“So, Elaine. Are you going to dance this year?”

Beautiful and alive

I’d like to take a moment to share something important to me.  I’m surprised it’s come up, but at least now I know I need to do this.  If you encounter someone dancing to an internal rhythm, the proper etiquette is to stop what you’re doing, pick up the beat, and join in.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a good dancer.  Be cool enough to dance, anyway.  The only way you can fail at this experience is to stand there and stare as if you’re new, (on earth.)  Bob your head and move your feet, spin your wheelchair if you have one, or something.  Bust the moves you’ve been practicing for years in front of the mirror alone in your room.

It’s proper because you’re answering the unspoken question;  You’re saying, “Yes, I’m beautiful and alive.”  It’s one of those things I don’t feel comfortable saying with words, (because I was raised to fear hippies.)  So if you were previously unaware of this bit of human language, now you know.  You’re welcome.  Tell a friend.

I’ll let you imagine the scenario that led to this nano-rant.  🙃  I’m super excited because I get to play drums with other musicians tomorrow.  I’m bringing my violin, just in case.  (I know, but I’d be so sad if for once it was welcome and I didn’t have it.)

I’d better take a Benadryl tonight, or I won’t sleep.  I got a contract at work to create a custom AI with precise parameters.  I can’t say what, which is unfortunate because it’s hilarious (to me.)  I spent at least ten minutes thinking about how incredible is the human mind after making sure I understood the project.

flashduh

I also have a logo to create, so I’m anticipating a fun weekend.  I changed up my creative workstation a bit to flow better.  Also, I’m using a better mechanical keyboard for typing a book, now.  (It’s a WASD.)  And I replaced my wireless mouse with a Mionix Castor because it’s a dream for creative apps.  I figured out how to use the flash for the photo, so it’s not as painful to view.  😂

“I almost had my own show in Japan.”

Content warning:  suicidal ideation.

Message in a bottle.

I have a confession.  Every time I read or hear about humans behaving abominably toward other humans, I think about suicide.  Last year, I thought about it almost nonstop.  It was distracting, annoying, and a little scary.

I think I’m supposed to feel ashamed of this, but I don’t.  It just is.  I’m capable of being as cold as space and utterly indifferent.  I trained myself to reject those feelings.  Now it’s habitual.

I could change this internal thought process by forming a new habit, but I choose not to do so.  I don’t want to live as an unfeeling, unattached, and unaffected entity.  We have computers for that.

This is one of the few instances where I regret being too intense.  That’s not quite what I mean…  (I was going to say unbalanced, but it failed the rudeness test ((and made me giggle.)))

Sometimes I wish I could attach an attenuator to my brain.  I’ve thought too many steps ahead, and now I’m more interested in pursuing the new thread.  This is precisely why I’m such an airhead.  I do this constantly.

I can’t complain about being an airhead because it’s the most potent tool in my survival kit.  If I couldn’t distract myself, I wouldn’t still be kicking it.  I’m just far too good at it.  It makes it difficult to communicate with others.

I’ve always journaled since a child.  It’s how I talked to my mom about things more complicated than nodding and head shaking could dispatch.  I began using a typewriter when I was six because writing longhand is (still) difficult for me.

When I don’t blog I go silent.  It’s usually not immediate, but when I don’t have my computer to help me express my thoughts, I gradually stop sharing them because it takes too much effort to mostly fail at saying what I mean.

The longer it goes on, the harder it is to start talking again.  Deep down I’m always terrified I’ll lose the ability to speak permanently.  It’s kinda twisted how the more I fear, the longer it takes to reclaim the skill.   I have to convince myself to stop being afraid of that scenario before my voice returns.  (It’s rocket science when you’re exasperated.)

When I let go of the world outside my head, it’s dangerous for my lifespan.  I overanalyze to death, literally.  It’s not logical for me to exist, and I’m a surprisingly good extemporaneous speaker.  (Even when it’s just in my head.)  It wouldn’t take long to recognize I’m insignificant in any mid to large sized picture.  Then weigh it against the price I pay to participate, and conclude it’s not worth it.

