Shadow of the Groundhog # 4: Matrix Bastard


Last night my wife suggested that, since I am on the autistic spectrum, I might want to think about the possibility that I am socially impaired.

To this day, social interactions (at least with strangers) are fraught with a constant worry of giving an inappropriate response and being exposed in some way, of it all turning out horribly wrong. It is a continuous challenge to find a place of relaxation and ease and to communicate from there.

This gives a new slant to the struggle for artistic recognition. If it’s sourced in a very early imprint of trying to find a way to connect to others and be accepted, to feel—and be—safe in my environment, then the self-promotional urge comes from a much deeper place than the ego.

The ego/persona is only the means.

A paralyzing feeling of social awkwardness is normally associated with adolescence. The fear of being rejected, of being cast out by one’s tribe, is part of finding oneself and growing up.

I am still working on that. I never created a social identity I could trade on. I am an illegitimate child of the matrix. An autist. And highly reactive from whatever form of sexual trauma to boot.

I am still learning the language of neurotypical society. Testing, testing, testing, waiting for some irrefutable sign that I have got it right at last.

That I am accepted into the fold.

And now of course I am worried about posting this.


If you would like to help this groundhog to see past his shadow and be ready for the Spring—not to continue repeating the same day over and over—you can help me promote the book/myself by liking it on Facebook, following me on Twitter and retweeting my tweets, commenting at this blog, telling your friends via whatever social media you use (and even old flesh and blood-style), and of course, pre-ordering the book (in the UK; in the US).

8 thoughts on “Shadow of the Groundhog # 4: Matrix Bastard

  1. I’m very familiar with this. I’m about to take the plunge myself, provided I don’t succumb to the influence of old patterns. One thing that pushes me forward is ultimately the realization that I do not have a ‘tribe’ as much as I have a series of affiliations, some more loosely connected than others, and that any tribe that rejects me is not really my tribe to begin with. It’s circular, because perhaps all tribes will reject at least some element of my output, and that’s how I know I do not have one tribe, but it’s also circular because it is an initiation that we’re speaking about, and because all paths are circular.

    Still, it is stressful. I suppose it should be.

    This can also serve as my comment on the “Echo 0” post (though I admit I did not read every post in the series).

  2. Just read the Metappendix (I have both of these pages open, each on a different computer, Metappendix on one called Exuvium [“The remains of an exoskeleton…”], this one on a machine called Monolith [named for both superficial reasons, as it resembles the monolith from 2001, and for somewhat deeper reasons, such as it’s one of tools I use to create, so it helps me chip away at the monolith I think of as myself and thus at the monolith that is the world, among other reasons]. Thought that might be relevant…) and I’m also familiar with that. This would also be my comment there.

    What choice do we have as semi-conscious beings but to forge our own paths, however small or elliptical or divergent?

  3. You got it. I was tweeting with another Matthew today – Modine – making another Kubrick sync. (Now I am embarrassed at name-dropping – it felt relevant, really! Maybe I am hoping to draw you & others to Twitter, which I m finding quite satisfying at present)

  4. Ya gotta own it Jason. The nexus of neuronal activity coming out of your head is a heck of a lot more interesting than what comes out of most heads.

    Personally, I see myself as NT with a sort of induced autism because of peculiar (non-traumatic) experiences in my young years. I was convinced early on that reality may ‘be’ quite different than how it appeared.

    I saw that ‘smart’ people were more adept at identifying categories and correspondences, but always in terms of (socially constructed) existing forms and understanding. So while the real smart people established their historical worth by upending existing understanding, by creating new categories and correspondences, most ‘smart’ folk are happy to function as willing enforcers of normative thinking.

    We become whatever we build our identities around so my choice was to not build mine around, what I view(ed) as essentially, social climbing through mutual validation of fashionable delusions.

    Let the NT’s come to you Jason, reach out, sure, but rest assured and with confidence that the tools you bring to the project, while not easily recognized by others, are ‘specialized’ tools needed for finer aspects of the job at hand.

  5. the difference between innate and induced autism is one that’s not clear to me and I suspect to anyone else either – epigenetics being the up and coming field that erases the line between nature and nurture (or lack thereof). Your perceptions of others sound more autistic than NT. The NT mode really doesn’t question much, that’s what gives it the social advantage.

    Consciously building an identity is also very autistic-sounding.

    I didn’t consider myself on the spectrum til my early 40s and even then might never have if not for meeting my wife. (Tho I had heard David Byrne mention it, so I must have been considering it.) Since then I haven’t connected nearly as much to existing auties as to people (maybe like yourself?) who never considered themselves to be autistic either, until they met me and realized that some of the characteristics they’d assumed to be their own individual quirks were common to a larger spectrum of behaviors/perceptions.

    It may be that anyone seriously bent on individuation is becoming more autistic, ie, their very own autos, or self.

    Very nice to read your comments this morning, Mr. B. Thanks.

  6. I can only speak for myself of course and perhaps this isn’t pecisely the point but funny, with me, very insecure about saying and doing the right thing too–first off I am not that bright–I actually make it a point to display before people, best on my own time, welcomed of course, and a stage set can be just a little space on the floor. Then I like to do something I’ve got to get off my chest and share it with folks. Standup in front of folks and perform it. If they don’t get it that is unfortunate but I understand. I am not a person you just got to pay attention to. But if everything goes right, all things accordingly in alignment, luck be my lady tonite, If I am a hit, wow. That ‘worship’ residual can carry me thru a few more hours mixing in most any bad company. I have proven I am somebody too. See I got talent! Even better in my way than you sort of thing. But being a humanitarian and certainly always the gentleman I never leave another person’s show until they are finished. Or sooo bad.

    Far as feeling socially awkward? I don’t think so in my case. But that does not mean I don’t feel socially awkward. Or that I am not. It’s just that if the gathering has nothing to do with me proving myself publically then the gathering of folks must be enjoyed for what it is. It’s not there for me, it’s there for me to mingle and do what I do, be myself, and likely the reason why I am there in the first place. Meaning there is no demanding reason for me to display really. Or make a big point of one kind or another, just exist amongst the party of other existers, as unrelaxed as me most likely. You can bet they as fucked up as me. Just people being themselves, with no Act as prop, or anything. Hiding stuf sure, aspects of personality that they have keep secret in order not to not thrown out or hung, but you know. Just be myself, wow. I can do that! Sure, it’s best left at home, where being a fool doesn’t matter except reinforce what I already know, but okay. Show business is mostly guts anyway. If I offend somebody, I can feel bad about it, but sorry, I have that right if can accept myself even so.

    “Consciously building an identity is also very autistic-sounding.”
    noun Psychiatry
    a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.
    • a mental condition in which fantasy dominates over reality, as a symptom of schizophrenia and other disorders.

    Yes, a fear of being obnoxious, rejected, cast out of the tribe, is to deal with. I’ve been thrown out of a few of the worst of rooms but probably that should be a problem left in adolescence. We could talk about that a long time eh. Actually I am a very lucky boy. My family that I was raised up in, an older sister by 8 years and brother 7 and a half younger, and my parents, were pretty normal. Within the context of course of to be so requires adherance to an accepted philosophy of life the manner in which generally speaking it is to be lived suitably accordingly but which may in itself be insane. But not dysfuntional at least. Any “irrefutable sign” for society that I am to be accepted was establishd by family; I was indeed accepted, in their/our “fold”. That has been good enuf for me at core, for the most part, for me right along. Only thing is, ” . . . now of course I am worried about posting this.”

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