Introvert, An Update

I find people frustratingly annoying. I find them to be more so when they simply do not understand me. It’s not that I don’t try. I believe it’s because they either think my antisocial behavior is an act, a quirk, or a mental illness. It’s really none of those things. I’m not an act to avoid certain responsibilities that I have (give me a task and I will complete it. If I need assistance, I will ask for it). It’s not a behavioral oddity I can just turn off (I’m not trying to be humorous or difficult, it just is). It’s not depression (my ASD does heighten my sensitivity to certain sounds, lighting, and touch. At such times I withdraw into a meditative mode in order to control the anxiety it produces) I’m happy with who I am in life. So, what advice can I give, what insights in dealing with a person like me can I provide other than to just “LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE”? Not much, I don’t think. But here’s a few things I can say about what I go through that may help you to understand who I am.

“Working well with others.” I’m a high voltage electrician (“medium-high voltage” technically for I deal with 480 to 14,000 AC volts) in a steel factory maintaining load carrying equipment. I deal with breakers, motor-generators, and relays that provide the power source for steel manufacturing. Most of what I do is watch and record current readings and maintain certain levels of power usage. On occasions, and this is when it becomes exciting for me, I must troubleshoot and repair equipment that has failed. If I maintain things right or act proactively, these occurrences should happen, as they should, rarely. It’s a lonely job. Does that bother me? Nope. I “do my thing” at my pace when I want to and to the standards, I set for myself. My boss calls me a “self-motivator”. In truth, being alone to do a job is when I enjoy it best. Most of the time I can handle what issues crop up on my own. The exceptions are when I have work in substations (OSHA rules, not mine) or when a task requires other people to assist me. At those times I may get a bit “chatty” but that’s only me overcompensating. It’s me trying to be friendly. Inside I’m screaming because circumstances have placed me in a position where I must rely on others. I do work well with others and do appreciate people’s help but if given a choice I would rather that do the job by myself.

For most of my life, I’ve had to deal with the fact that I was different. I see things differently, think differently, interact (as awkward as it was at times) with others in a different way. Because of this I was often ridiculed or shunned quite often. This led me to my attempts to conform, to falsely mimic other people’s behavior in order to fit in. Over the decades I became quite adept at it giving people the wrong idea that I was a “social person”. What they didn’t understand is how much work it took to maintain this façade. It was exhausting. I couldn’t maintain it all the time and when I wavered my interpersonal skills would falter and people, including myself, would get hurt. At times I would say “I need some alone time” or do things like isolating myself. This did not mean I didn’t care for other people’s feelings it just meant I needed to “recharge”, to be myself, before I could continue. I couldn’t make and keep friends. Relationships were nearly impossible (it may have been one of the reasons why my first marriage failed, I couldn’t be honest with her). Many people didn’t understand this, I didn’t for the longest time, and this brought about both anxiety and depression. I was not happy with myself because I was not who I am. I saw conformity as an enemy of who I really am. Inside, in my world, in my “mind’s eye”, people and things were part of an outside tapestry of interactions, patterns, that were foreign to me. It’s not that I’m antisocial, it’s that I had difficulty in understanding it unless I stood back and exam it first.

And this brings me to why I relied on years of drug and alcohol abuse and finally mental health therapy in order to cope. In my introspective search, I have come to accept who I am and have become a happier person. Quitting drugs and alcohol have relieved me of those self-abusing crutches. Therapy and the use of mood-stabilizing drugs have lessened the anxiety I would experience. Accepting myself, my “differences”, has liberated me from much of what I have struggled with for so long. I can unleash my creative mind because I no longer must work under the yoke of conformity. Because of all that I have also forged a relationship with an individual, my wife, who loves and understands me. Does that mean I have stopped pretending who I’m not? Unfortunately, my present employment situation and lifestyle keeps me from doing so. The difference now is that I have made a refuge both mentally and physically that helps me cope with the insane world of having to socialize in order to maintain other people’s emotional needs. I know it makes me sound cold and uncaring maybe even sociopathic but it’s far from the truth. I can feel, I do have empathy, I just have difficulty expressing it. My wife knows this very well. She also knows that when I truly open up to you and show you who I really am you are very special to me.

Answer to a Facebook Friend Inquiry


Author Note: I was asked once by an FB friend what it’s like to have ASD.

One of my Facebook friends asked me what it’s like to have Asperger’s. I replied as best as I could and liked it well enough to repost here.

