Tag Archives: Autism

Oasis

Oasis

A sanctuary is a place you can escape to, to catch your breath and remember who you are. Write about the place you go to when everything is a bit too much.

There’s a world, where I can go to and tell my secrets to

I like the above line a lot, the song was the first thing I thought of when I saw this prompt.

There’s no place in the real world this is true of, I can’t say I retreat to my room because the truth is I spend almost all of my time there. It’s more of a prison really than a safe place to escape to.

My alternate universes are the places I go to. Alternate Deutschland with Beethoven or Grieg as a soundtrack.

It’s not the specific location that’s important, nor the specific people really. I mean now it’s Jogi and Hansi, but it could equally be any other German. Which German it actually is, is of little importance. The point is they all fulfil the same role, they provide what real life people cannot. A place where more German than English is spoken, where I can feel accepted and not have to worry about such stuff. A place where I can let people help me when I need them to and not be mad at them for doing so. Where people know what the right thing to do is, where I don’t always have to spell everything out to them.  A place where I don’t feel the need to prove that I’m the smartest person in the room because I feel so inferior socially.

The second thing I thought of was a line from Agents of SHIELD, “the Clairvoyant does not like to be touched.” I like it because of the sinister way it’s said, but it actually means something here too. It’s what I say in real life when people get too close to me. As a rule I don’t let people hug me or anything like that, it’s not because I don’t like such things. I can’t really explain it, I don’t know if it’s because such things are too overwhelming or what. Even if it is just in my imagination, it’s nice to think of a place where I can allow other people to comfort me in some way.

Be the Change

Be the Change

What change, big or small, would you like your blog to make in the world?

To play some part in educating people about autism, to challenge the preconceptions and stereotypes that people can have about it. To show that we too are individuals who have our own likes and dislikes and personality traits. And most importantly to show that different does not mean inferior.

A new year?

Today is the first day of a new year and it feels no different to yesterday. The only difference is that where my Quentin Tarantino calendar was there is now a huge Die Mannschaft one, the picture for January is the team celebrating after the Argentina match. The one other indicator that it’s the New Year is that there’s no post, it’s weird, the middle of the week and no mail. Plus I’m expecting quite a good few packages in the mail, some which I cannot wait to get my hands on, so it’s frustrating on that count as well.

At the beginning of each and every year, it’s impossible not to think the same thing, where did all that time go? When you look at the months ahead, it seems like such a long time but it’s always gone before you know it. You always feel like you should have got more done and read more books. And spent less time watching things you’ve already seen. That’s sort of taken care of itself, for whatever reason I’m less interested in watching TV at the moment. I’m not going to bother analysing the possible reasons, I’m just going to accept it and treat it like a gift, and hopefully the time can be put to better use and not solely spent playing Playstation.

Another thing I can’t stop thinking about is how I sometimes wish I could go back in time and relive certain events, not to do anything differently, just because I’d like to experience those things again. Like seeing Rush at the cinema or Django Unchained.

I normally don’t do anything to celebrate, nor do I watch any of the stuff on TV, I treat it like just another day. I made one exception to that this time around; I celebrated the New Year on German time because I watched online the celebrations at the Brandenburg Gate. I’m very glad I did since they showed all that has happened there this year and one of the things they showed was of course the homecoming ceremony for Joachim Löw and the team.

I don’t understand why people get drunk on New Year’s, unlike some people I wasn’t one of the unlucky idiots who woke up with a hang-over today, of course that’s not just because I didn’t consume any alcohol last night but also because due to the odd time at which I got to sleep yesterday, I haven’t been to bed yet. Apart from fireworks it was strangely quiet here, well at least in the sense that no-one in the vicinity threw a party, there was still some very talkative and not at all quiet idiots close to home. Another reason not to get drunk, people who do so don’t seem to know that they are talking rubbish and that they should shut up.

