Tag Archives: Obsessions/special interests

Advent Calendar Day 10: Snow Day in Köln

Of all the things I expected to happen today that wasn’t one of them. I know it doesn’t sound good when you go into a game like this unsure if your team can win or not, but I didn’t want to curse anything by thinking about winning at all. I honestly thought they would draw and well they almost did. Were it not for Nils Petersen’s last minute penalty it would have been a 3-3 draw, and quite a spectacular one too. Freiburg came back to win 4-3 and that’s great, but it doesn’t mean they won’t be relegated. Those three goals they conceded are exactly why relegation is still a very real threat. That was their way of playing in the 2.Bundesliga in 2015/16, don’t worry if you concede two, we’ll just go and score three more. They’ve always been partial to a very open style of play, which isn’t to say they can’t be disciplined defensively. Their 0-0 draw against Dortmund earlier in the season proves that, a result all the more impressive for the fact they played the majority of the game with ten men. That open kind of play worked when they had players like Maximilian Philipp and Vincenzo Grifo around. But they left in the summer for Dortmund and Gladbach, taking some of the magic. their goals and more importantly their assists with them.

I don’t even know what today’s game was, it was crazy that’s for sure. And it’s proof that whatever they do Köln are doomed, they threw away a three goal lead, you can’t draw any other conclusion. Then again this game didn’t doom them, that was already done several match-days ago. There remains only one question, can they really go a whole Bundesliga season without winning a single game? Today’s game brought back a lot of memories, like the equally crazy (but much better to watch) snow game against Leipzig in the 2015/16 season. And of course their first game of that season against 1.FC Nürnberg. which was Nil’s first league game as a proper Freiburg player. A game in which he scored a hat-trick and just like today two of them were penalties. In fact Nils scored a hat-trick in his first ever game for Freiburg as well, against Eintracht Frankfurt.

1.FC Köln v SC Freiburg 2017/18 Highlights

Speaking of memories there was a very familiar face at today’s game, though not a very happy one obviously:

Lukas Podolski at 1.FC Köln v SC Freiburg 2017/18

As happy as I am they won I don’t feel like I can celebrate, not only  because they’re still in danger of relegation but the game seems to be reflective of how their season is going and life in general. They can’t go on conceding goals at the rate they have, not even if they start scoring some themselves. On the subject of unexpected events the confirmation of the sacking of Peter Bosz wasn’t one of them. The announcement of his replacement the very same day however was, not just the fact they did so quickly but who it was. They’ve switched one Peter for another, Dortmund’s temporary coach until the end of the season being none other than former Köln coach Peter Stöger. I don’t think anyone saw that coming.

I still can’t find a word other than crazy to describe today’s game but I know one thing, I really needed today. It was exciting, infuriating and intense. But most of all it was fun and for those two hours the game was on things felt like they used to do, like when I first started watching them. They were struggling then and they’re struggling now, so it’s not that they’ve changed, it’s me. But I don’t want to reflect on that now or anything else serious or real life related, today was fun and that’s enough. For once I just want something to be simple. Today’s game was anything but simple but the joy I derived from it was exactly that. No obsessing over what I’m doing and why, no wondering if maybe I’m not too obsessed and shouldn’t I be spending time with other people instead of stuck in my room alone. Today none of that mattered. Today there was the game and nothing else.

 

Advent Calendar Day 3

Today has been an extremely slow and lazy day, so lazy in fact that I couldn’t even be bothered to come up with a proper title for this post. When possible I like to reference at least one of the players whose card or sticker I got but it’s just not happening today. I’m just glad I didn’t get Matze Ginter’s card or sticker, or Lars Stindl’s for that matter. Watching them lose 3-0 today was punishment enough. If I hadn’t bothered to get out of bed I wouldn’t have seen them lose so badly, but on the other hand I would have missed seeing Peter, Marc and Matze Ginter. And then I would have had yet another thing to beat myself up about, god knows I don’t need any more of those. I think you have to keep doing what you’re doing, even if you don’t know why. When the alternative is doing nothing then it’s not really a choice is it? I won’t feel good either way, so I might as well be doing something.

Believe it or not there is one good thing about today (and I mean besides the surprise of Peter doing the pre-match show for the first game). At least I know partly why I feel the way I do. Right now it’s something specific I’m running away from. I don’t want next week to happen and not sleeping or waking up feels like a way to achieve that. Logically I know it’s not but it feels that way when you’re trying to convince yourself to get out of bed. I’m not just scared, I’m angry. It’s bad enough when you have to suffer because you screwed up, it’s even worse when you’ll potentially suffer because someone else made a mistake that was entirely avoidable but for their arrogance and self confidence that they know everything. When in actual fact they know nothing. And what makes me even angrier is knowing that when things do go wrong they never take responsibility, always finding someone else to blame. Even when it’s a decision they have made, a situation entirely of their own making – they still have to find a way to twist it so that it’s anyone’s fault but theirs. I think that’s pathetic and just about one of the worst personality traits a person can have. I hate that I’m even ranting about them, because that means I’ve let it get in my head.