It’s like being hyper-focused and easily distracted at the same time. I read at a minimum three books at the same time (my Kindle has made this easier for me, and less awkward) usually 2 fiction and one non-fiction. I’m at present reading ‘Dune’, 2 short story anthologies ‘The Robot Megapack; Astounding Science Fiction Stories, and a non-fiction about the early life on our planet called, ‘Life on a Young Planet’. I have to keep my mind constantly active so when I get bored reading one I switch without losing where I was before. I usually finish 1 or 2 300 page plus books in a week and a half. The internet is NOT good for me and t.v. can be impossible unless I find a show or 2 I can binge otherwise I go nuts because nothing is interesting. Talking to people is weird. I can listen better if I don’t look at the person because looking directly at that person is distracting (facial movements are distracting and I don’t hear everything. On the upside, I make a good listener if I just focus on the words). The world can be boring, boring, boring but if I have something to focus on I can watch something for hours. One time on my job I sat for 4 hours troubleshooting the operation of multiple relays until I found where an intermittent problem was occurring! Conversations are horrible because I tend to skip around a lot and digress quite a bit (it drives me nuts when I’ve moved on a subject my wife is still talking about). When I’m really bored I do “thought experiments” like imagining the path of a photon from its creation (the product of fusion within the Sun’s core) through its 93 million mile journey in space until it hits and excites the outer electron of a surface molecule which then we perceive as color. Touch is uncomfortable unless elicited. In other words, if I or someone like my wife wants a hug I can (and it feels good) but if someone were to touch me without me expecting it I flinch.

Upside: I know a lot about a lot, I can focus intensely on an activity without being distracted, I can discriminate sounds and inflections in voice quality better than most people, and I have a great imagination.

Downside: I’m easily bored, having and keeping relationships are difficult (making those I do have very special), I lack patience, and I have problems finishing tasks especially if they are not very stimulating and are repetitive.


Note: I can relate to cats.

-A. M. Holmes

How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love My ASD


If anyone would have asked me in the beginning if I would like to be set down in a world among the idiots my answer would have been a firm “No“. Since no one did, here I am. If my answer seems to be insulting don’t let it bother you for it’s not meant for anyone specifically and applies only to humanity in general.

Still perturbed? Okay, I can say that there are exceptions and that you are one of them but then you’ll realize I don’t know you so how could it apply? Or, I could say the problem is not in you but in me but that is a copout because I really don’t think it and so the statement loses all its earnestness. Fine. So, let’s just say, as the saying goes, agree to disagree. What? Still not happy with the “world among the idiots” part? Fine {again}, prove to me we don’t live in a time and culture where stupidity is normal and exceptional is viewed with suspicion? For evidence of the culture of stupidity, one has only to look at the warning label of any product with the insight that at some point someone did attempt to blow-dry their hair in the shower or use bleach as a mouthwash. As for the attack on the brilliant how about the way we are training our children to believe “everyone is the same, everyone is a winner”. Really? Mediocrity as a life’s goal!

I predict that future historians, after a long ‘Dark Age’ recovery period, will call our times “The Meh Epoch”, or M.E.

Okay, so fine, a flatline baseline is what we in the Western world are shooting for, a world where “I am entitled to everything that is coming to me as long as no one I don’t like gets any of it then it’s not fair” populist politics of both the Left and the Right lower the bar to the point where only flatworms can cross. Yeah, that’s sounds like a stable place to be. A society where factcheck fake news to exhaustion because people’s perceptions rather than truth feeds the greedy media. A culture of the damn that blames physical ills on the genes inherited from the parents that are no different than the “sin of the father” reasoning use 200 years ago but with a misconstrued scientific twist. Oh, and then there the Western elitist point of view that the world will be “a better place if only we allow {fill in the blank: God, Nature, Socialism, Capitalism, Nationalism, Skepticism, any kind of “ism”,  Science and Technology (yeah, capital letters), Boomers, Gen-Xers, Millennials, Gen-Zee, The U.S. Congress, The Donald, The Fed, Wall Street, PETA, Hollywood, Bollywood, The United Nations, NATO, UNESCO, EU, PU (just kidding), Ahura-Mazda, ComCast, Apple, the “Spaghetti Monster”, Organic Farming, Anti-Vaxers, Anti-science, Moe, Larry and Curly, etc., etc., etc.} to do its thing in peace”. That will so not happen if there are sane people on this planet.

But, enough of my rant.

Wondering what the title has to do about this all of this? Nothing at all unless you consider for a moment that’s it’s a peek into the effed-up process in which my mind works.

It sucks, and I used to let it frustrate. Now, thanks to those that have made autism chic, I have embraced my mental “quirkiness” in the form of Asperger’s syndrome and see the world in my different way.

Frustrating? HELL-YA! Can I do something about it? Might be the point of sharing these private thoughts of mind. Is this my “Dark Manifesto”? Please, that’s for the truly psychotic. Is there hope for our screwed-up world? Sure, there is. There’s always that.


If you indulge me on one final note, my other reason for doing this. I see the beginning of 2018 with renewed possibilities one of them being the completion of several writing projects I will be sharing here. Some are good, some need work, as fiction and commentary, all I hope will entertain and maybe provoke some discussion.