Third of Asperger’s Ten Traits – Escape Artist, from the World into my Box…


“3) We are escape artists. We know how to escape. It’s the way we survive this place. We escape through our fixations, obsessions, over-interest in a subject, our imaginings, and even made up reality. We escape and make sense of our world through mental processing, in spoken or written form. We escape in the rhythm of words. We escape in our philosophizing.  As children, we had pretend friends or animals, maybe witches or spirit friends, even extraterrestrial buddies. We escaped in our play, imitating what we’d seen on television or in walking life, taking on the role of a teacher, actress in a play, movie star. If we had friends, we were either their instructor or boss, telling them what to do, where to stand, and how to talk, or we were the “baby,” blindly following our friends wherever they went. We saw friends as “pawn” like; similar to a chess game, we moved them into the best position for us. We escaped our own identity by taking on one friend’s identity. We dressed like her, spoke like her(/him), adapted our own self to her (or his) likes and dislikes. We became masters at imitation, without recognizing what we were doing. We escaped through music. Through the repeated lyrics or rhythm of a song–through everything that song stirred in us. We escaped into fantasies, what could be, projections, dreams, and fairy-tale-endings. We obsessed over collecting objects, maybe stickers, mystical unicorns, or books. We may have escaped through a relationship with a lover. We delve into an alternate state of mind, so we could breathe, maybe momentarily taking on another dialect, personality, or view of the world. Numbers brought ease. Counting, categorizing, organizing, rearranging. At parties, if we went, we might have escaped into a closet, the outskirts, outdoors, or at the side of our best friend. We may have escaped through substance abuse, including food, or through hiding in our homes. What did it mean to relax? To rest? To play without structure or goal? Nothing was for fun, everything had to have purpose. When we resurfaced, we became confused. What had we missed? What had we left behind? What would we cling to next?”

Used with permission from @everydayaspergers. Originally published in Samantha Croft‘s -now former- blog, Everyday Asperger’s, as The Ten Traits.

When I first watched “Boxtrolls” I had no idea what to do with it…

It was one of those instances of a disturbing deja-vu, a pervasive sense of not exactly having seen, not even having been, but rather being still there, here…

And I realised it is the story of me, the great escape artist, escaping not from some box into the welcoming wide open, but from an unfriendly and oppressive “wide open”, into a world where everyone is entitled to the box of their own choice, size, colour, smell…

A world where everyone has a similar, nevertheless unique “box”, where no one criticises the other box tenant for their choice, where the “world above” is of less importance…

As I see it, our individually unique boxes are exactly what makes us fit together. We may not like physical contact and closeness, but in our perfect boxes we are closer than one could imagine, we communicate, we hear, we “feel” each other in inexplicable ways, respectful and sensitive to the openness or unopenness of someone else’s box.

In my box-world it doesn’t matter who you are, as long as you love your box, my box, our boxes; because regardless of how similar the boxes are, inside is comfortably “hiding” a perfect universe’s uniquely autistic inhabitant.

You don’t need to shout, you don’t need to knock, you don’t even need to “understand”. Just respectfully wait by the box you want to better know, until its inhabitant who knows you’re there, comes out, hoping that by that time, you may have hopefully decided to accept and respect whosoever you’ll see…

12 thoughts on “Third of Asperger’s Ten Traits – Escape Artist, from the World into my Box…

  1. I love this post series! I love this list by Samantha Craft, as well as your insightful thoughts on each 😊❤️👍🏼

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    1. Thank you SW, I’m seriously thinking of quoting Sam Croft in my upcoming exam papers, as I can hardly think of more autism/autistic insight per cubic inch neural mass than her Ten Traits. 🏆

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Heck yeah, it’s a classic! One of the first posts I found about this topic, and it made me feel warm and fuzzy inside 💓🌟

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  2. I need to watch Boxtrolls now! One of my young autistic friends has been accused by fellow ‘brothers’ of following me around like a puppy. I’ve experienced times when his attachment to me has made me nervous or uncomfortable, but he’s a good kid, and I appreciate his friendship even though he admitted he would ‘escape’ (remain quiet) to save his own skin. Strange, because he is passionate about the idea of always “having my six” in a structure fire or other dangerous situation.

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    1. Hmm, first of all about the ‘brothers’, but secondly for your attached autistic friend…
      There’s good professionally written literature out there about autistic attachment, which is a side of our neurobiology largely unknown even to autistics, in a conscious way, different largely due to our binary thinking. We don’t have “friends”, but when we have found someone who at least seems to understand us and matches other individual values, we oftentimes become over-attached, which is seen by most as a ‘different’ relationship.
      But, the attachment is very complicated, as it may develop into a desire for a closer relationship, rarely acknowledged though, because the inherent reticence of autistics to talk about their “feelings”, having mostly to do with the complexity of these “feelings”.
      The best way to describe it would be a scene in a Hungarian movie which sadly you won’t probably be able to see, where an autistic astronomer has deep feelings for a very attractive neurotypical lady, following her all over the place, but when challenged about the distance he’s following her, replies “Oh, but my admiration for you (other translation worship of you…) is so unspeakable, that if I’ve followed you ten steps behind until now, from now on I’ll follow you from fifteen”.
      I hope I didn’t confuse you 🙂

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