How it feels: Sudden change and choices.

It has been some time when I underwent something that made me feel my autism, so here goes, made me feel different. Made me feel incompetent.

What brought about this feeling?

It has been hot outside. 30-34 degrees celcius make it unbearably hot in our appartment, with up to 28-29 degrees when the sun isn’t on our window, which makes it only livable for a few hours a day (people in hotter countries will laugh at these numbers, but I live in a country that isn’t this hot for most of the year).

I can’t stand heat, so it makes me do nothing most of the days, except watch series and scroll twitter (not even comment on twitter) and eventually the heat will make me so exhausted that I just have a nap. My girlfriend suggested to her visiting mother that we stay there for a week, until most of the heatwave has passed, to which she and her husband agreed. The only obstacle, was my autism.

My girlfriend came to ask if I agreed and although I agreed (in my mind). My body froze.

Most people read this as disagreement, but let me tell you what went on in my head and in the heads of all those autistics faced with sudden change.

When something changes all of a sudden, my head fills up with questions. Questions that don’t seem that significant to you neurotypicals, but need answers before I can move on. In this instance, it was: what would I do for a week? What should I take? When will we be back? How are we going to get there? How am I going to go to my appointments? How can I arrange so my appointments know where I am?

And these questions keep rumbling through my head, until I know a straight answer. If my girlfriend had communicated when we would be back, what we would take, how long we would stay, when we would leave, suggestions for what to take and what to leave (qua entertainment), then it would be much easier. Now she just said: Would you like to go to my mom? and all the options were left open. I have trouble deciding already, knowing myself that I can weigh options indefinetely until I make a set of criteria my options have to adhere to.

I will give you an example in my interest: Magic, so you know how I make choices.

There are millions of effects. Literally millions. But I can only perform so many, and take with me so many on a day to day basis. So I have to setup criteria for those that I want to take, and have variety in my set. So I have devised criteria for these like “Is the effect portable?” “Does it require extra things?” “Does it easily reset? (so I don’t need to hide to setup the effect again for a future sudden performance?” “Can I do more than 1 effect with the material that I already have?” “How strong are those effects?”

This together with my artistic criteria only makes that out of those million effects, I can do approximately a dozen. I know I have very, very strict criteria, and these aren’t even all of them, but it has led me to years of studying magic and searching for effects that fit my criteria and adapting effects so they fit my criteria or even divising my own methods to make an effect that fits my criteria.

I can stand in stores deciding for hours, until I have decided which I should take, and I can only take minutes shopping because I have decided before I went to the shop what I should take. I almost never go shopping without a mental list, and when I have been dictated a list, I will only bring those items, when I know it’s not for me or my girlfriend, when a specified item isn’t in stock, I won’t bring something close to it.

So you know my thinking behind choices and sudden change.

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