You Do What? That’s Odd! 2 of 2



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Revisited, Revised and Reblogged [2018]

You Do What? That’s Odd!

2 of 2

Last November l had a telephone conversation with my Mother who issued a sort of warning of such and that was “To not become odd like your Father”, which l experienced a form of annoyance with, especially how it was delivered and with what it referenced. The conversation became a journal entry in my Dear Blog series : November 14th 2018 found in the link.

This 2 part post is the result of that conversation as well as the comments left on the Dear Blog entry by other bloggers combined with my own further thoughts on the matter.

At the time, it did annoy me somewhat but only in so far as the way it was delivered and what it was attached to, but also the reference to being odd, because of a certain trait. Now most of you should know that l have Asperger’s syndrome, and sit on the spectrum of autism.  I was formerly diagnosed in 2008 and whilst at the time, l was somewhat baffled l was relieved to finally find out l wasn’t nuts as many in my family had surmised, only different.

At my own concession for the first three years l became somewhat obssessed with Asperger’s in my trek to discovering not just more of this thing called autism, but more importantly it entailed a thoroughly deep digging into who l was and who l thought l was. The end results were enlightening, as l was able to rediscover who l was and with that new information, l could finally settle some scores with the devil and reinvent myself to be who l was meant to be. Ten+ years on, l am much happier with the outcome.

Now by reinvention, l don’t mean my real name is Bruce – l mean that for so many years without the diagnosis in my go to set of knowledge, l was misdiagnosed by the medical profession as well as subjected to some pretty unfair treatment by society, by friends and by my family. The latter convinced that l had serious mental problems and more than a few screws loose, because l wasn’t just different, in their eyes, l was very different. Mostly because of the way l thought, or that l was too curious, asked too many questions, and above everything else, because l was regarded as slow. I was considered very odd because of my behavioural traits.

“Odd or just viewed differently to another?”

So yes,  l am likely to have a reaction when l hear a member of my family refer to something as odd and then include me in the same sentence!!

Strangely enough when l received the diagnosis in 2008, l was going through a lot of inner and outer commotion at the same time. I had split up from an extremely volatile relationship, my business was in tatters and l was also sadly deep in the throes of both depression and a breakdown. So whilst it was welcomed, it was just another can of worms that l had to deal with. I was practically homeless and l lived with two dogs and two cats and l had to find somewhere to live really quickly that would take all of us in. As it was l was forced to rehome my two cats which was really terrible, and my then two dogs [Scrappy and Dora] and l moved into a caravan out in the middle of bloody nowhere aka the Lincolnshire fens behind a private stables for horses.

That was my only choice, and because l had no intention of losing my two best friends in the whole world, there were not many options left for the three of us. My parents already divorced were calling me stupid, strange and odd for making that decision, and what l should have done was got rid of the dogs. But that wasn’t going to happen.

The caravan experience was in a few short words – horrible, daunting, cruel, harsh and brutal, and l know that for the three and half years l lived there it did do damage to me physically. I am mid fifties, but can look a good twenty years older at times, and when l lived there l did look like a man in his 70’s. It aged me terribly. In addition my landlords turned out to be the most vilest people l have ever met and they forced me into a form of slavery – it is true. But, and yet, what the caravan’s isolation did also allow for – was a ‘step off the planet’ form of living. Because of that, l was able to finally discover who l was and who l wasn’t. I learned to identify my boundaries and my limits.

However this style of living came at a cost, not just the slavery aspect but the fact that my parents abandoned me, gave up on me as odd and generally ostracised me from the family. I fast became the member of the family that no one discusses, the wacky uncle, the crazed loner and all sort of other unpleasant terms! I had become the elephant in the room as far as everyone was concerned.

You know it is still hard for me to think that when l left there in October 2012 that l have come so very far from the person l was and had become. I was a fifty year old bachelor living in a caravan with two dogs, working as a stable hand with no love interest, no friends and practically no interaction with society.  They are the hard facts, although during my solitary existence as a hermit l had found peace with myself. When l left there, at least l was much deeper personality. Albeit somewhat more cynical with regards life.

