On special interests and autism denial.

“But how you do you know it’s not a NORMAL interest”?

Another illogical sally in an ableist campaign. This one is to claim that I’m just socially awkward because I haven’t been outside much, and not autistic. That’s an overall objective, though. The current one is trying to do is discount my special interests as an autistic thing.

My special interests are certain animations of David Firth’s and Changeling: The Lost. Here, I demonstrate their difference from allistic interests.

1: Special interests are specific.

I have a special interest in Changeling: The Lost. An allistic persyn who was interested in it would probably like other such things. They might like Changeling: The Dreaming. They might like Changeling mythology as a whole, or Fae mythology, or World Of Darkness, the universe that Changeling is set in, which has many other things.

I have a special interest in Changeling: The Lost. I have a special interest in only Changeling: The Lost, and nothing else that is even remotely revevant to it. I also have a special interest in some of David Firth’s animations. My special interest is solely in about 6 of his many, many animations, and nothing else he or anyone like him has animated interests me.

2: Special interests are obsessive.

Sometimes, all I can think about is those 6 animations, or Changeling: The Lost.
I will lay awake, or get distracted for hours researching Changeling: The Lost, or quoting every Not Stanley word for word, which is about 6 minutes of solid dialogue, over and over. Sometimes I can’t even not talk about them, I just have to share this incredibly interesting thing with someone else.

3: Special interests are utterly, utterly wonderful.

I feel very, very little glee. Occasionally, a very nice compliment that I believe over something great I did, or excitement, will give me some, maybe enough to make me flap my hands for a few seconds.

Once, I special interested over Not Stanley, and I lay awake for an hour, twitching and wiggling and wanting to bounce on my bed but not doing so to avoid waking people, squeezing my arms to my sides and my legs together, making hitching, helpless little squeaks of glee in between quotes, expressing that this was the best thing ever and that it was completely wonderful and that I wanted to be like this for the rest of my life because it was awesome.

It was awesome, and the quotes were awesome, and everything was utterly perfect, and if everyone I’ve ever wished dead showed up I’d have forgiven them all right there.
How am I sure it’s not a “normal” (read: acceptable, allistic, desired) interest? Why are you sure that it isn’t, beyond allistic normativity?

You’re the one challenging my superior knowledge and expertise on the subject, so why don’t you give me some evidence beyond denial?

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About chassisbird

Chassisbird is autistic, trans, a survivor of abuse, possibly gray-asexual, queer, polyromantic and very into D/s. It uses it/hir pronouns, tends towards apathy and would like to resemble a spider much more closely.
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5 Responses to On special interests and autism denial.

  1. Lisa Harney says:

    I have a special interest in Changeling: The Lost. An allistic persyn who was interested in it would probably like other such things. They might like Changeling: The Dreaming. They might like Changeling mythology as a whole, or Fae mythology, or World Of Darkness, the universe that Changeling is set in, which has many other things.

    This example is interesting to me as Vampire: The Masquerade was my consuming interest during the 90s (replaced by Aberrant briefly, and then Exalted). I was actually interested in Vampire because I was obsessed with Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles (at the time only three books) and I was interested in anything and everything that had to do with vampires as protagonists. I spent much of my time talking about vampires, or thinking about vampires or writing about vampires or whatever. Since gaming was a big interest of mine (although mostly specific games) I wanted to see a roleplaying game based on vampires – and V:tM was it, and was just about perfect.

    And I was so obsessed with it, I had to get into everything related to it. Everything. So I picked up Werewolf: the Apocalypse, and Mage: the Ascension, and Wraith: the Oblivion, and Changeling: the Dreaming. I purchased every single book related to the old World of Darkness because they were all linked to Vampire, and even the dregs of Vampire information I picked out of those books were worth it. I will admit I faked my interest in Hunter: the Reckoning because I got tired of arguing with people about it, and Hunter was around the same time I stopped keeping up with the World of Darkness in general and even Vampire in specific.

    And when I ran those games (I ran them far more frequently than I played them) I would find ways to work vampires into the game.

    I actually came to love all the other games for their own thing, too. Not just being spinoffs from Vampire, but I liked the ideas, themes, and settings they introduced.

    And I’m autistic.

    • chassisbird says:

      Hm. I think I should have written that in a more inclusive manner, particularly given the fact that my special interest doesn’t work conventionally. That said, it is possible that your special interest still falls within the bounds of this entry, because it’s not unknown to have more than one special interest.

      You could special interest over WoD and vampires as protagonists somewhat seperately.
      I’m not going to insist that’s why, though, since you clearly know more about your special interests than I do.

      I don’t really have much skill at editing things I’ve written, so perhaps this can serve as a disclaimer that one can’t apply this to every single autistic? If it’s not adequate, I’ll try editing.

      • Lisa Harney says:

        Well, I didn’t take it personally or feel excluded. I thought it was interesting that your example of an NT interest matched my actual interest so closely. And for the ten years before I got into vampires, a single game was my “entire life”, as my mother described it.

        I can also say that while I do kind of like the new WoD, it’s never managed to hook me the way the old one did, and nothing like old Vampire. If they’d ended Vampire and kept the other games (no chance of that, on account of Vampire being the most popular), I would’ve dropped the WoD entirely, I think.

        It’s just so hard to explain some of these things to NTs without them translating it into stuff that they think makes sense to them. You need examples and counterexamples and extensive descriptions, and they still hear or read what they want.

  2. chassisbird says:

    I wouldn’t say it was so much an example of an allistic interest as a contrasting of a typically allistic trait of an interest with a typically autistic trait of my interest, thereby stacking evidence against the idea that it’s not a special interest. Of course, the main definer of a special interest is something an autistic defines as their special interest, but as this post is based on defending an individual trait as autistic rather than allistic, I had to resort to comparing the typical traits of the two neurotypes.

    Hmmm. I now have a slight, non-special interest in a few other nWoD games, like Promethean and Vampire, but the old WoD and anything from it don’t really interest me. Counterpart to your thing, perhaps. I totally identify with that “your whole life”, remark. I used to be special-interest-y over Timesplitters 2 and Heroes Of Might & Magic 3 that way. What was the game you had a special interest in?

    I guess it’s best to read a lot of autistic blogs and contrast them with a lot of other autistic blogs, so that you don’t get the idea that all autistics are the same, particularly if you’re allistic.

    • Lisa Harney says:

      I guess it’s best to read a lot of autistic blogs and contrast them with a lot of other autistic blogs, so that you don’t get the idea that all autistics are the same, particularly if you’re allistic.

      Definitely.

      I guess I misunderstood what you were saying, but how I interpreted it didn’t offend me. Thank you for clarifying, anyway. Responding was partially an excuse to talk about something that still interests me. 🙂

      And yes, “my whole life” just about covers it.

      The funny thing about the new WoD is that it is set up in a way I wish the old WoD had been set up. I had told friends repeatedly that the same kind of structure is what I wish the old WoD were designed around, and yet when they do it I’m interested, but not excited. I’d probably play and/or run it, though.

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