Sunday, March 21, 2010

Answers to the Readers' Questions

As I promised, to celebrate my blog's anniversary, I will answer the questions my readers sent in to me. To my surprise, I have received a lot more question that I expected to get. So I will start answering them little by little because if I leave them all until April 1st, that day will not be a day of celebration as much as a day of backbreaking labor.

There is still time to send in your questions. Of course, I will only answer those questions that are formulated in a respectful, reasonable manner. Feel free to leave them in the comments section of this post, or send them by e-mail to

I can subdivide the questions into several groups.

I. Asperger's. Before I proceed to answer, I have to reiterate that Im no specialist on the issue. Asperger's manifests differently in different people. All I can offer is my own opinion on what is more or less likely to work.

Question: How do you break up with a boyfriend/girlfriend who has Asperger's? The main thing I would recommend is being direct. Many autistics have trouble deciphering non-verbal clues. If you wait for your partner to "get the message" from hints, your body language, and some non-verbal clues, this might not work. Try telling them directly and honestly what you want. Beating around the bush with the goal of not hurting your partner's feelings will ultimately result in being a lot more hurtful.

Question: How did you feel when you discovered you had Asperger's? The answer is: happy. Now that I know what it is and how it works, I don't have to beat myself up for being "weird." I feel completely entitled to be who I am and enjoy it. The need to apologize for it has disappeared. Also, it has been great to find people who have similar traits. And now I know where to look for them. :-)

Question: Is Asperger's a disability? I don't like these labels and don't find them useful. This way of being enables me to do many things other people can't and prevents me from doing some things other people can. If that's a disability, then pretty much any way of existence is.

Question: I think that for all your laudable attempts to put a positive spin on Asperger's, you are just trying to put on a brave face. As an autistic myself, I will be honest enough to confess that it is a crippling condition and I would definitely want to be cured. Not a question, just an observation. With the reader's permission, I will still respond to this statement. As I said, everybody manifests differently and everybody experiences autism differently. Since no "cure" exists (and in opinion never will), it makes sense to explore all sides of your way of being. Your negative perception of your autism might be due to the fact that you cannot do things that other people perceive as normal. Are you really "crippled" in your own eyes? Or are you looking at yourself and your existence through the eyes of some normative neurotypicality?

II. Blogging.

Question: Which are your favorite blogs? I have quite a few blogs in my blogroll but for the most part I just scan through their post titles without visiting them all that often. Here are the blogs that I do visit, comment on and read faithfully: - This is a very well-written and fun blog by my colleague from Nigeria. It also has some really cool photos on a regular basis. - This blog always has fascinating discussion on individual rights, reason, history, and Jewish identity. - This blog always offers a very original (and sarcastic, which I love) take on all kinds of issues.

Question: I have been trying to discover some pattern to your blogging (just to know when the posts were more likely to appear) but no luck so far. Is there a pattern and what is it if yes. Have you tried taking the Aspie quiz, my friend? :-) Looking for patterns in everything makes you likely to be one of us. :-) I'm not sure there is a pattern. On weekdays, I tend to write in the mornings because I have a couple of hours between arriving at work and the time when I teach.


Kola Tubosun said...

Thank you for my blog recommendation. :) I'll check out the other blogs too.

I also like your response to calling Asperger's a crippling condition, because I know that for the most part, "normalcy" is not what other people define for us, but what we define for ourselves. I don't find you abnormal at all, and if you hadn't written that you are an Aspie, I won't have known, nor would I conclude from your thoughts, writing or behaviour that you were strange - because you're not.

I don't know how it affects performance, but from my interaction with you and your students, I know for sure that you are not crippled in any way. That, I think, is what every autistic person should know, especially since they are also known to be exceptionally more brilliant than we "normal" folks. This, again, brings to question the definition of "normal" :)

Clarissa said...

Thank you, Kola.

As to normalcy, I remember that the most pleasing, touching and gratifying Birthday greeting was the one I once received from my sister. It said: "You are the most unusual person I know." :-)

To hell with normalcy and long live weirdness. :-) :-)

Izgad said...

Thank you for mentioning me.

In terms of breaking up with an Asperger, as an Asperger who has been broken up with numerous times I would like to add in about the importance of open conversation. My experience has often been that I will be in relationships that seem to be going well only to find myself dumped and all contact cut off. I understand why someone would not want to marry me or be in any sort of relationship with me. I am not an easy person to deal with so I do not take this personally. What I would like is to be able to go through a play by play with the person so I can understand what went wrong. Above all I seek to avoid hurting anyone and wish to apologize whenever I have done something wrong. Since I do not read body language very well the only thing that means anything to me are direct verbal explanations. Unfortunately most of the women in my life have not been willing to grant me this favor, because it does not fit into the neurotypical model of relationships.

Clarissa said...

"I understand why someone would not want to marry me or be in any sort of relationship with me. I am not an easy person to deal with so I do not take this personally."

-At the same time, we have many good "selling" points that make us perfect partners for many people. We have our own interests and pursuits and do not require tons of maintenance, we are honest, and often extremely faithful.

I hope, Izgad, that you will meet a person deserving of your love and understanding of your way of being. That is definitely possible.

Anonymous said...

Question: how come you only linked to blogs writen by MEN? and what does this say about you as a feminist?

Anonymous said...

If an Asperger boyfriend dumps you, will he at least miss you?

Izgad said...

There is a girl that I dumped that I still miss. I liked the person, had the greatest respect for her, wanted things to work, but recognized that they were not. She was fun to talk to and I miss that.

By being willing to recommend male bloggers, Clarissa shows what an open minded feminist she is. :P

Anonymous said...

So how is the troll doing? :-) :-) :-)