|Originally Titled – Social Currency – Defuq? |
Originally Written May 2016
Published in original form to The Tee Shirt Blogger – November 2017
Transferred to A Guy Called Bloke May 2018
Last time – Revisited, Reedited, Reworded, Reblogged May 2019
|Topical Content Directory|
|Classic Eggshell Moments – Redbubble Designs|
It seems only fitting to kickstart this ‘Design Review, Rewrite and Reblog’ series with a ‘Social Currency’ post given how much l have been giving ‘sociality’ a lot of thought this week on and off the blog. I have a few designs supporting my views on being social and you can see those below.
Have l personally changed that much socially since 1] the initial article was written and 2] since the designs to support it were created in the same year 2016? Have l?
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Are these designs still my personality?
Well truthfully, a firm Yes and more so, there are to be a few social currency posts like this where l can explain further. I am who l am and l happy with that’. I have changed because everyone changes – l have been known to change more than most and if you want clarity to that, try asking Lisa Lismore who has been working with me since June 2019 with my blog designs and she could well tell you that l am at times scatter-brained with my visual ideas changing frequently! That change alone is just on the way l perceive things in design ……….
l am a person that feels compelled to change dramatically and sometimes often especially when l am of two minds about something and l have to say this because, l am on the spectrum with autism. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 2008 and what that did was officialise why l saw things with two distinct sets of eyes at times. Both non-Aspie eyes and Aspie eyes and it can be quite frustrating trying to find an equal balance between the two … it’s a battle l have had present in my life for as far back as l can remember and long before l knew l was on the spectrum. I turned 58 this year, l was diagnosed when l was 45 so considered a later diagnosis but l can remember back to when l was 5 thinking that l just didn’t feel like l fitted into not just my skin, but my family and my surroundings but also, the people l knew and called loosely ‘friends’.
I wasn’t particularly social as a child, l wasn’t disruptive, l was very likeable but prone to a lot of bullying because people thought me a simpleton including my father and l think at times on occasion my mother too. I preferred my own company. I was called a daydreamer when young right up to my early teenager years, l could find solace in my own world and l created a bubble that was just right for me and my sanity, and l had closer friendships with my teddy bears and the pet cats we had than l did with people l knew.
From a young age, my peers and family considered me an oddball, l could spend hours by myself never unhappy – l didn’t need other people to be happy or find contentment. I didn’t get bored with me – for me, we and l and myself always had plenty to do from playing with my toys, to simply watching nature or people – l was very much into people watching from a young age. As l got older, l read and read more, mostly about animals and nature, l loved the environment way back then, l would draw and paint and keep to myself.
But ‘that wasn’t natural’ in my parent’s eyes back in the 70’s especially my father who firmly believed that his son was backward – a young boy had to have friends, had to belong to groups of people, had to fit into the community, had to be a scout, had to be something other than a loner – there was no space in my father’s life for a lone wolf of a son. So he systematically went out of his way to push me into all sorts of activities. I liked to play with toy soldiers and l had back then impressively large armies of the Airfix Napoleonic’s and so, l had to belong to a table-top wargaming society.
Personally, l loved the wargaming society … but – wargaming was my hobby, not my father’s and what some people didn’t know about my family was that my father was a man l was terrified of – he was a mental abuser and a bully amongst many other upsetting behaviours and if l found things l liked, he wouldn’t let me like them alone, he had to then belong. Sadly, he was also an incredibly vain man who had to hold centre of attention and there he could proudly display and boast his narcissism like it was something of a gift rather than a burden.
I grew up with that sort of inappropriate behaviour from my father and he still presented it to the world all the time l lived at home – he was always in competition with his son. So being a loner with a father like that was very hard to achieve. My father wasn’t the only parent at that game – my mother joined in too – her ways would be more long-term damaging to me.
My mother suffered from Munchausen syndrome and Bipolar when younger, she would not know these things until the 80’s and even then, she would refuse to believe them. But sadly l became her victim and so the disorder then became Munchausen by proxy and as my prime caregiver in the 60’s and 70’s, she would cart me off to the medical professions and claim l was ill. Back then, no questions were asked and so l grew up with a dreadful fear and cynicism combined of the whole medical profession. It also damaged my relationship with my mother – who she claimed was only seeking ‘attention’ because her husband neglected her.
I started to distrust people, from a young age and l kept to myself more – l had bullying parents who considered me an oddball or stupid, and l was teased and bullied at school where l was considered backward and too sensitive. What this does is make you harder to people – it makes you more cynical towards people, society and being social. Combine that background and upbringing with a hidden disorder such as autism which is naturally a form of social aloofness and is completely at ease with one’s own company … it spells out to some ‘anti-social and asocial behaviours. To others you can come across as hermit like, inclusive, introverted and hostile to the approaches of others.
Are the designs above still me today? Oh yes very much so …….. l am selectively social, or at best an ambivert. I am not bothered by people. I don’t bend over backwards to desperately make friends – l can survive with no friendship … l am lucky that l have friends, but l don’t have many. As l said to Paula this week … l am great friend to those who do NOT have high expectations of friendship from me but l am a lousy friend to those who do.
Some people simply don’t like their own company, they crave the attention of other people, they demand interaction and engagement on a regular basis, my parents were like that and to a degree my mother still is. I still clearly remember the last days of my father – who was more terrified of being alone with his own company than simply being in the company of good friends. But he never had good friends, it was sad but it was true. He didn’t know how to keep friends. He placed too many expectations upon his friends and the friends he had were only there with him because of what he could do for them or how he could help them out financially.
People need people in their lives because their lives feel empty if there is no one there with them …….. that’s sad. People should be able to enjoy their own company without the need for friends or other people, and yet many cannot. When Covid first struck and lockdowns became an actuality – l breathed a sigh of relief – it meant nothing to me, but my ex partner, Suze struggled very, very quickly with not being able to see her friends or her family and her behaviours surprised me, because Suze wasn’t an in your face social animal.
But l worried about how the very social would cope with the arrival of the Covid lockdowns? How would it affect their mental well being? People like me on the spectrum but also the deeply introverted can easily cope with a suddeness that was a lockdown as we are not reliant upon the physical interaction with people.
Suze had never spent time by herself – which is sadly why she struggles today with loneliness – because she doesn’t like her own company. Some people need more sociality and society in their lives over others. My philosophy has always been the same ‘ the less people you have in your lives, the less shit you have’, because whether people like this or not, having too many people and too many friends causes problems. We don’t need to be overly social, but we live in a world that seemingly thinks we do. That we need to be connected every single day to another person, a community of people, our society – groups, clubs, gatherings – we all need to belong to the social explosion, and we live in a world that has no place for lone wolves…
Today, l live with just the right amount of society in my life – l have more virtual acquaintances than reality friendships, and of the latter l have more than adequate numbers in my life, but ultimately it always comes down to one prime motivation ….. do l like me? Am l my best friend?
Yes, and as far as l am concerned if that is all l had in life, l would still be fine. BUT, l am grateful today for the friendships l do have – but being social and overly social is still way, way overrated!
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