“Why shouldn’t we be able to do that once in a while if we want to?”

tea break

I’m having a good week.  There was a near-meltdown moment that initially devastated, but quickly developed into reaffirming communication and connection with people significant to me.  After taking some time to process the experience, I recognized positive aspects worthy of celebration.  I went from lamenting the challenges of being autistic in a neurotypical world, to strategizing new ways of coping with them in the future, in mere hours.

The speed and clarity of resolve astonished me.  I realize I’ve leveled up in the game of life.  I’ve been floating on a cloud of joy ever since.  The process of rebuilding and learning myself still feels new and intriguing.  I almost fell into a pit of sorrow over letting go of things I once held so close.  Examining the root of these values, and acknowledging the fact they were never mine, but only acquired by rote, helped me bypass the trap.  Yay.  🙃

The changes I’ve made are small, but the results immense.  I drink herbal teas, now.  In the past, I rejected all hot beverages, without bothering to determine why.  Now I know it’s because they require me to be present in my body while partaking to avoid injury.  (It’s funny to me in hindsight.) Asking myself why turned out to be an excellent method of understanding myself in many ways.  Naturally, it led to delving deeper with more questions.

unreality

Instead of feeling regret about being different, and trying to force me to change and pretend to be like others in pursuit of acceptance by strangers, I’m using my energy to know myself.  I’m no longer accepting the values and beliefs of others as my own.  If they don’t originate within my soul, they aren’t mine.  Pretending they were was slowly erasing the essence of me.  I have no use for acceptance based on unreality.

I’d rather be alone in the dark. – Sheryl Crow

I began watching another series on Netflix titled, Black Mirror.  It’s not a show I can binge watch, (she said while giggling.)  The first episode is excruciating.  It’s also brilliant.  It’s a 44-minute test to determine if you’re eligible to continue watching.  It’s a mental tattoo.  I’m pleased it exists as I love things that lead to new paths of thought and discussion.  It also provokes me to question and learn myself.

It’s dark and foggy this week, and I struggle to sleep when it’s so humid.  Last night, I lay in bed listening to Amy Lee (Evanescence.)  I thought about how her music has accompanied my life through many hardships and growing pains.  I think I finally grok why certain musicians reach me so profoundly.  It’s about energy.  My knowledge and vocabulary are presently limited on this topic, as I’m relying solely on intuition.  I plan to explore it further, though.

I used to get so offended when people would question my choices in music (often based on things as superficial as race.)  I think it’s because I didn’t know why some appeal to me far more than others.  I’m thrilled to understand.  Amy Lee, Stevie Nicks, ABBA, Lorde, Sheryl Crow, Bach, Mozart, etc.  These musicians create music I can climb inside and bask in energy that soothes my soul.  That’s why.  🙃😂  I’m off to band practice.  💜✌🏽

“Fight for her, Jerry! She’s sure as hell fighting for you!”

Camera lenses

I found out a few days ago the Fleetwood Mac concert is now in February.  I narrowly escaped a meltdown over canceled plans.  Instead, I’ve been coping with brain fog, but at least I still get to anticipate the new date gleefully for three months.  Brain fog sucks, but it’s much better than shutting down altogether.  I fought off The New and Improved Depression Monster (TNAIDM) last night.  I’m surprised by how quickly I managed to kick his sorry ass.  I’m trying not to think about it too much (because I’m worried it may have just been a flyby before an epic battle.)

The lingering melancholy is yet another round of recognizing I messed up (socially) again, but I haven’t yet figured out what I did wrong, or with whom.  It’s merely a sense I’ve offended without intent.  The evidence is so tenuous and speculative; I don’t dare accept it as a certainty.  Instead, I’m struggling to refrain from beating myself up over it, while also trying to convince myself refraining from all social situations isn’t an optimal solution.  (I wasn’t kidding when I confessed my inner five-year-old is usually in charge.)

bridge

I’m frustrated because I know social isolation is not only doable, it’s often attractive.  The downside is the fact it limits the depth of happiness.  I’m once again debating constant but lonely contentment in isolation, versus what is allegedly more healthy, positively more joyful, but also filled with lots of pain:  socializing.  I spend much time here; I should probably decorate this Freaking Chamber of Perpetual Deliberation.  Sigh.  Presently, the desire to withdraw emotionally and STFU be silent is overwhelming.  Sharing my thoughts is (evidently) irresistible and eventually devastating.  (All the swears.)

I love that humans are so complicated, with infinite depths within each.  It’s why they fascinate me.  Observing and interacting with them is like a drug to which I’m addicted.  It’s just that I can’t seem to master communicating.  It’s as if there’s an intricate dance I must perform to gain access, but I can’t hear the music.  I can almost hear the universe belly-laughing at me, though.  Chase that carrot, bitch!  I suppose it is a bit funny from a particular perspective.  I may suck at talking to people, but perhaps I’m like Wanda Sykes to the aliens watching us for entertainment.