There’s no question of it being anywhere approaching good news at the end of the week, it’s just a question of how bad it’s going to be. I know that now, even without having all the facts. I can put the pieces together that I already have to work that much out. All of this and yesterday’s events has left me wondering what’s worse, bad news that you know is coming or bad news that comes from nowhere? Because this feels like torture of a kind, knowing something is about to hit you, but not quite knowing what. It’s the waiting that kills you. I didn’t have to wait long to find out about the Cologne situation at least. I found that out this morning, waking up to the news that not only are they parting ways with Peter Stöger but that it was already decided before the Schalke game. He got them back into the Bundesliga and into European competition after 20 plus years, yet he doesn’t even get to be in charge for their last Europa League group game. Strange thing is they still actually have a shot in that competition. Whereas in the league I think they’re pretty much done for either way, so why couldn’t they just stick with him?

On the subject of sticking with things I thought after writing something positive yesterday that maybe it wouldn’t just be a one off sort of thing. It’s been a while since I sat down and wrote something properly, Jogi’s little trip to Russia having provided suitable inspiration, his shirt and tie helping considerably on that count. But sure enough when I couldn’t sleep I ended up writing more depressing stuff. I really need something else to write about, something that doesn’t involve plotting the demise of alternate Matze. When I couldn’t sleep last night I got thinking about the whole thing and about a conversation online I had the other day. In particular we were talking about nightmares and allowing other people to help. That’s not something I’m good at, which is a big problem. What bothers me even more is the fact I’m so bad at showing my feelings in front of other people. I can’t be honest with them even when I want to. And when someone does see me upset it’s because I’m in the midst of a meltdown and have no choice in the matter.

I talk to someone twice a month about all of this stuff yet I feel like I can’t be completely honest with them, I’ve seen the same person for several months now yet I don’t feel like I can trust them. Which kind of defeats the purpose of going at all I suppose. On the other hand I feel like I should be able to solve my own problems, that needing help at all makes me weak somehow. In the same way my collections and obsessions make me feel weak for needing them. Because whether I want to admit it or not I do need them. Other people get friendships, relationships and attachments to other human beings, people in real life – not characters or people on TV. And I have my collections. Because even when that offer is there (as it currently is) of actual real life human companionship I can’t take it. That’s a subject that comes up a lot, finding ways of encouraging myself to spend more time with people in real life. So I guess no-one is going to be pleased that instead of finding a way to achieve that I have a new obsession instead.

Loyal

It’s been too long since I’ve written anything on here, I’ve posted but not actually written anything – Jogi and Hansi pictures don’t count. To be precise it’s been 151 days since I last wrote something, over five months ago. But that’s not the whole story, I stopped posting regularly long before then, at the start of the year. In all those months I didn’t even consider posting or look at the daily prompt which used to be part of my daily routine. Like so many other things it slipped away, and now it’s one of the things I’m trying to get back. The past few weeks I’ve started looking at the prompts again, trying to sum up the courage and enthusiasm to write something. And this one is so well timed I had to make myself try to write a little something.

Ordinarily the topic of being loyal would give me the opportunity to write about something Jogi related or at the very least Freiburg. I am going to mention the former but in a constructive way, not in “an excuse to go on about my obsession” way. I’ve done something which I have never done before, I finally have the opportunity to do something real related to an obsession of mine. Last week I took the impulsively insane decision to buy a ticket for the England-Germany game next month. It’s strange that’s for sure, a few months ago I was obsessively plotting my own death and now instead I’m making travel plans for a football match. I’m excited about going but also terrified, I think I may have over extended myself. I’m supposed to be increasing my independence but not necessarily by talking a drastic step like this. All this work I’m putting in and I won’t even get to see Manuel Neuer, with the recurrence of his foot injury he won’t be in squad until next March, if then. I’m making up for that in the best way I can, if the real Neuer won’t be there then I’ll take my own. I plan on taking my own soft toy version of Neuer with me and snapping a few pictures of him in London. It’ll be like Manuel’s travel journal.

Given that I’m focusing on something positive and doing all of this by myself you would think the psych would have no objection to this, but they do. In line with everything else they’ve told me they’re worried about me “feeding my obsession even more.” That I’m getting more obsessed when I should be stepping away from it. Because to them I’m not just loyal to Jogi and all of my other favorite Germans, they think I have an unhealthy attachment to them to the detriment of everything else. Which is kind of funny really, I mean have they not read the diagnostic criteria for autism? But then as they’ve reminded me several times they aren’t an expert in autism. They didn’t need to remind me of that, I can’t forget it, not when they do things like pick me up on my use of the words “NT people” and “autistic people.” Apparently it’s not good to talk about the two like they’re different which is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. If they aren’t different the diagnosis of autism wouldn’t even exist now, would it?