My only plans for the first day of the year were to watch Germany v Portugal (their first WM 2014 game) and the 1998 and 2002 official World Cup films. The 1998 one providing the most entertainment despite the fact that Germany was eliminated in the quarter finals by Croatia. The source of the fun is that the German team featured none other than Oliver Bierhoff, Jürgen Klinsmann and Andreas Köpke. The last game I watched of 2014 was Germany v Portugal, the third place match from the WM 2006 and it’s perfectly mirrored by my choice for today’s game. It wasn’t intentional, in fact it wasn’t my first choice, I was going to watch the final since I’ve only seen it once and to be honest I don’t remember a great deal of it. But it bothered me to watch them out of order, so I decided to start from the beginning and watch them all.

In some ways 2014 was similar to 2013, in both years the focus of my obsessions switched at almost the same time. In January/February of 2013 it was Christoph Waltz, then in September I abandoned him for Daniel Brühl. In 2014 Thomas Kretschmann replaced Daniel in February, and then of course he himself was replaced in the summer by Joachim Löw. The summer was when he replaced him but it was in September that I began my collection.

I hope this truly is a new year, that I can avoid a repeat of that, not least because I don’t have another German lined up to replace him. And because I don’t want him to be replaced, plus it would be rather inconvenient given the amount of money and time I’ve spent on my collection, that didn’t prevent the others from falling out of favour though.

Whereas with 2013 I feel like I can easily divide the year up according to my obsessions, it’s not so easy to do so for the past year, not so much because it all seems the same, it just seems a little murkier. Maybe it’s because in 2013, in terms of progress and me being less helpless and doing more for myself, it was so much more noticeable. The steps taken were bigger. So now it feels like I’m hardly moving at all.

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Happy Happy Joy Joy

We cry for lots of reasons: sadness, pain, fear . . . and happiness. When was the last time you shed tears of joy?

I’m not a very emotional person, at least not in terms of expressing such things openly, so I have only a short list of possible moments that fit the above criteria. I would say when Toni Kroos scored against Spain in the friendly played last month, but there have been a few moments since then. Such as the moment when I realised that my Thomas Müller futera unique heroes card is 2 out of 240. Of course that was subsequently replaced by anger when I found out that the manager version of Klinsmann will cost close to £50 if I were to buy him (I’m not) and that I can’t get Joachim Löw at all. I’ve seen one of his cards and it was part of a set that they were selling for £500, it has since disappeared anyway. But if I get £500 rest assured it won’t be spent on a set of trading cards, that would go straight into my Bundesliga fund.

I think the last occasion I shed tears of joy would be when I obtained the heroes card of Manuel Neuer. He’s not a low a number as Thomas, but still he’s only 100 out of 240.

I didn’t cry at this news, but I was happy enough at it to want do so, for the whole day and night yesterday the entire house was a teenager free zone, not enforced by me I hasten to add, I had nothing to do with it but I’m not complaining. To the contrary, I enjoyed my first quiet day of the holiday season. Taking advantage I had a TV and Playstation free day, making the most of the peace and quiet to finish my book.

There was also an incident involving a signed football, but I wouldn’t say that involved tears of joy, more tears of regret, happy because I won but already regretting the amount of money I had committed to spending.

All Grown Up

All Grown Up

When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?

I’m still waiting for this to happen, to feel like a grown up. What’s it supposed to feel like?

When I was younger (primary school age) I felt like I was a grown up already, now I feel like a child.

I have a bank account which I’m in complete control of, I have a cinema card, I pay housekeeping, I no longer get asked for ID when I see 18 rated films at the cinema or buy 18 rated games. I’m no longer quite the helpless child like person I was two or three years ago, and yet I still feel like a child.I think living at home doesn’t help, even though it’s not a case of living in my childhood bedroom (because we’ve moved a few times since then) and my room shows little or no traces of my past interests, for example there’s no toys or Pokemon related stuff left lying around, it doesn’t feel like the room of a grown up.  But then it occurs to me, I don’t know what the living space of a typically developing adult is meant to look like, I haven’t had many NT friends over the last few years, and even fewer who have invited me to their house. The only comparison I have is not a very helpful one, the person in question is a lot like me (or at least they were then) and they are autistic too. Their room looked a lot like mine, stuffed to the rafters with books, DVDs, games and assorted collectibles. The only difference was that they didn’t have special interests centered around one person and thus didn’t dedicate a wall to their favourite person as I tend to do.