(Fortunately?)  I discovered I have a new tool in my arsenal.  It’s a song by Evanescence called, Imperfection.  When Amy Lee sings, don’t you dare surrender, she sings it like she means it.  She put feeling in it like Beyoncè.

Now, when I remember 45 is still faking it, that sound byte plays in my mind.  It’s an incredibly powerful rebuke.  Startling, even.  I’m a little bit freaked out by how well it works.  But more pleased to have a new empowering tool.  Music is powerful.  (Use it responsibly.)

secret door

Oh shit, you were probably expecting a point.  It’s this:  Feeling all the feels takes incredible strength and courage because it’s not always fun or even tolerable.  Lying and pretending you don’t feel things intensely is weak sauce.

We all have survival strategies we use to function in society.  I’m just confessing my own in case someone thinks they’re the only one who has similar experiences internally.  I have a tough time trusting people (over age 21) who have never contemplated suicide.  (They smell too much like a liar.)  I’m off to beat my drums with sticks.

Blogger Recognition Award

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I’m grateful to be nominated for a Blogger Recognition Award by Thomas of Aspiblog.  I’d like to thank Thomas for thinking of me:  I appreciate how supportive you’ve been as a fellow blogger and autistic brother.  You’re a delightful friend, and I’m happy you’re part of my world.  I enjoy reading your blog.  The wildlife photos and brain teaser puzzles are fabulous.  Thanks. 😘 💜 🙃

I’m going to break the rules of this award.  I’m supposed to nominate ten other bloggers.  The problem is, it means all but those ten will be left out.  My blogosphere is significantly larger.  I’m thankful to everyone who reads my words.  More so to those who share their own.  This is my safe place in the world where I can interact with others.  It’s someplace I fit, which is astonishing and fabulous.

Thanks for spending some of your precious time interacting with me, (in the one arena where I can participate.)  I love you for it.  You’re amazing and I hope you know it.  (Yep.  I mean you.  I couldn’t tell you if you weren’t reading this.)  Next time the universe gives you an atomic wedgie, and you catch yourself feeling low, please remember there’s someone who thinks you totally rock.  (Psst.  It’s me.)  💜💜💜✌🏽

“Nah, we need a medical dictionary! If a patient gets difficult, you quone him.”

I’m having a shitty night.  I just told M. to get the hell out.  I have another kidney stone.  Every time it moves the pain becomes so intense I make involuntary sounds.  I breathe loudly and moan every so often (without my consent.)

It comes and goes in waves.  When the pain subsides, it leaves me feeling drained.  Rinse and repeat until the damn thing passes.  I’m sipping cranberry juice and water between waves.  Good times.  It’s nothing new and nothing to freak out over.  (Especially when you’re not the one experiencing the pain.)

M. suggested I go to the ER.  I told him no, I don’t want to make this experience more miserable than it is already.  I think it may have offended him since he’s a medical professional.  Sigh.

Later, when the pain returned, M. repeated his suggestion. (!!!) I told him he should go sleep at his apartment because this is probably going to continue all night, and I won’t change my mind.  Then he went into doctor mode and started telling me he knows what’s best.

I could feel my blood pressure rising.  M. said he doesn’t understand why I won’t utilize medical care when I should be thankful I’m fortunate enough to have it when lots of people don’t.  (I was curled in the fetal position on the floor, doing something like Lamaze breathing to deal with the pain.)

I crawled to my desk and gave him a thumb drive copy of my VA medical records, dating back to when I got out of the Army.  I (too loudly) told him to read them if he wants to know why I’m not going to the (expletive) ER.  Then I told him to get out.

I regret I was brusk, but I was also preoccupied.  My medical records are a fascinating read.  I’m probably going to publish them as part of a dissertation on racism in the medical field.  It’s a surprisingly thick file considering all it honestly says is, the patient is black and doesn’t count, over and over again.

I’m so lucky to have medical coverage, she said through clenched teeth.

 

“Elaine, do you think I would go willy-nilly into a situation so obviously fraught with potential complications?”

