I’m so shaky today. It’s raining/snowing really hard, and wind is blowing so hard it sounds like thunder. Okay, this is probably why I’m shaky. Loud noises that I can’t predict mess me up. I didn’t sleep at all last night. I lay in bed and listened to Evanescence, The Open Door on repeat for 3 hours. I love every LP by Evanescence, and they get better with every release. But something about The Open Door really reaches me.
I don’t have the words to explain it. I just know that sometimes, I have to listen to it in a pitch black room with my best (Grado) headphones on full volume. I don’t dance to it. I stim to it. My cat lays across my lap as I rock back and forth to the music. Slowly, the tension I didn’t realize I was holding loosens. I stop clenching my jaw. And tears start to fall. The tears that I held in all day as I forced myself to exist in this world. I cry because I miss my family members who have passed. My parents, my brother, and my little sister. I know I’m capable of surviving without them, but it’s hard sometimes.
I miss having people in my world who I could trust to care about my existence without my having to do anything for them, or give anything to them, or be anything other than who I am. I miss being protective of my little sister, and doing anything I could to make sure she was safe and happy. I never realized how important that was to me before she died. It was when I could assert the fact that I was 13 months older than her, and felt a deep sense of responsibility for her. In so many other ways, she was the big sister. She was my opposite. She was so outgoing, comfortable to the point of being flirtatious with strangers, loud, and flamboyant.
When I was in fifth grade and she was in fourth, she saw me standing in a corner of the school building facing the wall during recess. I was crying, because the teacher I had that year hated me, and I was aware of it. She asked me what was wrong, and I told her my teacher hates me. She marched into the building, dragging me by my hand behind her, and went into my classroom. She went up to my teacher, and told her off, loudly. I was shocked. I froze. Heather told my teacher that she had to like me because I was her student. She said it like it was a well known law. She was furious, and threatened to tell our mom if she didn’t start liking me.
My teacher just stared at us. I can’t imagine what she was thinking. We went back outside until recess was over. I remember thinking that Heather was going to get in trouble. She didn’t. We never talked about it until the next year when she got the same teacher. She pre-hated her on my behalf, and I loved her for it. Elementary school was the closest thing to torture that I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t have any skills to cope with it at the time, and it still to this day can cause me to wake up in tears from a nightmare.
I hate how things that happened in the past can still haunt my present. I hate that they haunt my sleep, when I’m most vulnerable. I’ve been practicing lucid dreaming, but I’m not yet to the point where I can completely prevent nightmares. I’ve had some success though. I’m absolutely getting more sleep. That makes a big difference, especially when working. I think I need to figure out a way to stop working on coding projects before they are completed, and continue the next day. It’s good to be able to complete them so much faster than my peers, but I think it’s taking a toll on me. Marathon coding sessions broken up by Twitter flyby’s and bathroom breaks are taking their toll on me.
I’ve always struggled with not having a natural off switch. I’ll continue doing a task until my body demands I stop, I’m interrupted, or it’s completed. I’ve completed 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles in one sitting on more occasions than I’d like to admit. My cat has gotten really good at interrupting me. I hate to say that it was probably necessary for her survival. I get so focused on what I’m doing that I ignore everything else. She’ll jump up on my desk and lay across my arms while meowing loudly. I always go through a quick second of rage at the interruption, and then I look down at her, and she’s so beautiful and sweet that it dissipates immediately. I pick her up and cuddle her while I get her the treat she wanted, or refill her water dishes.
In the morning at around 4:30-5:00, she’ll literally lead me to the kitchen to fill her food bowl. I have poor coordination when I first wake up, but I manage to follow her down the hall to the kitchen. I give her a scoop of dry food and a spoonful of wet food. It’s funny, because she’ll stand in front of her food container, then her bowl, then the fridge, then her bowl, then she starts eating. She purrs loudly while she does this which is so cute. After she eats, she goes back to bed until afternoon. She starts by getting under the blanket on my bed. Then when I make the bed, she gets into her cat bed underneath my bed.
She’s slightly better at keeping track of time than I am. I suspect it’s because of her metabolism. I’ve had her for 3 years now. I’m worried about moving her to Denver. She’s only ridden in a car when I brought her home initially. Her veterinarian is down the street, and it’s easier to put her in the soft carrier and walk there than cope with her crying in the car. I don’t know if it would be better to take my time and drive her there in increments, or to fly and just get it over with. Either way, she’s going to cry, I just know it.
I know I should be practicing with her in the car, but there’s no way I’m going to do something that I know will upset her just to get her used to being upset. I think I’m going to get my nephew to drive us while I hold her. If we divide the drive into 2 days, I think she’d manage. I could put a litter in my trunk and lower one seat so she had access to it. I’ll do some research and see what others have done when it’s closer to that time. If she doesn’t go, I don’t go. It’s not negotiable.
Things have changed yet again with plans. I lost a friend who was going to occupy one of the units in the building with her family. At first, I was upset about it. But now, I can see that it’s for the best. It wasn’t a good idea in the first place. Once I recognized that, I’ve been able to muster a little excitement for the future. I’m mostly excited that I’ll have a home that is tailored to me and my needs. I won’t be as independent, but that doesn’t bother me. I’d rather have help from someone who understands, than struggle all the time. I’m so tired of struggling.
I’m going to take a vacation from work effective immediately. I’m not going to let this state of overwhelmed sadness spiral into anything worse. I’m going to take this time to do the things that make me feel joy. I’m going to go back to making music and art. I’m going to create things purely for the sake of creating. I’m going to express feelings I don’t know how to put into words in order to release them into the universe and outside of myself. I’m going to banish mean people from my world. I’m going to stop forcing myself to pass as a neurotypical person. I’m autistic. It’s not something I’m willing to suffocate in an effort to make others feel more comfortable any longer. I’m done with that.
I’ve learned an important lesson in the last few months. Just because another person is autistic, doesn’t mean they are a good person. Or that I should go out of my way to be kind to them, when it’s not reciprocated. Or go out of my way to support them, when they ignore me. I don’t deserve to be pushed aside. I don’t deserve to be treated unkindly. I don’t deserve to be disregarded and ignored. I don’t owe anyone anything. I will no longer tolerate it from anyone. It’s wrong to treat a human being as if they are an annoyance, or invisible. I don’t do this to people, and I won’t allow others to do it to me, and remain in my life. Being disabled is not a free pass to treat other people like shit.
I was taught to respect everyone, and treat everyone just as I would like to be treated. Well, I tried that, and I’m rejecting it. From now on, I’m going to continue to treat people well, but I’m also going to observe how they treat me back. If they mistreat me, I will cease to acknowledge their existence. I’m done being nice to assholes. Life is too long to put up with bullshit. Life is too short to pretend it doesn’t hurt when someone mistreats me. Life is too real to live it without fighting for my right to experience joy. I don’t show it, but I’m a fighter to my core. I will fight for my rights with a fierceness that will make my enemies flee in terror. I’ve been fighting to exist for my entire life, and I’m really fucking good at it.