Yeah, he’s dating a crayon.

I’m in Denver.  M. is babysitting Amelia Bedelia in my absence.  She thinks he’s a heated cushion that dispenses treats, too, so she’ll be okay.  I have a pet cam near her climbing tree thingy.  I can talk to her through it using my phone.  She usually comes over to see how I’m doing that, then knocks it to the floor.  She’s on a lifelong mission to make sure all surfaces are clear of objects (not nailed down.)  She’s totally winning.

S. (M.’s sister) and I have been blasting Stevie Nicks music and dancing around.  I got too hot, so I’m taking a cool down break.  My body sucks at regulating my temperature.  If I get too hot and continue doing whatever activity has me overheating, I barf…  I can juggle, too.  🙃  The TV is 75″, which sounded awesome at the time.  Now I find it overwhelming, and I’m tripping over people’s skin in 4k.  It’s not as perfect as it looked in 1080P.  The actors are so real.  I mean I knew they were real, but apparently, I used to think they had fake skin.  I like reality better.

 

I’m trying to distract myself from acknowledging my anxiety.  Between the news and being away from home, I’m a bit rattled.  So I should totally stop writing about it.  S. has been noticing weird shit about me out loud.  I hope it doesn’t mean I’m getting on her nerves.  It’s making me laugh because it’s shit I never noticed.  Like putting my plate up high while it cools, then forgetting about it, then remembering when I realize I’m still hungry and it’s less appealing.

I helped her get to the this is why I don’t cook part.  (Nature knew there were going to be people like me, so she made fruit and nuts.)  S. is an excellent cook.  I’m going to put forth extra effort to eat dinner at the table with her while it’s still warm.  I think I probably fucked up, but I need to think about it some more.  I put my food up high because I have a cat, but she’s not here.  Ah well, I’ll do better at dinner.  S. is a lot of fun to hang out with, and she’s funny.

There are going to be two new Harry Potter books!!!  I didn’t expect it, and I’m so happy.  There are so many books I’m looking forward to right now.  I collect things to look forward to in the future.  They’re my little arsenal of guided anti-depression missiles.  When the Depression Monster has me in an illegal hold, and I can’t muster the energy to hold my head up, I can still think about joyful things to come.  I have notes to myself in my hallway to remind me it’s there when I need it.  (I pace a lot when I’m anxious, so I figured two birds.)

I miss M. and my cat (and would very much like to return home immediately.)  Sigh.  I met two of the kids who will be attending the camp earlier.  They’re so cute I can barely stand it.  We mostly talked about their missing teeth (twin 7-year-olds.)  I’m excited for it to begin on Monday.  I have a sponsorship prospect meeting next week, (S. is going with me, yay.)  The camp is going to be free if I have to pay for it out of my own pocket, but that’s not likely.  Frankly, it would be worth it to me to pay kids to attend.  Fortunately, I’m not the only one who understands how to invest in the future.

The best part is they’ll graduate with tools that apply to all aspects of life.  You want to be a ballerina?  Perfect!  I’ll teach you how to map your course, and troubleshoot obstacles along the way.  Hacking is about finding solutions to questions with the means at hand.  It’s generally considered to be a method of subverting computer security, but that’s an outdated interpretation, in my opinion.  To me, hacking is about critical thinking, perspective shifting, puzzle solving, brainstorming, and MacGuyver’ing.  It’s about thinking differently and optimizing.  (I did a better job of explaining in the handout, but I can’t reach it from here.)

I recognize my autistic acquaintances and friends may be thinking, “So hacking is like being autistic (aspie) on purpose.”  Yep.  What we do on a daily basis to fit in as best we can.  (Except it’s optional.)  I suppose I’m kind of giving ladders to already tall people in some ways.  However, I want today’s children to (figuratively) be able to reach everything on the highest shelves (of life) when they’re ready.  Even those that don’t exist yet.  Perhaps especially.  I’m cold now, so I’m off to dance.

 

I’ve always wanted to see the two of you get back together.

A friend I served with in the Army was in town this weekend, (S.)  We were inseparable before she got sent to Germany.  It was the first time I had a BFF.  I was eighteen when we met.  We were the self-appointed cut-ups in our unit.  (It may have been a factor in my extra time as a private.) For some reason, everything was hilarious to me back then.  (Except the times when I was bawling, which was often.)  It took me an embarrassingly long time to recognize the correlation.

