Helpful Hint: Celebrate the diversity of the alliance and focus on its strengths.
So, let’s diablogue:
Ken: One of the great benefits for me of having you, a non-aspie partner, is that you have the natural gifts of sociability. Most of us on the spectrum have challenges in this area. Where other people have given up, you just keep giving.
Ken: You accept me for who I am and how I am, and you end up being my defacto advocate and interpreter.
Christina: I get it. Just like how you are always there for me in some of the ways I need—like calming me down when I get emotionally overloaded, or always being willing to come rescue me if I’m lost on the road somewhere. You appreciate me being there for you to rescue you in social situations—like tapping you on the arm when you’re talking for too long.
Ken: Absolutely. You are always there to help me with my socials skills, even when it becomes difficult and repetitive.
Christina: It’s a balance.
Ken: It is my opinion that each of us has strengths that shore up the other’s challenges.
Christina: Right. Like when we were in East Germany and we couldn’t find an English speaker at a train station. You kept working to solve the problem—finally translating word by word for the ticket person using the iphone translation app—while I collapsed in a puddle on the bench, overwhelmed and exhausted.
Ken: Thank you for noticing that trait in me. That I never stop trying and I never try stopping.
Christina: You are driven to solve problems—it is a massive gift in our lives and one of the best things about being in mixed brain marriage! Hey that’s cool—mixed brain. Shakespeare invented snow broth, I can invent mixed brain.
Ken: Mixed brain? (laughter) I do not know about that. Your brain may be mixed; mine is just mixed up.
Christina: (laughing) Ummm… isn’t that self-deprecation or the deficit model of autism creeping in here…?
Ken: No. As we stated in last blog’s helpful hint, a sense of humour is essential. If you are going to poke fun, then you must only poke fun at yourself. It is a vital survival trait for me to be able to laugh good-heartedly at myself.
Christina: Yes. Oh, another thing that makes it great being with you is your high standards for doing things. Like when we dug out the basement and you were down there on your knees for hours grading the gravel to a 4° angle all around the house with a garden trowel. Nobody on the planet would care so much—but we have a dry basement. Your personal standards make for slow progess sometimes. But I never have to worry about you slapping something together like my mom said my dad used to do—and then whatever he built fell apart.
Ken: I build things to stay together while I fall apart.
Ken: So many people have mistaken that drive for perfectionism, and perhaps it might be. That being said, my Aspie brain has two ways of doing things. Doing them correctly or incorrectly. I am wired to do them correctly; I cannot tolerate being incorrect.
Christina: Yeah. I know about the grey thing—how there’s no middle ground for you in anything. So, an “OK” job in any area is a failure to you. Unless it’s MY ok job! (laughter)
Ken: Definitely. These are my standards alone. It is my personal measuring stick. One of the things I admire about other people, however, is when they can stop when the truth is that good is good enough.
Christina: It’s great that you never push your standards on me or anyone. But I love being able to walk away at midnight, bushed, knowing whatever it is you’re working on will be perfect in the morning—though you might be dead!
Ken: To conclude—and to hopefully to return to this topic in the future—I would like to point out how your optimistic view of the world balances my pragmatism. It gives us many happy and light moments. Your optimism is contagious, and I prefer to go through life upbeat rather than beaten up.
Christina: Me too. Ok. What should we talk about next time?
Ken: How about the survival trait of humour and Aspies’ broad sense and use of it?
Christina: Sounds good.
Next Post: Diablogue #10 – “Humour and Aspies’ unique senses of it.”