Yesterday has been really special, I made a new friend Rosie and I managed to help her out with her work where she needed to interview and record me expressing my inner thoughts, history and beliefs with Aspergers Syndrome. It went very well and despite going off topic, she actually enjoyed it and needed it because it's honest and truthful and shows what I'm really like plus she said it's more footage and work for her.
Here I'm telling what it was like being recorded while helping out a new friend and telling so much about myself and beliefs which was all necessary for her work, it was like I had written up the whole lifetime so far of AsperJosh.
Back on I think it was the 5th November 2014, I received a Twitter and then Facebook message from Rosie (whom I had heard about back in my college years through some mates) and she asked for my assistance with her Brighton Uni work. She asked me if she could interview me and ask questions about "Is Autistic Spectrum Disorder awareness helped or hindered by representations on Fictional Television Programming?" she did say it's okay if I don't want to, but I happily agreed and was flattered to have been asked to participate in such an event. She had discovered me through my Blog which I'm guessing Aimy (one of my childhood friends) or somebody mentioned to her but she did like my posts and talks on Fictional Characters and asked me to be interviewed, I felt really honoured that my work and thoughts were gonna be put to excellent use.
In the back of my head, I thought it was a joke because it almost seemed too good to be true but she did prove how valuable it is and my doubts washed away and I felt very excited and was looking forward to the day it would take place.
So with patience and after the Christmas Holidays, she got back to me and confirmed when to do the interview. We organised it round her house which was surprisingly up the road (literally 2 minutes away).
The night before I went with Kurt to the cinema because I had bought us tickets to see Ex_Machina. Yeah everything was going swimmingly until the ticket guy told me that the tickets were for the film on the 21st January when the film comes out... Wa-Wa-Waaah (least we've got tickets already prepared for then). I hope I made that guys evening with my stupidity but luckily Taken 3 was available in 10 minutes so we used our Premium Cinecards to go see that instead, phew. My sister's friend Enya and her bf Pete were there too in the cinema and I came over and saw them a few times since they're really fun and nice people, the reason I came and saw them during the film is due to the awkward and annoying moment that everyone had to suffer 5 times last night... a Power Cut x5.
During around 3/4 through, the screen went black and the lights flickered and we got told that a power cut had hit Crawley. It came back on 8 minutes later but the film was turned back 10 minutes (this happened every 10-15 minutes then on and happened in the exact same order), it really took away the atmosphere and awesomness from the film. There were also 5 pricks behind us at the back who wouldn't shut up and kept on disrupting the film with annoying comments (it was so frustrating), luckily after the 4th power cut they all got up and left and this black guy next to me who was annoyed with them too secretly threw a bit of popcorn at them
Question - Could you explain to me what being an Aspie means to you, and what it means to other people?
- Aspie? Is that a word you came up with? ha ha. As a man with Aspergers or "Aspie", I know I am biologically different and act, speak and think differently. Over time I have gradually begun to understand and cope with my behaviour instead of wishing I could change myself for other people's benefits. I think depending on who it is I am talking to, some may be judgemental and some might be more understanding. That's what over the last few years and during college, I learnt who my friends are and when it's best to be myself (though I do doubt about being myself since it did cause many to leave me). As long as I am in the right company then I am more relieved and pleased. I do have positive such as a gifted memory where I can recall many events throughout my life very accurately and I like to feel organised and make routines and plans for plans because not everything always goes according to plan. I do have a few negative traits such as the lack of social skills and not being able to relax sometimes in certain atmospheres like clubs though I am beginning to warm up to it through slow experience and it's making me a more social person and I want others to see me that way instead of assuming I can't be around or enjoy myself sometimes.
Question - Do you feel that the public know about people who fall under the term Aspie or do you think they know about Autism?
- Autism in general is a huge spectrum full of many different levels of sub-categories such as Aspergers Syndrome, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Attention Deficit Disorder etc and many people can show different traits instead of just one sometimes and the higher level is unpredictable. It's like a barchart ruler to me, every few centimeters is a sub-category and it can be unknowing as to how high the level is, for example people could have traits of this, this and that and have different levels. I think if the public are willing to understand instead of just judging people like me then that's a sign that maybe a bond can be made between 2 different kinds of people who don't want to be labelled as things like "Retard" or something (it's like Chesmisty).
Question - If yes, how do you think this is presented to the public. And through what forms of media?
- Books, Films, Newspapers, Sitcomes and even Music.