I think how other people treat you comes into it as well, the way people automatically do stuff for you, without asking if you actually need their help. That contributes to making you feel more like a child. It would be nice if they asked first. Another contributing factor is when your younger siblings have to do stuff for you, I find that particularly insulting.

Do I even want to grow up? To become a normal, responsible and boring person who worries about paying bills and rent and whatever else grown ups are meant to think about? Someone said to me once that they in a way envy that part of Aspergers, the way in which I get totally focused on something and just shut the rest of the world out.

They envy me for being able to escape from the requirements of reality and I envy them for being able to live in and be a part of the world.

Stalingrad rewritten?

Hindsight

Now that you’ve got some blogging experience under your belt, re-write your very first post.

I could rewrite my first post, I could definitely improve upon it, I could probably better explain my motivations for wanting to write on here. And I could probably write a little more about my interests and what I originally planned to write about. A little tricky it would be though, given that I no longer have any interest in TK and no longer care about the fact that I don’t have Stalingrad on blu-ray.

I won’t rewrite it, not because I like that post, I don’t, I hate it in fact, but I think that each and every piece of the puzzle matters. After all if I hadn’t been interested in TK, I wouldn’t have bought a lobby card for Operation Walküre and I wouldn’t have ended up owning a German stamp celebrating the 2014 World Cup.

It’s good timing, writing about all the pieces being important at the moment, the last dream I had featured several interests/obsessions of mine: Roman Weidenfeller, Pokemon, Pulp Fiction and a bridge. I know I look back upon past special interests and complain and think why did I have to be interested in that, nevertheless I really do believe that each of them was and is important in their own way, that each one leads to the next somehow.

I won’t rewrite that post, I won’t rewrite history.

Christmas confusion

Today feels weird, as has the rest of the week. It’s my first Bundesliga free weekend, well not technically, there has been the breaks for the internationals but that’s different, it’s not as long for one thing and you get to see Jogi which makes up for it. It’s strange, not having to be up at a decent hour on a Saturday. Adding to the feeling of strangeness is the fact that I couldn’t go to the cinema on Friday, that’s unnatural.

I think the feeling out of sync is mostly the cause of my recent obsession related craziness. I think it would be a good idea to be better prepared next time around, perhaps a Christmas crisis fund of sorts would be a good idea. If I did that then at least I would not be overspending.

I can’t help but think I’ve overindulged in regards to this particular obsession. I think it makes me happy, but what would I know, it’s not like I’m an expert on my feelings. And I think that about every one of them, every time I come across something new, it’s the same thing, if I don’t have it the universe will end. Take the Rush cinema banner I got last year, it went up in November as soon as it arrived, and got taken down a couple of months ago. The only good thing is that it only cost €30 plus shipping. Nowhere near the stupid amount I paid for my Hans Landa or Dr King Schultz banners, both of which are now in storage. To make it even stupider, I refuse to consider parting with either of them. I know it’s completely illogical, I don’t like CW that much anymore and I have no intention of hanging them up again, yet I still want to keep them. Though if I were to ever move to Germany, I think I may have to leave Landa behind, I know for the advertising in Germany they had to remove the swastika, not from the UK one, and my banner is the UK version.

It’s not just about what makes me happy either, it’s about being able to handle money responsibly. If I can’t do that then I’m not going to be able to live by myself and take care of myself. I look at the decisions I make, or rather the impulses I follow (because honestly to call them decisions is something of an insult to the word, that would imply there was any kind of meaningful analysis going on when there is little or none of that) and I sometimes think that I should not be allowed to handle money or make any kind of finanical decisions. But if I don’t do that or aren’t allowed to do that, how could I ever learn to?

I remember reading online somewhere a few months ago about whether or not it was strange for people to live at home into their twenties and some people expressed the view that doing so makes people helpless and that they don’t learn how to do things for themselves. Now obviously they weren’t talking about people with disabilties of any kind, but still I wonder if there is any truth to that. The sink or swim theory. What would happen if my mother were to make me leave? By staying here, does that make me act like a child? It’s kind of an odd thing to think about, when I was younger people said I was like an adult, and now I’m technically an adult, some people say the opposite.