S. used to hang out with me while I did whatever extra duty I acquired (for saying what I was thinking.)  When people would honk and laugh at me while I picked weeds, she would flip them off on my behalf.  We spent most of our free time noticing funny shit about the Army and laughing about it.    I didn’t watch TV when I was in the service.  We made our own entertainment.  We spent a lot of time singing harmonies in the latrine.  The acoustics were outstanding.  We had a woman Executive Officer, which meant we were automatically signed up for every women’s event.

We ran a 10K (in El Paso when it was 104° F.)  We played on the softball team, (I was benchwarmer/babysitter.)  I’ve never played softball in my life.  (But I did note the ball is not soft.  It’s not soft at all.)  I know this because the few times I was forced to go on the field, it was either left or right outfield, I forget.  All I did was pray the ball didn’t come to me.  The one time it did, it hit me in the forehead.  I’d like to say I was lined up under the ball, preparing to catch it, and the sun got in my eyes; but actually, I didn’t see it.  I was too busy thinking of what to offer God in trade for preventing the ball from coming to me.

I had a mild concussion, and I never had to go on the field again.  (Yay.)  S. still claims it’s the funniest thing she ever saw in her life, but she exaggerates sometimes.  She told me what it’s like to be a mom.  First, she thought about it for a while.  She has two kids, both adults now.  (She named her daughter, Heather!!)  Then she laughed and started telling me.  I have no idea how long we talked, but it was several hours.  It felt like watching over her shoulder while she grew into this remarkable woman.

I haven’t slept since she left, so I’m still processing what she shared.  I laughed when she told me it felt good to talk to someone who doesn’t interrupt.  It’s sort of an inside joke.  When we first started hanging out, she told me I listen like I’m memorizing everything she’s saying.  I told her it’s because in a way I was, but I couldn’t elaborate.  I got diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome not long after S., and I met.  It’s funny because I used to get in trouble for constantly interrupting as a kid before I figured out I got more information by just listening.

I decided to watch more of the Stevie Nicks documentary (instead of sleeping.)  I usually watch things in small segments when it’s my first viewing so I can process what I’m observing in between.  I love that Stevie made this album in her home.  It’s a big old house.  It has a dramatic staircase that curves and a massive crystal chandelier in the foyer.  She talks about her writing process, and how she’s been writing virtually her whole life.  I smiled when I saw her with a stack of handwritten notebooks.  I still have mine from ages six through eleven.  It shows the deterioration of my handwriting as I began using a computer.  I’m steadily devolving into just scratching an X for my signature.

I ordered all her live DVDs and music on CDs.  Whenever I come across an artist I would love to experience live, I do this.  It’s to make up for not being able to support them in person, (massive overstimulation.)  It’s hard to grasp the fact I can own a copy of their music for less than $20.  I struggle with this concept when it comes to authors and musicians.  I feel in debt to some fascinating people.  It doesn’t stress me out, though.  It makes me feel very fortunate.

I squeed when I found out Stevie likes Twilight.  She said she could relate to Bella when Edward abandoned her in the woods.  Now I have to do a Twilight marathon, again.  It’s been at least a year since I watched them.  Honestly, I’m baffled by the people who insist they didn’t love the films.  I usually suspect they’re lying, because who doesn’t want to watch beautiful vampires run around doing amazing shit like they have bionics and giant wolves and everyone is gorgeous?  It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone.

Ignorance is the enemy

There was an article published in the New York Times recently, reviewing another book about Autism written by someone who doesn’t have Autism.  The author of the article went beyond reviewing the book to make it’s harmful message even more ignorant.  It was pathetic.  I’m not even going to link to it, or mention the book title.  The world doesn’t need more ignorance being waved around like it’s truth.  I’m quite disappointed that in 2016, they’re still using the same old tired methods of highlighting ignorance for profit.  Yes, profit.  Why else would someone who is not an expert on Autism publish a book about Autism, and not bother to perform their own diligent research?  It’s a money grab.

It’s harmful because it’s spreading the same ignorance that in the past meant lifetime institutionalization of Autistic people.  Lock us up, throw away the key, and don’t put forth any actual effort toward understanding.  The thing about the article that raised my ire the most, was the implication that we so called high functioning Autistics are advocating without acknowledging the so called low functioning Autistics.  First of all, classifying us as high or low functioning is ignorant bunk.  It’s offensive.  It’s incredibly lazy.  It screams ignorance.  We are people, not machinery.  Secondly, Autism is not a psychological disorder.  By throwing it into the DSM, it opens Autism up to the travesty of reality that is psychology.  Psychology moves in many directions, but rarely forward.

