After many years of yo-yo health, confusion, which Confucius could be endeared with, and ‘roleplaying’ for social norms in the standard for Oscar attention – all this manifested to a breakdown in 2012 and the wife leaving on a Qantas flight for the far, far west. Soon after, I was diagnosed with the autism spectrum (formerly termed Asperger’s Syndrome) at age 32. Nothing like getting an early diagnosis before bad stuff happens.
How does the autism spectrum affect me? On initial face value, this is difficult to recognise. However, my everyday communications with others is a concentrated effort, not an intuitive one. General and social anxiety affects me the most from this condition, which enjoys playing with my digestive system and fatigue levels. Then there’s the odd panic attack, or rare occurrence of bloody noses and vomiting, when my anxiety drives the adrenaline in a twin-turbocharged V8. I’d ace it being an air traffic controller.
Difficulties with some phonetics and taking sentences literally, where double meanings are contained, can catch me out if I am not concentrating. My considered approach and heightened attention to detail can drive a few crazy (including myself!), as time starts dissolving. However, quality is better than quantity, right?
Fortunately, I had a very knowledgeable and thorough psychologist and understanding GP, who assisted me for the next 18 months after diagnosis with education, acceptance and management of my condition. For example, learning to prepare for social activities, particularly large events and responding to life’s pressures.
Once or twice, during my high school years, I got called “Woody” for my slow uptake on things, in association with a similar character found in the wonderful TV series of Cheers. I then used it as an internet alias, as I goaded my way through the Buffy and Angel threaded boards of the late 1990s. Then, in 2002, I decided to use it as my artistic alias, which obviously continues today.
The Red Cap
Originally associated with cricket clubs I’ve played for, I thought the wearing of the red cap being an easy branding identity strategy, when I first developed the Woody’s Studio concept in 2002. Plus, quite a few people suggested it distinctively suits me, so I’ve kept wearing it.
From moving to Queensland from Tasmania in 2013, I was able to transfer and continue my graphic design studies at the University of the Sunshine Coast, which were completed in 2016. This part now connects with my acceptance in navigating life differently, next to my resilience (nicer word than stubborn, isn’t it?) part of not giving up. These parts connected will strengthen the will to forge ahead with my visual ideas and providing illumination in others, on what those on the spectrum can do.
Now to get on with it …