Thoughts and illustrations on living with Asperger's Syndrome.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dude, It’s a T-Shirt!

Hey! Your favorite Aspie cartoon is now a T-shirt!

Are you an Aspie and proud of it? Now, you can shout it out loud, with your “Dude, I’m An Aspie” T-shirt.

What better way to show off your Aspie pride than with a Fuzzy cartoon from “Dude, I’m An Aspie?”

Choose from two designs:

“Take Me To Your Leader”

“I’m Not Weird, I’m Just Wired Differently!”
“Dude, I’m An Aspie,” is a fun and to-the-point way to say, “This is who I am!” Use it to start a conversation, make a fashion statement, or just to get a smile. Plus, you can show your support for, and its message of understanding for those on the autism spectrum.

With either design, you can choose from a variety of styles and colors to customize your own shirt.
  • Get a value T-shirt for only $15.85!
  • Go stylish with a baseball 3/4 sleeve raglan for $22.20!
  • A super-comfy Basic American Apparel shirt is yours for $26.45!
or one of the many other styles offered by Zazzle!

Don’t you wish it were as simple as wearing a shirt to explain your quirks? Well, this is the closest thing to it!

I already own two of these shirts myself, and I can tell you, they really look awesome. It's because of fans like you that my cartoons have the following that they do, and it's because of you that I've decided to put them on a shirt. So thank you for your support, and for helping me celebrate the launch of the "Dude, I'm An Aspie" store!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spectrum Soundtrack: Hello In There

John Prine didn’t write “Hello in There” about autism. He wrote it about the elderly - the overlooked, the ignored, the invisible. I am 35 years old. I am not old, and I don’t know how old feels. I shouldn’t understand the harsh truths in this song. But I do understand. I am autistic, and I know how “in there” feels.

Who I am “in there,” doesn’t always make it “out there.” It’s not that I want to stay “in there.” It’s more like the real me gets lost between “in” and “out.”

I get lots of “hello’s.” Hello’s as we pass every morning. Hello’s across the lunch table over pizza. Hello’s that start conversations about Egypt, or movies, or pet goldfish. These are hello’s “out there.” With these hello’s, you may think you know me, but you really only know pieces of me.

Do you know the difference between my polite laugh and my genuine, heartfelt laugh? Do you know what my eyes are saying that my mouth never will? Do you know my hopes or dreams, or anything about me that matters?

If you’re a neurotypical, you’re a natural connector. You find someone, or many someones, to share what’s “in there.” I don’t connect so easily. My desire to socialize switches on and off like the weather. I find it a mystery how to move from small talk to meaningful. Times when I want attention, no one is really listening. Other times, I have someone’s undivided interest, but my mouth can’t find the right words, before that brief window between us closes. Sometimes, even between friends, our closeness remains a chasm. Missed connections, over and over.

I know there are many of us, starved to relate, to belong. Many, who go without. When we fail to connect, we lose so much.

No, it’s not like being without food or water. Yes, we function. We should not be satisfied with functioning. The goal is not a functioning life, but a fulfilling life. Can I fully thrive when the part of me that matters the most, that makes me human and not just a character, remains unknown, and unshared?

We all have a need to be understood. We all have a need to be seen for who we are. When you’re old, or disabled, or otherwise different from the norm, that need can go unmet. We sense fear, ignorance, or ambivalence in others. Even if it’s only subconscious, we sense it, and it puts more distance between us. What’s “in there,” what’s real, stays inside. We save it until we feel safe to share. We wait…

Waiting for someone to say, "Hello in there, hello."

So what is the right “hello in there?” I think it’s a little like being in a hamster ball. If you push too hard, you might push me away. If you don’t push hard enough, it won’t go anywhere. The right “hello” is a push that’s just right. I am autistic, and I have much to share, if you are truly listening.

So if you're walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow [autistic] eyes,
Please don't just pass 'em by and stare
As if you didn't care. Say, "Hello in there, hello.”