Aphorism: “a pithy observation that contains a general truth,” such as “birds of a feather flock together.” Synonyms: saying, maxim, axiom, adage, epigram
By Claudia Casser
This is the first in a series of posts collecting personal observations encapsulating strongly-felt “truths” that I now believe are not neurotypical (“NT”). These aphorisms are not presented as “ultimate” truths for all persons on the spectrum (“Spectrics”) who function “independently” in an NT world. Nor are all of them even the most truthful truth I currently perceive. But they resonate with me and, hopefully, will help articulate and illuminate Spectric experience for you.
#1 (The first I ever wrote. I made a poster for my dorm wall at Yale, forty years before I was diagnosed.) EVERYONE MUST BE FACED, BUT NO ONE CAN BE TURNED TO.
#2 I wish my school had offered “neurotypical as a second language.”
#3 For Spectrics, “truth-telling” means precisely to report all the facts one perceives to be pertinent or useful to a given inquiry, without considering the reaction of the person inquiring. No wonder we are perceived as pedantic, insensitive boors.
#4 My curse is not that I fail to enjoy your company; it is that keeping company with you saps my strength.
#5 If codependency is all about being unauthentic, changing one’s representation and presentation of oneself to win the love/respect of others, and is considered “bad” when NTs act that way, why do NTs always badger Spectrics to so act?
#6 My biggest disappointment has been the unreliability of others. Now I realize that it frees me to be unreliable, as well. (Why aren’t I happy with what must be counted as at least a partial win?)
#7 On hypocrisy: I’d be more accepting of the concept and practice of “tact” if NTs would just admit that it is lying.
#8 Living with NTs is like living with date rapists. Date rapists believe “no” means “yes.” NTs believe “go away” means “come closer.”
#9 When feeling an emotion, our first impulse is to share it. Hence we should all try to make each other feel happy, even if only in self-defense.
#10 You do not help me when you condemn consideration of suicide, you only force me to conceal my thoughts. This deprives you of the opportunity to persuade me of alternatives.
#11 Nietzsche wrote that “the thought of suicide is a great consolation; it helps us get through many a dark night.” Personally, I find thoughts of an extinction-level asteroid strike even more comforting: then one need not worry about the people left behind.
#12 Aspies are both credulous and analytical. The first makes them suck up to authority figures until the second proves the authorities are hypocrites.
#13 Individuals are stronger when they cooperate in groups. Spectrics are especially disadvantaged because we don’t like to join groups.
#14 The more breaks in my routine, the less productive I become, until I despair. What must I do to defend my routines? Melt-down!
#15 On perfectionism: Absolute accuracy is the most comfortable place to be, however challenging in everyday practice.
#16 Spectric are as emotionally needy as anyone else, but we are cactus, not water-lilies. Crowd us, deluge us with attention, and we drown.
#17 However much my intellect insists on radical agnosticism, my emotions insist on absolute truths. Bummer squared.
#18 Never tell an Aspie to be more truthful.
Claudia Casser (firstname.lastname@example.org), a graduate of Harvard Law School, worked as an antitrust litigator and a corporate in-house counsel before retiring to write and raise her children. Claudia’s 2016 semi-comic coming of age novel, “No Child Left Behind,” celebrates neurodiversity. Visit her website at www.ethicalantics.com, and buy her novel on Amazon.