Imperfectly Perfect

All People have a right to enjoy themselves just like you! So play nice.

Last night, I was playing a new game I purchased on Steam. While I was playing I noticed that my face was hot to the touch, my shoulders were tense. Yes, as you probably guessed, I was stressed. I was playing Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege. I was the last man standing defending the hostage on my team of five. But, something was strange about it all. How did I get here? I hadn’t fired a single shot and yet I was the last man standing on my team. I noticed my breathing getting heavier as I began to search for the remainder of the opposing team when I did what I felt was necessary. I held my breath, and took my first shot of the round. I shot the surveillance camera directly in front of me when one of my former team members comes on through voice chat saying “What are you F****** Stupid?!!…..Oh! This guy is a level 2! Hahahaha!”

Well, even though I gave away my position by firing on the camera, being an Aspie we think differently in terms of strategy than that of NT’s. My strategy in doing this was that I was taking out an opportunity for the opposing team to spy on my whereabouts, and hopefully flush the last man standing on their team out to where I could stage an ambush instead of searching for them, and being caught off guard. It backfired, and I was killed. It turns out not many of my former team members liked this strategy considering most of them like to jump like chimpanzees, run around faster than cheetahs, and kill with the efficiency of a Special Forces Op. They criticized me brutally for the actions I had taken. They made me feel like I was not worthy to be a part of the team.

What did I do after that you might ask? Well, I got offline, and went to my favorite social network, Reddit. I sought out the counsel of my fellow aspergians on the r/aspergers subreddit. I vented to them on the toxic/cruel landscape that we know as online multiplayer games. I was advise on numerous things such as games I should try, as well as the support, and the fact that I wasn’t alone in my frustrations with not being adequate enough in skill to play first person shooters (FPS) as some in our community.

So, I set out to do some research of my own. I came across several like-minded individuals in the aspergers community. One was writing an article on “Disabilities and Gaming”. He said he was a fellow aspie, and that he has a condition called “Dyspraxia”. I was intrigued, so I looked it up.

Have you ever had one of those “light bulb” moments where you were seemingly in the dark on something in your life, and all of the sudden the lights just seem to come on? Well friends, This was one of those moments! I am not condoning Dr.Reddit or Dr.Google, but, I, all of the sudden had a reason for why for all these years could not play guitar because of coordination, I couldn’t remember control schemes on the more complex PC or console games, I can’t seem to keep up with most on video games, I need to make a ton of lists to remember stuff that most can remember in their head, and I am very clumsy. It has been described as being clinically clumsy. The actual clinical definition describes dyspraxia as limitations on movement, and speech. Basically your brain is working faster than the body which obviously would affect the ability to play video games competitively as well as the normal day to day functions of life. Although just as being on the spectrum is different for everyone of us, dyspraxia is no different. Some will have problems with depth perception. Some with sequences in video games. Some with verbal speech, and so on.

Anyways, I just wanted to share with you my experience in gaming online with toxic people who think that just because we are behind the curtain of the internet, even if we are a “rookie” or if we aren’t. We all are different and shouldn’t be treated in such a way that we feel we aren’t worthy to lick the dirt off of their boots. We all have a right to enjoy ourselves in a safe non-judgemental atmosphere. So, next time you’re playing a game, remember you are talking to a real human on the other side who has feelings so, slow down, don’t take it too seriously. It’s just a game after all, and show some compassion towards others, build your team up rather than tearing them all down limb from limb.

Take care everyone,

Until next time,

-Matthew Perisho

Home/Work Balance is HARD!!!

Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. Life has been very busy. I have been sick, had a gout flare up, been working, and we got a place of our own since the last time that I posted, so a lot has happened. Hopefully you will relate to what I have to say here because it isn’t necessarily following my story that I was on but it is a random post rather than the chronological order I was going in.

Life as an “Aspie” can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Sometimes we Aspies, or at least I do have a hard time separating work and home life. For example, When we are home, we want to stay at home. We don’t want things to change from that moment that we are home. When we are at work, we focus on work, although we would rather be at home doing something that we enjoy more such as reading, playing video games, watching movies ect. But for the most part we are focused on our task at hand. If you have a job like me, everyday getting up and ready for work can be a struggle to shift into that gear.

