Valentine’s day can be a nightmare for some autistic people like my Vulcan. Valentine’s day is a day to celebrate feelings, but what if you cannot understand them? Or what if you get easily overwhelmed by them? What if you don’t understand why you need a day to celebrate love when you can do it every day of the year? When I first met my Vulcan asked me that very last question: why do we need a celebration of love when you can celebrate it every single day? It does sound romantic, isn’t it? However, he was just asking the obvious logical thing. Why do we need a Valentine day for love if we can love each other every single day?
Valentine’s day, like any other celebration, requires thinking about presents and postcards with lots of sloppy writing on them. These activities can be very challenging for someone who understands feelings in an entirely different way. First, choosing a present is a nightmare for my Vulcan. As I stated in other posts, I create lists with goodies (usually geek stuff I’d love to have) so that he has some guidelines and doesn’t feel nervous nor lost in trying to make me feel happy “on an illogical day to celebrate something you can celebrate on a daily basis.”
Then comes the nightmare of the postcard. While we can come up with pretty cheesy and amazing formulas to wish happy Valentine to someone as neurotypicals, this HFA of mine needs hours to come up with something. Why? Because he spends lots of time in trying to figure out what I’d love to read on that postcard if he has one or has remembered to buy one. If he is about to buy one postcard, he might spend hours in trying to find out which postcard I might like or not from the hundred possibilities he might find in a shop. He works so hard that he ends up messing things up. He even once wrote a note on a post-it because he was unable to figure out about what postcard or even what to tell me.
So, what to do in these cases?
Be gentle. Whatever your Vulcan comes up with it’s a success. Even if it’s a dang post-it. If you want to help your Vulcan in finding out what you might like as a present, make lists!! You’re not being pushy; you’re helping your Vulcan in taking a decision for you. If items on your wish-list are what you love, he will only need to make one of those for you! And if your Vulcan appears with no postcard or with the wrong one and an entirely weird message on it, don’t argue nor be picky. Your Vulcan might have spent hours, even days trying to figure out what postcard to buy, or even what to write. If your Vulcan just gives you a present, that’s okay too! Even if it’s the very wrong one!
Don’t ask your Vulcan to be neurotypical. Autistic people experience the world in a different light because their brains are wired in a different way. This means that they will share with you their awesome and fantastic world. Don’t ask them to be something they cannot be, someone different. They can’t. Besides, you wouldn’t like them if they changed!
Try to prepare something for your Vulcan that meets their tastes. This is easy to me since we’re both of us super geek. This year we’re going to watch Deadpool, the super romantic movie for Valentine’s day [yes, pun intended.] This is perfect for both of us, but I added something extra that my Vulcan is going to love. If your Vulcan likes geeky gear, go for that. If your Vulcan loves trains like Sheldon, go for that. If your Vulcan hates going to dinner with friends: refrain from doing that!
And if for some reason, your Vulcan does not like to celebrate these dates at all, just bargain a bit. Choose the ones you love the most during the year and that produce less stress on your Vulcan and propose to celebrate those. Skip the rest. You’ll live happy ever after!