Friday, June 15, 2012
Oh, Affect...Why are You So Revealing?
The other day, Marcy was out and about doing something social. ((eep!)) I was at home, doing my own thing. We were texting here and there, and I thought it would be fun to send her a photo, so I started trying to take a picture of myself with my phone.
At first, I was like, "WhAT!?" Then I kept upping the "pleasant" quotient each time I snapped.
Or at least I thought so.
Every photo was the same, no matter what I though about, no matter the face I thought I was presenting.
I finally gave up.
Every photo looked a bit like the one above...though truth be told, I took a bunch before I came to this one that I thought was representative without being totally, embarrassingly, beyond acceptably revealing.
This photo, I look a little blank.
In the others, I looked a lot grouchier.
Even when I was trying to think about happy things, trying to LOOK happy.
Here's something funny: I know I have the capacity to create affect. I went to college as a theatre major, for goodness sake, and I am a gifted actor.
When I teach, I use this acting ability and it's something people definitely respond to.
I turn it ON.
Then it just turns OFF, apparently.
When I am not "on stage," my face is a blank slate.
A couple of things: Firstly, girls with Asperger's are often invisible, because as females, we are better at mimicking acceptable social behavior. This is obviously a case of that to the extreme. I learned to mimic but only for the stage, only for a purpose.
Which is funny, because a basic aspect of my Asperger's is that ALL THINGS MUST SERVE A PURPOSE.
Secondly, whenever I was first learning about my brain and I would come to the parts about autistics having less affect, I would think, "OH! THAT is ONE thing I do NOT present with!"
BIG GIANT HA!
Thirdly, I think back to my younger life and how many times I would get so PISSED off, because people were always telling me I should smile more.
The young feminist in me would rant about women being expected to be PLEASANT all the time, and my face is none of your damn business (both of these points happen to also be correct...).
BUT...I see now what some of those people were talking about.
My blank could easily be mistaken for not just grouchy but downright SAD.
Which I'm not anymore.
I'm rather happy, actually.
But as Marcy would say, I am also a Very Serious Animal, and that is okay.