Psychological research, assuming it still exists, is not done scientifically.  The leading diagnostic tool is still the MMPI, (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory).  That, in and of itself, makes me feel embarrassed for the profession.  It presumes everyone subjected to psychology is a middle aged Caucasian male from rural Minnesota, working in the agricultural industry.  It fails the logic test from jump.  It’s root is flawed.  Instead of conducting actual research, they allegedly tweak the existing bunk, and continue to do more harm than good.  The professionals are trained to use these antiquated tools to make decisions that can greatly effect a population that is voiceless.  Voiceless because the stigma of mental illness is so great that credibility is stolen from its populace automatically.

With a foundation of bullshit, theories can’t stand up to reality.  Enter psychiatry.  While many are unaware of this, psychology and psychiatry are not the same.  The important factor that distinguishes one from another is the fact that psychiatry treats mental illness with drugs.  These drugs come with warnings about their potential side effects, and sometimes, even long term effects of their use.  Psychotropic drugs have been the most effective tool in the mental health industry.  There is actual science going on in psychiatry.  While they also usually only test their drugs on Caucasians in small groups, physiology is far more consistent between human beings than is psyche.  The odds of a drug working differently between humans of differing races is much lower.  There are a lot of people living with mental illness.  Living with the knowledge that they have an illness, and living with the assistance of psychotropic drugs, or coping mechanisms derived from numerous successes.

It’s better than it once was for the mentally ill.  But it’s far from where it should be.  The stigma and ignorance running rampant in psychology is the most obvious hurdle.  But the efforts to overcome this stigma are mostly put forth by those with mental illness, not those working in the profession.  This is inevitable when you consider the fact that so much of psychology is based on bunk.  I don’t see psychology ever becoming an actual science.  My reasoning is sad.  Ignorance in the entire medical field is lucrative.  And here we are, back at money grabbing.  Real scientific research could lead to the elimination of some lucrative professions.  Where is the motivation in recognizing that decades of therapy and analysis is for naught?  Not from those profiting financially.  So the mentally ill people are left with the burden of exorcising their treatment options, and finding their own way through trial and error.

I won’t even go into the problems of huge numbers of mentally ill in prisons.  They closed down the asylums, and built more prisons.  Money grab.  One step forward and several steps back.  Naturally, objecting to Autism Spectrum Disorders landing in the middle of this shit pile is legitimate.  You don’t treat a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) with therapy.  It’s also a neurological disorder that got tossed into the DSM.  The most compassionate therapist cannot return a damaged brain to it’s original state.  Nor can he or she cure Autism.  But he or she can make a living pretending to do so.  It’s unethical, but that never stands in the way of a money grab.  These are capitalist problems.  When everything is set up on the altar of money worship, ethics and research get tossed out, because they interfere with the acquisition of the almighty dollar.  It leads to so called “normal” people writing books about things they don’t understand to make money.  It leads to the continuance of the cycle of ignorance.

The only reason for an adult with Autism to advocate and educate is for the benefit of Autistic people now, and in the future.  We aren’t grabbing for money.  We have a real interest in pushing the medical field to move forward and relinquish its horrific past.  Torture is still being used to treat Autistic people.  By advocating, we educate others who have been grossly misinformed, much to our detriment.  We don’t generally fall into the traps laid before us that try to separate us into neat little groups, and silence us.  We question the status quo.  We accept the responsibility of being the actual experts on Autism.  We don’t accept the stereotypes that Autism only means a boy who is obsessed with trains.  We are shouting from our rooftops that Autism effects people of color, and females, and exists in every group in society.  We are screaming that their is no cure, so stop wasting time and resources searching for one.  We don’t want a simple, pseudo-solution to a complex issue that we live with every day of our lives.  We’re not broken.  We aren’t asking to be “fixed”.

We are fighting for resources that include family support and effective treatment options that don’t include torture, or other harmful nonsense.  We are fighting for all of us, regardless of where we fall on the spectrum.  We all have needs that are going unmet because of ignorance, greed, and laziness.  We know we deserve better, so we are fighting for it using our voices that come in many forms.  We’ve been here all along, and we’ve put up with a lot of horrific treatment and outright murder in our history.  We are not satisfied with the status quo, so we are going to change it.  Gone are the days when we were locked up and silenced.  We walk forward with determination, alongside the mentally ill, and the other misplaced neurological disorders.  We’re all fighting for what is our right as human beings.  We’ll settle for nothing less.  And every time we see ignorance pop up in the media, we’re going to band together and point out it’s harmful attempt to sell more lies.

