Given the many times I have tried to speak on the subject of my fights on the Internet — including the one with the Pokémon Community, you would have thought that I would have heeded the final words of Arcanine: ‘Get a life CW.’ This marked the last post I wrote before I wrote a message to Articuno Avianos to remove my account from PC through illegal access to the administrator control panel — I gave Lightning a copy of the PM, and I was banned for ‘instigating a severe hack threat’. This unceremonious expulsion, which followed six months of wrangling for my Other Voting Polls position back, led me to believe that I, in all respects, had just proven that I had no consideration for what others thought, and I have been wallowing ever since.
Little did I know....
The Composition lesson I had in college today involved an essay called 'Caring for your Introvert', written by a man who considers himself an introvert over the fact that he wishes to have his time alone. He wrote of introverts that ‘to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating’, and extroverts ‘are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone’. He also debunks popular speculation that introverts are arrogant, stating that ‘this common misconception has to do with our being more intelligent, more reflective, more independent, more level-headed, more refined, and more sensitive than extroverts’. In other words, an introvert would rather be alone for some time, but they are just as functional as extroverts in large social scenes, albeit for a shorter time.
Of all the criticism I have received on the home front and on the Internet, you would figure that my recoiling would be the result of introverted tendencies. I even thought this was so, inferring from my imbalanced attention to my own needs. I may be on the computer a lot — but I have WLM open whenever possible, ready to receive IMs at any moment, and I normally find myself on a message board. And I have said from time to time that I loved attending the youth summits in Rhode Island due to the fact that you’re almost invariably around other students, and talking to them even if you have absolutely nothing in common.
After reading Jonathan Rauch’s screed, I saw all this in a new light — I am an extrovert.
Here’s the truth, folks, and it took me a long time and a lot of pain to come to this conclusion. The fights I have had were not over a mod spot, although I can attribute my clinging to the post as a result of Asperger’s syndrome. Rather, it is the fact that the loss of the position, which is incalculably worsened by the ban, effectively cuts me off from the other members, and I’m reduced to hearing what others have to say only when they send me a message on WLM or post on their LiveJournal or Facebook blogs. Indeed, now that I’ve come to realise my status as an extrovert beleaguered by Asperger’s syndrome, I’ve seen the company of members as infinitely more valuable. Indeed, I’ve felt that just mentioning and making it clear that I was an ‘aspie’ — rather than suppressing the fact, dismissing it as a sympathy hook — could have saved the situation (yet as far as Andy personally goes, I doubt he’d have any sympathy, given his overall attitude — and possibly the fact that he was homeschooled and most likely sheltered from ‘wayward’ society).
I’ve had to grapple with this practically since I began attending school in Brigantine. It was sometime in elementary school when I realised that my intelligence amounted to admiration from others, including teachers themselves. I have said before that I would brag about how I could multiply and divide and the majority of the third-graders had yet to learn it — that in particular was successfully muted when, as challenge, my teacher handed me an advanced multiplication sheet and I cringed in fear, and then the following year when I turned up a ‘dismal’ C in the first grading quarter. I also remember memorising the names of the presidents of the United States, but bragging about it led to the current stops on the street from people who just want to use me as a walking almanac. I would also use big words — Roget’s Thesaurus put an end to that. While I’m sure it’s nature for kids my age to brag about things other kids don’t have, I’ve seen mine to be acquired other than material; one kid could brag that he had a PSP whereas I ‘just’ had a Nintendo DS, whilst I’d counter that he couldn’t name the book of the Bible from which he’d draw his conclusion that Adam and Eve spurned humankind*.
