One thing that I know is very different about me as someone who is neurodivergent is the fact that I have some very strange and eclectic interests. When I was growing up, I knew that these interests were different and not at all like the sort of things that my peers were into. I learnt to “mask” these interests and keep them to myself. I was already being bullied for being “different”, and I didn’t want to add fuel to the fire by giving the bullies something more to target me with.
Not only were my interests strange enough, but I was completely obsessed with them. I could go on “Mastermind” with any of my interests as being my “specialist subject”, and I would win each round of questions on them hands down.
It wasn’t until I was diagnosed as being #ActuallyAutistic that I began to embrace these interests and share them with the world. It was a scary thing to do, but I am now very proud of these interests.
Here are some of my main ones:
Queen and Freddie Mercury
From the moment I was born I was obsessed with the rock band Queen and Freddie Mercury, and that obsession is still with me to this day. Thanks to the release of the film biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” which details the rise of Queen and the extraordinary life of singer and frontman Freddie Mercury, I have been able to bring this interest to the forefront again.
I have literally spent hours and hours analysing the lyrics to my all time favourite song “Bohemian Rhapsody” and tried to make sense of them and what they mean to the point of blind obsession. When Freddie died on 24 November 1991 age 45 from AIDS related complications, I was distraught and devastated for days. Freddie is my hero, my icon, the best frontman and singer in the world to me. I detailed what Queen and Freddie means to me more in this post that I wrote for my blog “Cyber Geek Girl” called “Memories of Queen and Freddie Mercury: Inspired by Bohemian Rhapsody”.
80’s American Soap Operas
Yes, you read that right. I am obsessed with 80’s American soap operas and particularly Dallas, Falcon Crest, Dynasty, The Colby’s and Knots Landing. To this day I can’t get enough of watching those series and I know the plot of every episode, the title of every episode, the actors and actresses in them – you name it.
My favourite 80’s American soap opera series is Dallas, and I love the character of J R Ewing played by the late, great Larry Hagman. He played such a good part as J R Ewing and just when you think he can’t possibly get any worse and stoop any lower in the oil business, he does! I also have a huge obsession with John James who played Jeff Colby in Dynasty, another series I love.
Close to Dallas for me though comes Falcon Crest, which was dubbed “Dallas with grapes” when it was first aired. It focused on the Channing and Gioberti families and their escapades as wine makers in the Napa Valley. I loved it because the character of Angela Channing played by the late Jane Wyman was just as evil as J R Ewing in Dallas
When I was 15 and at school my class and other classes were marched into the assembly hall and the TV/video recorder deck was also wheeled in. We were all made to watch “Threads” from start to finish and from that moment on I was obsessed with all things to do with nuclear war.
As the years went by, I was able to watch a whole range of different programmes about nuclear war thanks to YouTube such as “QED’s Guide to Armageddon”, “Panorama Special: If the Bomb Drops” and “Britain’s Nuclear Bomb: The Inside Story”, which fuelled my interest in nuclear war even more. I have also watched the BBC’s public information films “Protect and Survive” extensively, so I know exactly what to do in the event of a nuclear attack. I have also watched films such as “When the Wind Blows, “The War Game” and “The Day After” many times, but “Threads” remains with me as one of the most frightening films I have ever seen to this day. Read my review of it here.
Heavy Metal Music
Alongside my total obsession with Queen and Freddie Mercury is a lifelong obsession with heavy metal music. Again, from as far back as I can remember, I listened to bands such as Status Quo, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth, Poison, Def Leppard, Kiss, Whitesnake – I could go on.
I went to so many gigs to see all my favourite bands live I lost count, even though I wasn’t a fan of the lights and loudness, and it would take me days to recover from a gig. I now understand that I have sensory issues as a result of being #ActuallyAutistic.
I am obsessed with science fiction such as Star Trek, Dr Who, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica – I could go on. I read everything there is to know and I know about every episode in the minutest detail. I have been to sci-fi conventions, book signings and met many of my favourite sci-fi stars. Now that’s dedication!
If, like me, you have strange interests and you can’t work out why you have them, don’t be afraid of them. Embrace them and nurture them. Those strange and weird interests are what make you unique and gives you a strong identity.
You don’t need to follow the crowd or mask these interests. I did this for many years while I masked my condition to fit in and be accepted. I now love my strange interests, I love sharing them with the world, and I am very proud of them. Be proud of them, and proud of the wonderful, unique and neurodivergent person that you are.
In my next article for MeDecoded, I will talk about how two particular interests led to a whole new life and whole new career for me.