“I feel like an out of work porn star.”

working woman

Today has been annoying, mostly.  At least I feel like I’ve accomplished something useful on this blog of late.  I worked myself free from a lot of things that were weighing me down emotionally.  Some may think I overshare by writing about hard things in my past.  From my perspective, I believe my understanding of the word privacy differs from that of most.  I’m not up to agonizing over the words at the moment, so that’ll have to suffice.

I hope nobody ever feels traumatized by my words.  I don’t think I’m blunt, but I’ve been told otherwise more than once.  For a long time, I couldn’t talk about those things.  I couldn’t say the word rape.  I didn’t talk about my ex-husband, and I fled the moment I thought someone was interested in me romantically.  I held back from any relationship because everyone dies, and I didn’t believe I could outlive someone I love again.

Things are different now.  I’m not even sure when it happened.  I don’t live under a rock anymore.  I shelter myself from news of the horrifying things going on in the world, but that’s out of self-preservation.  I guess I feel like I’ve healed.  Things that happened in the past no longer own me.  I usually celebrate everything positive.  Instead, I’m just going to listen to 24-Karat-Gold: Songs From the Vault by Stevie Nicks with my eyes closed, and think about the future.  Some victories are melancholic.

I haven’t gone to the office to work much this year.  I’m more productive working from home, but if I don’t go anywhere for too long, I start feeling like I can’t.  I’ve never allowed it to get to the point where I felt trapped in my home, but I’ve been close enough to see how it can happen.  It would be a steep fall downhill because it would mean no more running.  I don’t even want to pursue this hypothetically.  😂  I have a plan to prevent it.

It feels a little weird to tell my work partner all my secrets about running a software company.  But it’s the reason I’m his partner and not retired professionally, working some part-time job that allows me to use headphones.  There’s no need for him to repeat the trial and error I used to figure out my path.  He acts like he’s in awe of me for doing it, which is uncomfortable.  I told him it’s logical and lots of people do it.  Plus, I’m getting paid for escorting him into a meaner tax bracket.

In a few months, I plan on selling most of my interest to other employees.  I don’t think it’ll take him very long to integrate his new tools and develop confidence in his abilities.  I figure I’ll be itching to move on to something more fulfilling by summer.  The leader of the band I joined recently has been training me to become a “real drummer.”  He’s kind of an asshole about it, but whatever.  I can’t afford to turn down information.

I spent most of today at his studio where I set up a beat-to-shit drum kit precisely as instructed.  Then I tore it down, put everything carefully in these cases that look like giant hat boxes, and moved a foot in whatever direction he assigned, and set it up again.  Three times so far.  Then we left for the day, and tomorrow I’ll be back doing the same.

He said until I’ve done it 50 times, I’m not a drummer.  I’m a poser.  I said, “okay.”  See Alison grovel like a wannabe drummer.  I didn’t mention it’s the first time I’ve ever set up an acoustic kit.  I have to say, thinking before speaking is working for me.  I’m off to listen to Stevie Nicks.

“Do they really need the abuse of being compared to a rhinoceros on top of everything else?”

Art installation from The Burning Man exhibit, 2015.
Inner Child – art installation from The Burning Man-2015

M. gave me a gift today.  It’s an F*** Box from the UK.  It’s a grid of 16 buttons that play sound bytes of the F word being used in various ways (with feeling) by people with British accents.  I effing love it!  I need to hack it a bit to lower the volume, though, (this is the midwest.)  It’s the size of a deck of cards, and it now resides on my desk where I can press and giggle at will.

I saw a young woman speak horribly to a man earlier.  As I cringed, I thought to myself she should have served in the military.  It provides excellent training on how to treat humans, regardless of their social grouping.  I didn’t say anything because I couldn’t think of anything besides shaming her.  (I know from trial and error this isn’t a practical method for civilians.)

I used to be her.  Only for about a week, (because I was in the Army when I finally realized males aren’t disgusting after all.)  I trampled on a man’s ego as if it made me cute in earshot of a woman, once.  She corrected the shit out of my behavior. (It was terrifying to be a girl in the Army.  The women watch everything you do at all times as if every mistake you make halves their paycheck.)

I got kicked out of the barracks and had to move in with her and her three kids in military housing.  At first, I was in shock and had the gall to act like I was unjustly singled out and punished.  I didn’t even get a private room or bed.  I had to sleep with a toddler who wet the bed at least once a week.  I learned baby pee is no biggie, and they don’t take up much room.

