As usual, there were some points that I wanted to mention in the last blog post, but didn't get the chance to do it. So, I will express some other thoughts that will augment what I said a few days ago; maybe it'll help you to understand my reasoning even further. If you haven't already read the previous post, please do so; you likely won't be able to understand this one otherwise. Still with me? Then, here we go.
First off: I have a tendency to look at undertakings only as how they will benefit me. We all know that I established about a decade ago that it's a better idea for everyone if I don't get my driver's license; as I've said for a while, me behind the wheel of a car is simply an accident waiting to happen. What you may not know is that, at one point, I actually planned on driving. I was going to have a neon orange car; I was going to give people rides, returning the favor that so many people had done for me in the past; and, at some point, I was going to head down to Florida to see some friends who used to live in my area. Why did that get shot down? Simply because a trusted friend informed me that a friend of hers knew a kid who was thought to have Asperger Syndrome as well, and he--that is, the son himself--believed that driving wasn't "in the cards" for him, mainly because of the concentration required. Up to that point, I had never thought about that being required of me in order to be able to drive; I had what you might call a "big realization" at that moment. When I thought about how horrible my concentration had been up to that point--and, yes, it's still just as bad, if not worse--I realized that cruising the planet just wasn't for me.
That wasn't the only case; around spring 2002, I considered going to church camp for the first time since 1998. What stopped me was another trusted friend informing me that doing so would require me spending an entire week outdoors, which just isn't for me. That should have been obvious, but my focus on the potential positives obscured the easily apparent, egregious negative. I'm sure that other cases would come to mind if I had the time to think of them. My point is: With relationships, I looked at it only from the standpoint of, "How will it benefit me?" Yes, a wife would be a best friend, a lifelong companion, someone to keep me accountable, etc.,....but what could I provide for her? I doubt any woman would like being treated like a piece of technology; that is, one who only lives to serve me. Victoria, Danielle, and Jade (that is, my iMac, iPod, and iPad) are very helpful; they have assisted me with countless pursuits, whether leisurely, important, or otherwise...but no woman wants to be treated like an electronic device.
You may be saying, "Well, then, treat her like a human being instead!" There's something you're missing, though: I don't really know how, and I may never know how. Throughout my life, the emotions and actions of other people--mostly without any sort of syndrome or mental illness--have stymied me. I'm not going to do it right now, but, I could tell numerous stories where someone said or did something that still doesn't make sense to me, even as a twenty-five-year-old. In many of those cases, people have tried to explain it to me, but it still proves incomprehensible. I have little experience with other people with A.S., but, based on what I have had, I don't fit in with them any better than I do with those without it; during the brief time I was in a group with such people, I always felt like the odd one out, which made me eventually decide to jump ship.
My point is: I'm not really capable of showing the kind of emotion that would be required for a serious relationship. Frankly, I've even put my immediate family through the wringer several times, simply because I expected them to give me what I wanted, while being largely unwilling to do the same for them. Though I have improved to a degree in that regard, I could still do better. At this point, I'm afraid that, if I was ever to learn to give enough to have a relationship, I would have done it by now.
Second off: What works for others likely won't work for me. One of our tendencies as humans is to take a rule and apply it to everyone. That especially applies to those in authority; I remember hearing of a clash between the lead English teacher at my high school and someone/some people at the school system's administration. Long story short, the summer reading list, which was put out by the administration, had Of Mice and Men listed for rising sophomores who were going into Honors English. Though the summer reading itself wasn't optional--unless you wanted an "F" at the start of the year--there were seven or eight books on the list, and each student only had to read two. However, the lead English teacher at my high school felt that all high school sophomores should read that classic Steinbeck novel; according to the teacher I had that year, she (that is, the lead) had tried to get it taken off of the list, and had all of us read it not long after the year started, regardless of whether or not we read it during the summer.
