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Didn't you think of that before?!


How many times have I been asked this question? I expect it's a question most aspies are familiar with. You do something, long or short term, it doesn't matter, and before you know it - wham! It's gone wrong and there is always someone willing to come forward and say, 'Didn't you think of that before?'

The situation is irrelevant, as is the calamity which ensues. All that matters, at that moment, is the implied criticism. No, of course you didn't consider the full consequences of your actions. If you had, would we all be standing here in the ruins of yet another plan?

Ahem. Well, if we're completely honest, we might admit that we did think a little bit of it might be possible. We're not complete fools, we do plan ahead quite regularly. But that doesn't mean we expected the pitfall to actually happen. We might have been able to take into account that it might; we just never thought it would. Do you see the difference?

With the kind of aspie mind-control we seem to believe we possess, we looked into the future and saw the whole thing as a glorious success. Like Picard, we only needed to raise our finger and say, 'Make it so!' for it to happen. It always slips our minds that things running smoothly is something that generally happens to other people, not to mention the fact that Picard had as many takes as he needed to get everything right first time.

So, when the ever-helpful person asks us if we didn't see it coming, we are never going to admit that we might have. Usually, we'll have forgotten we did consider any downsides or consequences by this time anyway. And if we remember them, why invite even more embarrassment by admitting to it?

In unguarded moments, I have admitted to seeing possible mishaps, but decided to risk it anyway. You know, when you forget all the other times things went wrong and people pointed it out. Those instances when your guard is down and you feel able to admit that you did wonder if it would go wrong.

Oh dear, what a mistake that always is! Cue the eye-rolling, the hand-flapping, the exaggerated body language. No, not from the aspie, you understand, but from whichever trusted person we were honest with.

What started as generalised and implied criticism over how things have turned out becomes very specific criticism, mixed with stage-subtle disbelief when we admit we foresaw trouble and jumped regardless.

It seems that admitting you may have been wrong earlier than this point, at a stage when you could still have called it all off, is an open invitation to be jumped up and down on by people who think you should have known better. It's aspie open season once you agree that you did think of this before.

After all, if you did see it coming, why did you carry on? What madness possessed you? What is the point of having that quirky but intelligent head on your shoulders if all you do with it is nod, sorrowfully, when things go wrong? Did it not occur to you to stop before it was too late?

I don't think any of us would risk all-out honesty at this stage. My own response, once I learned some sense, has always been to accept that I've messed up (again) and try to move on. It's no good taking hold of the shovel and digging yourself an even bigger hole.

If I was honest, and if you were honest, we would admit that yes, we saw it coming, Yes, we saw the disadvantages. Yes, we saw the possible calamity awaiting us. And yes, despite all of that, we did it anyway. And no, we aren't completely mad, we just thought it would be okay. Why? Well, because we hoped it would be and we could imagine it being okay, so, logically, it follows that it probably was going to be okay.

I know, logic doesn't really belong in that kind of argument, but it often strolls in anyway, looking dapper in its long coat for best, wearing that slightly smug smile that everyone hates, but we love. Yes, it wasn't technically logical to believe everything would be all right no matter what, but in our hearts, we love logic so much we believed we could make it happen.

Non-aspies might be grimly familiar with this scenario, wondering how we don't learn from our past mistakes. Things have gone wrong so frequently that it does defy belief that we'd be willing to get it wrong again, and often on a grand scale. Then we have the temerity to take exception to a little bit of criticism! I mean, it's the non-aspies and best beloveds who have to sort it all out once we've finished making our magic, so they are entitled to having a small dig, aren't they?

Humph. Maybe. Maybe not. I don't know about the rest of you aspies, but I do hate that people feel they have the right to point out our failings. It's not as if we don't know about them, is it? And at least we have a go, you know, instead of just playing it safe all the time. The told-you-so brigade can fettle that kettle, while they're at it!

No, let's face it, the real reason we can't take this (often justified) criticism is because we know you are right. There, I've said it. You are right and we are wrong. We did it again.

This time, though, it might have been different. It might have worked out and a great and new and wondrous thing would have been let loose across the earth, for all to see and feel uplifted by. Or at the very least, the toilet might have stayed unblocked long enough for the bathroom to be safe.

We try, you see. again and again, we try and hope that it will turn out all right. Our ideas may  be off course and strangely skewed, but they're pretty fabulous ideas half the time. You have to admit, if it had worked, it would have been great!

Just remember, aspie and non-aspie, that we don't do these things to make life horrible or awkward. And we certainly don't do them so we can have someone stand at our shoulder, tutting.

We do them because sometimes they do work and someday we will set the world alight. We just have to keep trying and trying often means thinking of the consequences and doing it anyway.

Amanda

My books and writing blog, with free stuff.
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