There is an upside to the latest spate of obsession related craziness, I did get around to checking out kicker’s website whilst hunting down an issue and discovered the delights of their shop. They don’t have everything I need, the special issues for each season don’t go back as far as I need, the 96/97 and 97/98 ones being the ones I need the most, obviously.

I’m feeling a little lost, I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to play playstation – I tried, couldn’t focus. I can’t watch any more films this year. The only TV show I want to watch I can’t, The Killing, it’s too familiar, I’ve seen it too many times and know it too well. It just feels like the right show to watch in the depths of winter.

Random tangent, in my head since I woke up has been the words “I fought the law and the law won.” I had to look it up and I’m still none the wiser. I didn’t recognise any of the people who have sung it and can’t figure out where I might have heard it. It has to be from a film or TV, that’s usually the case.

Collection Craziness

Not content with collecting DVDs and blu-rays of Germany’s games, t-shirts and football shirts, programmes, newspaper and magazine clippings, signed photos, DFB Autogrammkarten, stickers, trading cards, postcards, lanyards, tickets, coins and soccer starz figures, now I’ve found something new to collect. Or rather, something new to spend even more money on, this time it’s pins and badges. I already have three, one for the Baden Football Association, one for last season’s Pokal final between Stuttgart and Bayern and another celebrating Germany’s fourth star. I hadn’t looked for anymore, I hadn’t even thought about it.

I came across these by accident whilst looking for more of Germany’s games from the 2005 Confederations World Cup, I didn’t find anything other than the one I already had, but I did see a pin for the tournament for only one €1. And of course eBay showed me more, I ended up looking at them, seeing what else the seller had and now I will shortly own the following:

PIN FIFA Confederations Cup Germany 2005 Deutschland

Mercedes Benz BVB Borussia Dortmund Bus Pin Mercedes Benz Bus zur Fußball WM Pin FIFA World Cup WM 2006 Pin - Deutschland FIFA WM Pokal Pin Bundesliga Pin

2015

I’m not a fan of the concept of New Year’s resolutions; nevertheless I do have a list of things I’d like to get done, some of which I’m already working on, why wait for the new year to start making improvements?

The fun stuff first:

  • to learn how to tie a scarf like Jogi Löw
  • to obtain copies of the following games: Germany vs Russia, Finland, China and Sweden (his first game in charge in 2006). And the rest of Germany’s Confederations Cup matches from 2005, I only have the Brazil one. There are more I need that I haven’t come across yet, but they are the important ones. For example I wouldn’t mind having copies of the 2008 and 2012 European Championship matches with German commentary.
  • to get a Bayern shirt from the time Hansi Flick played there and a Stuttgart shirt from when Klinsmann played there (it doesn’t have to actually be from that time, a retro one would suffice, I missed out on one on eBay last month so I know they exist). I think a Freiburg shirt from Jogi’s time would also be cool but I don’t know if that’s obtainable.
  • to write more of the Hansi und Jogi adventures, and to finish Jürgen and Roman’s “Zwölf kleine Fuβball Spieler” story.

And now, not so much the important stuff, because that would imply the previous ones are not important and the second point is especially important, more that these are not obsession related:

