Skip to main content

The Myth of the Broken Face



The blank stare, stony-faced, unwelcoming, generally frozen expression is one of those 'clues' we hear about when it comes to spotting the aspie among us. You know them by the face that doesn't change to suit the situation, by the monotone voice and so on.

Yes, when it comes to society you can spot aspies really easily because they're the ones mimicking automatons. No need for I-Robot or even good old Robbie, you have your aspie to do the unfinished humanoid for you. (You do hear the sarcasm, right?)

Is this true? Sometimes, maybe. It's true if we're bored that we might switch off and unlike the more socially worried, switching off is taken seriously. So the blank face appears as you talk and, dimly, we wait to switch back on again when you've finished.

And the monotone voice? Hmm, I suppose it's also true that my voice might take on a level quality if the rest of me is struggling like a cat in a harness to figure out what to say next, when to say it, what to do when the other person speaks and so on. The voice can be the least of my worries, so deal with it, okay?

But the blank face and monotone voice are only half the story. I am very, very guilty of going the opposite direction, towards the sort of animation that would make Pixar proud.

I find myself, in lessons mainly, getting so engrossed in what I'm describing that my whole face, voice, hands, do the describing along with me. No need to set the tone when I'm talking about Macbeth and his walking forest - I can be the walking forest, I can be Macbeth!

Or using a great big simile to illustrate something, a good one, you know? Like dragons eating princesses or something equally colourful. I get right into it, I do the voice, I do the claws, the face becomes the dragon.

My students generally react well to this, probably because children up to a certain age are big fans of the over-describe. They appreciate the fun and effort that goes into the right face and a good soundtrack.

Sometimes they can be surprised, if they're serious children from serious families. It doesn't stop me, though - obviously, it makes me worse. Usually they forget to be surprised and step into the world of face gurning and voice changing.

So, I notice I've talked about two extremes here. Does that mean I operate in extremes of blank face or dragon face? Possibly. And the voice, monotone or drama? Maybe.

The in-between, trying-to-be-normal voice and face are held back for when I need to speak to real adults and people in authority. You don't want the ones paying your wages or deciding your fate to see you getting carried away in tales of Gloria and the Graysnipe.

Sometimes, though, it's far too easy to slip into the over-describe with people (adults) who aren't expecting it and aren't used to other adults doing it. I don't realise I've slipped until I see their eyes sparkle and their mouth twitch.

This is how other people get to know you, though. Sometimes it's far better to slip and show the real you than to carry on trying to be what others expect. If they see the face pulling, is it such a bad thing? And if it worries them, then it's a shame they lead such sheltered lives.

As for the ones who most often see your blank face and never hear the dragon growl, what can you do? They just have to go on believing this is the true aspie and not get to know the other side of you.

You keep the best part of you for the best people. Or the ones you slip with - and often they also turn out to be the best people. It may surprise them to see you re-enacting a scene from Shakespeare but, well, life would be very dull without a little drama.

Amanda




My books and writing blog, with free stuff.
Find me on Facebook.and Twitter!

Popular posts from this blog

Spotting an aspie adult

Have you ever wondered how to spot an aspie adult, at a distance, without having to get too close? It would be so convenient, wouldn't it? To be able to detect the aspieness before you are drawn in, before there is any danger of becoming part of their mad world and waking up one morning, trying to work out where it all went wrong and what happened to all your socks.

Bearing in mind there are always exceptions that prove the rule, here is what you should look for.

In the supermarket I often wonder if I have spotted a fellow aspie. Walking along the aisles, it's easier to people watch than shop, usually because I've forgotten what I need. The supermarket is a good open space where you can spot aspies as they grapple with the complex practicalities of staying alive by food shopping.

The walk: Yes, from a distance or as they pass by, the walk is a dead giveaway. It seems to veer towards extremes, either a fast paced booster effect from A to B, or a meandering wander with no vi…

A Guide to your Aspie

So, you have your new aspie and are wondering what to do with him/her. Depending on size and gender, some of these instructions may need to be followed with caution but we are confident that you will be able to get the best out of your aspie for many trouble-free years to come!

(Disclaimer: we are not responsible for any physical, emotional or financial harm that may come to you when following these instructions. Once unboxed, your aspie is not eligible for our guaranteed swappage and refurbishment policy. Please have a good look at the aspie through the window provided before unboxing).

1. Unbox carefully and without making physical contact with the aspie. Pull down the box using the flaps provided and allow them to step free by themselves.

2. Allow your aspie free rein, to explore their surroundings. For ease of capture, we recommend not unboxing in an area that is too large or too small. Open fields would not be suitable, unless you are a long distance runner. Small rooms are to b…

Your life, on screen...required viewing for aspies and friends

I come to you today a wiser woman. Aren't we always saying, how good it would be to see ourselves as the world sees us? Well, thanks to a new Japanese anime show, I did just that. For the first time in my life, I saw what I look like from the outside.

Readers, this is not a paid review or anything officially linked to the Watamote, the anime. This is purely my response to something which, hum, how can I put it? Well, if I tell you that I sat through the whole show, with an expression of horror and recognition on my face, would that tell you how it was?

IT Teen had told me to watch it. He bought the manga first, the Japanese version. He waved it in my face and said, 'This is about yoooo!' I remember scowling at the book cover, to find a edgily-drawn girl scowling back at me. Yes, already it was accurate.

IT told me that it's a 'slice of life' story, all about this socially awkward girl called Tomoko. I thought, well, yes, I am socially awkward but that doesn…