Autism Requires No Cure

I read a tweet yesterday about an organization called Autism One alleging “cures” for Autism through diet.  These “remedies” including forcing an Autistic child to ingest bleach.  It’s complete and total bullshit.  This is child abuse.  This is monstrous.  Any parent who is seeking a “cure” for their Autistic child is already on the wrong track.  Autism is a variety of human being.  If your child is Autistic, or has the diagnosis of PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), your child requires you to become creative, not evil.  Your child is not broken.  Your child thinks differently, and experiences the world differently than the neurotypical variety of human being.

The desire for a “cure” is a selfish inclination.  The desire is to force their child to become something that they are not.  The desire does not lie in creating a better life for your child.  The root of the desire to “cure” Autism lies in the selfish desire of an ignorant parent who wishes their child to be what they consider normal in order to make their own lives easier, not that of their child.  It’s ignorant because normal is a setting on a washing machine, not a variety of human being.  An Autistic child requires love, patience, and a sincere desire to connect with them in their unique way of connecting.  There are lots of books and websites about Autism, but few are by people who are actually Autistic, and therefore an expert on the condition.

Trying to “cure” it is like trying to “cure” Down Syndrome.  It’s a ridiculous notion.  The time and energy wasted on this futile task could be better served by loving your child as they are, and discovering how your child communicates and learns.  This is the case with all children.  They are all beautiful beings that are new to this world, and need gentle guidance in a manner with which they can comprehend. But above all, they require your love.  If you are the parent of an Autistic child, seek advice from the true experts.  Adult Autists.  We understand better than anyone how to live with Autism.  We vary in many ways, but we are the true experts.  Many of us use alternative means of communicating, such as typing on a computer.  We are human beings who have the ability to feel joy and sorrow.  We feel empathy.  We have a sense of humor.  We love and desire to be loved.  We understand what it’s like to feel like we’ve been dropped off on an alien planet at birth, forced to struggle in order to connect with our families.  We know several creative ways to accomplish this task.  We are human beings with the full range of emotions, levels of intellect, and personalities.  We are part of humanity.

So stop seeking “cures” that don’t exist.  Stop falling for the misinformation that claims harming your child will help them.  And most of all, stop killing Autistic children.  This is monstrous behavior.  Nobody has the right to murder a child for being Autistic.  I hate that this happens.  I hate that one of my childhood neighbors murdered her daughter, and then took her own life with a shotgun in their basement.  There was no honor in this action.  It was a vile act of selfishness, ignorance, and evilness.  There are organizations that have the audacity to sympathize with parents who commit this atrocious crime, such as Autism $peaks.  They view Autistic people as burdens on their parents, and broken children who will never experience a joyful life.  They are not in the business of helping people who are Autistic.  They are in the business of collecting money from the ignorant, and using it to increase their personal wealth, and that of their friends.

Autism $peaks is the “charity” endorsed by Ed Asner.  They spend the majority of the money they gather from the unwitting people who intended their donations to help those with Autism for advertising.  Here is a link to their financial statement for 2013.  You will see that they are not only making a profit in excess of $1.5 million dollars, they spend the vast majority of their funds on advertising, and research to find the cause of Autism, potential “cures” for an incurable condition, and treatments for Autism.  I boycott this “charity”, because it’s clear to me that they are not in the business of helping people with Autism.  They are in the business of spreading misinformation, such as claims that vaccines cause Autism, which is scientifically proven to be untrue.  They are in the business of sympathizing with evil parents who murder their Autistic children.  They are in the business of ignoring the advice of Autistic people, which makes the name of this supposed charity ironic at best.

Any supposed charity that raises the ire of those it’s supposedly trying to help is a red flag.  When said organization deliberately refuses to heed the advice of the people they are supposedly trying to help, they instigate boycotts, and represent a fraudulent predatory organization in the eyes of those of us who are Autistic.  Among us, Autism $peaks is infamous, and only gives 4% of the money they collect to services and supports for Autistic people.  That’s not a typo.  4%.  This organization sees Autistic people as burdens, and promotes a center that is under investigation by the FDA for torturing Autistic people.  It’s despicable.  This link to Boycott Autism $peaks gives further and more detailed information.  Here is a link dispelling the misguided correlation between vaccines and Autism.

