Feminist Aspie

Optimist About This: Ramblings on special interests

on July 18, 2013

So I’ve spent the last couple of weeks preoccupied with two things. I’ll get the bad side out of the way first. Recently, a certain phenomenon has been happening massively in the UK; I’m trying not to bring it up every ten seconds, but it rhymes with “feet cave” and for me it means “sensory worst nightmare”. (EDIT: It’s “heatwave”. At the time I wrote this post, that was fairly obvious given the state of my Twitter at the time, but since then several people have read it out of context and got really confused, so I thought I’d add it in.)  I really don’t help myself, either, because I sort of become a little bit (read: very) obsessed with it and then the actual problem is 90% due to the vicious circle created by me being really anxious and generally “on edge” making my sensory issues worse, making me more anxious about the whole thing, etc. Not nice.

On the plus side, especially as it’s mainly a “pointless worrying” issue, distraction works wonders (hey, why do you think I’m actually blogging for once?) and that’s where the much more positive Part 2 comes in. Introducing my shiny new special interest!

…Yep, rather predictably, it’s yet another band. (I, erm, quite like music…) I genuinely thought I’d grown out of the band obsession thing, but there you go. In fact, almost all my special interests from the age of about 13 onwards have been a variation of this. Even my non-band-related special interests are fairly “mainstream” (Doctor Who, anyone?) and to be honest I’ve always seen this as a privilege; for example the number of times at uni that I’ve ended up making friends by striking up a conversation about Doctor Who or, to a lesser extent, Muse. These days, it also means there’s already a ready-made fandom on Tumblr just waiting to be explored!!

That’s the upside of being in the early stages of the interest – the sheer excitement of knowing there’s so much out there. (In this case, I dived into the Internet expecting one album and maybe a few more videos, and ended up discovering not one but two free covers mixtapes, as well as LOADS of live sessions, acoustic versions, that sort of thing. You should see my YouTube history…) The downside to this early stage is being ridiculously shy about it, at least offline, for no apparent reason. For some reason, it seems to be my (neurotypical) brother who’s always the first real-life person to get all the infodumps; I have no idea why, maybe he’s just sort of around more often. I’m still not entirely sure where this odd secrecy comes from; I don’t really “drop” special interests when new ones happen so they end up being a pretty big part of my life,  so I guess it’s natural to be apprehensive about introducing it to the world! I also worry that yet another band obsession seems a little childish, especially after the whole Muse thing because I’d assumed I couldn’t possibly be that obsessed with another band, particularly a relatively new one like Bastille. It genuinely feels a bit like I’m having an affair (especially as I saw Muse back in May and guess who the support act was?!), which is really silly because for crying out loud you can like multiple things at once, but I digress.

Anyway, I’ve just decided that there is a point to this rambling post – special interests are awesome. Especially when you take situations like that thing I can’t talk about into consideration; honestly, I can’t think of any other logical reason why I haven’t had a bazillion and one meltdowns over the last couple of weeks. I’ve had my moments, believe me, but it hasn’t been too bad; I suppose I at least have an escape route. It’s become a defence mechanism to the point that I’m worried I’ll end up associating my shiny new special interest with the other thing and totally ruin it for myself (unlikely…). It’s made me realise,  all over again,  just how powerful and joyful special interests can be. And I have no idea what I’d do without them.

(P.S. In particular, I absolutely love this, because harmonies and drumming beats from literally nothing and layers and details details deeeetaaaails)

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14 responses to “Optimist About This: Ramblings on special interests

  1. I suppose whatever our special interests are, we always feel a little self-conscious about them? I tend to develop really wonky obscure narrow interests and when I bring them up, people just look at me funny, like “really? what is that even about?” So it’s funny that you feel the same way about your band love because bands seem like something lots of people get really into.

    Back in the day, I had a huge special interest in The Doors (like, I was totally planning to go to Paris and visit Morrison’s grave when I was older) and still love their music and love when a photo of Jim Morrison randomly pops up on my Tumblr dashboard. More than 20 years later, a song or a photo can bring back really good memories of when that was a shiny new obsession and I couldn’t get enough of it. Special interests are amazing. I feel bad for people who don’t have them.

    • Me too! I just wish I could explain the feeling accurately enough for others to understand it. For me, the self-consciousness goes away after a while, mainly because, y’know, it’s a special interest so people… sort of… notice. 😛

  2. New reader here…. omg I love music sooooooooooo much too! I don’t look the part but I really enjoy hard rock and heavy metal (all the loud angry noise basically) and their often louder subgenres. I agree-it’s all the details and layers. I have felt self-conscious about them though, because the kind of music I listen to isn’t mainstream. Thankfully my goal is to find music from all the bands in the world (there are so many…it’s too much fun!) so I am still able to get around that! To people I don’t know, I will tell them I like more mainstream US bands like 311 and Red Hot Chili Peppers, but my closer friends know what I really enjoy! I even want work in the industry on the business side if I can…I live, breathe, eat and sleep music.

    Having special interests is funnnnnnn 😀

  3. Goele says:

    Hi, thank you for following me back. Maybe you’d also be interested in following my new blog about my giftedness and Asperger syndrome: giftednessuncovered.wordpress.com (sorry to post this in the comments, I didn’t find a contact page).

  4. chels744 says:

    Just wanted to thank you for following Cheetah-Chottah Press!

    I’m no longer self-conscious about my special interests, as there is nothing to be ashamed of. As long as I do not bore people to tears by going on and on about them, what is the big deal? Those who label me for it can take a hike, they belong in the same boat as those who think it is acceptable to use the r-word.

  5. autisticook says:

    I still haven’t figured out feet cave and it’s driving me bonkers.

    • Heat wave. Sorry!! It became an internal running joke that I would not shut up about it, so when I wrote this I thought “Right, I’m not mentioning it” but as you can see, that didn’t go so well 😛

      • autisticook says:

        Hahaha! Thanks for explaining 😀

      • Alana says:

        It took me reading this article several times to realize that feet cave meant the actual weather thing, and wasn’t some new sort of music/band phenomenon that you were talking about that you didn’t like. (Even after I figured out it wasn’t really feet cave)

        And now everything makes so much more sense.

      • Oops!!! Really sorry!! I probably should have just made that clear somewhere; it probably made more sense at the time this was posted because on the FeministAspie Twitter I just would – not – shut – up – about – the – weather. Sorry! xD

      • autisticook says:

        This is just so funny! I guess my bluntness really did have a use after all. 😛

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