The intelligence thing, as can be inferred from the above, was invariably coupled with social crutching. I began to depend on the fact that I had a photographic memory and could list things for my social needs. In middle school you could see me hanging out outside kids’ homes around a basketball net, although I wasn’t necessarily inclined to partake in the sport; being smart and well-known was enough in their eyes to validate my attendance. I would eventually make the cut for a trivia team called Think Day, which eventually competed in a gym hall at a high school in Linwood, but I was too confident; we ended up in eighth place after I hijacked many of the questions (although the position was still respectable as there were thirty teams present, and, looking through school report cards later in my life, many of the questions asked would stump most students at higher levels of public education). Through the years, my grades would not be very exceptional; I even ran the risk of failure twice. Intelligence, I would later learn, did not equate to brains or responsibility; it was merely the ability to figure things out from the raw, and nothing more.
Then I learnt that I had Asperger’s syndrome.
Reading books on the disorder explained most, if not all, of what I needed to know — I was insanely intelligent, but responsibility and social skills were impedimenta. At first it didn’t seem to faze me in school, but it soon sent my perfect, delicately balanced world crashing down during high school. I met a student, who came to resent my intelligence, and I framed him for deletion of school files; we did not reconcile until graduation. I tried to go for the method of passing at minimum to save face until I met my physics teacher — who turned out to be my uncle; his class proved to be the hardest, and I credit my protection from a failing grade — and being the top student in his class the following quarter — to doing mountains of extra credit.
It was also in high school that I met the Internet. The first forum I joined, as you know, was PKMN.NET**. Being a rising SuperCheats.com star, I expected them to know who Cross Stinger was — but after snapping over a prank censorship of the word ‘Muuma’ and increased unwelcome involvement with staff affairs, I was forced to re-examine who I was. Even when I vowed to start anew at the Pokémon Community, I expected people to recognise me; they didn’t until Wikipedia got involved, and that, coupled with being promoted to moderator over those circumstances, brought me into the chaotic world of PC staff drama, which I lived off as someone still recovering from railing against Jeroen the previous year. In the end it was quarrelling over how the forums should be run and grumbling over my reduced seniority as moderator of Other Voting Polls — being invited to staff chats satisfied my social need but led to me feeling horrible once the chat finished, as I would be hard-pressed to mutter anything good and would eventually give Andy the impression that I was a stuck-up suck up who was rigidly against what Encyclopedia Dramatica would call ‘lulz’.
Whatever the case, I’ve seen this today as a warning that I would have to keep my mouth shut about how I was better in order to move on; in fact, I still think about the past and hold it tantamount to the present and future, as I believe that these three things shape the human psyche. I’m sure that had I refused to state unequivocally that Andy was right on the n00bs thing, I would have survived — yet at the same time I wonder whether ignoring the Wikipedia incident altogether would have made things a little easier. I’m sure that had I not spoken out against pairing and ‘families’, I would have had a lot more dignity engaging in it two months after I was given the mod job (which means Andy pulled the ‘paired up just to get modded’ assumption right out of his ass). The truth, ladies and gentlemen, is not necessarily that I should have just kept my mouth shut and been more consistent — I should have tried to look for the positives of families and pairing up, and probably left Kelsey alone as she genuinely had a relationship with Jorge.
And for all I have come to beforehand, I always feel as if I cannot bring myself to act upon these emotions. I hold the past in high regard, in an attempt to make myself clean. Why can I not just live with the errors I've made? The fact is that I do not have any incentive as of yet. More accurately, if a grudge I have is considered to be obsolete by most, I don't give up until an official announcement is made. That's why I have fought, while others hated it; that's why I placed great emphasis on forgiveness all these years.
I should have said this as soon as I set foot on the Internets — I have Asperger’s syndrome, and I am prone to explode if I feel alone or miserable. This is how I am. I might never change that.
* Observing as a Protestant growing up in a Catholic and Republican town, it's hard for any kid to say otherwise, unless they're Indian. I am not a creationist, and I respect the beliefs of those who are, but arguing over it on the street in front of the arcade when you're under 25 — actually, at any age — is just silly.
** I joined PKMN.NET on 7 July 2004. The SuperCheats forums did not come online until 31 August 2004.