Since yesterday’s wallow, I’ve taken stock. I started thinking about my need for attention and how it affects my likes and dislikes. I would guess that, like me, other siblings of autistic brothers or sisters also struggle with an unfulfilled need for attention.
Today, I turn the question around. What do I attend to?
Before I get into that however, I thought I should mention that although I crave attention, I don’t like to be the center of it. For instance, when I’m at a special occasion and I tap the water glass with a spoon several times, silence descends and I stand up to make a toast, it is so strange to have everyone paying attention to me. It is very uncomfortable. I usually do very well, especially if I have prepared and practiced beforehand. I can surely sympathize with those who have an urge to say something funny or outrageous; I’m so thankful that the suppression centers in my brain, work under those conditions.
I have been disinhibited before, like the time I was on prednosone. I could not stop myself from offering my unsolicited opinions to total strangers who were having a conversation of their own. And of course beer. I tell everyone that I am unbearably cute after a beer or two. I think someone told me that, but it could just be the way I feel: another mystery of life.
What grabs my attention?
I used to be an avid photographer. Usually what compelled me to take a photograph was the light. I just wanted to capture that moment in time at that time of day. In the early morning, it was the oblique light glancing of a brick tenement, revealing the sandpapery texture. Late morning or early afternoon searing sunlight, illuminating colors on the sides of buildings or through Venetian blinds, would also command my attention.
Overcast days were also good. Light would not be so much of a player in these photographs; they were more about the subject. I looked for unusual juxtapositions: a face in a window or interesting looking people interacting with their surroundings.
I do enjoy the subtleties of low-key photographs and the contemplative, Japanese-style of photography. They seem to exude quiet and help me to be calmer. I wouldn’t say that that this type of photograph or painting commands my attention, but when I do attend to them, I’m drawn in to the world they portray.
Maybe this is what I am like: not a high-contrast, colorful, textured scene that grabs a person’s attention, but a quiet, interplay of subjects and rich values of a fine silver print.