Take Me Please t-shirt by Darruda

That’s the shirt I’m wearing right now, (expressing my usual sentiments toward aliens.)  I’m going to design one that says; I Might Be a Famous Comedian on Kepler-186f, then order it and wear it.  Yep.  I’m that weird, don’t you know.  😂  (And this is after decades of trying desperately to fit in.)  Fortunately, the older I get, the less I bother stressing over silly shit like clothes.  Clean and comfortable are the only criteria I aim for, these days.  I still get a good chuckle whenever I remember all the time I wasted worrying about what others think of what I’m wearing.  If you don’t like it, don’t wear my clothes.  😂 💜✌🏽

“Here’s to those who wish us well, and those who don’t can go to hell.”

All who live carry luggage on their journey

I realize I don’t explicitly discuss autism on this blog very often.  It’s because I’m autistic; it’s an intrinsic part of my perception and life, as is PTSD, and my ongoing battle against depression.  On my journey to becoming my best self, I encounter many allies who share their experiences and understand every aspect of my struggles.  Some are also autistic, but many carry luggage with different labels.

I’ve learned to apply caution when inviting others into my world.  It’s a painful, repetitive lesson.  I’m aware of other autistic people who choose to be hateful while gleefully invalidating those who don’t have a formal diagnosis.  (As if the medical community has even managed to produce definitive criteria that can pass a casual bullshit test.)  I’ve encountered people with mental or physical illnesses who decide to be mean and spiteful to others for who and what they are; as if it’s something anyone can control.  Their pain hasn’t yet taught them of its presence in the lives of all who live.

In hindsight, I’m always embarrassed by my naivetè.  I admit I once assumed marginalized people automatically possessed a more profound understanding and compassion for those who also suffer.  It’s brought me a great deal of pain as I recognize my mistake.  Going forward, I hope to be wiser.  It hurts so much to know there are people on this planet with whom I must guard my heart.Humans are diverse

I still feel like a new member of the autism community, years after discovering the online fellowship:  especially now that I’ve seen the pettiness and hatred spewed between members.  The irony is particularly disturbing;  autistic people who shun other autistics for being different than themselves in their challenges and experiences.  😲 🙄

I remember when I was thrilled to learn about neurodiversity and finally recognize my tribe.  I’m sad to realize it’s not as inclusive as I once thought. I remember how lonely I was, and I didn’t expect alienation from fellow aliens.  Nevertheless, I’m incredibly grateful for those who do accept and support me.  I cherish the love and fellowship of others also journeying on the path to their best selves.  It matters not to me what baggage or labels others carry, so long as they walk with kindness, compassion, and sincerity.

I’ve learned it’s easy to embrace diversity among humans.  I celebrate it.  It enriches my life, stretches my mind, and strengthens my spirit.  The smallest bit of effort ensures I can relate to anyone I choose.  No matter how we’re different, we’re all human.  We’re all incredible individuals who decide what we will become through our choices.  Thanks to those who help me grow. 💜  listen up

Thirty-three days until the Fleetwood Mac concert! (Performs the pre-choreographed dance routine.) 🙃✌🏽

Delayed P.S.  I’m sorry I said money is the only god on this planet.  It’s been eating at me ever since, but I only just figured out it’s also why I haven’t been able to sleep.  I’m sorry.  💜

“The gloves, the mask, it’s a whole production.”

women in animal masks

I had an interesting conversation with M, recently.  He wanted to understand why I was disappointed when a stranger figured out I’m autistic after dining with us.  He suggested I may be ashamed of being autistic.  I thought about it and attempted to explain the concept of masking.  It’s not about shame; it’s pragmatism.

The ability to mask my autism from strangers is a skill I’ve honed over the course of my life.  It’s necessary for survival.  It’s not something used only by people with autism, either.  People with mental illnesses also recognize the need to mask.  Mental health providers at the VA suggest it; a psychologist jokingly instructed me not to get caught talking to myself in the hallways of the VA.  😶 I figure it’s a common practice among most invisibly disabled people.

I also mastered the ability to mask my depression in the process.  The same psychologist I mentioned above was annoyingly surprised when my mask slipped, and she suddenly believed I was depressed for the first time.  I remember thinking to myself how much easier it is to hide depression from mental health providers than nearly anyone else.  They’re trained to look for specific symptoms, which I choose to regard as convenient for me.  (You can’t be black and disabled at the Sioux Falls VA without handcuffs and leg shackles, so naturally, I roll with being black while wearing a shrink-proof mask.)

rabbit masked man

People with visible physical disabilities can’t mask but have the perquisite of being perceived as disabled on sight.  (I doubt they consider it a privilege, though.)  I’ve had decades of trial and error to figure out which behaviors attract ridicule and bullying.  It’s not easy to overcome my nature whenever I’m around people, though.  In fact, it’s exhausting.

