Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: reading people

Let me tell you about yourself

My brother was over yesterday helping me with my new compy. I ordered Thai to thank him for his help. We were eating yellow curry (chicken and potato–outstanding!) when he said, “I thought about what you said a few weeks ago.” I looked at him expectantly because I didn’t remember what we talked about a few weeks ago. I mean, in general, yes, I could remember, but I wasn’t sure what he meant specifically.

“When you said I was probably somewhere on the spectrum, it made so many things clear.” Oh, damn. Yes, I had said something about him being on the spectrum, but I thought that was obvious. Like, he’s the stereotype of someone on the spectrum and his son was also clearly on the spectrum when he (the son) was very young.

I apologized to him because I normally don’t tell people about themselves. It’s not a nice thing to do and it can really freak people out. I understand that. I don’t like it when people think they know me better than I know myself (but it’s usually because they don’t) and I don’t want to do the same thing to other people (even though I do know them better). But for some reason, I thought he knew. We’d talked about it before, but perhaps it didn’t sink in. Or maybe the other times I didn’t tell him explicitly that he was on the spectrum. I’m pretty sure I have, but it doesn’t really matter.

He cut short my apology and said that he was glad I had said that because it had explained so many things. We recounted the ways it made sense. He’s not aware of feelings. I mean, he can tell broadly if someone is happy or sad, but not the more nuanced things like distraught versus upset. Miffed versus irritated. Giddy versus exuberant, etc. Nor can he always tell why someone is in that mood. He joked that all his sensitivity for emotions was given to me instead, which isn’t really a joke. I have double the dose and he has less than half the dose.

Other ways he looks like he’s on the spectrum: when he was younger, he could not look people in the eyes. Being very interested in mechanical things (taking things apart at a young age), being hyper-focused on one thing for hours. Some others I didn’t mention: not great social skills (though we’ve talked about that ad nauseam), fidgety, and being rigid on how things ‘should’ be done. To me, it was a textbook case.

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