  • Make more time for German and put more effort into it. Maybe I should start watching German TV every day, if I’m going to watch TV I may as well get something out of it.
  • To be able to get beyond the first page of kicker magazine without a German dictionary.
  • To keep the number of sleepless nights to a minimum, and if there is any, no all night video game marathons, reading or making videos fine, but no all night Dragon Age adventures.
  • To spend a little more time outside and get some exercise.
  • Actually save some money this time around and don’t just blow it all on whatever obsession is currently ruling my mind. But don’t have absurdly high expectations and expect too much, don’t put too much pressure on yourself by calling it a Germany travel fund or something similar. Just call it the Bundesliga fund or the Freiburg fund or something similarly vague. And no excessively stupid purchases like £50 DVDs from Japan or action figures that cost £100 or more. In fact no buying of DVDs and blu-rays at all, unless it’s something that I really have to have like “Der Große Traum.” Not counting football related ones that is, I’m still getting the DFB Pokal box-set as planned, and more of Germany’s friendlies and this is the best yet, the match when Stuttgart won the Pokal when Jogi was in charge and their Cup Winner’s Cup match against Chelsea. I know I’ve partly broken this before I’ve even really began, with the winning of the signed football. Hopefully there won’t be too many repeats of this particular mistake in the months to come.
  • Related to the previous one, this year I’ve been downsizing in regards to my collection, partly because I wanted the money and partly because I felt like I had too many. I currently own 865 DVDs and 257 blu-rays. I think I should continue to reduce that number, one way or another. I used to think that my collection was the most important thing in the world; I’ve been reconsidering this for several months. Partly because of something CW said that I can’t let go (“collections weigh me down”) and partly because of something someone asked me a few months ago when discussing the subject of moving out and living in Germany, the question being: what would I take with me, what from my possessions did I absolutely have to have with me wherever in the world I was. I’ve been mulling over my answer since they asked and realised that there isn’t actually that much that I feel like I couldn’t part with, whether temporarily or permanently. I’m no longer as attached to my film collection as I once was, my books are a different story but I’m sure if I tried I could narrow it down to at least fifty that I would have to keep regardless of the circumstances. I think I would probably not want to leave my PS3 behind.
    As for the list, I think it would be the following: the contents of my Deutschland/Die Mannschaft shelf, all of my football t-shirts, shirts, shorts and socks, my pictures and posters, my laptop and hard-drives and whatever other gadgets I have, my notebooks and some DVDs/blu-rays that I most definitely could not part with; Inglourious Basterds (the UK special edition, the French steel-book and the German special edition), Rush, Django Unchained, The Grand Miracle of Bern, Das Leben der Anderen, Goodbye Lenin to name a few. Essentially the German ones mostly, with just a few non-German exceptions.
  • Read more books. Last year I read 97, this year so far only 71. I was hoping to improve upon last year, obviously that’s not going to happen.
  • To learn how to accept compliments, or at least to make such occasions a little less awkward. To have some understanding of the concept of social reciprocity  in general I suppose.  Before adding this to the list I read up a little on it, one of the things I read was that when someone asks you how you are, you’re not really supposed to answer, you’re meant to politely say “I’m fine” (this I knew) and then you are meant to ask how they are, to reciprocate in others words. I didn’t know that, if I didn’t know that, how am I ever going to get the rest of this stuff?
  • To do things that make me happy and that I want to do, and not what other people think I should be doing. That means not obsessing over the fact that some people find the videos I make strange, I like them a great deal and that is enough. In fact I like the videos and the subjects of said videos more than the people in question.
  • Same with the videos that I like that I didn’t make, it doesn’t matter if anyone finds it strange that I spend so much time watching them. Some of them have come in useful anyway, the EM version of Gimme Hope Joachim, I worked out a good deal of the lyrics by myself, it’s good listening practice, turns out songs are good for learning German.

Four things in 2015 I’m looking forward to:

  1. The Germany v USA friendly on the 10th June – I already know what I’m going to call the video, the Jogi vs. Klinsi highlights
  2. The last series of Justified
  3. The Bridge series 3 – I don’t know if it’s next year it’s on UK TV, I hope it is.
  4. The Face of an Angel – one of Daniel Brühl’s new films.

Tight Corner

Tight Corner

Have you ever managed to paint yourself into the proverbial corner because of your words? What did you do while waiting for them “to dry”?

Not so long ago when someone confessed their feelings to me, that is feelings of a romantic nature, I said that it wasn’t that I didn’t have feelings for them but that I didn’t have and never have had feelings for anyone in real life. What did I do about it? Nothing, what could I have done, I’d already said what I should have kept to myself. I did nothing, and a long and awkward conversation ensued about the nature of my alternate universes and the purpose they served, they then asked if I could ever envision expressing or having the feelings that I had for those “characters” for real people, my answer promptly got me into yet another corner which I’m yet to get out of, it’s become a long running topic of discussion now.

It’s not difficult to see why some people call me a sociopath, and they are only half kidding. It’s true that I’m very detached from other people, that doesn’t mean I don’t care about their feelings. If I were one  I wouldn’t care about the fact that I hurt that person’s feelings. A sociopath doesn’t care they are a sociopath.

It’s just that I don’t seem capable of forming emotional attachments, of relating to people in that way, all I can do is build collections and get obsessed with people.