I used to have something that I liked to call the “Cycle”. Being a truck driver and formerly a Over-The-Road truck driver or “OTR driver” as the industry knows it. I would go through almost the same behavioral pattern every time it would get close to time for me to leave home to go back on the road. I would get depressed on my last day at home, which would for the most part ruin the day for me because I was focused on stalling, and dragging my feet on anything and everything that I possibly could. I would wait till the very last second to do anything I had to do to get ready for the week ahead because it meant that I had to think and focus on work when I was home. But, in truth all I was doing was hurting myself by not preparing for my week ahead when I had time to do so. Then, I was stuck scrambling at the end of the night to get ready. When I would get everything ready I would think to myself “Ok, Everything is ready just in case I will leave out tomorrow”. You see what I did there? I was basically telling myself that I wasn’t going anywhere but I was ready nonetheless. By this time it would be late at night, probably midnight or later and I was still dragging my feet. I didn’t want to go to bed because I knew if I went to bed, morning would come much faster than if I just stayed awake. I would end up going to bed at like 5 AM and saying to myself, “Well, now I am going to be too tired to go to work”. I would then have to scramble to make up some sort of buy-able excuse for my employer. So, now I was home another day. I would then sleep in only to do the same thing the next day. See the “Cycle” now? It all boiled down to one thing. Not wanting to leave home. I had a routine going at home and didn’t want to break that routine. If I kept up this “Cycle” it would land me in hot water with my employer and eventually get me fired. This is how I have went through so many jobs as an Aspie. It has happened many, many times in my life.

In my teens it was more about anxiety but, it was also that that I didn’t want to leave the comforts of home to go to work, deal with people I didn’t know well or perhaps didn’t like as well as dealing with the unknowns of the public.

I felt as if something was wrong with me, but as I said in previous posts. I didn’t know I was an aspie until late 2018. Then it all began to make sense. I do not use my diagnosis as a crutch but, more or less a way to understand the way that I have been and what I am now as well as my limitations in this world.

Hopefully this hits home for some of you out there that feel like you don’t understand why you do the things you do, why you are different than that of most people you come across that make life seem so easy, at least on the outward appearances.

Next time you run across someone that seems different that is seeming to struggle with things that you don’t just think, there may be a good explanation for it. (Speaking to Neuro-Typicals “NT’s”)

Until next time fellow Aspergians and other people reading,

Hope you have enjoyed my post and relate to it.

-Matthew Perisho

Dirt Racing, Golfing and Awkwardness in Sports

Papa and I in the early 90’s

Dirt Racing on Mom’s side of the family

My Grandpa “Papa” was a dirt racer for 43 years of which I grew up around, and was a big part of my life for 18 years of his 43 year career. I lived and breathed everything racing growing up.

From the time I was old enough to crawl my Papa had me under the race car on a creeper, and I vaguely remember laying there staring up and all the under parts of the car in wonderment.

Back then in the early 90’s we had to go out to Bill Ball’s shop out by Koshkonong, MO. Bill and Papa were partners in racing. The team name was called Ball-Marsh Racing. At that time they were still traveling all around the country to race as well as race at the track that Bill built, The West Plains Motor Speedway in my hometown of West Plains, MO. Although I don’t remember everything from those days I do remember the National Anthem rides I’d get to take with Papa around the track, and after the races when he’d be talking to the other drivers at our trailer when Nana would come out, hand him a lemon lime Gatorade ,and me. He’d hold me for a bit and then pass me over to Ken Essary (One of his buddies). Ken would hold me for a bit, and pass me back to Papa. It was pretty well an every weekend thing.

In 1995 Papa bought the team from Bill and went independent. As I grew older I was able to help Papa on the car more, but I still spent a lot of time holding the flashlight, and being the tool messenger. Papa would always tell me, “Son, I’m not going to be around forever, pay attention to what I’m doing and you might learn something that you can use later on.” In the early 2000’s Papa put my name on the car as part of the pit crew, and made one of my dreams come true. I finally was a part of it all in an official capacity. I remained on the pit crew until he retired from racing in 2006 of which the last 2-3 years I was the main pitman.

