“Are You Autistic Or Something?”

Posted: October 28, 2012 in Living and Life, Reflections
Tags: ,

That was the question I was posed last week. I was telling a guy about some of the stuff I’d published and some of the stuff that will be published and some of the stuff I hope will be published in the coming months. As I told him, I could just see the awe on his face growing, which made me happy because it meant I might have a new reader to be interested in my work, and what writer doesn’t like people to read his work?

And then the guy asks me, “Are you autistic or something?” Yes, he said that to me.

Now, I do have what’s called Pervasive Developmental Disabilities Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS for short), which is a type of disorder where an individual has some of the markers of autism or Asperger Syndrome but not enough to qualify for either of them, and I don’t mind sharing that with people if the subject comes up. And I did tell this guy that, but I was a little taken aback. I mean come on, who asks that?

When I asked him why he asked me, he said, “You’re just doing so amazing things. You just got to have something.”

So apparently he subscribes to the idea that all great artists either have a condition or a trauma. There is some evidence to support that theory: Stephen King saw his friend run over by a train; van Gogh was mentally ill; Sylvia Plath was bipolar; and Anne Rice lost her father to illness. But not all artists are traumatized or have some mental or social problem. My high school art teacher, who is also a good friend and will be doing the cover to Reborn City, has no traumas or disorders, at least as far as I know, and she’s well-known as an artist and jewelry-maker in Columbus. And Lady Gaga may be a little strange, but not because of anything in her past or brain chemistry.

Amd look at me! I may have both a childhood trauma and a condition, but I don’t let them define me, or attribute them as the sole reasons why I write or write as well as I do. Maybe they help, but so does a lot of other factors, especially experience and hard work!

Well, I ended that conversation as soon as possible and left. I didn’t want him asking any other strange questions to me. It made me wonder though: are other people going to ask that question to me? Has anyone else ever been posed that question? For both, I hope not!

If you have any thoughts, please tell me. I’d love your opinion.

  1. Huh… they could have rephrased that in a much nicer way, but I’m guessing they thought it was a compliment… or something!

  2. […] in late 2012, I published a post about a guy who asked me point blank if I was autistic. It was a pretty irking episode for me, and I stewed over it for about a week before I posted about […]

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