conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I used to pick at my scabs until they bled, and then pick at them again once they healed up. I used to pick at peeling paint - I've mostly stopped that habit. But what I really like to do, really really, is get the peeling bark on trees that exfoliate like that. I've been known to cross the street and then stop for five minutes at a time to get at the London Plane trees on my block.

If I think about it much, when I think about it, I generally would attribute this sort of thing to being autistic. I mean, I'm sure there are plenty of people who aren't autistic who do this too, but probably not many who go out of their way to do it for fun. I could be wrong here, of course.

Which is where this gets interesting. I went out to bring my mother her coffee, and before I went in I spent a few minutes with our crape myrtle. And my mother said I was just like her mother.

My mother has a very complicated relationship with me and autism. On the one hand, she swears she knew when I was a small infant. On the other hand, she is eager to downplay any signs of autism that I might ever bring up - especially if they're traits shared with anybody in the family other than her father, who really was undeniably autistic. Either she denies that the traits exist, or she denies that they're quite strong, or she denies that they have anything to do with autism whatsoever. (There are some things she can't do this to, like the topographical agnosia, but otherwise she gives it the good ol' college try!)

So for her to criticize what I'm pretty sure is an autistic trait, and attribute it to her mother instead of her father - well, I could've used this as a segue into my ongoing attempts to speak with her on the subject of the broader autistic phenotype, assortative mating, and our family. But given recent events, I decided instead to talk about exfoliating bark and how I'm sure the reduction of dead bark will decrease the risk of a forest fire in our backyard.

Date: 2017-07-24 01:28 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
<3

Tree bark is excellent.

Date: 2017-07-25 04:18 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
I think grounding the conversation in reality and science is actually a really good response. It sidesteps the social problem of 'I don't agree with what your parent is trying to teach you with this just-so-story, but I don't feel that its appropriate or helpful or even informative for me to directly contradict it,' it shows respect for the kid's comprehension, it addresses the micro-issue at hand (that's indirectly brought up the larger issue of 'is it socially acceptable to be highly tactile in this context'), and it lets the kid know that, if and when they want a broader worldview than what they've been taught, looking up relevant facts can help.

Date: 2017-07-24 01:34 am (UTC)
lilysea: Serious (Default)
From: [personal profile] lilysea
I used to love peeling the bark off paperbark trees. They have a very specific kind of thin white papery bark, that peels off very easily, and feels like the edible ricepaper that used to come with Asian nougat.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melaleuca_quinquenervia#/media/File:(85)_Paperbark.jpg

Date: 2017-07-24 09:56 pm (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Dreamy photo of playground roundabout in rosy foggy light (lost youth)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
What a marvelous sight that is. Do they rattle in a breeze?

Date: 2017-07-25 06:57 am (UTC)
lilysea: Serious (Default)
From: [personal profile] lilysea
No, the bark has the texture of thin flexible polystyrene sheets... too soft and flexible to make much noise.

Date: 2017-07-24 01:40 am (UTC)
musyc: Silver flute resting diagonally across sheet music (Default)
From: [personal profile] musyc
Oh, the picking. Yeah, I do that all the time. Bitty scars upon scars because I can't let something heal. The scabs are bothersome.

We don't have trees that have easily peeled bark around here, but I will take a grass blade and slowly split it into strips. Maybe that's why I like string cheese so much. :)

Date: 2017-07-24 10:26 pm (UTC)
musyc: Silver flute resting diagonally across sheet music (Default)
From: [personal profile] musyc
Heh, I have tried! But apparently that's not a skill I possess.

Date: 2017-07-24 02:18 am (UTC)
flexagon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] flexagon
My picking and scratching has been attributed to OCD, but I've read multiple books about OCD and it doesn't feel right. Never has. If I really do have OCD, it must be pure compulsion. I don't mind though, because the diagnosis got me Prozac and the Prozac does help.

Interesting to hear about it being related to the autism spectrum instead... I'm there, too, though just on the "geeky" end of things rather than "clinically diagnosed".