The last year he raced I got to race his car which was another dream come true. I did really well considering I’d never raced before, but for whatever reason I felt as if I had what it took to get that car around the track. I guess it was from all those years I’d watched him, and felt as if I’d been in the car with him all those laps. I even impressed all of his buddies that night, and felt as if I’d really accomplished something great, I was on fire! But it all came to an end even when he sold the car and trailer after the season was over. It was hell watching the car my Papa and I had worked on and raced get torn up, and eventually totalled by it’s next owner.

I don’t know if He’ll never know how much I actually did learn those nights at the track and countless hours out in the shop with him. Don’t even know if he’d believe me if I told him, but Thank You Papa for all you did and taught me through it all.

Golf on my Dad’s side of the family

Then on the other hand on the other side of my family I had Golf. I remember from a young age sitting in between my Grandma Judy and Grandpa Dave in their Golf Cart at the West Plains Country Club. I loved to drive the cart and I’d just sit in the cart and watch them play for the most part, but when I would get up the urge I had my own set of little clubs that I would go whack a ball as best I could into the fairway. One time I got to the green and got close enough to the hole. My grandparents and their friends said they would give me a “Gimme” and I took that as they were tired of waiting on me or making up some rule to be easy on me. I refused, I’d made it to the green and near the hole, I was going to do anything and take as long as it needed for that ball to go in. They all laughed and I didn’t understand. I started to cry when my Grandpa told me that “they weren’t laughing at me but with me” and I said, “But I’m not laughing!“. Just one more example of me not getting the gravity of the moment and being too literal to see the humor. I enjoyed it more as I got older with my grandparents, cousins and Dad.

Other Sports……No Go!

I always refused to play any other sports because that would mean having to be social with other kids my age, and possible judgement for me not catching on or doing things right. I tried soccer for a couple games, and quit because I didn’t like how social I had to be in communicating with my fellow teammates. I did successfully throw shot put in 7th and 8th grade, but it was mainly due to the fact that my favorite teacher just so happened to be the shot put and discus coach. I didn’t really like the competing aspect of it or having to be around all these people, and kids I didn’t know from different rural schools in the area. So I’d cling pretty close to Coach Warren. I was his helper in the shot ring, helping him measure and calling out the measurements of each throw. He also loved to talk about tractors, and big rigs which was another plus in my book.

I didn’t play any sports past 8th grade besides racing Papa’s car once. But, I always thought I was saving my athletic side for racing. At least that’s what I told myself. That’s the story of my sports, and all the awkwardness to go with it. Hope you enjoyed this, and can relate. Once again, Thanks for reading!

-Matthew Perisho

Furry Things

Oliver aka “Ollie” the current resident rat!

Ever since I was a small child I was obsessed with animals. I loved every animal I saw. My grandparents had dogs, birds, and fish while I was in my toddler years, and I was convinced I could make friends with all of them, even if they bit me. I tempted fate with trying to play with the dogs, most of the time they wanted none of it, but I still tried. I tried to be friends with numerous birds and finally learned that I didn’t appreciate my fingers being the equivalent of cocktail wieners. I even tried to pet the fish, yes, you read that correctly. Now, most people would be a bit weary of animals after those experiences, right? Yeah, not me, I was still obsessed.

Just before my fifth birthday my parents took me to the animal shelter and I got to pick my first dog, she was my best friend! Then when I turned seven my parents let me get a hamster, and he was truly the coolest hamster ever. When I turned eight we got a friend for my dog, and they were the best of friends and my best friends too. My hamster died shortly before I turned nine, and I missed him dearly, when my mom took me to get another one. The lady at the pet store recommended a pet rat instead, and that started my never-ending hyper-obsession with pet rats, they have truly been a huge staple in my life. Over the last 18 years, I have never gone long without having one, and I can tell you almost everything there is to know about them.

Over the years I have also constantly had a dog, I firmly believe that they, and any animal can bring a vast amount of comfort to people.