Then I learned how to treat men by spending all my free time with two little boys and a toddler baby girl.  I don’t remember how long it took before I was allowed to move back into the barracks.  It’s not that living in the barracks was highly desirable;  more that I eventually figured out how shameful it was to be someone who couldn’t be trusted to live there without (verbally) abusing the 200 or so young men who also lived there.

I do remember what I did that got me in so much trouble.  A man who was in my battalion but not my battery, asked me out while we were standing in line for chow.  I was 18 at the time, and he was 25.  (Lowering my head in shame)  I said, “Eww.”  To his face.  In front of others.  And I didn’t realize I just kicked him in the nuts and set his hair on fire.  So I turned around and made the, Can you believe this guy? motion I learned from TV.  (And then assumed it was perfectly fine to go on living my life like I didn’t just do that.)

children

Whew.  I’m still paying for it in regret and shame.  My SSG told me whenever I look at a man, also see the cute little boy operating the man-sized avatar, because that’s where we all keep our feelings.  Spending time with her kids was a lot of fun, I’ll admit.  I adored them and still think of them sometimes.  The oldest was 13, and we were an even match in basketball.  (We spent more energy on talking shit than playing, though.)

The middle boy was 9ish.  It’s possible he was sweeter than Amelia Bedelia is now, and that’s saying something.  The baby was 3 or 4.  We used to watch music videos of The Boys, our mutually adored band, then dance in front of the mirror.  She was adorable and fascinating.  I was awestruck by how developed her personality was at such a young age.  She’s an incredible woman now, just like her mom.

It was the first and last time I abused a man.  It’s hard to see young women and girls make the mistakes I did and not intervene, but I’m nobody’s SSG, and this isn’t the military.  It’s easy to copy the behaviors and words we see on TV and in movies.  Especially those of us on the autism spectrum.  I couldn’t communicate with people if I couldn’t study actors to show me how and teach me the scripts.  Naturally, I assume everyone uses this tool to some degree.  🙃

Not everything we see actors do on TV is things we can copy, for many reasons.  There has to be a consideration in real life, because of real feelings.  No matter how someone looks on the outside, they’re still that adorable child (often operating their adult avatar.)  I don’t need help remembering anymore, but you know what I did.  I’m super thankful my SSG took the time to teach me this vital life lesson.  Hopefully, others can benefit as well, (without getting peed on.)

“It’s like a sauna in here.”

Robot hand holding disintigrating clock

I’m missing my brother, Steve.  He didn’t wake up after his fourth open-heart surgery in Rochester, MN.  It still hurts to think about the time surrounding his passing.  The year following was the saddest so far.  After that, I was able to function externally without weeping.  It’s been over a decade since, but it still feels like I left my life for that year.  I was a shadow and grief was my only sound.

The following year my mom died from colon cancer.  Two years after that, my little sister, Heather, passed unexpectedly.  Then my dad died several months later.  It was a rough five years, I’m sure.  Right now, I can only pinpoint the moment when my brain decided protective measures were necessary to maintain equilibrium.  I call it the Numbness Effect.

The moment is a mental audio file, now.  It’s the sound of a surgeon telling me he can’t cure my mom’s cancer.  I also remember my mom waking up and asking for me like she had a nightmare.  It was just before Thanksgiving, and my heart fell out of my chest and plummeted to the center of the earth.  Then all the things that were poking at me suddenly ceased.  The tag in my shirt, the bright lighting, the odors, and all the sounds.

I felt lots of things but wasn’t able to identify them.  It was as if they were too far away for me to see them with my crappy vision.  But mostly I felt numb and empty.  The place where my heart used to reside kept threatening to become a vacuum bent on sucking me up into nothingness.  I honed my automatic-pilot abilities to a micron-thin edge.  It was much like my final year of military service, only the university edition.

I’d make an excellent human robot.  Unfortunately, there’s no joy in it.  I won’t do life without it.  I enjoy making a little bit go a long way, but there has to be some.  I think this is a consequence of reading voraciously and observing more than participating.  And overthinking, but I haven’t discovered a non-invasive means of turning off my thoughts while maintaining the ability to turn them on again.  (I learned the hard gross way NEVER to perform self-surgery.)

We ordered in Chinese food for dinner.  The delivery was by someone I went to school with until junior high.  He was a combination of Owen Meany (from A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving) and Chucky from Child’s Play.  I was utterly fascinated by him: his voice, his cauliflower ear, and his coke-bottle glasses that were always filthy.  He seems to be a neat adult, unsurprisingly.  He remembered me.  We talked about Steve for a bit.  They were friends until he passed.  It was nice to see him.  I wish I didn’t tell him I thought of him recently, though.  I suspect it made it weird.  (I sucked at hiding the fact I was fascinated by someone in elementary school.  Pshhh.  I probably still do.)  😂  I’m off to color with M.

chuckyfinger

“No, it always has to be explained to me, and then I have to have someone explain the explanation.”

