Fly long against the wind–Interview with Mr. M [Part 1]

(All images in this text are generated by Freepik)

Self-introduction by Mr.M:

I’m currently a graduate student specializing in electrical studies. As for hobbies, would being a fan of the 2D world count? I used to enjoy My Little Pony, and now I’m into virtual singers. I guess I have a penchant for music.

Question: Why did you choose a major related to electrical studies?

Mr. M: I chose this major because I find it genuinely interesting.

Question: When were you diagnosed with Asperger’s? What led you to believe you might have it, and why did you seek a diagnosis at the hospital?

Mr. M: I was diagnosed with Asperger’s during high school. My first homeroom teacher noticed that I displayed distinct differences compared to other students and recommended that my parents take me for a psychological evaluation at the hospital.

Question: Do you remember what your homeroom teacher said to you? How did you emotionally or intellectually respond to it?

Mr. M : …My homeroom teacher didn’t harbor any biases against me. She treated me quite well, even better than the other students, I believe. At times when she was going through a tough time, I wrote her a letter to offer encouragement—perhaps a bit childish, I admit. When I graduated from high school, I was the only original student from her class who gave her flowers. She showed good understanding of me, and the same goes for my second homeroom teacher, my biology teachers, my Chinese language teachers, and three other Chinese language teachers from neighboring classes.

Question : In what ways do you think their understanding was manifested?

Mr. M : On Children’s Day, they gave me candy. During the BBQ festival, they allowed me to have barbecue. They cared for me, and I cared for them. Especially my first Chinese language teacher; He read and recorded all the notes I wrote. He still treasures the first gift I ever gave her.

Question: Do you think Asperger’s had a significant impact on you during high school? And why?

Mr. M : During high school, Asperger’s didn’t significantly affect me. I even consider myself as an exception. Except for some academic challenges in high school, I had no difficulties interacting with my classmates. I never got into fights in high school. Middle school was different; I struggled to win fights, and I was quite introverted… The only commonality between my middle school and high school experiences is that I didn’t enjoy staying at school. It felt somewhat oppressive for me. Back then, I had difficulties regulating my emotions, but somehow I managed to adjust later on. I was much more anxious in high school than in middle school.

Question: Could you provide more details about this statement: “Middle school was different; I struggled to win fights, and I was quite introverted.” Did you experience bullying? And how did your introversion manifest?

Mr. M : In middle school, I was preoccupied with fighting and studying. Yes, there were over a dozen incidents of bullying. Regarding introversion, it refers to my difficulty in adapting to the residential environment and the insults to my personal dignity. I also had my own issues, which I later worked on.

Question: Do you think they bullied you because of your Asperger’s? Can you elaborate on “not adapting well to the residential environment and insults to my personal dignity”?

Mr. M : It wasn’t because of Asperger’s in middle school since I hadn’t been diagnosed at that time. They simply viewed me as an easy target, so I started exercising in high school. However, my high school classmates were much better than those in middle school. During evening self-study sessions, I got along well with my classmates. I lost fights, which was embarrassing. One male student became my adversary, but I could never defeat him. Mainly because I didn’t want to escalate the fights; what if I got expelled or caused a big scene? A group of male students, supported by that one guy, targeted me. It was absurd. The first year of middle school was fine; we tolerated each other’s flaws. But later on, it turned into full-fledged fights, and disagreements were settled with fists. By the last semester of middle school, I could defeat anyone in a one-on-one fight, except for that guy. I didn’t want to escalate the violence and harm innocent people. There was one incident where a female student nearby was affected by our fight, and that made me reconsider engaging in further fights.

Question: Can you elaborate on the emotions you experienced when you mentioned “not adapting well to the residential environment and insults to my personal dignity”? Also, why do you think you struggled to adapt to the living situation?

Mr. M : I made the choice not to reside on campus to avoid escalating conflicts. Initially, I believed that if others were comfortable living there, I could adapt as well. However, verbal disputes with a group of boys soon turned into physical altercations. The feelings of struggling to adapt to the residential environment stemmed from the constant insults directed at my personal dignity. It became challenging for me to feel comfortable and respected in such a hostile atmosphere. Therefore, I made the decision to distance myself from that living situation in order to protect myself and prevent any further escalation of conflicts.