When I read Carla Ciccone’s article in the September 7th edition of the Vancouver Sun, my first thought was welcome to an Aspie’s world, Carla!
When she had a Botox treatment to alleviate some of the wrinkles in her forehead, she lost the ability to express her feelings facially; something I immediately saw as the equivalent of an Aspie’s ‘flat aspect’.
Ciccone writes that she was proud of her ‘bitch’ face. The one with frown lines between dark brows and eyes that narrowed aggressively to a “hawk-like gaze”, a look which she used to express feelings ranging from confusion to rage.
She wanted people to know when she was angry. And she conveyed that emotion through facial expression.
But after her Botox treatment, “I was feeling a frown on the inside but my face reflected…serenity.”
Could our Aspies’ ‘flat aspect’, or lack of facial mobility, be the equivalent of having frequent Botox treatments?
As an Aspie, I often have strong emotions that I do not express, either verbally or facially.
I let the moment pass and try to sort out how I’m feeling and why. Is it normal to have this feeling? How can I express my emotional reaction without being offensive? Sometimes it may take days for me to figure this out.
In the meantime, those around me have no idea that I’m upset. The only emotional barometer they have is linked to my speech patterns.
I become more quiet than usual; contribute less to the conversation. I have a less animated reaction to conversations–which is hard to detect as speaking in flat tones can often be my normal.
It occurs to me that if I follow Ciccone’s example and learn facial expressions to convey what I’m feeling, it will be easier for people to understand what’s going on with me in the moment, instead of hours or days later.
This could be integral to successful socializing and a crucial component of being in a meaningful relationship.
Ciccone also writes: Since nothing that I was going through in my inner world was visible externally, I began to feel a little bit dead inside.
How about it, Aspies? Is this true for us, too? Is ‘flat aspect’ or the lack of facial expression of emotion, a reason we sometimes find ourselves on the periphery of social life? And do we need to change that?
However, having said that, there are obvious benefits to being an aspie with ‘flat aspect’. As well as being inscrutable, look how much we can save on Botox treatments!!