I don’t think a lot of their advice, according to them the solution to my problems is for my special interests to be less consuming, and to spend more time with other people. That’ll solve my anxiety, intrusive thoughts and depression apparently. Of course that completely overlooks the fact that if being around other people were easier for me a and a less anxiety provoking experience I wouldn’t retreat into my special interests quite so much. I don’t know what the answer is but I do know I’m not going to walk away from one of the few things that makes me happy just because some so called professional (who in their own words knows very little about autism) thinks it’s a good idea. Maybe I have crossed a line and maybe my latest special interest is a little all too encompassing. But it’s all I have right now and it makes sense, which is more than I can say for anything else.

Other people don’t make any sense at all, at least the NT ones I know don’t, not at the moment. I don’t understand how someone can disappear for four months and reappear without any explanation, and still claim to be your friend. There’s a line between loyalty and blind stupidity, and I think I’m a little closer to the latter. I don’t stand up for myself, I let people walk all over me in this regard. And some people use autism as a justification of sorts, they say that I’m worrying over nothing, that I’m just being over obsessive and it’s autism’s fault. When in reality it’s them, they are being a bad friend. Because a real friend wouldn’t invite you somewhere and then leave you hanging as to the details. For a long time I’ve worried about this kind of thing, about other people seeing me as a pushover. I’ve wondered if they think I’m so pathetic and socially lacking in regards to social opportunities that they’ll just assume I’ll put up with it because I have no other options.

On the surface of it you would think being described as loyal is a good thing, but maybe it’s not. And I’m not the only person to wonder about such things. Perhaps it’s not a good thing for other people to think of you as being “loyal” but when it comes to football I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I don’t think being a fan of a team like Freiburg makes me a loser or anything like that. It doesn’t matter that I had to wait until MD7 for them to win their first game when last season the first win came on MD2. They might have made us wait but when they finally delivered it was all so worth it, beating Hoffenheim 3-2 and Çağlar  Söyüncū getting his first ever goal in a Freiburg shirt. No matter when his first goal happened I would remember it but with scoring in a goal in a game like that he’s guaranteed he’ll be remembered forever now, regardless of where he ends up in the future. Maybe other people do think being such an ardent fan of a team like Freiburg makes me an idiot, if so, that’s ok. If there’s one thing I know it’s not to take seriously what other people think. If only I could remember that when it really mattered.

Yet Another Change

I know there are bigger problems in the world, indeed I have far bigger issues to be concerning myself with now. Yet despite their real life importance it’s not any of them which are dominating my thoughts and ruining my week right now. Sixteen days into the year and I’m trying and so far failing to settle down into something resembling a schedule. Today was meant to be yet another reboot of my routine. The day where I get a good night’s sleep and where nothing goes wrong. That was ruined the second I put on the news where I was promptly greeted by the news Hansi quit. It’s certainly not the best start to the week. I never want anything to change but especially not now, and Hansi is the very last thing I expected to be the cause of any kind of change. I spent so much time worrying what would happen if I got bored in some way or suddenly got sick of the whole thing I completely forgot to think about what would happen if one of them caused everything to change.

Making the whole thing worse is storywise it actually works out quite well. Almost straight away I worked out how to work it in, from that perspective the story practically writes itself. I know conflict of some kind is necessary to propel the narrative but this isn’t quite what I had in mind. I was perfectly happy with the conflict I was creating by myself. I’m mad at him for making everything change but I’m even more mad at myself. The reason being it’s like in having those ideas I’m somehow accepting it. I just don’t know what to do now. I can’t escape into my stories because Hansi is there. And I can’t deal with real life now because he’s there too. Maybe it’s time for some new characters anda new pairing. As long as I don’t do something really stupid and decide to get a whole new obsession just because one piece of the puzzle changed. When the stories don’t make sense and real life doesn’t either then I really don’t know what to do. Well I do know, I just can’t do it. I can’t get a new obsession, not least because I have nothing new to jump ship to.

I’ve been meaning to get back into the habit of posting regularly for several days and in the process finding several excuses not to. This is the last thing I wanted to be the reason for writing something. At the same time this feels like the most important thing in the world I’m angry at myself for being so bothered by it. After all as other people would and do say it’s just football. And there are so many other things which should be preoccupying me. But with or without this unexpected change I don’t want to think about any of those. Because at the moment I have very little control of them. All I can do is wait and the waiting is killing me. At least with the stories I have some sense of control. If I don’t like some real life event then I can simply ignore it, or at least write it the way I want to.

Real life is always hard work and it’s even more true now than usual. Holidays are always difficult and Christmas especially so,  partly because of the winter break meaning not only do I have to get back into my own routine but I have to do that without any football for three weeks. Putting my routine back together is impossible when a big part of said routine is missing. Funny thing is a few weeks ago I had to explain a lot of this stuff to someone and ever since then I’ve been obsessing over it and beating myself up about everything I said and did.  I can never quite decide if my answers made me look more helpless than I really am or if I’d been less than truthful and I’d once again inadvertently given an optimistically misleading picture of my abilities. Thinking about such matters never ends well. It always goes the same way, ending up with me wondering just what kind of grown-up I am. And the answer is no kind, I’m a grown up in name only.

