Let’s play assumption ping-pong again, or not.


It seems as if I may have to reiterate a post I made last March: Let’s Play Assumption Ping-Pong. It describes pretty accurately some of the assumptions people make about me, and why they end up wrong, and why even the assumptions they replace them with end up wrong.

Basically, if I tell you something, or look like something, and you make an assumption based on what I told you or how I look, don’t blame me when your assumption turns out not to be true. I cannot possibly write my entire life’s story in all its nuance and detail every time I communicate with somebody. It’s not possible, and even if it were possible I doubt it would be desirable: I usually want to just interact with people as who I am, not fill in loads of backstory and self-dissection every time I talk to someone.

And please read that ping-pong post if you have any inclination at all to assume things of this nature, it will save me and possibly you a lot of trouble. I’ve also written a longer disclaimer on assumptions to disabuse people of many further assumptions.

About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods, which tell me who I am and where I belong in the world. I relate to objects as if they are alive, but as things with identities and properties all of their own, not as something human-like. Culturally I'm from a California Okie background. Crochet or otherwise create constantly, write poetry and paint when I can. Proud member of the developmental disability self-advocacy movement. I care a lot more about being a human being than I care about what categories I fit into.

10 responses »

  1. I don’t know why people will often assume that another person has been lying if that person turns out not to fit one of their assumptions, even if that person never claimed to. Or if that person doesn’t fit into a particular pre-conceived idea of theirs. It’s happened to me before, as well as several people I know.

    I can tend towards them myself, as well as having them made about me. I think that having so many made about me may also be the reason that I try to be cautious about them, though.

  2. Just come across your blog, through your video in your native language. I blogged your work and subscribed to your feed.

    I wonder what an RSS feed would look like that actually contained the media of your native language. I wonder if there will ever be a time when we can share sensations over the web, to experience something of each other’s world’s in a way that does not require translation…

    Until that day, I’ll just keep reading what you write and watching what you do. Thanks for putting it out there.

  3. just revisited your blog & read Jan 17th comments about overload and trying for non-existence. My gosh that was me. All through childhood and early adulthood. If only people would understand – try to understand – *sigh* I totally get the wanting to turn into the cold smooth floor thing.
    Did you pick your YouTube name from the book about cats?

  4. More of a guess than an assumption, but from the way that you describe your language I guess that your experience of a relatively quiet environment is much the same as I would experience walking into a disco with lights flashing in my face, loud music making thoughts slippery, and everyone that was there trying to talk to me at once so that I have nothing to grasp on to as a point of reference for what to pay attention to and what to ignore.

  5. I’m so impressed with your website. Your poetry is amazing. I’m not assuming you want to discuss this…but my daughter is autistic. I watched your video. I immerse myself in her world and don’t find it too different from mine. I want to show her your video because I know (even though she’s young) she’d understand it fully.

    I have a question: you talk about your own language and how you interact differently with the world around you. For you, would you interpret the differences as differences in how you sense your interactions? I guess I have another question too: Feelings. What does that word mean to you? The reason I ask is because I think my daughter interprets feelings much different than some people. For example, sadness is not always the result of how most people would interpret an event which would cause someone to be sad.

    I thank you so much in advance for your response…and look forward to hearing from you further.


  6. Thank you for your video. There’s a LJ discussion on it at http://community.livejournal.com/asperger/1410881.html

    Your video asks meaningful questions about how people define communication. For me, the meaning of communication is the response you get from making the communication. If you interact with water, the response of the water is the meaning of your communication with it.

    But my definition of communication is different from my definition of language. If I knock down a tree in the middle of the forest, I have communicated with the tree, but is knocking down a tree an act of language? Someone would have to be able to ask the tree.

  7. Thank you so much for your video “In My Own Language.” I have watched it over and over again, as it has affected me very deeply. You have put into words something that I am only beginning to understand.

    I have a daughter with Down syndrome, who does not speak. But she has a message just as you do. I have written about you on my blog today if you care to read it. http://bits-of-betsy.blogspot.com/

    Many of us strive to positively affect at least one person in our lifetime…and believe that if we do that, we can consider ourselves successful.

    I think you should consider yourself immensely successful.


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