Today, I am proud to present another guest entry, this time by Steve Philips. Steve is a consistent member of my Empower Autism Now groups in Southern California, and also a good friend. He plays bass guitar for a band and also has a YouTube channel for his music and to discuss Asperger's Syndrome.
Hi, my name is Steve and I just recently learned that I am on the autism spectrum about a year ago. I met Arman and Chris, whose stories are also on this blog, through meetup.com and have been an active member of Empower Autism Now for a few months now and we've all become very good friends.
Being part of the group has been great for meeting people who share similar life experiences like being misunderstood in many situations by the way we might behave. Such as awkward body language, voice tone and face expressions. Sometimes I may not express those emotions at the proper time or not at all. I recall one incident where someone thought I was giving them a dirty look and this person tried to start a fight with me! What was crazy about that is that I am someone who does not go around making trouble with people to begin with. There was another time when I was driving on the freeway, I had the passenger of another car reach out of his car window and start yelling at me out of the blue. 80 percent of the time I am not even aware that I am making such faces however I do have to be careful about these things and watch my behavior. Overall as far as far as not showing proper emotion, I literally have to think about these things where as with most neurotypical people, these things are more instinctual and natural.
As far as making friends, I do relate to some of what Arman said on his post. However, I do have a history of making friends and then totally disappearing on them. Sometimes I'd rather be by myself and recluse to my narrow focus, which is music. I am also an accomplished jazz R&B funk bass guitarist and music is something that can be an obsession for me. But has far as making friends and keeping them, I have been making more of an effort to keep in touch with them. Solitude can be an addiction but is something to overcome. I also have had some little successes in some social situations but reading people's nonverbal cues and knowing when it's my turn to speak can be very difficult for people like us. More specifically, if someone has a certain look on their face, I might interpret it very technically and not get the emotion of what's in the look on their face. Unfortunately these things can make me look very oblivious. The bottom line however is that an Aspie should not wallow in self-pity. Yes, everybody has problems in life but it's just that our problems are just very unique. The best thing to do is to just let things go and just try to keep a positive attitude.