Off Switch

I accomplished a great deal yesterday. Today, I’ve barely managed to pull off the mandatory tasks. I squeaked by with incredible effort. I can’t believe it’s early evening. I feel it should be around 2 PM at the latest. So much for my plan to turn in early tonight.

My off switch has never worked properly. Once I’m engaged in a task, it’s difficult to stop. I’d like to believe I have a bit of control over it, despite evidence to the contrary. I haven’t definitively determined what triggers it to become worse. Not even close. I have two hypotheses; both discouraging. Sigh.

I love being completely absorbed in what I’m doing. It’s like stepping out of time, letting go of everything, including my body, and focusing only on what I’m doing. Leaving that state makes me want to weep. But I’ve accepted I must, often. Not doing so often enough is the equivalent of living under a rock.

I’ve learned it’s not the way I want to exist, much as I love it. It murders my ability to socialize, for starters. (I’m always going to regret not finding out about Stevie Nicks sooner.) There are excellent reasons to check in with the rest of the world on a regular basis, and I’m absolutely interested.

The thing is, acknowledging the world outside my head is borderline sadistic. There’s a shitload of pain out here, and I’m unshielded. I don’t have the experience in coping necessary to navigate without rivers of tears; so I tend to retreat when I sense I’m failing and have no clue what I’m doing wrong. (I despise that feeling.)

My decision to attend a Fleetwood Mac or Stevie Nicks concert in the future is turning out to be an effective retreat deterrent. (At least when it’s voluntary.) I need to stay connected, so I’ll know when they go on tour. I already had the terrible, awful nightmare where I discover I missed out because I was too distracted to get tickets. I woke up and immediately began bawling like it really happened. I’m such a doof. Heh. But it was horrible!

I’m going to work out a new time management strategy. I keep adding new things, but there are still only 24 hours in a day. My bad. This is my reward for bragging about my math skills, eh? The universe is hilarious (sometimes.) I’m off to read.

“Men can sit through the most pointless, boring movie if there’s even the slightest possibility that a woman will take her top off.”

Topless woman sleeping in bed

We’re back from Denver.  Amelia Bedelia was up to no good while we were away.  She managed to open the freezer, (which fortunately has an auto-shutoff feature.)  None of the food survived, of course.  When we first entered, she made one of those extra long meows (laced with her disgust at our abandonment.)

Next time, I’ll be taping the freezer and fridge closed before leaving town.  I’m sure she’ll think of another way to express her displeasure.  She’s so cute.  I missed her.  Denver barely has winter compared to Sioux Falls.  I dropped off the DIY electronics kits for the afterschool kids.  It was so fun making them.

I deliberately made several errors with soldering and component placement.  They’re learning how to fix shitty workmanship, check against schematics, etc.  I made sure they were all differently messed up as well.  I’ll be pleased if they merely identify the mistakes, as it’s a lesson in critical thinking.  I’ll be over the moon if they repair them, too.

My former coworkers keep me up to speed on how the program is going.  The teachers are volunteers from sponsoring companies, but they’re following the curriculum I created, mostly.  They’re improving the shit out of it as they go.  Heh.  I’m so thrilled by their assistance and initiative.  (I’m also jealous I don’t live there and miss out on most of it.)

Child dreaming of space travel.

I’m struggling to exhale, now that I’m home.  For some reason, I’m still in travel mode.  I’m trying not to focus on it much, as I don’t want to psyche myself out.  It’s just that it’s uncomfortable, and I know when it turns off I’m going to be exhausted.  So I’m probably prolonging it out of fear of being stapled to the floor.  Funny how I never consciously recognized how scary it is to be too drained to function before.

When I was on active duty, I could sleep anytime, anywhere.  It was something I developed during basic training.  I could sleep while standing at attention, (but it wasn’t nearly as restful as laying down.)  I took short naps throughout the day during scheduled breaks.  I lost the ability after becoming a civilian.  I want it back.

I think it kept me from getting so low on energy I couldn’t move.  I don’t need such rigid structure anymore, but I miss it sometimes.  I have a face-to-face meeting with the client this week, so I’m hoping I can hold out until after that.  I need my brain to work well so I can comprehend what’s said, (the first time.)  I’d better go read before I talk myself into panicking.