aspergers, autism, culture, health, living abroad, psychology, travel

Ready to Wear


man sitting on floor
Photo by Hamann La on

What is Normal?

Most neurotypicals agree Aspies and auties have unusual behaviors regardless of their knowledge or lack thereof. One thing upon which the experts and dummies concur is we do things they find unusual. Some are for kicks while others are out of practicality. I’ve spent years trying to decipher what’s normal and never got anywhere. The closest thing which I could ascertain is average. Ordinary people don’t win the Nobel or Pulitzer Prizes, reinvent the wheel, or postulate scientific theories. They don’t create engineering marvels or artistic masterpieces, either. Society has this notion that everything typical is correct while anything unorthodox is improper. That’s what the media has told us all of our lives. Either that or they try to equate normality with perfection. Movies, TV shows, and commercials set unrealistic expectations for your everyday individual.

A Great Support Network

There came a point when I stopped paying attention and caring what others think. My unconventional repertoire was how some of my colleagues suspected I either was on the spectrum or had ADHD. One South African gal named Samantha deduced it before I told her as did another young woman from Mexico, Yael. When I inquired how they knew, Sam wasn’t too specific. She just noted some of my habits. She worked with autistic kids in her home country. Yael knew by my obsession with the show Vikings. It was all I talked about after I’d finish binge-watching it. Her brother in Mexico City has Asperger’s, so I suspect that made it easier for her to postulate her theory. What I respect about Sam and Yael is that neither spelled it out in front of everyone. I appreciate that they respected my privacy and didn’t want to embarrass or put me on the spot. Such a relief it was knowing someone who could comprehend my circumstance without me having to elaborate.

The Albedo Effect

That said, there are things I do most people find ridiculous but I deem practical. When I lived in Austin in the late 2000s, I wore dark colors during the late fall, winter, and early spring. Meanwhile, I donned lighter shades throughout the late spring, summer, and early fall. My major was geography in college. There I learned the meaning of “albedo.” That’s the ten-dollar word to describe which colors absorb the most heat and which reflect the most. Black has the lowest albedo meaning it consumes more UV rays than any other whereas white has the highest thereby reflecting the most. This explains why NFL teams wear white pants and jerseys at the beginning of the season and sit in the shade whilst visiting franchises don their dark colors and sit within the sunbeams. This creates a home field advantage making it more difficult for visiting teams. I’ve grown past this phase after moving to Southeast Asia where it’s hot and sticky year-round with only wet and dry seasons.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

After watching Breaking Bad, I’m more inclined to wear colors like a rainbow with a different shade each day of the week. My predilection is to don black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, gray, and white in that order. However, I’m of the mind to add pink and beige as those were other key colors from said program. Still that accounts for only twelve days, and my aim is to go through an entire fortnight. Thus, I’ve considered teal, magenta, sky blue, chartreuse, vermilion, and violet as the last two. Not only did I start wearing Wallabees like Walter White; I have an affinity for red sneakers. That I acquired from two Hollywood films. The first was one of Tom Hanks’s older movies, The Man With One Red Shoe, about some random guy with mismatched shoes being spied on by the CIA. The other was the mafia drama, Donnie Brasco. A character there by the nickname Sonny Red always sported red wingtips.

From Purple to Red, Getting Ahead

Sometimes this causes confusion as my wardrobe is not that diverse. Other times I’d want to wear just purple because that’s what Marie Shrader donned on Breaking Bad. Everything around her was purple besides her attire. She had purple furniture, dishes, and such. Or I’d want to wear red after I outgrew my purple phase. Purple made me feel safe and secure. I graduated unto red to feel stronger and more dominant. My rationale was that more women would notice me. Studies have shown red is a more alluring towards the opposite sex. I figured purple to them would make me look ridiculous. Also, I’d grown tired of being ignored and felt red would make more people notice me more. I was certain red apparel would make me fit in and decrease the likelihood of me having to live in the shadows. It never dawned on me that it can sometimes be too aggressive. Some people recommended I switch to blue or green to appear friendlier and more approachable. Hence, why rainbow solution seems more amenable in the long haul.

Such a Fool About Wearing Wool

I never liked wool due to sensory issues. It always made my skin itch. I got in trouble while attending military school due to my aversion towards wool. Sometimes, the uniform of the day was battle-dress uniforms with wool scarves which I deplored having around my neck. I would improvise and place my shirt collar in between to avoid being out of uniform and prevent itchy neck. I loathed my full dress uniforms not just because I felt like a toy soldier; the wool pants and blouse were distressing to say the least. Thus, the reason why I loathe crocheted sweaters and ponchos. I’m not a fan of turtlenecks because I like having my neck exposed. My cloth of choice is cotton. I’d rather wear a hooded sweatshirt comprised of that than any of the aforementioned garments. You will never catch me in any of those others without something comfortable like cotton or nylon underneath. My sweatpants, gym pants, blue jeans, and cargo pants were the most delectable things which I could put on on my lower body. Perhaps that’s why I’ve struggled living in Asia. Comfort is at the bottom of the priority list here. Keeping appearances is essential just like in the military.

Tie This One Down, Dude!

That said, there’s one trait from the service I adopted and kept as part of my routine. I tie my shoelaces into double square knots to make sure they stay secure. That was a requirement in boot camp along with tucking them into one’s shoes the latter of which I do also. That way they’ll never come undone or get caught on anything causing me to trip and fall. As asinine as I perceived most things they did in military school and the Coast Guard, few and far between made perfect sense this being one. I also avoid tying them too tightly so I don’t choke the life out of my feet. I didn’t learn to tie my shoes until I was 6. Before that all I craved was Velcro because that’s all I knew. I was too young to understand Velcro would deteriorate over time. Once I learned to tie my shoes, I was set. The same is true after I began formulating double square knots and tucking the laces into the sides. This I think they should teach to children in school and require of all athletes in my humble opinion.


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