Rewind Oscar’s Tape: The Making of an Introverted In’din Nerd

That’s how far back we’re about to go.  I’m going to use a simile only a certain generation will understand.  Remember tapes?  It kind of sounds odd to say now.  Tapes.  Sounds like a prehistoric infection.  If my kids overheard me ask someone if they “had tapes” when they were a teenager, they would think it was an STD.  Like an old school slang term for gonorrhea.  But I digress, as usual.  I’m about to rewind my tape and take young and old back to my days as an introverted neophyte surviving on southern sweet tea and tapes.

TapesYou could say it was exacerbated by the abuse from my father, but I had a hard time socializing.  The last grade I completed was the sixth grade.  I dropped out of school at the age of thirteen years old.  How does a thirteen year old go missing from the public school system without notice?  You might ask.  Well there wasn’t much expectation for us Natives to do anything other than fail in life so when I stopped going to school, my mother withdrew me, and the school system never asked any questions.

I’d spend months without interacting with anyone other than my mother and the two grandmothers I lived with.  I spent the majority of my time playing video games like Rygar, Contra, and Zelda on my Nintendo.  When I wasn’t playing video games I was reading books (Stephen King and fantasy novels like Dragonlance) or I was listening to gangster rape or writing bizarre stories of great imagination.  In other words, I was anywhere but here on planet Earth.

Introvert ImageI’d come out of my introverted trance of escape when I’d go visit my cousin, Quincy, in Lawton, Oklahoma.  My family out there was very active in Kiowa and Comanche cultural activities so I’d get a good dose of culture and community.  My aunt, Linda, is like a mother to me and her husband, Uncle Butch, was a father figure when I didn’t have one.

Similarly, I had a close friend in Tahlequah, Brandon, who would bring me out of isolation on the occasional weekends.  He was extroverted and knew a lot of people in Tahlequah.  Through him I could pretend to be normal for short time periods.  His mother, also Linda, was another mother figure in my life.  Brandon’s family took me under their wing and I had time periods where I did family type activities with them.

I was raised by a single mother who was undiagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.  She is very intelligent and highly calculated, but she does not have the social skills you would want a mother to have.  Her reasoning is more logical and practical.  She can get overstimulated by social environments so she wasn’t trying to take any of her children to community or cultural functions.  If it wasn’t for the above mentioned individuals then I would have never had opportunities to socialize.

I fall under the umbrella of Asperger’s syndrome, but I’m not as far on the spectrum to full Asperger’s as my mother.  I can understand (now) how my mother thinks and looks at the world.  I don’t criticize her because I understand she is biologically constructed to be the way she is.  In fact, I have my level of intelligence and high inclination toward creativity because of my mother’s genetics.  A lot of people say I look like her and act like her.  I write fiction.  My mother does traditional beadwork.  I play the guitar.  My mother hand makes traditional quilts.  While we have chosen different skills, we are the same in intelligence and creativity.  Which are both symptoms of Asperger’s.

Introverts UniteCertainly my introvertedness can be contributed to a number of aspects in my childhood, but I’ve had a lot of jobs in my adult life where I was taught to be extroverted.  I’ve taught English classes at the University of Oklahoma, and I’ve facilitated experiential education programs with a hundred participants.  I don’t shy away from attention.  In fact, I enjoy attention, but I’m not competing to get it.

As you get older you get more comfortable in who you are.  I’m an artist and an intellectual.  It may be by genetic and environmental design but it is who I am.  I’m content.  I don’t desire to be anything else.  It’d be like asking a shark to be lion.

15 thoughts on “Rewind Oscar’s Tape: The Making of an Introverted In’din Nerd

  1. In my case it is bi-polarity. I was the second of five children but also the only functioning “adult” in my family – kind of like “Malcom in The Middle”. I think you’ve done well in adapting/escaping your difficult childhood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Art has been a big help in adapting and turning negative experiences into positive ones. Life has been hard but it’s worth every word on the page.

      Like

    1. Yeah, I haven’t burned out yet, lol. But I don’t post like I did in the past. It’s good to see you around as well. I very much liked the portrait and reposted it on my blog. Thank you for doing that. It’s interesting to see yourself through a different lens. Makes you think.

      Like

      1. Lol, I too see the years packing on. Mostly around the middle. It’s not easy but we’re getting through it. I gotta get to the track. 2014 was a nice one. Thank you for doing it

        Like

  2. True. My family is very similar. Many have or believe they have Asperger like syndromes or Aspergers. Whether we do or not, my family has had social problems that we have had to overcome in our own ways, but I still believe success is possible to any who is willing to grab it. Your story filled me with hope to achieve things, regardless of what must be overcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, 37. Its good to hear others who have been in the same situation as myself. It’s been an interesting journey. Once there was a realization of Aspergers then a lot of things started to make sense. It helps to know and allows us to be a little more understanding and gentle with each other.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your welcome! And something I have accepted as well is that no matter what I do or do not have (I do not know if I have Asperger or not) I have decided that I will accept it and not let it define my life. Too many friends and family members that I have let that one trait about themselves define everything they are and do. Sure, it does affect ones life, but so many people I know let it rule their lives. I decided long ago that even if it a part of my life, I will not let it make all of my decisions for me or view myself as someone with a disability.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree. I’m not much of a victim type either. It’s good to know so I can better understand why I behave a certain in certain situation but ultimately I think it’s a good thing. I’d rather have it than not.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s