completely switched off. I was done (another apparent Asperger trait). Or maybe it had to do with the fact that when I told my Dad I switched my major to art (thinking he would be the most proudest parent on the planet) he basically asked me “what on earth did you do that for?”. Maybe it had just run its course. Or maybe, and a very small maybe, mind you, Hippie was right.
Now to the purpose of this long-winded blog…Mr. Hippie apparently died yesterday. And, you guessed it, I feel absolutely nothing. No remorse, no sorrow for his family, not even a “ding dong the witch is dead”. A fellow school mate of mine sent me an email letting me know that the visitation was tonight and I’m once again stuck in the Asperger’s predicament of how to respond. I tried to be fake-y nice, but it’s just not in my nature. I told him I hadn’t heard, said I was sorry for Hippie's wife (because I HATED his daughter with a PASSION and could care less about her feelings…sorry, the truth), and mentioned that we didn’t get on that well and quickly shifted the topic of conversation to my classmate’s wife who has been sick.
Does this make me a bad person because someone I have no feelings for died and I don’t care? Thus the predicament Asperger’s leaves for me, yes, I do feel emotion, but not for what I should feel it for, but because I don’t feel it at all. From age 10 to 16 to 41, a lesson I still can’t seem to learn or a trait I can’t still seem to adapt to, and probably never will.
But hey, that's the purpose of this blog, for me to be able to get my feelings out there and not keep them bottled up inside, whether anyone chooses to listen is another story, but one that doesn't concern me, my story has been told, and I do actually feel better now. R.I.P. Mr. Hippie.