People try to help and reassure you, saying helpful things like people develop at their own pace and it’s marathon not a race. It doesn’t really help but it’s not their fault, they probably don’t know what to say anymore. I don’t know what to say either. Their well meaning words are every bit as unhelpful as being told I should just do what makes me happy. The only thing that makes me really happy right now is stickers. That is the only thing I can get excited about right now and is the only thing I have any real plans for. I couldn’t really argue if anyone accused me of caring about or loving my collections more than I do the people in my life. The collections are nothing like any relationships with humans that’s why. They are simple and uncomplicated, they just are. They make me happy and that’s all I need to know. They also have the side effect of making most people think I’m a total weirdo or some other such unflattering name but it doesn’t really matter anymore. When it comes to people it’s the exact same problem as it is with collections, can’t live with them, can’t live without them. On the subject of collections the following picture may prove to be the last addition in my Hansi collection. For how long only he knows. I’m not gettig my dream I know that much, he’s not ever going to be Jogi’s assistant again, I’ve long given up on that dream even in fiction form:

hansi-flick-sky-sports-news-16-01-17

Happy Endings

Happy Endings

Tell us about something you’ve tried to quit. Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change? Did it stick?

I’ve attempted at some point or another to give up many of my obsessions and special interests, or at least entertained the theory of doing so. A year or two ago I toyed with the idea of not having an obsession at all, of not letting one thing be the center of my universe to the exclusion of everything else. All of it is rather foolish thinking because thinking like that makes it seem like I have any choice in the matter. When truth is there is no choice. It’s just the way I work. Even if I did have a choice it wouldn’t matter, I need them, I need to have a special interest of some kind. I’m not lonely but if I didn’t have a special interest to keep me company then I would be. I need something to focus on.

Last month I was thinking of what would happen if I gave up my current special interest. Not Freiburg, just Jogi and Hansi. I didn’t want to let them go, it’s not because of the time their adventures are taking up. It was because of what happened in November. Since then I’ve realised how wrong that would be. To allow an interest to end unnaturally that way. They have to run their course, to come to their natural end. And so far there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for them. They are proving to be quite the marathon obsession. Which is good because I don’t want to let them go yet either. I’m not done with their story yet. With Matze’s introduction I have a lot more chapters to write yet.

As for how I attempted to give up previous obsessions, I would always try to go cold turkey. I’m an all or nothing kind of person. That much is obvious. I know all obsessions have to come to an end, I know in this regard there are no happy endings. But I’m making my peace with that. I’m starting to be ok with the fact that things do change, that things don’t last forever. I’m trying my best to not worry about the inevitable end and to just enjoy the fun and madness whilst it lasts.

Continue reading

Advent Calendar Day 8: The Two Lukas’s, Two More Books & The Sweetest Story Ever

Behind door number 8 in the Freiburg calendar was right winger (and occasional striker and right-back when needs be) Mike Frantz. In the DFB one there was a most amusing coincidence, behind the door with Lukas Podolski’s face on it was indeed the card of Lukas Podolski. A fact made even more amusing because in the Dortmund calendar was Polish defender Lukasz Piszczek. A situation made even funnier because of course Podolski was also born in Poland but he grew up in and chose to play for Germany:

Lukas Podolski - DFB card 2015-16 1 Lukas Podolski - DFB card 2015-16 2 Lukas Pisczezk - Dortmund advent calendarAs well as having two of Lukas I also have two more books to add to my collection. This was not entirely planned, just yesterday I was writing about how I think I have too many books but that didn’t stop me from picking up these two. One about ancient Greece and the other about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. It’s technically three if you count the one I got in the post but I don’t count that one. For two reasons, firstly I didn’t know it would arrive today and secondly it’s been on my wishlist for over a year. The book in question being Berlin Noir, consisting of three Philip Kerr novels, March Violets, The Pale Criminal and German Requiem. I don’t know whether or not I’ll find time to read it between now and Christmas but regardless I had to buy it now. I felt like I’d just keep putting it off. I’m meant to be reading The Man from Berlin but I’m not making much headway with it. I’m not sure if it’s the book or if it’s me. A few days ago I finished reading Savage Continent and it was a very intense read. Maybe I need to take a break before starting on another book, especially one that touches on such dark themes. I would say I should read something lighthearted but I’m not sure I could find something that fits that description.

This is exactly how my collection got like this. You stop off at the bookshop just to see if they have something you’ve been looking for or to see what’s new in stock. You do so full well knowing that as long as you have cash in your pocket you’ll find it impossible to leave without buying something. Truth is if I hadn’t bought those boxes of stickers last week  I could have bought six or seven books today, and I still wouldn’t be completely satisfied. There’s always something else to read, something else to learn about. I suppose in a way that’s a good thing, that I still have some enthusiasm for something.

