I Want to Believe (in Myself): The X-Files, Star Trek, and Autistic “Special Interests”

There’s a post at Chavisory’s Notebook today that I recommend you read before reading this, because context.  Also so I don’t have to repeat it.  Picture it cut and pasted in this space (except with more citing and less plagiarism).

I was obsessed with The X-Files as a teenager.  Obsessed enough that, unlike any of my prior so-called “special interests,” my family actually knew about this one* and, to a certain extent, supported it.**  Enough that I actually made a couple friends, the first friends my own age I’d had since elementary school, based on our shared interest in the show.

But even to my friends and family, I concealed the depth of my absorption. I didn’t really understand it myself.

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8 thoughts on “I Want to Believe (in Myself): The X-Files, Star Trek, and Autistic “Special Interests”

  1. 1. “…with a mother who insists you pull a perfect Elsa…”

    By any chance, do you happen to remember that Scully’s Quantico nickname was “the ice queen?”

    2. “…as if it were nothing but a garden-variety crush which of course had to have been on David Duchovny and could not possibly have been on Gillian Anderson…”

    Couldn’t have anything to do with David Duchovny, ha ha! quipped a friend from college as we talked about this, more than once.

    Scully actually had the way better arc of character development, I said.

    3. “Like Mulder, I wanted to believe. But it was not the same thing as believing.”

    Do you have any idea how many bright, well-educated people I have met, including but not limited to a former therapist, who have absolutely *no grasp* of the difference between believing, and wanting to believe? None. NONE. Is it watchers of this show vs. non-watchers of this show? People who have had some kind of intrinsic faith in the world broken vs. people who haven’t? It’s just wild to me, the number of people who can’t understand the difference between these two things.

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    1. 1. I FORGOT THAT UNTIL YOU MENTIONED IT JUST NOW.

      2. I’m also just completely done with people who claim to know me well also presuming I am straight. (And yeah, Scully’s character and Gillian Anderson’s growth as an actor were the best parts of the series.)

      3. I firmly believe this is why that whole “I thought you believed”/”No, I WANTED to believe” in the first new episode. Indeed, why that whole episode exists. The difference is central to Mulder’s character and it always has been. His obsession is born of trauma, which we’re given to understand is the trauma of watching Samantha’s abduction – but it’s also the trauma of knowing what happens if he takes “it wasn’t aliens” to its logical conclusion.

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    2. “Do you have any idea how many bright, well-educated people I have met, including but not limited to a former therapist, who have absolutely *no grasp* of the difference between believing, and wanting to believe? None. NONE. Is it watchers of this show vs. non-watchers of this show? People who have had some kind of intrinsic faith in the world broken vs. people who haven’t? It’s just wild to me, the number of people who can’t understand the difference between these two things.”

      Oh my fricking GOD, yes, THIS; thank-you.
      (I remember a friend teasing me about sticking pictures of Scully as *well* as Mulder in my diary-collage *cough* in high school. I still don’t identify as attracted to women. But what would be THE FRICKING POINT of Mulder by himself? I wasn’t interested in David Duchovny (I’d already figured out that while characters weren’t perfect, actors were almost always crushing disappointments.)

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  2. I was fairly obsessed with the X-Files in my 20s (I didn’t “discover” the show until near the end of its run)

    I had no dx at all at the time (and only a semi-formal one now. Semi-formal autie dx, formal anxiety/depression). I strongly identified with Mulder, but not in a necessarilly hopeful way. He was obsessive, brilliant (in his own way, as I like to think I am), and pathologically incapable of normal human interaction. He was someone who didn’t fit in anywhere but made a life for himself.

    Scully was for Mulder what I wanted for myself (I didn’t ID as asexual yet, though I would say I was Ace then): someone who understood me as much as I was understandable, someone who would call me on my crap but out of care…

    There was some possibility of a little island of sense, purpose, and belonging in an utterly incomprehensible and soul-crushing universe…

    Granted, I now have similar feelings about Steven Universe :p

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  3. This is meant in all seriousness; I find your post uncanny. I often marvel at some of the similarities my brain shares with people with autism. Like you, I was obsessed with both the x-files a d Star Trek and like you my obsession had to do with the way the shows dealt with the uncanny which is all around us.

    I’ve enjoyed Season 10 of the X-Files but I’ve come away from it with a sense of hopelessness; why is Mulder still no closer to finding resolution and peace of mind 20 years later and why hasn’t Sculley resolved the conflict between her career and her desire to have a child and be a mother.

    Season Ten introduces us to two people who are approaching the far side of middle age.

    There was a moment in episode 1 that broke my heart. It is when the young woman who is an abductee tells Mulder that she fears that the future only gets worse.

    This moment that was traumatic for me because it spoke to my darkest fears.

    Thank you for an excellent post.

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  4. Oh, my god. How did I miss this post before?
    Hi.
    Me.
    (If I highlighted all the things that are or were *me* in your post, almost the whole page would be green.)
    <333333

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