However my life did change for the better when l met Suze in 2013 and here we are six years on, still a couple and apart from the usual stresses people face in life, happy with each other – even if at times we still find each other challenging!

Now, Suze doesn’t class me as odd, she might think that some of my behaviours at times are strange, but equally l find some of hers the same. If anything, she would say that Rory is different, but not in a bad way. She would say that l view the world differently, that l think differently and many a time l act differently to other people, but she would defend that with “and there is nothing wrong with that, at least he happy with the differences and so am l”

But to my mother’s phone call of last year she insinuated that she considered my Father odd, and in the same breath she made the classic Mum error of including me in her summary of my Father. That both he and l were odd, although she considered him odder and she didn’t want me becoming like him!

Dad, was never formerly diagnosed with ASD, although from my own diagnosis and my research into understanding more about autism, the traits and the behaviours, l came to recognise by around 2010 that he was quite possibly somewhere on the spectrum of autism, and so too was his own Father.

However you could never have a sensible conversation with him about autism, or for that matter anything slightly ‘different to the norm or his way of ‘normal’ thinking’, he considered me a retard [sorry to those who don’t like that word] for many years and more so when l was in the caravan.

But this is the same man who was vain, narcisstic, sexist, chauvinistic, racist, a Victorian orientated traditionalist and the long damning list went on. He was of the belief that he was perfect and that everyone else was damaged. May sound quite brutal and harsh, but it is a realistic observation of him. Because of that and many of his other behaviours, l always considered him odd and terribly old fashioned. Antiquated to the extreme!

What l didn’t consider odd about him was the fact that he was a specialised collector in certain objects, topics and genres. If anything he was an astutely keen hobbyist. I couldn’t criticise him for that as l too as l had been growing up was very focused on the things that fascinated me.

When my family and l were all growing up in the same house, what l would say of Dad, was that some of his hobbies took favour over anything else going on. He was a keen cricketer and that always came first over everything, work, family, wife, family days out – some might consider that odd, although l tend to find that obssessive and perhaps even selfish.

He was a stamp collector, a book collector, a Wisden collector he would collect anything and everything at times! He would frit away money meant for bills for the house with either his hobbies or his drinking, entertaining or gambling. This never pleased my Mother understandably, and more so when debt collectors came to the house demanding payment, only to find out that whilst my Father was swanning it at a stamp fair or something of that kin we didn’t have food for the week.

This caused untold arguments in the house, and my Father  – as a brutal man if he couldn’t get his own way or be allowed to buy something for his collections, he would lash out at whoever was in his path. which mostly were my Mother and myself.

My Father was all about himself, his pleasures, his leisure, his hobbies, his time, it was always about him.  My Father was a very selfish man. He never wanted kids, but would always love other people’s children, he hated being married, he hated having to do things around the house and more so if it ever interrupted his time with his hobbies. Is that perhaps odd? I would say more to the tune of compulsive and obssessive maybe.

So when my Mother referred to the fact that l was to not become like my Father in so far as his hobbies, l found that slur somewhat insultive.  She then proceeded to pick fault  with what he collected. Now bear in mind that my parents had been divorced as a couple for nearly the same time they had been married which was thirty years. But when she was ‘attending’ to him in his end of days alongside my Sister she happened to notice the traits of a man who had been a bachelor for twenty years and living by himself but also on top of that a man living alone on the spectrum of autism – with no regulation or fear of being moderated.

A man unguarded, not managed, relatively wealthy and doing everything that a selfish man living alone might do and enjoy. So his collections had in her eyes taken over his life – he now had vast collections of books, stamps, military memorabilia, framed pictures, toy tigers, hundreds of music CD’s, film DVD’s, huge quantities of matches [yes he collected those as well] and as a keen photographer thousands of photos in hundreds of albums.  Is that perhaps odd, considering his lifestyle?

Well, maybe a little strange, but odd, considering everything else? Considering he had no love interest, or young children, was no longer working full time as he had retired. He enjoyed reading and writing as well, so there were files and files of his work everywhere. I still have some here l am slowly going through.

If anything the man was no longer a collector but more of a hoarder. he couldn’t bear to part with anything.

