::waves:: Hi, my name is Jen Friel and a few months back I was diagnosed with late-in-life-autism.
I will now be going into (and documenting) a military-grade training program (taught to Prime Ministers, Presidents, and members of NATO) on the study of non-verbal leaks and body language (more on how I got to that in a second).
This diagnosis was life changing; I knew I was different, but figured I was either missing a “chip” or had an extra “chip.”
Spoiler alert: It’s both!
I’ve known I was different my entire life, I just didn’t know “being different” actually had a medical label.
I believe the autism stems from a traumatic birth. When you are born, doctors measure you on a scale of 0-10; 0 being dead and ten being healthy. I was born number 1 (literally number one – how cool) and spent the first five minutes of my life barely breathing. The doctor thought I was dead, and as he turned to my father to tell him the unfortunate news, my breathing spiked up from a 1 to a 7. Medically speaking there is no explanation for why I am alive. (I found out all of this at age 36.)
my mom said minutes after i was born she cried “this one’s different.”
Either way, I’ve lived an incredible life but feel like (thanks to this diagnosis) I get to be the “truest” form of myself. I have seen and felt things my entire life that I had no vocabulary for. I didn’t know everyone couldn’t see the things I am seeing, and it wasn’t until I worked with a Human Lie Detector that I was asked HOW I see what I see.
I’m still working on explaining with words what I see and feel, but I’m getting better every day.
i’m someone who is very comfortable in my own skin even though that doesn’t always translate to being comfortable in my environment.
I have a knack for being in either the right place at the right time, or the completely wrong place at the worst possible time.
Like winning an entire apartment full of furniture on The Price Is Right was amazing … until I lost all of that furniture (and everything I owned) three years later in a massive cockroach infestation.
Or having a sold out stage show in Los Angeles and then getting hit in the head with a brick 24 hours before the curtain rises.
As I’m writing this I hear a darker version of “Ironic” by Alanis Morisette playing in the background.
“It’s like raaiinnnn on your wedding day …”
Only on my wedding day, I didn’t know if the wedding was going to happen due to the groom’s chosen brother dropping dead just days before. And then the next day, at my bachelorette party, one of the bridesmaids friends got hit by a car (and also died) and the friend got the news at my party.
The bridesmaid had to physically stop the car she was driving (that we had just been in) which narrowly missed hitting a wall.
My wedding dress was also bought in a shop that had recently been looted, and while the day itself was the best of my life … the everything before and after were some of the worst.
Moving on …
I have a child’s like understanding of social cues and “norms” – my brain doesn’t see them. What I do see (in a matter of seconds) is an outline and pattern of what is “normal” and not “normal.” I’m an idiot and a savant.
I’m extremely fast on my feet, but I also trip over them. I have an attachment and detachment to things and people which helps me think very logically and creative in ways most don’t consider. I can’t help but be exactly the way that I am, because when I tried not being this way, it lead to a mental breakdown at the age of 22.
don’t worry, much like with everything else i found a way out after only 48 hours.
I was told that I was smart and have a lot of energy and if I don’t find a way to channel it, I would end up back in the hospital. I took the words seriously, and three years later completely changed my life launching Talk Nerdy To Me, Lover (which was the first iteration of this newly re-launched website).
I took $10 and an idea and got to 12 states (with only $10 to my name), crashed the Grammy Awards to meet Pete Cashmore, danced on stage with Prince, and went out on 103 dates in 9 months documenting the organic root of attraction using the OkCupid algorithm.
My life rights, trademarks, and intellectual property were then optioned by Jerry Bruckheimer (twice), only to have it sell in a four way bidding war between CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX.
I had a put pilot at CBS based on my life (only not really … just a general concept … a whisper if you will …) in the 2016 pilot season only for former CBS chairman Les Moonves to pass at the last moment (thanks to his record of “never paying a pilot penalty” I got everything that they had optioned back).
this is the first time in years that i finally own everything i created.
so …how did i do all that?
I started typing at the age of two, had my first computer company at age eight, and finished high school at 16 with honors. I hyper excelled in languages, art, music, and (most importantly) memory. I have a photographic and surveillance-camera-like-memory. I can recall very specific details, discussions, and moments all the way back to when I was four. It’s part of the reason why my writing is so specific – I am actually reliving the experience as I write out the words.
I’m horrible at math, but have a visual memory of numbers and while I adored science in school, I was only required to take two years (of credits) to graduate. How was I able to work for top rated and highly-regarded scientists all while operating from a 10th grade science education? I took their complicated work and develop a formula of my own to simply the content for the masses. It shouldn’t make sense … yet to me (and them) it made perfect sense!
i am the literal definition of a unicorn, but i dimmed my sparkle for too long and then spent so much time analyzing the sparkle that i got lost and distracted by how shiny it was.
I don’t understand how I know the things that I know but now with this training, I’ll have a formal education in something that comes as natural to me as breathing.
I’m honest, hardworking, a claw machine champ (I win every time I play), a wife, sister, and dog mom (to a blind and deaf dog named Tedi … seen cutely in his bowtie above).
I have no idea what this journey in training will be like.
My only goal was to hire a profiler to help with the stalking that had been occurring. I had no idea it would lead to trauma therapy, and then ultimately the realization that I ACTUALLY have a particular set of skills and I am the only person in the United States that has ever been considered for this.
Look … it was in my contract …
So here’s to the known, the unknown, and whatever is next.
As always … it’ll be one hell of a ride.
Appreciate you all coming along for it!!