I was excited to receive this zine because I know little about Asperger’s and hoped to learn more (especially because of a loved one). What I found inside was both confronting at times and different to what I expected.
Asperger’s & The Re:Spectrum of Human Emotions starts with an overview of Joe’s story of abuse, loss, and coming to terms with his reality through the scope of an Asperger’s diagnosis. What I expected to be a ‘101’ of sorts was actually a perzine about his thoughts regarding his experiences, the diagnosis, and his thoughts on finding resolution for abusers and the abused.
(I must admit that I am pretty impressed that he clearly states that he emotionally abused people. If only I could have achieved so much from those who abused me.)
This zine became confronting for me when it started to address the topic of abuse. For Joe, these two topics are now and forever linked, so it’s only naturally that his story be told through addressing this subject as well. However, instead of leaving it at only his childhood, he takes it to the next step of sharing thoughts on resolution and why he thinks punishment doesn’t stop the abuse.
As someone who was abused, I found myself needing to stop purely reacting to what he was saying and actually think about it. The reaction to hurt is to punish, so the thought that vengeance and punishment alone can be lacking for both sides wasn’t something I could just take in stride at first read. A lot of what he wrote does make sense, but it did take some breathing through my emotions/immediate reactions to actually understand where he’s coming from.
It was interesting to read about someone who desired to make peace with both sides of himself: someone who had been abused and someone who has been abusive (by his own admission).
To the other side of the split.
Perfect Mix Tape Segue Number Six reveals a little more of the pain while also satisfying my desire for more ‘introduction to Asperger’s’ level information that I was wanting in the first section. It presents a characteristics list as well as Joe’s feelings about it.
What really shook me was the list of things do to in interactions and relationships list. Yes, some of the things seemed natural, but other things like “Do I try to do nice things for my partner without being asked” are things that even the ‘neurotypicals’ forget in their relationships.
I’m someone who is, if anything, toward the opposite side of things as far as empathy goes and am an abuse survivor. I also have someone in my life whom I suspect may be on the Asperger’s range, and I want to know more about their (suspected) experience of the world.
Both of those things added up to a zine read that I carefully took my time with and thought a lot about. Am I still sorting out my thoughts and feelings about the things in this zine? Yes, absolutely. However, I am grateful to someone who is willing to document their experiences, and I’m glad I read this zine.