I have also owned cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, chinchillas, mice, hedgehogs, gerbils, turtles, a tortoise, and a bearded dragon over the years. But, nothing has ever been quite like pet rats for me.

When I have a pet rat, it helps to keep me level. Some aspies escape with video games, movies, books, or music (to name a few), but my escape is with rats.

I have had many other obsessions over the years though. Beanie Babies, stuffed animals, Hot Wheels, dolls, various music groups, skateboarding, cooking, color guard, and various crafts. But, I am only ever really able to focus on one at a time, when I do though, I poor my heart and soul into it. When I was a child, I remember I would become so obsessed with something that I would literally drive my family members or friends nuts with it, and at the time I didn’t understand why. For example, I had a FurReal Friends life-size cat and I had small Beanie Babies cats, I would pretend the big cat was pregnant and was having the little cats, and every time, there’d be a surprise kitten. I would do this over, and over, and over again, until who ever was playing with me got so annoyed that they told me to play with something else, or they would stop playing with me.

I hope this offers some insight to everyone.

-Ashley Perisho

I’d like to add a disclaimer of sorts. I am a CVA (Certified Veterinary Assistant), and I have seen cases where people collect animals, either just because they like them, or they think they’re helping them. Do not ever take on more than you can handle (proper attention, cleanings, care, cost, etc). That is the point at which you are no longer doing yourself or the animals any good. It is ok to have pets, but if you have a tendency to be over obsessive/collective I offer a very strong word of caution against getting in over your head with them.

Strike 3, You’re Out!

I’m sure that many people can say that they got into trouble throughout elementary and middle school. But, me as a kid that didn’t know I had aspergers. I seemed to have a knack for it, especially in elementary school as I was adjusting to all the norms, testing my teachers and the boundaries of what was acceptable, right or wrong, and just generally having a curiosity of how much I could get away with, without getting into trouble.

I was one of those kids that couldn’t seem to find his groove along all the other kids. I would talk when I wasn’t supposed to, blurt out answers, call kids names, get into awkward arguments, and just not seem to fit into what the school deemed “Normal and Acceptable”.

The result of all this was those famous name on the chalkboard followed by the three little check marks that meant one thing. A trip to the principal’s office. And once my name was on the board, it seemed I was most certainly doomed that I would get those three little check marks beside it no matter how hard I tried not to. It could be an altercation with a fellow classmate (either physical or verbal), me talking in class, me blurting out answers instead of raising my hand because I forgot that raising hands was how we were supposed to do it.

I generally couldn’t filter what I wanted to say through the “Think about what you say before you say it or think about what you’re going to do before you act”. I couldn’t seem to organize my surroundings into the box they wanted to put it in. For me it created chaos out of their order. It meant a lot of time spent with the principal in his office and a time or two of them calling my parents about giving me swats, which my parents generally were ok with. They didn’t realize what was wrong with me or in better words, not what was wrong but, what was different. I went to many counselors from the one at my school to private ones. They were always putting me through little tests and asking me specific questions mainly to see how intelligent I was but missing the mark on the real reason. “He is incredibly smart” they would say to my parents, “If only he would apply himself”. My parents, teachers, counselors and doctors couldn’t figure out why I could be so smart but couldn’t wrap my head around the simplest of tasks such as tying my own shoes, managing my time wisely, and avoiding certain scenerios that would thrust me into social awkwardness.

I hated P.E. because it meant I had to interact with others in a physical way, feeling like I was different than they were. I felt as if I had a spotlight on me and stood out in the crowd like a fish out of water, or a black sheep in a flock of white sheep if you will. I would pick my nose and eat my boogers when people were looking not knowing that, that wasn’t ok, I would go to daycare after school and hide my homework in various places around the daycare, so I could say I didn’t have homework to go play, among many other odd behaviors.