Right now I feel guilty because I’m not getting a lot of reading done and it’s not because I’m spending too much time watching football or playing Playstation, though I will admit the former does take up a lot of time. But it’s not the main thing coming between me and my reading time, because I find it easy to switch off from football, to not think about it for a little while. Or at least if I am thinking about it then it’s not dominating my mind in quite the same way as the real reason. Which is that for the most part I’m too wrapped up in my own adventures to be following someone else’s. This is part of the reason I have little interest in reading fiction right now, even when the book in question has Nazis in it like The Man from Berlin does.

I’m not sure what if anything I should do about this state of affairs, whether or not I should simply allow it to continue like this or try to change it somehow. I’m not sure that forcing myself into reading is a good idea. But then equally I’m not happy with reading just three books a month. I think that’s part of the problem, that I’m trying to quantify this, that I think it matters how much I read. Surely what you read is just as important as how many books you get through. I’m a little frustrated I guess that I no longer get through at least two books a week. But I’m being harsh on myself, I wasn’t writing anything back then and had a lot more free time. So it’s not really comparing like for like.

When it comes to obsessions I’m not sure what’s best, whether or not one should be reined in, to attempt to create some semblance of balance. If it’s a good thing for one thing to be dominating so much. I’m not sure if I have much if any choice in the matter. There’s an interesting exchange on related matters from the film The Prestige that I like to quote:

Angier: “Haven’t you followed your obsessions?”

Tesla: “Yes, for too long. I am their slave and one day they will choose to destroy me.”

That used to freak me out, it doesn’t anymore. Because now I know the pattern. I know that at the end of every special interest or obsession I kind of self destruct. It’s just how things go. There’s no point wondering what things would be like if I didn’t get so obsessed and focused on one topic to the complete exclusion of everything else because then I wouldn’t be me. I follow my obsessions partly because I want to and partly because I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know who and what I’m supposed to be. I have some idea what other people want from me, I know what they want me to be. And I know I can’t live up to their expectations, I can’t be what they want me to be.

Not because I don’t want to but because I really can’t. The two conversations I had today in relation to the story referred to in the title is a perfect example of this.  The story originates from my dislike of the new Champions League album, I decided to turn my rants about it into a Jogi adventure. It’s not just about the sticker album, it’s about lots of different things changing and about him missing Hansi. It also has little Matze in it which means there are some sweet moments. It’s these moments which were the focus of the conversation because such things aren’t like me at all. For one thing everyone is of the impression that I’m not particularly fond of kids, which I have to admit is sort of true.

Both people who read it liked the story and both came to similar conclusions, firstly that it’s not at all like me and secondly that it’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever written for Jogi and Hansi. This kind of sweetness and sensitivity is not particularly evident in real life so when people read these kind of stories they are seeing a side to me they didn’t even know existed. And what frustrates some of them is that it doesn’t seem to transfer to real life. That whilst writing such things has caused me to become more aware of feelings and in some ways to better understand my own, it’s not had any effect on my ability to express them or to demonstrate any kind of attachment to some of the people in question. I understand that it hurts their feelings in a way. I get that it hurts them to think that I have more of an emotional attachment to my football team than I do them. That I can talk all day long about how much I love Jogi, Hansi, Manuel, Matze or any of my other favourite players but I can’t express or show in the way they’d like such feelings for real people. I don’t have a simple answer for them or really any kind of answer at all. Actually I’m not even sure what my point is. Maybe my point is that I know I can’t provide that kind of emotional fulfillment for another person and that I don’t expect them to provide it for me, not that I’d be capable of receiving it anyway. That I’m well aware I have to seek it elsewhere, hence why I have such a great attachment to my characters. I don’t know, maybe this is just more random ramblings on the subject or maybe I’m actually making some sense for once.

To completely change the subject today went about as good as it could have gone. Especially considering I only got three hours of sleep last night. In spite of that I got up just in time to record the Christoph Waltz film I wanted, though I hadn’t meant to watch quite so much of it. I was meant to be getting to ready to leave but there was something oddly alluring about him in this particular film. I’ve not been a fan of his post Django stuff so far but I’m finding his older German roles to be quite interesting. It was however I have to say a slightly surreal experience, seeing Christoph as Father Christmas. One good point about the film is that whilst he was his usual slightly sinister self I didn’t detect a trace of Hans Landa which I so often find in his later characters:

I think that lack of sleep played a part in how the rest of the day went, as did the fact I’ve not been spending a lot of time outside in recent weeks. All day long I’ve been on edge, feeling like I’m being watched and jumping at the slightest noise. Hearing people laughing has been one of the things that’s set me on edge today. I don’t know why, nothing has happened lately. So it’s most likely just the lack of sleep and not having spent much time outside. Also a source of anxiety was my worry that the person I was meeting would not show up. I had no rational reason to think this but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. To the point where I wished I’d stayed home and watched Gladbach’s game instead. This is what I hate about being so anxious, it makes people think I don’t trust them. That I don’t trust them to show up, or not to be too late, or to believe them when they are telling me something. Except it’s not me, I’m not choosing to be this way. I don’t like it either.

