Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On Talking Normally, Talking Like A Human, And Talking To Boys

I tend to feel left out a lot in social situations, especially since I can't integrate myself into groups very well. It's very difficult to do in person, especially with my lacking social skills. I try to talk to people, but since I don't talk normally, it ends up being very off-putting and isolating. Here are some of the things I have problems with:
  • Not sounding condescending. Because I'm hyperlexic, I use a lot of big words in my speech. To me, it's normal: I just love big words. I've been reading since I was 2 1/2 years old. To other people, I sound like an Ivory Tower academic. That's not the kind of person people want to be around. I sound like I think I'm better than them, and although I don't actually think that, it makes them feel like I'm a snob and don't like them or that I'd be taking myself down socially just to associate with them. It hurts. I genuinely want to be friends with them.
  • Not sounding like a robot. I talk like a computer sometimes, especially since I'm so stiff. I have a tendency towards spouting off information whether it's relevant or not: as soon as I think of it, I say it, which really annoys people who don't actually care. (The one place this is useful: my knowledge of random baseball statistics, which are actually a good thing to be able to spout off in the sportswriting world.) I'm not very good at toning myself down with the random information, which also alienates me.
  • Boys. I'm really intimidated by them for some reason, probably because I know they have the power to accept or reject me in a very different kind of love than family or friends give me. So when I'm talking to one I find cute, I get really shy and fail even more at making eye contact than usual. I'd love to connect to one and fall in love and get married someday, but this is really, really hard for someone like me because I struggle so badly with putting myself out there. I'm too shy to open up in non-baseball settings. I can talk to boys about baseball - and I do, as it's part of my job writing for Aerys Sports. But when it comes to everyday life, I'm crippled, and it's hard for me to open up. So whilst boys can and will fall in love with all of you, they won't fall for me. This isn't the case for most girls, Asperger's or not: you're quirky and beautiful and lovable, and as long as you let them see that, you're golden. But I was made fun of so badly as a kid that I'm afraid to open up now because I'm afraid that it could easily happen to me again, so I'm very closed off.
As you can see, I clearly face a lot of social challenges. The internet minimizes these for me by making it easier for me to talk to all of you, especially since I get to write instead of speak and I can write a lot better than I can talk. But I want to be able to survive in real life, and I feel like no matter how hard I work on my social skills these three things never get any better. I know they're part of what makes me who I am, but they're also things that make it harder for me to develop friendships and other kinds of relationships (I'm 22 and I've never been on a date, let alone held a boy's hand). I mentally struggle with this a lot, and it's hard for me to pick myself up sometimes.

But then I remember that I'm unique and special and there are people in my life who appreciate me for who I am, and it makes me feel better. Hopefully, there are other people out there like that, too.