A book example is The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time which is about a young teenager with Aspergers and can't be touched and how he goes on a mysterious case to find out who murdered a dog that he knew very well and this journey begins to change and affect him deeply. I read that book when I was in Secondary school. I found out a while ago that there is now a play about it in London and I intend to see it someday.
Films like Forrest Gump, Rain Man and Adam all show special stories on how men go through emotional journeys of their own and show positive and negative traits that they all have, I think through films it's easier for people to maybe understand a little before encountering the real deal because these people are actors and just act based off of their own understanding. But I do like the acting they all displayed and do agree on them being good examples as to how different they are. People sometimes make jokes and say I am like Rain Man, I smile at how silly they are and understand why they see that in me, though Lewis says it thanks to Raymond's unique memory to which I happily accept the compliment.
Newspaper wise, did you read up about that Man "Gary McKinnon who hacked into the Pentagon?" Links here and here. It was shocking and amazing how an autistic man gifted with computers was able to bypass and breach into the most secure systems on the planet. I don't see him as a threat, only a man who had high curiosity and didn't think about where it would lead him to.
One of my favourite sitcoms, The Big Bang Theory has a character called Sheldon Cooper who has severe traits of Autism and is seen as a selfish, routine based nerd who doesn't understand human emotion, does not like human contact and doesn't understand some humorous things like sarcasm. The public are shown a character so different and awkward that this isn't an act and it may be laughable but it's even better if people understand and learn to accept people like him because he can't change the way he is and neither can I for myself. I tried changing myself and not be myself towards people in the past but I felt upset and lost, so now I have learnt to be myself and don't care about what others think negatively about me because Sheldon acts normally in his own way and enjoys his life and doesn't feel restricted, he actually feels well prepared. We must also remember that he isn't the prime example, he is just one of many people on this planet who have different levels of this condition and each may come to terms, learn to accept or even live with this condition and all for the better rather than thinking it's a curse (like I used to think).
Fireflies and Vanilla Twilight along with the popular Good Time. I have no doubt that this talented and special dude has very unique lyrics which range from subjects like the sky, the environment, life, romance, objects and how blending them all together can create such poetry that I admire and take pride in singing a-long to every time a track of his comes on in my phone (even his side projects like Sky Sailing, Port Blue or Swimming With Dolphins). I even had the pleasure of seeing him live 2 years ago (though my recordings were poor quality unfortunately) but I really felt connected and I admired how he really comes through and gives off a powerful performance and shows me that he is enjoying himself for what he believes in and acts so passionate during his songs. I like to see him as an idol and show me that I too can chase and catch my future career and enjoy what you like doing as a hobby and someday get a job out of it.
I can't think of many other examples at the moment but I think the media does a good job through many varieties and it all matters on how others choose to react and understand to these people's actions.
Question - What would you say if someone were to refer to characters such as BBC Sherlock Holmes or Sheldon (The Big Bang Theory) as characters who present traits of Aspergers Syndrome?
- I can't really say for Sherlock Holmes since I haven't yet got round to watching the Benedict Cumberbatch version but I did watch the films with Robert Downey Jr. and really enjoyed and was amazed with how well this man can analyse and see crime scenes at a whole new angle and come down with powerful explanations that amaze us all. I like paying attention to detail and I do tend to over analyse things but I don't think I'd be good in this sorta area ha ha.
Sheldon Cooper is a good example because of his severe traits of autism and is seen as a selfish, routine based nerd who doesn't understand human emotion, does not like human contact and doesn't understand some humorous things like sarcasm. I do sometimes wonder if people either laugh with or at his actions/ traits because that shows who other people are. I in a way relate to some, though I don't have a spot in the house and I do like human contact and I too have begun learning sarcasm and human emotion over the last 5 years. I admire who the actor "Jim Parsons" performs so well and really pulls it off despite not even being autistic and a lot of people I know all like Sheldon despite his awkwardness and I do sympathise and understand at the same time, though sometimes it's not nice when others sympathise and think people who are like him are unfortunate, sad and unhappy when they aren't really looking close enough on how he is living his life and see's life in a different way (like me).
Question - Would you say that the characters are ambassadors for the positive promotion of AS awareness or do you think that they patronise the representation of Autism?