No one that was around me could figure out why I was like this. They would shrug it off to he’s just “acting out” for some reason. Parent teacher conferences were a big thing for my parents and teachers to get on the same page or, so they thought. That is where the misdiagnosis’ began. One of my teachers thought it was a focus problem, so they suggested going to a doctor about it and that’s where “ADD” came into my life with a dose of Ritalin to go with it. It didn’t help me focus like they thought it would. I already had all the focus I needed with subjects that would go with my interests. I could obsess over my interests, hyper focus is what they call it. That’s where they saw me really apply myself but wouldn’t in other subjects that didn’t interest me. I would excel in Art, Library, Math (most of the time), English/Writing/Language Arts, and I was amazing at spelling. I was just a round peg trying to fit into their square holes. Until next time friends, take care and keep a smile on your face because you are brilliant in your own way even if you don’t fit into the square holes of the world.

I hope you can relate to this part of my story and once again thanks for reading.

-Matthew Perisho

Stranger Danger

Ever since I was a little girl, I remember being incredibly shy and untrusting. My mom watched a few children in our home before I started kindergarten, and sometimes I did enjoy playing with them, but most of the time I felt misunderstood and would end up trying to hide from them, often times in my closet.

When we would go out places I was very shy and wouldn’t speak to people even if they spoke to me. It made me nervous to be around people I didn’t know and I would often times cling to my parents and/or hide behind them. But that was ok, because of ‘stranger danger’, right? Well, it might have been had it stopped there, but it didn’t.

When we would have family gatherings I would be very nervous, not that I did not know who my extended family was, but it was still a crowd, and I still didn’t like talking to people, especially when they asked me questions. I would cling to either my mom or dad, or my Nonny (grandma) pretty much the entire time. Those were the people I was most comfortable with. It would take some serious coaxing for me to talk to anyone else and be anywhere near comfortable with it. And honestly, to this day there are still some family members that I am more comfortable with than others. This was always awkward, but even more awkward, was trying to make friends…

When it came time for me to start kindergarten, the nightmare truly began. Every morning when my mom would drop me off for school, she would have to stay with me until the bell rang, and even then I would be hysterical when she had to leave. Most of the kids thought I was super weird and nobody really wanted to be my friend. I eventually made two friends, and those two friends were the only friends I really had until seventh grade. Even then, I was very overwhelmed by birthday parties, or any other social events, and I would often not go, or leave early from such things. When I had to change schools and districts for junior high, I lost touch with the two friends I had, and I was mortified of going to a new school and having to try and make new friends again. And again, it took a while to make any friends, all through junior high and high school, I had a total of maybe five true friends. I didn’t got to parties, I was forced to go to four school dances, all of which I had to leave early, and I absolutely hated assemblies.

Here’s the thing, even my ‘friends’ never understood me and my strange quirks, and I can honestly say that all of my childhood/teenage friendships have completely disolved. As it stands I have very few true friends, but that is ok, because it’s not quantity, it’s the quality. To this day I struggle with basic social skills and have a very hard time making or keeping friends, because of my awkwardness with people. I have slowly learned to adjust, but I know it will always be a struggle for me.

-Ashley Perisho

Friendships don’t come easy…

As a younger child I had no idea that my feelings of being different than others equated to me having aspergers having been misdiagnosed first among many times in my life with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder/In my early grade school years) before finally being diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome at the age of 30, a year ago. I wasn’t truly aware of the idea that I was that much different until I started kindergarten. I started feeling a weird sense that I was just not on the same level socially and at that time I didn’t have any perception as to what social status’ or cliques were but I perceived it as feelings of unworthiness, being misunderstood, not being as good as others and just overall not fitting into what seemed normal. I knew something was not quite right even from a child’s perspective.

Making friends never came naturally to me, and because I didn’t understand what a friend was I ultimately failed at maintaining any friendships that I was able to put a label on as a friendship.

I thought a friend was simply someone that you perceived as interesting or having limited common ground that you could walk up to, not knowing them very well or at all, and say “Hey, will you be my friend?” which I know is common in younger kids but, I truly couldn’t grasp what a friend truly was all the way up until highschool. Even in highschool I still didn’t quite grasp it but, I had observed others and noticed that they weren’t asking people to be their friends over the course of my school years. In other words I had learned this over time, I mimicked other’s behavior that I had seen to try to seem more normal. It was learned, it didn’t come naturally.