Now it’s all over and done with and I’m glad I didn’t stay in tonight. I’m happy I got to give them their presents and that they’re happy with them. I’m happy they like the books, more importantly I’m pleased they liked the card I made. But then how could they not when it had these two pictures on the front. I think this picture of Jogi may just be the sweetest picture of him in existence:

joachim-lc3b6w-e28093-sco-deu-press-conference-7 hansi-flick-dfb-interview-06-08-2015-13

I saw two films today, The Night Before and then Black Mass. The first was not so good though I did enjoy seeing Michael Shannon in it and he had a bigger part than I anticipated. It’s always fun to see him get to be something other than the crazy bad guy. He may have been a little off here but he wasn’t crazy and he most definitely wasn’t a bad guy, he was an angel in fact complete with wings. I just don’t think the humor of the film appealed to me. I get that it was just meant to be a lighthearted Christmas film, but I just found it too juvenile for my tastes. I also think it dragged a little and that some aspects of the plot didn’t really fit the tone of it. Or maybe it was just that they were less engaging than the other characters. For example I didn’t think much of Issac and Betsy’s parenting worries, I just didn’t like a lot of their scenes for some reason. Like I said I’m not sure it was my kind of film to begin with. Michael Shannon on the other hand as their old science teacher Mr Green, well to riff on a Dude quote a little, he really tied the film together. He was my main reason for seeing the film and he did not disappoint.

Black Mass did also not majorly disappoint and neither did Johnny Depp surprisingly. The film tells the story of Boston gangster Whitey Bulger who became an FBI informant. Crime and mobster films like this are dime  a dozen but this one is worth seeing if not just for Depp’s performance as the truly terrifying Whitey Bulger. It’s not a great film but it’s still worth watching. The acting was great but the plot is a little lacking. I feel like they could have got more story into the two hour running time, perhaps show a little more detail as to how he rose to power. In fact a little more detail and focus in general would have been welcomed.

Same as always after such an evening I find myself unable to sleep. This time however it’s also part of a bigger problem, I’m unable to shake the problem I’m having with sleeping at nighttime. I can’t manage more than two or three nights in a row. It’s been almost a month now since the incident which caused all this happened and it’s showing no signs of changing. I thought the league resuming and getting back into the usual routine would fix it but it hasn’t had the effect I hoped it would. It’s been made worse by the nightmare I had two weeks ago involving being chased by rifle-wielding terrorists. I still don’t really understand it or, it makes no sense to me why I should react this way or have such trouble dealing with it. I mean I wasn’t there, I wasn’t in any danger, the team was. In fact I wasn’t even in the same country as them. It makes no sense at all and I have no idea how I’m meant to handle it, if I’m supposed to do anything or if I should just wait it out. How can I do anything when I don’t even understand what it is?

What makes you happy?

Several different people are always in one way or another trying to help me figure out what I should do with my life. Though none of them seemed to have noticed that I really have no interest in doing anything. Because try as I might I can’t see myself as doing anything other than what I’m currently doing. Ironic as it is for someone who likes to write fiction, when it comes to real life my sense of imagination is not that good. Just like I have trouble predicting how other people may respond in any given situation so I have trouble imagining myself in a situation which isn’t actually happening right now.

They make helpful suggestions, they come up with ideas related to my current special interest and they keep doing so when my interests change. And the question that inevitably gets asked is “What makes you happy?”

I always have trouble answering this question in any meaningful way, in any kind of big picture way. Living outside of my own head and taking note of the world around me is not something that always comes easy to me. To quote Leo from The West Wing “I like the little things.” It’s true, I really do. From other people’s perspective in some sense I suppose I’m too easy to please. Which is ironic because quite a bit of the time I get accused of the exact opposite, of being impossible to make happy. Especially when it comes to getting gifts. But if only they listened to me or paid attention then maybe they wouldn’t have got it so wrong. Sometimes it makes me wonder if anyone knows me at all.  Like last week when someone was returning something of mine that they borrowed. They happened to come in when I was watching the Bundesliga highlights, at the time I was excited because I’d gotten some extra footage of Jogi at Darmstadt’s game. In their eyes I was too excited about having gotten an extra five seconds of footage. But like I said I like the little things. And given that the person in question is someone who I’ve known my entire life, I would have thought they knew that too. I don’t expect them to understand, but I’m surprised that they found it curious, that they aren’t used to such things. It makes me wonder what else they and everybody else aren’t used to. What else do they find strange or weird but not say anything about? Is it possible that the people you’ve spent your entire life with don’t know you at all?

I get that NT people don’t understand, that’s kind of a given. But I thought I wouldn’t have this problem with other autistic people, that problems like this wouldn’t happen. Making friends with someone who has a similar mixture of autism and anxiety I thought we wouldn’t have such problems. I was wrong. I wrongly thought it meant I could talk about things that I didn’t and couldn’t talk about with anyone else. After all I listened to them talk about such things, so it should have been ok for me to share too. But it didn’t work out that way. I deeply regret having done so, having told them what I was scared of. I never tell anyone such things and in having done so I feel like a real idiot, though I don’t understand exactly why. One thing I do know, ever since then I haven’t trusted them.

