Today’s entry will be about adult High-Functioning Autism, the music industry, storytelling, and asking YOU the question of whether or not some stories should ever be told.
HI. I’M AN OLD AUTISTIC GUY
I’m 56 years old and received my formal professional diagnosis of High-Functioning Autism just three years ago. It is said that “early detection is key,” and I missed that boat by a half a century.
No big deal, except that it gives me the morbid sensation that I’ve lived a life that was wasted. Had I known, had I gotten help, my life would be so much different.
There is no need for alarm, as I am working with a therapist. At least one of my readers can see evidence of this in the difference of my attitude. All the same, it is a daily — and sometimes hourly — struggle to find a way to somehow be okay with my entire life’s pursuits being in vain because of a disorder that I didn’t even know I had.
I knew that I never fit in. The problem was that I didn’t know why, or what to do about it.
Had I known, I might have something resembling retirement now. I also may have had a career, which would have allowed me to own a house, purchase a new car, and other things I’ve never been able to do.
I spent 30+ years pursuing a career in the music industry. Before that, I spent the majority of my life in music study, mostly in isolation in my house growing up. While other kids were playing, I was working.
I always worked.
And I continued the work in college. When my ticket to California showed up in the form of an invitation from family, I took it.
During most of my time in California, I worked and worked. I sacrificed and kept pushing. Recording, performing, songwriting, promotions, and more. I did it all.
And it didn’t work out.
This leads to unfair judgment, thanks to the culture in America that promotes the idea of the “rugged individual,” as well as the lie that we live in a meritocracy.
The idea is that, if you fail at something, then it’s because you didn’t try hard enough, you gave up too early, or you’re simply not good.
Since my pursuit was in the music industry, there is additional insult to be laid forth due to this. Some people have actually told me, TO MY FACE, “You can’t really call yourself a ‘musician’ unless you earn at least $10,000 per year from music.”
Fortunate, due to my pursuits in music, I did make some friends and acquaintances in the business. They just weren’t the kind of connections that could actually help me. But their stories give me perspective today.
I know many, many musicians. From my perspective, they are better than me. Some are shredders, and others have written and performed with actual big names.
The ones who are better than me will never get anywhere with their music. They keep creating it [and I may return to that myself] because they enjoy it.
As for the ones who were once in big-name bands, when they lost the gig, their participation in that big band meant nothing. The majority of them never got another big-name gig, and were forced to get jobs elsewhere.
Hell, my former guitar teacher, Zoot Horn Rollo, is on a Rolling Stone list of “Top 100 Guitarists of All Time,” and he was hard-pressed to make any money in industry at all. This is one of the big issues that feeds his contempt for the world and himself.
I dare ANYONE to tell him, to his face, that he didn’t try hard enough, that he gave up too early [after roughly 17 years], or that he’s simply not talented. He played on several albums, went on world tours, and at the end of it all he was in line waiting for food stamps and hoping that the rent check from his mom was in the mail.
The way the industry treated him was an utter slap in the face. He knew it, and I feel that his response was appropriate, even if it is frustrating to fans.
HERE’S THE DEAL ABOUT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
It is a very corrupt industry, where the musicians are the ditch diggers. Moreso today than ever, musical talent has NOTHING to do with success in the music industry, at all. There are SOME talented people who make it, but they’re the exception, not the rule. They do not negate the rule, and even stand to bolster it.
It’s all about luck. Sheer luck. It’s also all about who you know.
STORY TELLING: TO TELL OR NOT TO TELL
As I lamented my wasted life in my therapy session, the therapist told me something that was an attempt to make things better, but ended up making things slightly worse, for now. It’s complicated.
She said, “Maybe you didn’t ‘get anywhere,’ as you put it. But you had a dream, you went after it, and you’ve got some really interesting stories to tell.”
Hmm…. interesting stories.
There’s a problem with this.
An interesting story is NOTHING unless you tell it. This fact might compel you to suggest a solution to this dilemma; that I should tell my “interesting stories.”
The problem with simply telling my stories is that I don’t have photographic evidence, or really ANY evidence that these events or interactions ever happened.
Some would suggest that I had some dark motive for telling my stories. I can’t even think of what that would be, beyond “clout chasing.” I don’t value online clout and don’t care, but that would not stop the accusations. In fact, declaring this would only make them more rabid in their hatred of someone who has the nerve to tell a story.
In fact, I’m not so certain that I want anything to do with internet success. Maybe I shouldn’t be writing any of this.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Do you think it’s okay to tell true personal stories based on experiences, where there is no evidence of any kind?
My position is that my stories are valid to me, as I lived them. But others may not value these stories, and might even develop a negative opinion of me as a result of my telling of my stories.
Not that I should care too much about what others things. However, what others think of me determines whether or not I will be accepted into any social group, or accepted by others in general.
I would love to tell my stories. What I would NOT love is people online who live for attacking others. Personal anecdotes always leave a person open to attack.
I suppose it would be more accurate to say that personal anecdotes always leave ME open to attack. I don’t know if this happens to anyone else. That’s society: one set of rules for everyone else, and a special set of rules for me. I hate it.
What would my philosophy be if I were to tell my “brushes with fame” stories on here? Could it be that my personal anecdotes are not causing harm to anyone, and that I should not care about attacks that transcend the concept of criticism?
Should they simply be ignored, and their complaints not given any oxygen? Blocked?
I have seen first-hand how aggressive other can get online when they don’t agree with me. And it doesn’t even have to be anything important.
EVEN “FRIENDS” HATE STORIES
There was actually someone on Facebook — a former friend — who responded to a story of mine with, “No, you didn’t.”
This was their response to a story that I told about needing to have two molars removed, and my experience with the dentist and the pain meds they subscribed.
This is someone who was not there. I had NO motive for telling a lie in my story. It was merely me sharing my experience.
Why did I share this experience on Facebook? Have you ever tried to strike up a conversation on that website? It doesn’t happen. So I figured I’d tell a story that might be relatable to some people on my list.
As it turned out, nobody cared about the story, except for the one “friend” who boldly told me that my story was simply not true, and a second friend who posted something about how the government was “out to get us.”
WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
The older I get, the less I care about the opinions of others. This sentiment is strong enough that I feel that I should keep my stories to myself and not invite any attention my way.
The problem with this is that it leads to isolation.
I also don’t need anyone to agree with me.
What I’d like is to share my stories, and then have this inspire others to tell their stories. This is probably wishful thinking.
But I’ll end it here. What would YOU do? Would you write and ignore those who get harsh with you? Would you not write?
It’s like fireworks. I can go out with a bang, or fizzle like a dud. Either way, nobody lives forever, and I have to find a decent way to spend my final years, or months, or weeks, depending on what happens to me in this pandemic-ravaged world.