Warning: this is not a happy post.
I am constantly confused by society’s social norms and rituals. And I mean constantly. I see so many people buying frivolous things they can’t afford on a consistent basis and then blaming the government for lower wages. I see people who keep an unhealthy diet and act surprised when they have health issues. I have learned that this is because many people act out of emotion rather than logic. As a hyper-logical person, this baffles me. If you know something is bad for you, why do it to the point that it negatively affects your life?
When you are as hyper-logical as I am, you tend to hurt people emotionally. It’s almost never intentional, but it happens more than I’d like it to. Over the years, I have isolated myself from many people, good people who I think I could have maintained a closer friendship with.
I don’t have many close friends. I don’t think this is a bad thing; being alone does not mean I’m lonely; I really like the friends I have and have maintained over the years. But I know that if I get too close to people, I may end up unintentionally saying something awful or insensitive. Often it is due to a behavior of that person I don’t understand. Maybe I don’t even say it to their face, but I say things like “That person is so fat, why does he keep eating so much every time we see him? He/She should work out more often.” or “Why is that person spending money on alcohol when he or she always complains about being broke?” or “I don’t understand why that person does [insert habit here] I think it’s such a useless activity” or “Why would they vote for [insert political candidate] they have such a STUPID way of thinking, it’s ASININE to think [insert policy here] would work.”
My overly-logical mind means that I end up complaining a lot and sometimes overshare my qualms and lack of understanding of others to the point that they drain others. Lately, I have been seeing the worst in others; if a nice person does one bad thing, I will harp on that bad thing. Maybe I’m right about the bad thing, but it’s not what I should focus on.
Lately, I have been harping on drug and alcohol use. As someone who gained the freshman fifteen in college pretty quickly, I learned my lesson about drinking. I also saw what it did to my health (especially as an athlete). I have smoked weed a handful of times but never got the same thrill as my friends seemed to, plus I don’t think anything other than oxygen is that great for your lungs. I bet weed/cbd oil is better for your lungs than tobacco, but a foreign substance in your lungs is rarely a good thing. I am against the war on drugs and think marijuana should be legal, but that doesn’t mean it’s a panacea, and it doesn’t mean it can’t be abused. Plus, my short term memory is bad enough, I don’t need weed to make it worse!
It seems like everyone has something. Almost everyone has a drink after work, a joint before bed, a cigarette break during the day, to relax themselves. It baffles me as to why we do things we know are bad for us as a tool for relaxation. I enjoy going on a run, reading a book, or going to BJJ as tools for relaxation. An occasional vice is okay, but why do something that is bad for us multiple times a week or every day?
This makes me look pretty snooty/holier than thou, right? That is definitely what I’ve been told and what has been implied when I state this opinion. And my critics are right. In my mind, I have “grown out of” these vices and act based on rationality instead of emotion. In reality, I shouldn’t judge other people for their vices. I suppose a vice is only truly bad if it negatively affects their life; it’s not like your life will fall apart if you go to happy hour every day.
It’s quite tiresome for people to explain stuff like this to me. Most people don’t like overly analytical conversations with friends, it gets taxing. And then that friend becomes a burden. Every conversation becomes a debate or an argument. And who wants that?
My family and a few friends have pointed this out to me, leading to me feeling really bad about judging, draining, and hurting people. “It’s not your fault” they’d say “you didn’t mean it.” However, I have been in the following situations in the past year:
- had to listen to someone partially deny the Holocaust and then state that “Jews run the world”
- had to listen to a doctor (who is in charge of many employees) about how he deliberately pays women less than men because he assumes the women will have kids and leave
- watched a man go up to an unconscious woman at a party and start petting her hair; she woke up completely freaked out (I was not present for this one, my sister who was at the party witnessed it and told me about it)
- watched a man stroke my sister’s leg and ask why she was single- this was about two years ago and the man is in his 60s while my sister was in her late 20s
- watched someone inhale vaporized marijuana and drink with his friends in front of his own children who are less than 10 while his pregnant wife tried to take care of the kids and unload the groceries at the same time
- had a man come up to me at a party and ask me to ditch my boyfriend to dance with him
- a family friend who literally ate through his gastric bypass surgery came to my parents house for a party and literally ate so much of our food that we had to frantically defrost extra food we had in our freezer
I think most people would take issue with the points above. I tried critiquing these people to others who witnessed these events later on in the day. It seems that in this world of neurotypicals, people keep most criticisms to themselves because pointing out the flaws in others is hurtful. We must wait for others to change themselves without our input, and even talking about it can seem “too critical”. I don’t think I’d like being criticized ALL the time, but I honestly like when people point out that I’m doing something bad or wrong. I welcome an opportunity where I can learn to not hurt someone’s feelings or make myself a better person. And yet, it is “cool” and okay to tease others based on their shortcomings via memes or mean jokes. I find this very confusing!
I would also like to point out that, throughout my life, I have been heavily critiqued. Every behavior of mine that did not fit in to the world of neurotypicals has been critiqued. Every time I wear an outfit that is just not right or I’m a little bit clumsy, I am critiqued. So I feel some hypocrisy when I am told not to critique others when it is perfectly okay to critique me.
This brings me back to my childhood conflict of whether I should be social or not. Should I go back to my days of keeping to myself, get in to a wake up, work, recreational activity, go to sleep schedule? I won’t bother anyone. Or do I take the risk, be social/make friends, and hope I don’t hurt people? This debate constantly rattles in my brain. As a child, I dreamed of living far away from everything in a small house with a dog. No one could hurt me and I couldn’t hurt anyone. No confusing social rituals, no hurting anyone; I’d just go to work, do my job, and go home. For the record, this conflict is more of a passing moment in my adult mind, but was more serious in my child mind.
Learning how to live in this world is challenging. It hasn’t gotten any easier as I’ve gotten older. I am constantly confused, and so many people act like understanding these irrational behaviors is part of life. For some people, I suppose it is. I have heard many people say they were overwhelmed with social media during and after the election. Frankly, the hysteria associated with this election, is not far off from what has gone on in my mind for many years, except the confusion and anger is directed at my own social misunderstandings and not politics. While I have never thought of taking my own life (I really value my life and the lives of others, I think suicide is one of the worst things in this world), this kind of confusion is likely one of the reasons why autistic people are much more likely to commit suicide.
I am back to seeing my old therapist because I have been so confused with some things that it has profoundly affected my day-to-day mood. I really hope I can talk some of these things through. She has been very helpful in the past so I have faith that I can come out with the tools to deal with these emotions.