At the risk of reducing the rate of submitted questions for Ask an Aspie, here’s a little bit about me. (I’m all over the map so “little bit” is a relative term.)
By profession, I’m a network security consultant. I travel mostly in the USA but also overseas speaking at events, teaching seminars and providing direct security consulting to large and small organizations.
I’ve been married for more than 30 years (yes, all to the same woman!), and have two grown children and a grandson. The children live nearby and my in-laws live next door so I enjoy much more family interaction today than I ever did as a child.
This blog is devoted to my interest in compassion-based social reform in general, and autism issues in particular. I also blog about WebSphere MQ (the IBM software in which I specialize) and Internet of Things. Any posts that don’t fit into one of these three blogs go into The Odd Is Silent, which is where I explain my name.
As a child I was diagnosed with a type of Petit Mal Eplilepsy. Extrnally, these presented as brief staring spells. From my perspective, they were discontinuities in time. For the most part the staring spells were unnoticeable if you weren’t looking for them but the discrepancies between the edited reality I experienced versus that which the other kids experienced made me sufficiently “weird” to become a target. Unfortunately, once you got a neurological diagnosis like Epilepsy back the in the 1960s they stopped looking for other other causes so the Asperger’s went undiagnosed until my mid-40’s. A diagnosis would not have helped on the playground but it might have spared me some of the physical and emotional abuse that occurred in my own home, where my weird behavior was attributed to character flaws.
In middle school one bullying incident nearly killed me, although it went unreported. Another incident in high school sent me to the hospital with lacerations all over my face that required stitches and a broken nose. I dropped out of high school the following year at 16, took my G.E.D. and enrolled in Junior College where I made A’s and B’s. I supported myself and paid tuition that first year by harvesting and selling psilocybin mushrooms, and dealing in marijuana and other drugs.
Soon I realized that I needed to change my life. My best friend was dead. My first roomate was a psychopath (now serving life without possibility, last I heard) and my path didn’t look any brighter. I moved to a different town, started a photography business, and started going by my middle name. When people called to ask for Todd, I told them Todd had died.
It was through the photography business that I met my wife when I was 18. We were married 6 months later. She’s the one who set me on the path to Information Technology, polished my rough edges and worked with me to make me a suitable hiring candidate.
It was only after a my accidental discovery 25 years later of my Aspergers that the events of my life finally made sense. Since then I have been writing them down in an effort to better understand who I am today and how I evolved from the child of so long ago. Although I appreciate any comments and feedback I receive from the effort, my main motivation continues to be that desire for understanding. I write in public hoping that it will help someone else and because knowing it will be in public improves the quality of the writing. If it’s just me, a pen and a bar napkin it comes out sounding like Frankenstein’s monster. “Fire bad.”
If you take issue with anything in this blog, please tell me. I always consider the possibility that I could improve the quality of what I produce and welcome other viewpoints. If you have positive feedback, please tell a friend. A few more followers to the blog should result in better conversations here.