 

I stifle the behaviors and motions I’ve identified as unsafe in the company of others.  I try to be invisible at those times.  I suck at remaining still, even though I know it would be helpful.  To compensate, I mastered the ability to rock minutely.  I do it slowly, and limit my range of motion to a few inches in each direction, while visualizing a gear system amplifying the efforts of my tiny movement.

Sadly, I’m fully aware I tend to rock more vigorously when my anxiety increases.  I stop when I realize.  I hate that I often catch myself when some asshole imitates me to amuse others.  Naturally, I’ve also mastered the ability to present both birds at half-mast 3 inches from the face of the asshole mentioned above, while looking unamused.  I consider it a public service.  You’re welcome.  🙃

man in rabbit mask

Thankfully, the human brain can help shelter us a bit from the disturbing lack of empathy in strangers.  Dissociation is another skill when forced to endure extreme discomfort while in public.  Sometimes, it’s all I can do to keep from screaming:  Like when the clock is ticking so sharply, and the person beside me breathes loudly through a congested nose.  Or the overhead lights are buzzing and too bright, the tv is too loud, and the wool fabric on the chair is scratchy on the backs of my arms, while my left shoe is tied more tightly than my right.  And the perfume, my god, the perfume!  /scream

I’m not ashamed of being autistic.  I’m too busy tweaking my ability to pass as typical and well adjusted to waste time feeling sorry for myself.  😂 Plus, there are a gazillion other things I’d much rather do.  Like playing Bach’s E major Partita on violin for some random, yet surprisingly attentive cows, while sitting on the fence in a soggy field.  It’s what I’m off to do now.  ✌🏽

“What was my father doing with a man in a cape?”

woman playing driving video game

It’s breezy today.  I like it.  A nice respite from too hot to go outside.  We didn’t have any band practice this weekend, so I’ve been bonding with my Playstation 4 and Xbox One.  (Not the Xbox One S, sigh.)  M still hasn’t let me try his new Xbox One X.  😂  The Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed franchises aren’t for me.  Forza 7 looks fabulous, but I’m the worst at driving games.  If the object were to go the wrong direction and damage the car as much as possible, I’d rule, though.  🤭

I stick to puzzle games and pinball, mostly.  I’m getting good at pinball, (but I think my rank is in the mid 200’s on my best table.)  Not screenshot-worthy, yet.  Heh.  I’m enjoying Unmechanical, and Southpark:  The Stick of Truth today.  (Hearing Cartman drop F-bombs cracks me up.)  I tried one of M’s horror games on the PlayStation VR, yesterday.  It triggered a lot of ideas regarding VR’s potential.  (It also scared me so much I shook for a while after quitting.)

I’m low-level stressing out because I suspect M paid far more for my birthday gift than I his.  Something within me needs it to be even.  I know I need to talk about it with him, but I’m not looking forward to it.  I hate defending an irrational stance based on a gut feeling.  There’s a 99.99% chance I’ll bear a smirk against my will the entire time I present my case.  (Dammit, Face!  Do what I command!)

I can never play Spades, Poker, or the like.  At least not if the goal is to win.  I can think of at least two people who are still pissed off at me for accidentally reneging in Spades in the 90’s.  I think it might be an autism thing.  For me, it takes all available resources to mask enough to be at the table with multiple people in the first place.  Be amazed I only did it once and didn’t cut, don’t you know.  💪🏽  But I accept it’s not for me.  Now.  🙃

people gambling

 

I think I’m going to get M some new headphones.  There are a few by Focal I know he’d love.  Massdrop has three colorways available, but the black ones look incredible.  But my stomach hurts, so I think I’d better plead my pathetic case first, and talk to him.  (I keep my conscience in my gut, I guess.)  No wonder it tends to get more significant as we age.  😂

I can’t get enough of Solo by Clean Bandit ft. Demi Lovato.  I woke myself up from singing it in my sleep this morning.  Yep.  That’s me in the dictionary next to the word, doof.  👍🏽  In my defense, it’s a pleasant way to awaken.  Also, I love Demi Lovato.  (She’s a mental health advocate, too.)  I heard the Maroon 5 song with Cardi B earlier.  I was about to get mad when she finally started rapping.  If you’re going to ride her fame rocket for a boost, bring her in right away.  That’s all I’m saying.  🙃  I’m off to play Skylanders.