She said to me “Rory don’t become like your Father, he is odd, he was always odd, he became even odder with all these silly collections of his! He didn’t live his life, he just collected things – don’t become him!!”

Suze could understand my Mother’s comments slightly, and basically said that the problem was my Mother never understood autism, because when she was married to my Father that wasn’t a known thing in the house. But she could also relate to how the collection side to the disorder if you wish dominated things – yes l too can relate to it. But equally l note, that both my Mother and Suze are not hobbyists, neither of them have hobbies now or have had hobbies when younger as they were very family orientated. I don’t know if this has any bearing on things?

I found my Mother’s comments to me insultive in consideration to relating me to my Father as l have always worked so very hard to NOT be like him, in so far as what l considered his ‘odd behaviour’ as both a Father and a husband to my Mother when they were together.  I didn’t find his wishing to collect as odd as a bachelor and not having to answer to anyone except him, but found them frustrating as his Son when at home with the family when they interrupted with more important things.

These days l don’t have huge collections of anything,l have offloaded everything l had between the years of 2015 – 2018. In those three years l got rid of, more than 6000 film DVDs, l have offloaded, sold or simply donated nearly 3000 books. although l do have one very personal collection and that is my ‘soft toys’ which principally are teddy bears from throughout my life to now. Many of these are my own including two from before my actual birth, but equally many are those l have rescued over the years. I rescued quite a few from my father’s house when we were emptying out after his death last year.

I used to be a gamer, but as l have aged l have found that l am no longer interested in that as a hobby. My main focus is my writing and of course my blog and blogging. That really is it. I still like photography and l have a camera but do not keep anything in an old fashioned album, as they are all in my PC.

But the more l dwell on my Mother and wonder if she was deliberately insulting me, or just being overly cautious, l also wonder at something else which l have mentioned a few times during these posts. Because l am in a healthy relationship and as such in my own eyes more balanced, does this perhaps place an importance on things?

Was my Mother just being insulting about my Father because he was a collector and l used to be, and she was saying don’t become a collector and become odd! Or was she saying don’t become more like your Father and become an even odder Aspergian? I don’t know in truth.  My father and l were two completely different people like chalk and cheese, we shared very little in similiarity.

Anyway enough of me, how about your views and opinions on the matter ….

Is collecting odd in itself, or is collecting at that level just odd and more of a hoarding issue? Do you think serious collecting is a problem?  Do you have any experience maybe of those on the spectrum collecting and their hobbies dominating their lives and as such … wrecking relationships? Is hobbying too selfish maybe? Is hard collecting healthy for us? What is considered odd or unusual or even damaging when it comes to our hobbies?

13 thoughts on “You Do What? That’s Odd! 2 of 2

  1. I don’t know. I think most people can become obsessed with something if the right trigger is pushed. My mother wasn’t on the spectrum, yet she had a very active mind and not much to occupy her days, so she’d get nutz about stuff like genealogy. Just dive into it and bore the rest of us to death with trivia. After she passed, I found she had zillions of purses stuffed away and labeled ~ elegant evening bags she’d never use. Why? Who knows. But on the surface she seemed pretty “normal.” I used to collect a few things when I had more space, but it’s no big deal not to. I am a bit “weird” about numbers and staying organized. I figure it doesn’t hurt anyone… your dad though, seemed like he hurt people with his behaviors, so to me that’s the main issue.

    1. Hey Paula, oddly enough Dad was also into genealogy but to the extreme, he researched our family name and even joined societies on it. He also had a thing for clothing, l have never known a man to have as much clothing as Dad had in wardrobes and things, but he only in essence wore a fraction of it, maybe 10% of it all.

      But yes, l agree and know, that Dad was a hurter of people – his behaviour principally hurt people and he enjoyed that – it was never accidental – he relished hurting people and especially his Family with an added bonus of his wife and son.

      His collections as collections were not the problem, but the selfish behaviour associated with them was detrimental and seriously damaging.