With their suggestions about ways in which I could branch out in relation to my current special interest they proved how little they know me anyway. It was no doubt intended as a helpful suggestion but it wasn’t one they’d given any thought to. The idea was not  bad one, to the contrary, it’s quite a good one actually. Just not for me. I know people do that online, make their own commentary for games and live stream it. But why would they think it was a good idea for me?

In a perfect world I’d love to do such a thing. But then in a perfect world I’d have no problem with talking out loud, with getting my words out and saying them in the right order. And in a perfect world I wouldn’t sound quite so strange. But of course the world is far from perfect. The suggestion hurt my feelings. Whilst it was intended to be helpful it felt like it was a reminder of just one more thing I can’t do. And I really don’t need anymore of those. Coming from anyone else I would have gotten over it eventually and decided it was thoughtless but not too hurtful. However coming from someone else who is also autistic, it hurts just that little bit more.

After this and a few other comments I felt like I couldn’t trust them anymore. Like I had to watch what I said to them the same way I did with everyone else, not just what I said but how I acted. Now it feels like there’s no-one I can talk freely with, no-one I can just be myself around. Maybe there never was, maybe it was just an illusion, I was just fooling myself. Whichever is true it’s exhausting having to put that front on all the time. But then what if I were to truly be myself around other people, what would that mean?

I once made the mistake of telling someone this, that I felt like I couldn’t be myself around anyone else. And they said it hurt their feelings that I meant them too, that I even felt that way about someone I was related to. I understand how it hurt their feelings, really I do. But what about my feelings? What about how I feel, knowing that people wouldn’t like me were I really to be myself around them.

Because truth is, if I spend more time being myself around them then it would mean interacting with them a lot less, with everyone in fact. Starting to talk with other people was one of the worst things I ever did. I wasn’t always like that, when I was a lot younger I was for the most part quiet and barely said a word. I didn’t even lecture people about my special interests. I wasn’t a little professor type Aspie when I was a small child, I was more of a live in my own head kind of person. I could talk, I just didn’t. I was a lot happier back then and a lot less confused. I didn’t have to worry about what other people were thinking, whether I’d said something wrong or not, or if I couldn’t understand and follow a conversation. I didn’t have to worry about any of that. Two of the worst things I ever did, starting to talk to other people and learning and understanding the concept that people had thoughts in their head that were different to mine. Ever since I learnt that I’ve found it difficult to stop obsessing over what other people are thinking, how what they say might not be what they are really thinking. It makes it impossible to trust anyone, and it makes other people question our friendship because I’m seemingly incapable of putting that amount of trust in them.

Which brings me to the question, what would make me happy? Right now I think nothing less than a full scale retreat would make me anything close to happy. Though I think happy is maybe not the right word for it. I think relieved would be more the right word. Relieved not to have to speak aloud, to find the right words, to make sense of what someone else is saying, or just generally to tolerate the presence of another person. More and more these days whenever I’m with someone else I can’t wait until they leave. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to listen to anyone talk about anything. That ability to listen and to make sense of the words just isn’t there.

When I dropped out of college the second time I spent the next three months doing nothing but playing video games. I slept in the day and played video games all night. I didn’t see anyone else or speak to them. I barely even saw the people who live in the same house as me. The way the times worked out I was getting up as they were going to bed. Later on the psychologist suggested I did this as a way of avoiding other people, so I didn’t have to face them and worry about hiding how I was feeling. I’ve written about this before in a post entitled “Don’t forget these days”, about how odd it is that when confronted with other people you do everything you can to put an act on, to convince them you’re fine. When really a part of you wants not to do this, you want them to see that something isn’t right.

I don’t know if it’s what I really want but it feels like it is, like that would be wonderful right now. There’s not any games I’m particularly looking forward to playing, indeed I’m not particularly enthusiastic about video games in general right now. It’s just the thought of escape that’s so appealing. Of not needing to be anywhere, of being able to sleep whenever and for however long I like. But something tells me this is not such a good idea. Partly I’m worried that were I to do this, it would be hard to break the habit. Which would be most troublesome if it turned out to be not what I wanted. Or to be a little more honest about it, I think I’m scared that if I allow myself to stay in bed that I’ll never want to get up again. It’s kind of like the Stalingrad metaphor I used in one of my stories, about the soldiers who were attempting to flee the advance of the Russian army. They had to keep moving because if they stopped they would die there, they just wouldn’t have the energy or the fight necessary in them to get back up again. They would sit there and freeze to death, not because they wanted to but because they really couldn’t move another inch. Sometimes, actually most of the time it’s a whole lot easier to give up than to carry on fighting.

I’ve felt like that every morning these past few days, asking myself if I really have to get up. I suppose that’s one reason I don’t want to part ways with my current special interest. Because if I do, what reason would I have to get up in the mornings? Or to be more precise the afternoons these days, either way the point still stands. I’m worried about running out of reasons to make myself get out of bed. When of course the real question I should be asking is, why is it so hard to get out bed to begin with?