The Depression Monster is sitting on my head.  I’m ignoring him out of spite.  It makes me feel powerful (because I’m winning.)  Unfortunately, I’m still moving slowly and taking (really) long pauses to overthink.  It’s messing up my schedule.  I also got an invoice from the legal office negotiating the partnership at work.  I cried a little (because it’s fair despite feeling like robbery.)

I was raised by Great Depression-era parents in the 80’s.  (Everything about money makes me anxious.)  It’s irrational because they also taught me to be generous which means I’ll likely never suffer from lack of resources to survive.  I’m still fascinated by how well it works.  All the religions I know of teach it.  Giving things to other people is painless for me, but it’s been tainted by suggestions I’ve been taken advantage of a few times by relatives.

I’ve learned being used is bearable.  It can change the dynamics of a relationship, though.  So there is sometimes loss involved, but it’s subtle.   Some political news penetrated my defenses and set off this round, I’m guessing.  I really hate having to shield myself from reality in any way.  It makes me feel like a child.  I do it anyway because it’s necessary for me to survive.

I’m stronger now that I know about Stevie Nicks.  She’s a wise guide who is open, honest, and hella famous.  It’s as if she knew all along part of her journey was to help others.  When you study her interviews, it’s clear even from when she first became famous, she’s cognizant of her influence.  She probably knew she would be famous long before it happened.  I’m guessing her mom talked to her at some point about this aspect of fame.  It’s entirely something my mom would have done.

My anti-depression toolkit is super useful, now.  I’ve been teaching M. how to have fun.  He thought playing is just for children.  Now he knows play evolves as we age, but should never be forsaken.  He’s making his first game for IOS.  He’s also coloring on a daily basis.  It’s breaking his addiction to TV, (which is good because I canceled all channels except Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.)

I watched the first episode of Atypical.  I recognize I’m not its target audience.  It’s a show for neurotypical people to better understand autistics.  Therefore, it’s speaking in their language.  I still enjoyed it.  I’m pleased the show exists.  When they use FX to demonstrate how it feels to be the autistic main character, it’s jarring and nearly unbearable to me.  I walked away and came back when that part was over.  I recognize the actors playing the parents, but everyone else is new to me.

My immediate thought was to wonder why the hell the lead actor wasn’t masking.  It’s uncomfortable to watch.  It feels like watching someone walk on a highwire with no net to me.  I cringe when I see him actually say or do the things I spend a lot of energy suppressing.  But again, it’s because the show is not only for entertainment, but it’s teaching.   Also, masking is a skill, and trial and error are how it’s acquired.  (It’s a cruel, mean school.)  He’s young and just discovering how masking can make life less painful.

We age and develop at different rates, and grow based on different experiences.  There will always be a broad spectrum of traits and behaviors associated with autism.  When I was in high school, I didn’t mask well and my energy and time management skills were non-existent.  The difference between then and now is shocking to non-autists.  This is why no one should put limits on our potential.  Especially not where we can come across or overhear them.  (That’s abuse.)  I’m off to beat my drums.

“It’s in my book – ‘Astonishing Tales of the Sea’. Fifty-one people died.”

My new fidgets arrived yesterday.  They’re called CLICKEYbits™.  They’re made from real keys used on mechanical keyboards.  The rest looks 3D printed, but I’m not positive.  I got three different versions.  The Silent (pink, blue, purple, white) has six silent keyboard switches with a super smooth/linear feel.

The Classic (black, red, yellow, blue) has two clicky buttons, two tactile/bump, and two linear/smooth.  The Clicky has all six with clicky switches.

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My photography skills still suck.  Heh.  I love all three versions.  The Clicky is my favorite for when I’m alone.  The sound is lovely if you’re the one making it.  However, to anyone else who can hear it, it’s pretty close to torture.

The Classic I’m going to use when M. is home, and only use a clicky key once an hour at most.  I’ll enjoy keeping track of which keys I shouldn’t press.  (I’m weird like that.)  The Silent is the only one I’ll take outside my home.  When I’m anxious, I won’t be able to keep from clicking all the keys obsessively.  I don’t want to suffer unexpected violence, (although I suspect righteously,) for clicking in public.  Heh.