Unfortunately, it seems like many of us have a similar standard. If you're a guy, you're expected to like sports. If you're well into your twenties, you should be in a serious relationship. If you're a heterosexual male, your best friends should be of the same gender. You may think no one believes that, but I see people reacting in an unkind way to me being "different" more often than anyone should ever have to. That right there is the meaning of the title of this blog: I simply don't think like others do.
Maya Angelou, a famous author, once wrote, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget
what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." That may be true for most people, but I've been known by many to remember exactly what someone said or did, even if he/she has absolutely zero recollection of it. That right there makes advice from friends or other caring individuals a dicey prospect. Throughout my struggle to find a life mate, I was told by numerous individuals, "You will find someone." Not "You might...", or "You could...", but "You will..." One well-meaning teacher at my high school even told me that I'd likely find my soulmate in college...but there wasn't one young lady at that school who I was even remotely interested in dating; most of the friends I had there were guys, no joke! Though such advice was meant to make me feel better--and, at the time, it did--it went on to upset me, as I watched friend after friend post news of their engagement or wedding, while my relationship status only changed when April Fools' Day came around. Their well-intentioned advice began to become a source of irritation, because, when they said that it "will" happen, I held them to it, and was rather infuriated when it never did. You may be thinking, "Well, it still could," but, these days, I'm not so sure.
Third off: My lifestyle is not what you think it is. Many times, what happens in pretty much any sort of group is not what an outsider would think. A joke among those who work at libraries--such as myself--is that people think we just sit around and read books all day. Though I handle plenty of literature every workday, it's not even that often that I can do more than glance at the back cover! Still, that's supposedly the assumption others have.
If you think that's dumb, you should hear the things people have assumed about me. Instead of knowing that I living a well-rounded life and spending time doing various activities--including ones that involve housework--people assume that I pretty much eat, sleep, and consume media intended for young people. First off, the assumed media diet is incorrect; I read, watch, and listen to plenty of entertainment that the Austin & Ally crowd wouldn't even want to try. Second off, I'm not a hermit who only leaves his house to go to church or to work. I go to yard/garage sales; I go out to dinner with friends and family members; I attend social functions. In fact, much of the time I spend consuming entertainment is while I am en route to and from somewhere outside my house. Unfortunately, those who don't know the truth probably aren't even reading this post.
Here is my final point: Starting in 2007, there was a time where I was really focused on finding myself a significant other. There were multiple reasons, but the main two were that others I knew were getting married or engaged, and--the biggest reason--I knew that my parents weren't going to be around forever, and I was going to need someone to take care of me when they were gone. The unfortunate truth that I was sans job at the time was pretty much an impasse for any female friend, regardless of my attitude; however, the real problem was that I was pretty much looking for a second mother instead of a wife. Though spouses do look after each other, each one should be able to function independently, unless one or both of them has a disability (which Asperger Syndrome is not; remember?) In other words, I was only actively looking for a girlfriend--oh, how I hate that term!--for my own selfish reasons.
Now that I am mature enough to realize the error of my ways, I now have come to accept that a relationship is most likely not in my future, as I have said more than once. Though I'm not ruling it out completely--after all, all things are possible with God--I don't expect it to happen anytime soon. So, what will I do when my parents are gone? To be frank...I don't know. At the moment, I am trying to build up a savings so that I'll have money for any future expenses; I refuse to tell anyone outside my household how much money I have in the bank, but, by my own judgment, I think I am doing pretty well. Other than that, I'm just going to have to trust God. Maybe I will be off and married in the next five years. Maybe Jesus will return while my parents are still alive, and I won't have to worry about what to do after they're gone. I don't really know, but I do know that God has looked out for me throughout my life, so, why wouldn't He continue to do so? In the meantime, I still have some things to work on, one of which is choosing to be happy. Andy Andrews said that being happy is a choice, and he is right; now, I just need to apply that to my life. How can I be happy with someone else in my life if I'm a wreck by myself?