Mental filters

A while ago I saw a discussion among some autistic people on Tumblr, about dealing with slurs and other Things Not To Say when you have communication problems. This is a separate post because it’s not really related to the last one, this doesn’t have anything to do with my opinions about how slurs should be discussed. It’s just interesting to me as a point of comparison for my own communication problems are like.

Anyway.

One of the people on this post was describing how at one point they tried very hard to keep up with all sorts of Things Not To Say, until they realized that because they were trying to remember and weigh all these different things, it was costing them dramatically more effort to say anything. They decided they had to stop putting so much pressure on themself to say everything Correctly in order to save their overall communication abilities and spoon levels.

So, for me too, thinking about these things does take extra time and effort. There are some words I’ve been using/not-using for long enough that it’s a habit, but there are plenty of others where I initially phrase something one way, and then catch myself and think “No, wait, it’s disrespectful to use that word that way” or whatever. It’s a conscious thought process that takes time. Also sometimes there are situations where there is no obviously better way to say something, and that sucks.

But, it has never occurred to me to try to stop thinking about these things, because while the effort I spend on these things is not zero, it is completely negligible and irrelevant in comparison to the baseline amount of effort I put into wording anything I expect a lot of people to read. It does not make writing meaningfully harder for me. It is a few drops in a big bucket of just plain trying to express the ideas in my head clearly and concisely and in an order that makes sense.

When I do less-effort, less-polished writing, it’s usually the conciseness and the sequencing and the too-many-clauses sentences (and the hyphenated phrases like that one) that I let go of.

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