The friends that I did have, and were able to maintain I never felt like they were above me. I seemed to be drawn to kids that were under me in intellect because they weren’t intimidating for me to hang out with, or socialize with. I also recall I could never have more than a couple friends at a time or I couldn’t maintain the friendships. I also never wanted to have friends over to my house and I didn’t want to go over to their houses either as it caused me great anxiety to have that change of scenery.

As I grew older and became more aware of what the normal way was. I became more efficient in gradually making friends that shared common interests with me that were more equal to my intellectual level.

I have lost many friends over the years because of one misunderstanding or another and those losses still haunt me to this day because I wonder if I would’ve known what I know today being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (specifically aspergers) would they have had more understanding and patience with me. I’m not really sure, some won’t talk to me to this day and that hurts. But, I now also realize some of the friendships that I lost worked out better for me and my own well-being. I’m sure most aspies would feel my pain on this as well as a lot of NT’s (Neuro-typicals/Normal people). But we’re looking at this from the inside out from an aspergers lens.

Hopefully fellow aspies will relate to this story. And I apologize if you think it’s derogatory or offensive to be called “Aspie” but, it’s a term that I use with pride and feel no offense towards it.

Thanks for reading,

-Matthew Perisho

Don’t Take Flight…

Ever since I was a little girl, I have known that I’ve acted ‘different’ from others. From a very young age I would flap my hands and my arms like a bird, make a buzzing sounds with my tongue when I would get excited or be overstimulated by something. I was very shy and had a hard time making friends, I was even incredibly nervous around some family members, and I was always very emotional. Everyone thought I was just this spastic, overemotional introvert, and nobody ever understood me, not really.

I did not like going to crowded places, I did not like super loud noises, especially depending on the pitch. I was very obsessive with my interests, to the point of annoying people. Florescent lights bothered me, especially if they would flicker, forget strobe lights, and forget 3D movies.

I was always extremely clingy to people I felt safe with, and would hide from people I was uncomfortable with or didn’t know.

Ready for the catch? I used the word ‘was’ a lot in the above text, truth is, I still do all of these things. They’re things that have always been a part of me and they have affected some pretty major aspects of my life, and still do… But I didn’t know I was an aspie until this year, I lived 27 years of my life not knowing why I was ‘different’, but now I do.

In future posts I plan to go into more detail on these things and I hope to offer some helpful insight along the way.

Sincerely,

Ashley Perisho

Hiding in Plain Sight…

As many others before me I’m sure, I didn’t always know that I was autistic, specifically an aspie. I grew up in a small town in Southern Missouri where people are simple and sometimes jump to the simplest of conclusions when it comes to why people are the way they are. In my case I always knew I was different, I just didn’t know why. At times I felt like I was not comfortable being in my own skin. The feeling would come on suddenly, consume me and I would immediately want to hide from anyone or anything. Knowing what I know now I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

We would go to family get-togethers for Christmas or fourth of July and I would always want to cling closely to my parents or grandparents. I didn’t seem to want to socialize because as hindsight is better than foresight, I was scared. I clang to what was steady for me, what was known and kids, even though family members I saw them as unpredictable and judgemental. So I would stop cold at the front door, sit down in the corner and just quietly observe without conversing, staring at everyone as they socialized which I wanted no part of. My family just shrugged it off, saying that I was just shy, not knowing what went through my head and the fear that was inside me.

I would sit there until one of my Great Uncle’s would come coax me out of the corner of solitude and safety into the kitchen to the many party platters and snack trays. Food was my weakness and comfort, other than the comforts of someone I knew and trusted.

Eventually after the night’s events had mostly passed by one of my 3rd cousins would come up and get me from downstairs to invite me to play. Finally getting some attention from kids my age I indulged their requests and would go play for the 30 minutes or so that my parents wanted to stay past that. Then I would start having fun only to be told that we were leaving and not wanting to go home thinking “I’ve just started to fit in and now you wanna go home?!”

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling alone in these feelings, fears and chain of events. I will be writing more about my experience of growing up with undiagnosed aspergers syndrome as well as all of the misdiagnosis’ I’ve had along the way to where I am today. If you have any comments or if my post helped or touched you in any way positively, I’d love to hear from you.

Sincerely,

Matthew Perisho

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