Date: 2017-07-25 04:20 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Another autistic person here, also very drawn to textures, and also sometimes have an issue trying to not scratch/pick skin irregularities.

Date: 2017-07-24 02:56 am (UTC)
lilysea: Serious (Default)
From: [personal profile] lilysea
I also picked tree bark and scabs,

but for me I always thought it was an Anxiety / PTSD thing rather than an autism thing.

Date: 2017-07-24 10:35 pm (UTC)
kutsuwamushi: from a Married to the Sea Comic (edumacation)
From: [personal profile] kutsuwamushi
I do it, but I don't really do it much around other people. Scabs because it's kind of socially unacceptable, and things like paint because... I don't have many opportunities? But I'll peel my nailpolish off.

But I don't think that means it's not an autism thing, for you.

Like, autistic people describe themselves as doing a lot of behaviors that I do, but I don't think I experience them the same way? E.g. stimming versus plain ol' fidgeting.

Date: 2017-07-29 12:22 pm (UTC)
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
From: [personal profile] fred_mouse
On paint and social non-acceptance -- there is a stairwell that I have frequented intermittently over the last two decades, where the paint on the hand rails has always been peeling/bubbling. I frequently stop at a hidden spot and pick some, but only for short amounts of time because I'm worried about getting caught. Of all the odd things I do, this is possibly the one I'm most uncomfortable about being seen to do. There was one point I was doing it often enough I wondered if I was going to succeed in getting a clear section, but then mostly stopped.

Date: 2017-07-24 05:39 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
I picked at scabs, but not till they bled (well, not often :-). And I get the tree bark thing.

What I found that was *great* was stryofoam. the kind that is essentially a zillion "beads" of foam stuck together.

I could pick that apart for hours. and of course part of the game is that you have to pick loose whole "beads", not break them.

And since broken chunks aren't that hard to find (most cheap ice chests are made out of it without anything to protect it, so they break easily), it's a "cheap" fidget.

You can also do a weird sort of "sculpture" by deciding which beads to pick and which to leave.

Oh yeah, a pin or needle helps you pick apart the "joints" between the beads.


Date: 2017-07-24 05:57 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
I'd take the picked pieces and put them in a small jar, with some model paint thinner. You need one with a tight lid.

Add enough and you get this thick syrupy liquid. Which you can paint on things to give them a coat of polystyrene plastic.

Obviously, you do this to things like wood, metal or paper *not* plastics.

Date: 2017-07-24 10:54 am (UTC)
hudebnik: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hudebnik
I discovered by accident that model-airplane glue dissolves styrofoam....

Date: 2017-07-24 10:56 am (UTC)
hudebnik: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hudebnik
My wife has been telling me for years to stop picking scabs. It hadn't occurred to me that it might have anything to do with the autism spectrum (of which I have a few symptoms, but decidedly not others).

Date: 2017-07-25 02:00 am (UTC)
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
From: [personal profile] randomdreams
fwiw I obsessively pluck out beard hairs, but only from one area of my chin, and while I can refrain from picking at scabs, I rarely do.

Date: 2017-07-25 02:02 am (UTC)
archangelbeth: An anthropomorphic feline face, with feathered wing ears, and glasses, in shades of gray. (Default)
From: [personal profile] archangelbeth
*makes shifty-eyes about picking at scabs*

I pick off nail polish -- well, the clear-coat stuff, that I use because my nails have begun splitting off the top layer from the bottom one, and it snags on things. So I paint clear stuff on to hold it together, and don't put color on because... when the polish starts peeling off, OH BOY PEELING TIME!

...far as I know I'm mostly neurotypical, but spouse and kid are both spectrum, sooooooo... who knows.

Date: 2017-07-26 03:56 am (UTC)
rahirah: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rahirah
I used to love peeling the bark off pine trees, pulling away the grey, weathered outer layer and revealing the rich red convolutions of the bark underneath... it was like discovering a secret world.

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