It really is a most tempting prospect, not to concern yourself with the outside world at all. Not to talk to other people, not knowing what’s going on, not even keeping up with football, nothing real at all. Nothing but the story of whatever game you happen to be playing. I wonder if I was truly happy during those three months and if so why. Is that the key to happiness, complete detachment from reality? Because making contact with reality means plenty to worry about and lots to be stressed out about. It can’t be a coincidence that the time I was the least stressed out is when I had nothing to do with the real world.

Only problem is I’m not sure I’m ready to let go of my current interest. I’m not sure I want to start over again, not now. But then I don’t really know if that’s true. I don’t know for sure if it’s because I would miss Freiburg, the Bundesliga in general, Jogi and Hansi, and Manuel Neuer of course. Or if it’s because I just don’t like change and once I’ve gotten locked into something it’s really hard to get out of.

One thing is for sure, I’m not feeling quite as optimistic as when I wrote the post mentioned above. The title of that post came from a book called “A Life too Short.”It’s about Robert Enke, a German goalkeeper who had depression and ended up committing suicide. Those words “don’t forget these days” were what was written on the last page of his journal. This is how I ended that post:

“Don’t forget the good things, the things that make you so happy is what I tell myself. One day is just that, one day. How you feel today will not be potentially how you feel tomorrow, or even an hour or a minute from now. I list all the good things there are, all the things that are important to me.  And try to remember all those little moments, all those wonderful little moments that came about in an otherwise terrible day.”

Right now it’s not easy to convince myself that there’s any truth in that. Right now all I can think is that those little moment aren’t enough. That everything which goes wrong overshadows all of it. I’m not quite sure what makes me happy right now. It feels like nothing can. I’ve been excited about Arsenal’s trip to the Allianz Arena ever since the draw was made, and even more so since the first leg of the tie. That game is tonight in fact and I got my wish as regards to what channel it’s on, in spite of that I’m having difficulty mustering up any real enthusiasm for it. I hope it doesn’t turn out like Sunday did. Then I woke up not really looking forward to the game, but I thought it was just because I was tired, that I would be happy once I’d woken up a bit more. It didn’t work out that way.

Earlier I was reading a discussion online about whether or not life is really worth the effort. One person made a good point in saying that the worst mistake they ever made was making their happiness reliant on another person or a relationship. Happiness should come from within, it shouldn’t be dependent on someone else or something else, on factors you can’t control. I especially should not let any part of my happiness be dependent in anyway on other people. Because it’s a sure fire way to being miserable. I get things wrong so much of the time that it’s the worst idea possible to be reliant in anyway on such a thing. So what should I allow to make me happy?

It seems as if none of the things that make me happy recently are real in any way. Football related videos, my Jogi and Hansi collection, my Bundesliga and die Mannschaft collection, football stickers and other random collectibles. Do they really make me happy? Are they enough? Does it matter that I seem to have no interest in living in the real world?

I should be asleep right now, in fact I’m supposed to be getting up in about four and half hours. But I can’t sleep, I feel sick with worry at knowing what’s coming. I don’t know which aspect of the day ahead worries me the most, which part it is that I’m most worked up about. If it’s getting dressed in outside clothes, spending time with someone else or if it’s just the idea of going out at all. But if I want to see Spectre than I have no choice about that part at least.

Instead of sleeping I’ve been reading Sherlock fan fiction, to be more specific autistic Sherlock stories. The past few months I’ve been beating myself up for not reading enough books, with my latest discovery I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. A lot of it makes for very addictive reading. One of them in particular was interesting, Sherlock is talking about how he sometimes he can’t figure Watson out and people in general, that people are too unpredictable. Watson comments that people have a habit of being unpredictable when you think they’re absolutely predictable.

Very wise words, and very helpful ones to me right now. Watson’s point is at the center of my latest social errors. The problem is that people acted in a way other than what I expected them to. Because when I chose my course of action I only saw it from my point of view, I thought I was seeing it from their point of view but I didn’t. It’s all logical to me, but then they aren’t me, they don’t know what I’m thinking. If I can’t deal with that, with people acting in a way other than what I expect than obviously any kind of social contact is out of the question. I’ve read a lot of books about autism, I have two shelves worth of them, but I never understood the relationship between autism and imagination. I didn’t understand why it was part of the diagnostic criteria, and I argued vehemently against that part of the criteria applying to me.  Now I get it, both in the context of social imagination and in a larger context. This is what it’s about, being able to have an idea of what someone else may be thinking, of how they may react to your actions or comments. It never occurred to me they would react in a way differently to what I had in mind, to how I thought they would. It really threw me when that did happen. And now it’s un-fixable. It’s not the fact that I can’t talk to them that gets to me the most, it’s the fact that I can’t correct my mistake. I hate being wrong, I really hate it. I know it’s probably not right that it’s my first concern rather than the former.