Monday, May 26, 2008

That Strange Love Stuff

Ok. So I have Aspergers. So what.

The funny thing about (now) knowing that the way I think, is coming across what "other people" have to say about it. For instance...

I frequently come across "experts" who say that people with autism (that includes Aspergers, of course) don't have emotions. Or they don't feel them the same way others do. That simply isn't true. Those who have Aspergers do have emotions. Lots of them! In fact, so many that our emotions can be individually defined in ways that others might not think of. What is different is our response to emotions. The emotions, themselves, exist in the way they exist in neuro-typicals (NT). But those of us with Aspergers (AS) think of our emotions differently. Here's an example...

I was participating in an interview recently about love. The question was posed to me, "Do you frequently have feelings of hate for the one you love?" (Paraphrasing.) My response? "No, it's always love. Sometimes I get very mad, but it's because of love, not hate. If I didn't love him, I'd have feelings of indifference, not anger." That seemed logical to me. I am still perplexed as to why my answer seemed to come as any kind of surprise to my benevolent interviewer.

So as a person with AS, I can confidently say that yes, I have emotions. It's the NT response to them which is confusing, really. Consider love. A very interesting concept, that strange love stuff.

Love is the one thing in this world that there is the most abundance of. It can be found, bought, cultivated, designed, improved upon, grown, changed, and made. And unlike other things, which are prized for their exclusivity, the relationship of supply and demand does not apply to love. Even with the copious abundance of love, the demand for it is still higher than anything else on earth.

Interestingly enough, one would think that having such a treasure is like hitting lotto. But it's not. It's almost not even practical! It causes sickness, blindness, narrow-sightedness, and temporary insanity, combined with memory loss. Add to that hair loss, heart palps, dizziness, withdrawal symptoms... And in circumstances where the ones who love us don't care for the one we love, it also causes hearing loss. It makes us stay in bed all day, and stay up all night. What a terrible thing, this "love"! But with all this malaise, we can't seem to be able to live without it. And when we have it, we can't get enough of it. Am I the only one who finds this strange?

It turns accountants into poets, turns old women into vixens, men into dogs, children into adults, the weakened into criminals, and parents into teenagers again. The word is a noun and a verb, and describes an element between man and woman, parent and child, strangers, teachers and students, and abstract concepts as a whole. The concept of love is one which is so loosely defined, and yet we personify it to the point of its manifestation in imbued nature elements. The moon, the stars, the sun and the grass... And it is also the ultimate description of God Himself. God is Love. And yet even wars have been fought in the name of love. (So I hear...) This is some crazy stuff, this love. Very strange, indeed. And yet, I am one of the many who see it as the Quixotic: Good Life Made Even Better.

Perhaps "love" is not described best by how we feel, what we say and certainly not what we do. It's can't be defined what we think, how it's contained, used, and/or whether or not it is recycled or thrown into a heap of trash. Perhaps "love" can be described as Joining Together. It is only when we join two things that love can exist in the first place. "What about 'self love'?" You must consider that even self love is joining together. It is the joining of one's belief and his/her desire to be loved. No, there must be 2 elements, concrete or not, for there to be love.

So I will repeat: Just because one has Aspergers does not mean s/he does not have or feel emotions. It does not even mean that they do not feel their emotions the same way. Perhaps my Aspergers affords me the ability of clarity of thought, the ability to see my world through not rose colored glasses, but instead through Panoptic Spectacles.

(Pun intended.)

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