An Aspie is an Aspie wherever she goes — if I’m not in my apartment working, or cooking, I’m walking the cobbled streets alone, looking for tasty snacks and interesting sites. After living in this meat-suit we call a human body for several decades, I’ve had enough practice to ‘pass’ as a human. And with the validation of a nice career, I’m no longer shy and have no problem having a friendly chat with people wherever I go. I have confidence most (though not all) of the time. But just like you, I’m in my bubble. It follows us wherever we go: it’s called being an Aspie. Sometimes I let people in my bubble and sometimes I just can’t.
Today my Italian friend Federica and I had the pleasure of visiting Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘bubble’–an immersive sensory experience where his canvases were inflated and projected in high definition with beautifully chosen pieces of classical music to accompany them. There were also fascinating bits of his writings and philosophies. On a grey day, a colorful and dramatic expedition to the soul of another (possibly aspie/likely synesthete) artist was both a moving and comforting thing. I have seen several of these canvases live in various museums, and while only the originals really convey and contain his essence, this had another sort of magic–like swimming in a pool as opposed to the ocean but swimming nevertheless. Interestingly, I found the 3D setup of his bedroom at Arles had the same effect on me as the original painting, more so than the projected canvas.
Afterward, Fed and I discussed how if women on the spectrum are the invisible half, “lipstick” Aspergirls are perhaps in the shadowy end of that. If we have the obvious physical mannerisms, expressions (or lack thereof), and practical approach to dress and obvious career choice (engineer, librarian) someone might perhaps give us a wider berth for faux pas, and the benefit of the doubt regarding diagnosis. However, if you look remotely like you spend time with a blow dryer, you will be forever suspect, no matter how many books you have written that have helped other more obvious women get diagnosed!
I am very excited to be the keynote speaker at an upcoming event here in Rome for the group SpazioAsperger, where I will meet all sorts of women on the spectrum. The talk is about the Rise of the Aspergirl and I did not choose that title lightly. It is time we rise and we take our place in the world, both in the world of spectrum issues, research, practice, policies and progress, but also the world in general. Our intelligence and sensitivity is needed. But at the same time, I preach self-empowerment. No one is going to coddle you if you lie curled up on your sofa all day in meltdown mode. Progress from within and from without at the same time, that is what is needed. (I am also giving a 2nd talk about my own life on the spectrum and I promise it will be both interesting, and relatable.) Thank you to the folks at SpazioAsperger for their cutting edge practices and approach….they have really pushed for recognition of females on the spectrum and were the folks that translated Aspergirls into Italian.
Rome is the most romantic city I’ve ever been in and it seems like I’m one of the few women walking around solo most of the time, so a strong sense of self-esteem is necessary. I made a video about that last month – check that out if you haven’t already (as usual, you must be logged in to view). One must become very adept at travel safety to live the way I do, a wandering warrior. I made a dating safety video I’ll be putting up next week, but travel in general is something I could write a book about. We must have work, healthy food, and have routines, or we won’t feel grounded and happy!!
No matter where I go, one thing I know for sure is that we are a TRIBE and have much more in common than not. Being an Aspergirl transcends all boundaries — religion, race, sexual persuasion, politics, etc. I am proud to be a member of our tribe. Thank you for being part of our Society to those of you who have already joined, and to the rest, I hope you do soon. (Sorry fellas, but we will let you sponsor us! 😉 )
Ciao for now, Rudy Simone (now pronounced “See-mo-nay”)