29 January, 2010

Modes of talking

I'm sort of insufferable because I have ASD. Of course, you shouldn't take this to mean that being ASD means you're insufferable, even though that's how people sometimes define it. Normal people can be really insufferable, especially to disabled people. I don't like talking about my insufferability in a way that sounds medical model or zoo-exhibit-y. However, I am insufferable in my own way and I might as well admit it.

I feel very worried about what other people think, and whether I'm doing stuff right. I constantly apologize. But then I keep on doing the same stuff. I'm not saying this bothers other people as much as it bothers me, but I feel like I completely plow over other people when I talk to them. Today I think I figured out what it is: I don't do conversations. I have a talking mode and a listening mode, and they feel completely different. It's funny because I wouldn't describe myself as a person who monologues, but all I really do is cut my monologues up into pieces and apologize from time to time. I have things I think about saying, all the time, and there are a certain set of people I usually end up saying them to. Which is impersonal, and bothers me.

I think this is why I like being with intellectually disabled people. I can't say the kind of stuff I normally say if I'm with a person who's not as verbal as I am. I have to adjust myself to the kind of communication the other person has, which means I get in listening mode. When I was 17, I went to summer camp and experimented with not telling anyone I was gay, because I had never really gotten to be closeted before. I really loved the experience, and I thought it was because I had such negative feelings about being gay. But now I think that part of it is that a lot of the things I thought up were about being gay, so if I couldn't say anything about being gay, that meant I was in listening mode all the time.

After thinking about this today, and a bit yesterday, I tried to stay in listening mode when I was on the phone with my friend. It was nice. I don't mean to make myself sound like a horrible person. Once I understand that someone has a lot to say, I get in listening mode. It just isn't the way I tend to start out. And being in talking mode doesn't make me feel good in the long run, it makes me feel like I've talked myself out and there's nothing left.

I'm sort of sleepy and depressed (my roommate cries when BSG characters die, and then she gets mad at me for noticing she's crying). I guess I could write about this in more depth, but as it is, I'm just happy to have identified what the problem is so I can be more constructive about it.


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  2. I interrupt people. A lot. I mean, if I am with people who I don't know I just don't say anything at all otherwise they'll think I'm rude. I try really hard not to interrupt but damn it when the speaker doesn't pause at all between thoughts I have to just start talking or I will absolutely forget what I wanted to say. Keeping up in any conversation or even in a classroom is a huge challenge for me because it takes me a couple seconds longer than other people to translate what was just said before I can respond. By that time everyone has moved on. When I was in elementary school I got in trouble for not participating. I wish I had known how to tell them that is was a processing delay.

    Sorry for the mass comments, I've been reading your posts all week but I was too busy to comment until now.