What’s that red dot on your sweater?

Today was long.  I have an earache and my throat is sore.  This usually means I’m about to get sick.  I’ve been taking Advil whenever the pain steals my attention, but that’s not very often.  I strongly suspect my high pain threshold doesn’t include anything above my neck.  It’s been storming all week, and it looks like that will continue soon.  I’m intrigued by the announcement of Apple’s new wireless earbuds.  The reviews I’ve read about Samsung’s version are all over the place.  I’m going to stick with my Apple rule.  Never buy first generation anything from Apple.  I did buy an iWatch, but the new version didn’t even interest me enough to look at what changed.  My iWatch is my nightstand clock 90% of the time.

I love watching gadgets evolve.  We’re getting so close to altering our bodies in order to integrate electronics.  I read a lot of speculative fiction, so I’ve read several fictional iterations of body implants.  Much like with Apple, don’t buy first generation.  I’ll be tickled if I live long enough to get Eyes 2.0.  I just hope Apple doesn’t name them.  Or Microsoft.  I went out onto my balcony earlier to check the weather, and tipped my chair forward to drain the water.  I did look between the wood slats to see if I saw any movement below first.  It was quiet, with no detectable motion.  But after I drained it, I heard a man and woman yell out, then when I looked down, I saw them running out onto the lawn.  I said, “Oh no! I’m sorry!”, but I was laughing at the same time.  And for quite a bit of time afterwards.  I wish I’d managed to hold it in, at least until I got back inside my apartment.  Sigh.

My USPS complaint got results.  My package was delivered the following day, and there was a verbal apology.  That was nice, and the man I spoke with said he was going to work on the issue I outlined as a problem.  I suggested it was a training issue, and he agreed.  I have no idea how they do carrier training, but I’m pleased with the resolution.  I think I’d make a good mail carrier in a residential neighborhood.  The constant motion, repetition, organization, and routine are very attractive to me.  But then again, I just remembered that I’m an indoor enthusiast.  I know what it’s like to carry a heavy bag through ice and snow already.  Scratch that.

I am looking into getting a second job for after I move to Denver.  I work at a different pace than my co-workers, so it’s a good solution, provided I find something that fits.  I have a few options that I’m pursuing in order of preference.  I’m just waiting on more information.  So far, the process of transitioning to Denver has been overwhelming for the most part.  I waiver on a daily basis while dancing the tightrope of anxiety and fear management.  I forget what the hell I was thinking in the first place.  I question my judgement and decision making ability.  I worry that I’m being manipulated without my knowledge, and am on a pathway to regret.  I worry that I’m pushing myself beyond my capabilities, and won’t recover from the aftermath.

And that’s not even half of what flies through my mind whenever I come up for air.  I try to stay busy and focused, so my mind doesn’t wander to worry.  It works extremely well, as long as I don’t lose my concentration.  But it’s a losing strategy because it’s running rather than facing the issue.  I keep telling myself that if I can just get to a point where I feel rested and recovered enough from all the traveling, I’ll be able to clearly and confidently move forward one way or another.  Right now, I feel like I haven’t slept in a few days, and ran outside with wet hair.  I can sense that my bill is coming due, and I’ll be paying for all my running around of late.  I’m off to read.

I sent 16 of my own men to the latrines that night!

My therapy session on Tuesday left me feeling reflective.  We talked about my family members who have died.  I shared with her why I cried for a year after my brother died, and told her about him.  I think she really understood why I loved him so much.  I had never done that before.  Even thinking about it now has me smiling.  It was incredibly healing.  He visited my dreams last night, but I don’t remember the circumstances.  Just that I was glad to see him, and was aware it was a dream.  He’s never far from my thoughts.

I’ve also shared with her aspects of my relationship with my Mom that have previously been private.  I feel like my Mom is with me 24/7.  Not a physical presence, but a lifelong acknowledgement.  For my entire life, I’ve been in an ongoing internal conversation with my Mom.  It’s so seamless, it’s like breathing.  Even before I could speak, I thought my thoughts to her, and accepted her words as her answer.  It wasn’t always logical, sometimes was hilarious, but was most often effective.  When I left to serve in the Army, I continued.  I had a good idea by then what my Mom would say in many situations.  When we talked on the phone, I would report the incidents in which I used her “voice” to guide me through a tough situation.

It probably hasn’t been helpful when I talk to other people, though.  I struggle with conversations.  It’s a sophisticated dance between controlling my anxiety, and comprehending/staying present well enough to remain on topic in real time.  In my eyes, I come off to others as having a low intellect, and an intermittent ability to connect with others.  I know that in actuality, I have a high intellect, and suck at conversations.  I do far better when I can type versus speaking aloud.  But texting is ideal.  I text back as soon as I notice.  This could be immediately, or a few days.  The time it takes to respond means nothing negative.  I have 2 phones. I only give out the number for 1 of them.  The other is an extension of my brain.  I don’t even know the number for that phone.

Therapy is exhausting, but that’s not really a con.  I’ve been sleeping regularly.  Every single night I sleep now.  For between 4 and 6 hours.  I haven’t done that since I was in the Army.  It’s a combination of a new sleeping med, having the mountain on my back excised, being drained from therapy, and not being afraid to go to sleep.  The fact that I can run outside now is probably contributing as well.  I like the awake me better.  I despise feeling sluggish.  It’s a panic trigger, which becomes a twisted level of hell, Dante style, when I don’t sleep.  Fuck that.  So I’m pleased with how it’s going.

I just found out that Prince is dead.  I’m going for a run.

No

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.