      I think my Mum ‘meant’ well – well l would like to thin k that – but her delivery and connection association was terrible! 🙂

  2. To my mind have a hobby is a healthy thing where one can find valid interests and satisfaction. Going overboard to the exclusion of everything things else may interfere with other interest and relationships. So anything taken to extreme may harm inter personal relationships.

  3. the collecting isn’t odd – it’s an extremely common compulsion for a lot of people. What’s odd is the people who don’t collect, or have no respect for the collections of others. They will find a way to disparage the things they find different about people, and if collecting is one of those things, they will give a name to what makes that person ‘other’ to them.
    I am a collector, I live with a collector, and never the twain shall be a bane. I’m allowed to look, discuss, but not get too close. My collection is touchable, but stacked in such a way that one item can come out at a time without disrupting the others. And I am insistent that each one have its own place at all times.
    We live in a four-bed house just so we have a room each for our collections (don’t ask about the shed and under the bed in the guest bedroom).
    I don’t mind that people consider us odd … We call it eccentric, and know what we would be like without our little distractions …
    However, when the collection comes at the cost of relationships, it is often the person who loses out that creates the disparaging labels, and may not realise that the hobby or collecting could very well have been an escape mechanism – from them.
    That may very well be what your mother has done – found something to blame for the broken relationship.

    1. Hey Cage 🙂

      It’s strange in what you say, let me find it “… and may not realise that the hobby or collecting could very well have been an escape mechanism.”

      As you may have read, l am currently going through a lot of my Father’s writing, it is very interesting finally getting to know a side to my Father that he never spoke about with anyone and one of the things that is coming through loud and clear is that he was never happy married to my Mother. He wasn’t happy having children except when it suited and there is a lot of information that if it was my Sister reading she might find upsetting, and yet when l read through it, l read it in a detached mode, l think because my Father and l were not very close, therefore it is easier to read – but also, because l saw the side to my Father that my Sister didn’t wish to acknowledge.

      I have been debating how to show some of these discoveries, and decided tonight after finding a written story which ironically deals with this business of ‘his collecting habits’.

      I am going to start a new series called “The Father l Never Knew” and the first entry shall be entitled The Collector as it deals precisely with what my post is about.

      Yes he was escaping, collecting was both a form of escape for him equally as much as his Asperger’s unknown to him and abound within his personality was forming.

  4. My mother in law was a brilliant kind family first person who was one of only two women accepted into the first class at Cornell for Veterinarians that women were allowed to join. She wrote a book which was published and I’ve bought copies of through Amazon marketplace. She was a great socialite as well and loved entertaining. She collected so much I’m still wading through it five years after her death! China collections, ornaments, books, magazines, scrupulously labelled photo albums, she had more clothes and shoes than me and I’m bad! My point is, bring a collector or hobbyist or writer isn’t odd. It just means you have interests. My ex mother in law collected Hummel figures, bells, thimbles and teaspoons. My mum collected Doulton figurines and Capo Di Monte. They both considered me odd because I didn’t collect anything at the time so ‘no one knew what to buy me’! Now I collect rocks! I don’t collect them but I have a lot of books, DVDs and music – am I odd? Who cares?! I’m happy. No other labels needed!

    1. Hey Britchy – l agree. dad wasn’t odd for his collecting nor his collections. He was a strange man for more important reasons than his hobbies. I always admired his knowledge on what he was passionate about and for that he had my respect , it was the only time we could share moments as father and Son, Dad and boy.

      It was when he wasn’t my Dad, nor even my Father that l lost my respect for him, when he was brutally harsh and viscous, but those times were not his collections.

      His odd behaviour for the time he wanted for his collections when he changed into a different person, well that – that is a different matter.

  5. I found this post really interesting, mostly because I felt I could really relate to you. I have learned the hard way to keep my family at an arm’s length for many of the same reasons. They are too damaging to my own personal health. And by the way, we’ll have to swap some teddy bear pics. I have quite an insane collection myself! They always gave me comfort. 😉🤪

    1. Hey Emily, consider it a done thing! I have quite a few. I rescue teddy bears l see in dumpsters and things because it breaks my heart to see them discarded, like they don’t matter when they do. They are the keepers of many secrets and need to be understood and honoured 🙂

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