Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year


Well yet another year has begun. I will be 25 this year. Scary.

Yet in a way I feel my life is escaping me. I'm not getting any younger, and by the end of this year I'll be halfway through my twenties, on the way to the dreaded 30.

I celebrate my 2-year anniversary of working at Stater Bros. on January 17th. These last two years have simply flown by. I miss them in a way. Never before in my life has time gone by so quickly for me. And what do I have to show for it? Aside from finally getting actually close to the 2-year mark with a job for the first time ever and an A.A. degree, not much that seems of consequence. I have finally gotten to university after 5 years in junior college and seem to have some purpose to my studies. But not much else.

I am 24 and I still haven't been able to get my Asperger's diagnosed, I've never dated (I've never even kissed a boy), I haven't gone to a party (aside from Asperger group parties) for who knows how long, I haven't progressed past an entry-level job, I don't have a driver's license (or a car, for that matter), my spiritual life doesn't seem to have matured much at all even though I've been a Christian for 17 years, I haven't determined my career even though I have finally picked a major, and I barely have any real friends -- settling for acquaintances in my various life spheres - work, school, spiritual, and my personal life - and compartmentalizing them, not inviting friends to my house (i.e., my personal life), to church (i.e., my spiritual life), or anywhere else outside the sphere in which I regularly interact with them. My friendships in my personal life consist of my almost sisterlike best friend Amy, my family, the other people in the Asperger's meetup group I'm a part of, and a handful of "online-only" friends from YouTube, Facebook, and forums.

My life seems senseless, compartmentalized to a "t" but yet not organized, and very much not fulfilling. In essence, I feel my life is so far deviant of "normal" -- not deviant enough to mean crime or other such deviant behavior, but deviant nonetheless -- that it seems wrong.

All my life I have sensed I was not "normal." No one specifically said "You are not normal." I just felt it. If I was normal, I thought to myself, I'd have more friends. To be sure, I had been told (and believed) that I had borderline cerebral palsy, the condition the then Asperger's-ignorant doctors slapped me with. My lack of coordination and poor handwriting (bettered by therapy) came as a result of this. I spent parts of my third and sixth grade years in physical therapy, with occupational therapy also the first time around (3rd grade).

Yet I knew I was intelligent - another difference! - and (as I know now) probably more intelligent than most people with any form of cerebral palsy. Plus I could walk and talk normally, unlike the typical CP sufferer. I scored Post High School in the Reading categories of the Stanford Achievement Test - a standardized test students at my school took every year from kindergarten through 10th grade - even in elementary school, and scored rather well in everything else except for math. In fourth grade (or was it fifth? I forget) I was part of a program for "gifted" students (not GATE or any of those other public school programs, but something supposedly similar). My mother, who had then gone back to school since she didn't go to college before she married, did an oral report on cerebral palsy using me and my achievements as an example.

When my mother began intensive study for her psychology degree, she came across Asperger's Syndrome, which was not discovered until the early 1990's when the papers of a certain German scientist, Hans Asperger, from the 1940's were finally translated. (Autism had already been widely known since the '60's or so). Reading about the symptoms and other such information then available on the condition, my mother began to suspect that I had been misdiagnosed at birth and that I in fact did have Asperger's. She mentioned it to me and gave me stuff to read on it, which I did (as best as I could understand). Since then, I have begun to see that the symptoms of Asperger's - difficulties in social interaction coupled with motor skill difficulties, along with very restricted interests, repetitive behavior, and some speech issues - explain to a degree the things about myself I have considered eccentric or un-normal in the past. Though Asperger's is considered an autism spectrum disorder, people with it are less socially withdrawn than those with regular (or "classic") autism, and can generally speak fine, while a good portion of those with "classic" autism do not speak (although they do not lack the physical and mental capacity to do so, they simply don't talk).

I can see the Asperger's symptoms in my life - though they may not be obvious to others - but I can not be sure until I get a medical diagnosis, and this is difficult to do with adults as diagnosis is generally made these days in childhood. Plus, guys get the disorder more often than girls (which explains the guy/girl ratio in my Asperger's group), and -- according to a report a group in my bio class this semester did on autism -- autism itself is harder to diagnose in girls because girls tend to be able to adapt their behavior easier than boys, imitating "normal" behavior they see in others. Thus, girls may seem totally normal and have their issues go unchecked, whereas boys's issues will be spotted early.

I was speaking with Adam yesterday (a guy who is in my Asperger's group and also works at the same Stater Bros. I do) and we ended up talking about the condition. He seemed surprised that I had not yet been diagnosed, since he was diagnosed in high school (he's younger than me). I reminded him I was born in 1984, before the 1990's discovery of Asperger's. I told him that my parents had tried to find someone who could diagnose me, to no avail, and that I had no clue how to find someone myself who could do it. There are people who could do it, but they are up in Orange County (an hour or so north of the part of CA where I live). He said he had been diagnosed and hadn't had to go up there. I didn't have the energy to argue the point much further (I had woken up rather tired and was still pretty tired when I got to work).

