It’s been a while, and I apologize for not writing sooner, but you know… life and stuff. I hope you’re well.
Before I dive in, here’s a little “recent” history. I am in the process of retiring from a 20-year-long monogamous, heterosexual marriage (she’s fine, I’m fine, the dog’s depressed, thanks for asking). Slightly unrelated (but not really), I was diagnosed with Asperger’s / ASD a little over 3 years ago. Combine those two happenings with the fact that the 70’s were just barely a thing when I came along, and you could easily arrive at the following conclusions:
- I’m not an expert at any of this.
- The world has changed tremendously since I got here.
- I am definitely qualified for a mid-life crisis.
So, with those caveats, I like to take this opportunity share what I’m learning and discovering about myself and the world. In order to do that and avoid a lot of confusion and unnecessary Googling on your part, I should probably start with a few newer-to-me terms that I’ve found useful in thinking about and discussing some of the turns my life seems to be taking. Also, words are important.
So… I’m neurodivergent, but you can call me autistic. Of course, I’ve always been autistic, but up until a few years ago I didn’t know it, which is why I never told you. So I was, maybe, awkward, emotionally unavailable, obsessive, depressed… basically a tortured artist / fucking genius. But now I’m all those and autistic.
This little tidbit of info caused a bit of a meltdown and a major reboot as my conscious brain scrambled to reevaluate the sum of my life experiences through a completely new filter. On the other side of that process, I am not the same person. Nope, not at all.
The good news is, I have new tools and info and community for making my time on this planet a bit more comfortable than it has been in the past. Also, I stopped taking those pills for the thing I didn’t actually have. I feel the same… no, actually better, because now I know why, and the answer is that it’s just who I am.
Genderqueer / Non-binary / Genderfluid
Gender is a spectrum. I know this now. And although I’ve historically identified/performed as male publicly, my relationship with my partner of the past two decades could easily be viewed through a heteronormative lens as textbook role reversal. I’m not a macho guy, and honestly I can’t stand the fuckers. I like cute and fuzzy, I’m playful, and feel all the things(!) deeply. So, while I may not be putting on a skirt anytime soon (note: by December I was all kilts and jean-free forever!), I do love going places in my PJs and I totally love my Eeyore plushie (not that it matters anyway).
So if gender is a spectrum (it is), then terms like straight and bisexual just don’t work so good. As mentioned above, I have very little use for manly men, and only slightly more use for womanly women (and thus I’m not pansexual, if you’re keeping score). Beyond that, I tend to crush easily on smart and cute (hearts, not parts) with a leaning towards other genderqueer folks.
This is a big topic, so I won’t try and cover too much here. I stumbled across this concept in the past 6 months as I was navigating non-monogamy, and it just makes so much damn sense! Basically it looks a lot like non-hierarchical, ethical non-monogamy, while expanding to cover non-sexual and/or non-romantic relationships as well. In a nutshell, it means I’m striving to have intentional relationships and allow them to each take their own unique form, while treating each as equally important. It’s a work in progress, and mononormative deprogramming has definitely proven to be challenging.
This is the big one, the sum of all the above parts and a lot more. Read this or tl;dr here:
What are the various practices that fall within the definition of neuroqueering?
Being neurodivergent and approaching one’s neurodivergence as a form of queerness (e.g., by understanding and approaching neurodivergence in ways that are inspired by, or similar to, the ways in which queerness is understood and approached in Queer Theory, Gender Studies, and/or queer activism).
Being both neurodivergent and queer, with some degree of conscious awareness and/or active exploration around how these two aspects of one’s identity intersect and interact.
Being neurodivergent and actively choosing to embody and express one’s neurodivergence (or refusing to suppress one’s embodiment and expression of neurodivergence) in ways that “queer” one’s performance of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, occupation, and/or other aspects of one’s identity.
Engaging in the “queering” of one’s own neurocognitive processes (and one’s outward embodiment and expression of those processes) by intentionally altering them in ways that create significant and lasting increase in one’s divergence from dominant neurological, cognitive, and behavioral norms.
Engaging in practices intended to “undo” one’s cultural conditioning toward conformity and compliance with dominant norms, with the aim of reclaiming one’s capacity to give more full expression to one’s neurodivergence and/or one’s uniquely weird personal potentials and inclinations.
Identifying as neuroqueer due to one’s engagement in any of the above practices.
Being neurodivergent and producing literature and/or other cultural artifacts that foreground neurodivergent experiences and perspectives.
Being neurodivergent and producing critical responses to literature and/or other cultural artifacts, focusing on intentional or unintentional characterizations of neurodivergence and how those characterizations illuminate and/or are illuminated by the lived experiences of actual neurodivergent people.
Working to transform social and cultural environments in order to create spaces and communities — and ultimately a society — in which engagement in any or all of the above practices is permitted, accepted, supported, and encouraged.