I hope that’s a good hint not to get the clicky ones if you also find yourself nearly frantically doing (often considered) annoying and repetitive things, (damn the world,) when you’re on the verge of panicking in public.  Can I get an amen from my brothers and sisters?  (Serious, not mocking.)

Oh right, the CLICKEYbits™ are fabulous.  I’m particularly fond of the varying amount of force required to depress the different types of keys.  I use mechanical keyboards, so I was already a fan of switch testers.  The Silent version barely requires any force to depress the keys.  I enjoy it because it turns on my gentleness mode.  (Sorry, I can’t think of a more precise means of saying it.)

They’re currently on sale, and mine arrived quickly via USPS.  They were shipped in an appropriately sized box that fit in my apartment package bin.  Yay.  I found them when I checked the mail at midnight.  Heh.  I have insomnia again, but I’ll save that story/review for next time.  (Spoiler:  The Privacy Pop.)  I’m off to read. 💜

Autscriptic: Mild Autism

This. This is what I should have said to multiple painfully rude parents who think their child’s autism is a license to be abusive to me, an adult autist who masks, (because I live on earth,) based solely on their staggering ignorance. Unfortunately, I get upset and lose my words altogether every time it happens. Sigh.

Autism and expectations

In 2016 I wrote a post that seemed to capture people’s imagination in a way that others didn’t. Autscriptic has since been shared far and wide.

It taught me that there is great power in sharing conversations between neurotypes: Laying bare the misunderstandings that tangle us up.

The first Autscriptic was about the trials of masking, this Autscriptic is about the times when I’ve had people quantify my autism based on how well I can smile. Once again it is not me recounting any one conversation, it’s a story based on many conversations I have had. Usually with people who know little about me and less about my autism diagnosis.

You must have a mild form

Mild?

Yes

Mild and soft and gentle as a summer rain?

I suppose

What does mild mean?

Well, you’re not very… flappy. You can talk, you can look at me. I just mean you…

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“The problem with talking is that nobody stops you from saying the wrong thing.”

I’m recovering from the holiday season.  I overdid it, and I’m still paying for it.  It was worth it.  Heh.  I know when I can say that, I’m nearing recovery.  Whew.  It was not my resolution to spend the first week of 2018 stapled to the floor.  (That’s what it feels like, anyway.)

I realized part of why I’ve struggled with Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson is it triggers me.  Recognition made all the difference.  I’m almost finished.  I also reread Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery.  As a preteen, I didn’t pick up on the humor.  This time, I belly laughed often.

This year, I’m going to focus on books written by women.  My next book is Kindred, by Octavia Butler. (It’s also going to trigger me.)  I hope I develop some emotional callouses.  I’ve made progress giving away things I don’t want or use anymore.  It’s fascinating how quickly items are grabbed up (with permission) by my neighbors.

My only regret is they’re taking the boxes, too.  And the folding table I had them on.  Heh.  I guess someone needed it.  I like my apartment so much better now.  My living room looks like I just graduated from university; spacious.  I love it.  I’m off to purge another box of anxiety-provoking stuff.

8 Favorite Quotes About Autism

The square peg quote is my favorite, too.

Stim the Line

If you interact at all with social media, you’ll know that quotes are everywhere. They’re usually posted on top of images on mountains or sunsets, and are more often than not credited to ‘anonymous’. Not to say there aren’t some good quotes out there, especially ones that describe experiences, instead of forcing vague positivity on the reader. It can be hard to sort through Autism quotes, because a large percentage of them are made about Autistic children by Neurotypical adults. These often border on inspiration porn- and they infuriate me.

So, in order to combat these, I’d like to share some quotes about Autism that I enjoy.

Image result for quotes about autismSee the source image

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

So here they are! If I had to pick one, I think that the square peg one is my favorite, but there’s some may quotes out there, that I’ve probably missed some great ones! So, dear reader, if you’ve got a quote you…

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