Aside from my conflict about my personality and my Asperger's, I have career doubts these days. Since I was young, I have loved stories. I loved to use my imagination and make up stories and complicated "imaginary lives" for myself, like in elementary school where I made up the WTT (some obscure group I was a part of that I think was a drama or dancing school) and a long list of imaginary kids I would babysit on certain days of the week (I scheduled it out too). Since around age 11, when I began writing seriously (I had written things before then, but at that time I began to consider it as a possible career), I began imagining a life of fame as a writer, a singer, an actress, or combinations of the three. I invented a pen/stage name for myself - Rosamond Bennett - since I found my own name boring for a writer's or singer's name. I would make up things about bands I was in - including one that broke up over financial worries and personal differences - and books I'd written or films and TV shows I'd been in (usually based on my own books, or with screenplays written by me).

When it comes to actually writing stories down though, I have had difficulty. I have felt compelled to write "Christian" books, since I believed that is what would honor God - but my two obvious attempts at "preachy" works, a short novel about a guardian angel visiting her charge and a novel called Dear Meg based a great deal on a teen missions pamphlet, ended up being works I didn't much care for later on and having manuscripts that were later lost to time. Trying to put Christian messages into not-obviously-preachy works have not totally satisfied me either. My first attempt at a mystery - a novel called The Chess Master - seemed fine but met heavy criticism at the hand of my friend Tammy. Plus, it seemed too derivative of the main mysteries I was familiar with - the works of Agatha Christie.

I have since tried my hand at both fantasy and sci-fi. One project of mine were two scripts for a futuristic superhero comic called Lightning Girl and its highly-based-on-Norse-Ragnarok sequel, Lightning Girl 2: Chaos of the Light and the Dark. These seemed fine, but I forgot that I lack visual art ability of any noticeable caliber. Thus it would be hard to do a comic. So I unsuccessfully tried to turn it into a novel, and realized quickly why superhero stories don't usually come out in novel form. Then I realized there would be no possible way to sell the story to a Christian market due to the Bible's negative views on magic. This has kept me unsettled about the Lightning Girl story for some time. Finally, after having been tormented about the issue for a while, I drastically shredded everything I had on the Lightning Girl story (see this post).

All that remain of my most recent writing works are an unfinished novel called Us Against the World, an unfinished fantasy novel based on Walden (the fantasy world I created) called The Elven Princess, plans for two other novels semi-related to Us Against the World, and a Code Lyoko fanfic called "William's Escape." Plus I am assisting Amy in coming up with a manga story to possibly submit to Tokyopop's big "new talent" search known as Rising Stars of Manga. I also have fished a lot of my old poetry and such out of an old computer folder I backed up on a CD-R, have a short story of mine that got published in the 2003 edition of the Anthology of Short Stories by Young Americans, and have some other writing (including a long, sort of nonsense song) that resides in my "Works-in-Progress" file folder in my file cabinet.

I would like to make a sort of author website to feature my work and hopefully promote myself. I was just reading some essays on this today on this guy's website, and it seems complicated. Plus I have to figure out who to go with to buy a domain name, since having a domain (especially a .com one) would help make my site easier to find and also promote more traffic than the abysmal numbers my previous websites have gotten. I have been planning to make it since the beginning of the school semester, devoting a notebook in OneNote to website-planning purposes.
The one guy's website said you can mention your other interests - not just your written works - on an author website, that that is ok. I was surprised at this statement. I had been planning to focus my site just on my writing, since I figured that was the thing to do. I was struggling to come up with sites to devote to my non-writing interests. Like a typical Asperger's person, I love to find out tons of info on specific topics, mainly minor details (see this Wikipedia summary for an idea of what I mean). So it's proven difficult for me to make websites that wouldn't end up being huge sprawling creatures. So far, plans for expanding my site Misty's Piscine (devoted to Misty from Pokemon and her--and my--favorite type of Pokemon, water-types) have gone well though -- probably because the basic site is already made and just needs updating in its info mostly, though I'd like to develop it a good deal. It's probably gone as well as my past site Ayeka's Palace (a fairly simple shrine to Ayeka of Tenchi Muyo which had some basic info, pictures, and a couple AyekaxTenchi fanfics of mine). I also once had a fairly decent "shrine" (a name usually used in internet-friendly fandoms for sites devoted to a certain specific topic within a larger topic, like a certain character in a series or a certain "ship," the two most common shrine topics) devoted to Sailor Mercury called Liquid Mercury, though I can't for the life of me remember the content I had on it.

I will have to re-read that guy's essays slowly - maybe once I get my laptop back from the place it's being fixed at and have some measure of privacy. Then maybe I can decide how to structure the site.

That's all I can think of to say right now. Bye.

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