- A bit of both really, it all matters on who is portraying what kind of Autism and if it's to be taken seriously or as a joke. I think all the examples I have stated before are showing the positive promotion while Sheldon is a bit of both but that's down to whoever is watching it and chooses to like him or hate him for his traits that can't be helped. If we put people in a room and some are Autistic and some aren't, it all comes down to the chemistry as to if social contact can be made and if it'll be positive, neutral or negative. We can't make everyone like everyone but it'll help if they try to make an effort to understand at all and take that understanding with them in case they ever meet another person with an Autism trait but theirs no guarantee as to how severe anyone can be.
Question - Do you think that characters within popular culture or television have helped you understand and relate to your Aspergers?
- Oh yes, I do! Like in my Fictional Characters post on AsperJosh, I always see myself in hundreds of characters and it can range from a whole lot of genres and subjects such as war, romance, sci-fi, fantasy etc. Depending on the moment, the weather and how I actually feel, sometimes I can act out in my head as if I'm re-enacting moments in films and I may even alter the plots or if I was that character then I'd do something different because it's a way I would have seen it and I even imagine it being real because reality is sometimes boring and I long for excitement or see something bizarre and so I use my head or watching things to comfort that longing. Sometimes I think I'm a 50-50 person with light and darkness, for example while watching violent or war films, I would only see myself causing chaos, fighting for what I believe in or defending others and even using my own justice on others theoretically speaking because I want to cause pain because I have so much of it in my heart and memories but I know I can't go and do the unspeakable like murder because I know 100% it's wrong, but I think using films/ games/ anime and my imagination to act out things I haven't experienced (I don't even know if I ever will) but probably will only imagine since I don't see myself going out to war or even fighting things in my own head.
On a more interesting side, like the phrase "my head is in the clouds" well I always imagine being in the clouds and seeing the world from a better view can help me escape from my troubles and get a breather. Like I mentioned about Andrew in my Character post, I would use telekinesis to fly and just enjoy life but try not use that power to harm others as that leads to corruption... a path way to the dark side of the force! And another character such as Angel in X-Men: The Last Stand having wings will make me feel super special (nothing related to Angels in religion) but have similar traits to the sky being beautiful when I look up and see the airplane grid lines, catching a glorious sunrise and seeing a day end beautifully with a stunning sunset. And if I saw things from an amazing angle like when I am on a plane and look out over that blue cloudy horizon it makes me feel so high and serene.
|This picture that I sometimes use as my Facebook|
Cover photo sums up what life is like for me!
A couple times in the interview, the camera clicked and it meant the battery needed changing, one time I got round to talking randomly about some things and even using my voice impersonations of characters because a scene had popped up in my head, she even complemented on my Deadpool T-Shirt I got from Qwertee.com. I was surprised and glad to know she knew of this mad character and before I knew it, I began saying quotes that he says while trying to put on the voice, I even double-checked with her "Is the camera still rolling?" She said "Yes, and don't worry this is all unique work and it doesn't matter if you go off topic, just be yourself!". So that's why these answers and the soon to be video will be very entertaining and drag out for a while, hope you got the time, better grab a seat this could take a while.
After the interview to which I'm guessing must have been an hour or so, she turned off the camera and we took the time to chat about a few more things such as families, interests, you know taking the opportunity to socialise and know each other better since this was the first time we had met each other. I felt so calm and happy that I had participated in this and I was being honest with her and she was actually pleased and okay with the fact that I had gone off topic most of the time including in the interview (she said it helps her work and makes it look very realistic and not revised). To me, it showed me how understanding she is and what a lovely person she is too.
Catching up with Aimy since
the end of Secondary School
We got round to talking about some personal things and beliefs that I don't think I could have added to the footage such as my awkward view on girls/ relationships and what my first relationship might be like along with also mentioning my Crohn's Disease and work life.
Later on it was time for me to take off. I was glad to know as well as ask the ridiculous questions such as "May I take a picture with you for a memory?", "Can I use your finished footage once it's done for AsperJosh" and "I hope to see you again someime". She happily complied with everything and said Of course we can ahng out sometime with Aimy and Ant over a drink sometime. I was relieved to know for laughs that this wasn't just a service thing and then go ha ha.
So yesterday has been eventful and productive, it's really nice isn't it when you help out others and sometimes you go through such a experience that you come out almost a changed person or feel more relieved and at peace with things. I look forward to when the video can be uploaded and to when I can next hang out with Rosie and Aimy again sometime! I hope she get's the top mark/ score for her work!
Stay tuned for Wednesday's AsperJosh Anniversary!!!