I’m Autistic.  I was born this way.  I’ve served in the US Army where I earned awards such as the Army Commendation Medal for excellent service.  I’ve earned a PhD in Software Engineering, and am currently a freelance programmer, as well as the CEO of an independent gaming company that hires Autistic programmers exclusively.  I’m a human being.  I am one example of an Autistic person.  I had loving parents who were patient with me.  They did not waste time seeking a cause or cure for my condition.  They loved me.  They figured out how to communicate with me.  They helped me learn and become a person who loves learning.  They accepted me as I am.  They never saw me as a burden, or considered murdering me.  They didn’t torture me, or force me to ingest vile potions in an effort to make me “normal”.  They were loving parents, and because of their willingness to be loving people, I am now an adult whose goal in life is to be joyful.  There is no better ambition, in my opinion.

Dancing with depression

It’s ridiculously cold.  Last night, it dipped down to -15F with a windchill of -34F.  You’d think this would deter college students from hitting the clubs and returning afterward to hold loud conversations in the parking lot at 2AM.  Between that, and listening to drunken stair climbing, followed by door slams, I was annoyed.  I did manage to fall back asleep, though.  Mostly thanks to the Advil PM I took due to leg pain.  I hate when my insomnia catches up to me, and my legs start to hurt.  It feels like bone deep pain, and it’s a dull ache that keeps me awake.  I think it’s my legs telling me that they’ve had enough, and they’re going to sleep regardless of what shenanigans I’m engaging in.

I’ve been paying attention to the weather in Denver.  It’s really mild there.  I’ll be able to run outside year round.  They have a lot more races there too.  While I have no desire to run a marathon ever, I do like 10K and 15K races.  In my case, I think running a marathon would have long term consequences.  It’s not something I’ll put my body through.  It would alter my body chemistry in a major way, and I can’t afford that with PTSD.  My body is too sensitive.  Surgery has this poor effect on me, too.  Fortunately, the only surgery I foresee in my future is implantation of some sort of device that aids in maintaining the ideal body chemistry.  Once it’s invented and made available, anyway.

I’ve avoided weighing myself for weeks now.  I can tell I’m too low by how much clothes fit, but I guess I’m running with denial for now.  My appetite is low to non-existent.  Every so often, I have intense protein cravings, though.  I hate that it’s such an interruption.  I just want to work on my projects without being interrupted.  I’ll have to think about this, and find a new plan.  I’m starting OT again next week.  I’ll be focusing on food prep and adding variety to my diet.  I was upset about it, but I talked to a friend, and now I recognize it’s for the best.  When I move, we’ll reassess if it’s necessary to continue there.  I can feel a steady, constant anxiety in relation to moving.  In my mind, I waiver on it every day.

I think I’ll start with visiting there, and increase the length of my stays until I’m there more than here.  I know if I move my cat there, it’ll get me to stay there.  That and the inconvenience of traveling.  I can tell it’s low level stressing me out already.  I’m not set to move until August.  I’m an overachiever when it comes to needless worry.  There is some intangible sense that accepts a new space as home.  When I was in the Army, I had a confident grip on that sense, and could resettle in a few days without feeling displaced.  I think I need to focus on getting rid of a lot of my stuff.  I hope that by August, I am rid of about 80% of my stuff.  I’ll photograph a lot of stuff I like, but don’t want the burden of owning.  That will help tremendously.  Owning too much stuff is stressful.  Especially when I know there are others who would treasure many of the things I neglect.

When I was a kid, my mom would have an annual purge of toys and clothes.  We would get to choose 2 things we wanted to keep, and the rest was given away.  It involved a lot of crying at first, but we always managed.  The Army reinforced this by teaching that you should never own more than you can carry.  As adults, it’s interesting to see how this affected us.  Heather became a hoarder who couldn’t part with anything, no matter it’s condition.  Steve used to move a lot, and leave most of his shit behind.  Guy is a minimalist who favors black and white decor.  My oldest brother is a nomad.  My oldest sister likes large, luxurious things.  And then there’s me.  I guess I focus on lots of open space so I can run around, pace, and play with my cat.

I’m most deliberate about my bed, because I’m always at war with sleep.  I make it as inviting as possible, choosing soft linens, etc.  I wish it worked.  The rest of my space is about my interests.  In Denver, it’ll be set up according to activity, with lots of cabinets and drawers to keep everything in it’s place.  One of the perks to having master cabinet builders for nephews.  The lighting will be soft, so that alone will make it more livable for me.  Lighting is so important to me.  I wish those buzzing fluorescent overhead lamps were outlawed.  I still have nightmares about them from primary school.  Whoever decided on the format for classrooms is an asshole.  It’s certainly not conducive to learning, regardless of neurodiversity.  The groups are too large, and the students aren’t even involved.  I’m hoping VR glasses are something I can tolerate.  I know I’ll be taking them apart and reverse engineering an alternative that will accommodate my glasses.  I’m off to clean.