She’s a bitter, unstable person. I need more.

Welp.  I got my Fleetwood Mac Rumours CD.  While listening intently, I had to laugh at my misinterpretations of the lyrics.  What I thought I heard while laying in bed as a kid is so much different than the actual words.  The songs make a lot more sense, now.  (My versions included a lot more humming than the originals, too.)  I like the album art.

After listening to it over and over again, in order, I played along on my drums.  Then I went on YouTube to watch some live footage.  I got sidetracked.  I know now it was inevitable.  I saw Stevie Nicks performing Rhiannon.  (The whole band was there, of course.)  I put my study of Fleetwood Mac’s history on hold and searched for Stevie Nicks.

I almost lived my entire life on earth without knowing about Stevie Nicks!  Tragedy averted.  I will admit, there were a few moments when I resented everyone I’ve ever known for not taking a few seconds out of their busy lives to inform me Stevie Nicks exists.  (My inner 5-year-old is still pouting in the corner.)  I know.  How the hell did I not know?  So I got over myself, and all is forgiven.

I wasn’t allowed to listen to popular music as a kid.  I used to sing while my sister played piano at her recitals.  It was the only exception.  So at least I know about Barry Manilow.  I was called the Human Tape Recorder growing up.  Most of what I heard and repeated was without comprehension, which I suspect made it worse.  My parents were strict about what I was exposed to, for obvious reasons.

I do remember an incident where I sang a song my sister taught me from Jesus Christ Superstar.  Apparently, it was controversial or something.  I was too young to notice (or care.)  In a way, I’m glad I’m just discovering Stevie Nicks.  It’s exciting.  I listened to her in a few interviews on YouTube at various times in her career.  She’s brilliant.  (No Mariah Carey Syndrome.)  That’s the point where I became a Stevie Nicks fan.  I love her voice.  She’s beautiful and fascinating.  I feel like I won the jackpot and my face hurts from smiling so much.  It’s been a joyful day.  I’m off to read.

Say Vandelay Industries

It’s been a good day.  Things went well at work today, and the guys were marvelling that after only 1 therapy session, things are “back to normal”.  I told them that it’s true we had a good day, but not to assume that it means 50 minutes of talking her ear off and listening to feedback was all that was needed to eliminate the issues with which I’ve struggled.  I said the can of worms is open, and now I have to keep fighting through symptoms until my subconscious catches up.  While I do that, she’ll teach me some new skills for coping so that the next time I’m struggling, I can work it out by myself.

Now that I’ve calmed down about opening up to her, I can comprehend her feedback better.  At one point she asked me for further details about what we were discussing.  I felt myself start to shut down.  It felt like I was being yanked back and up at a very high speed.  But before my body locked up, she said it was okay, I didn’t have to tell her.  It happened in an instant, and the timing was perfect.  A moment longer, and I wouldn’t have been able to understand that she retracted the request.  I would have had a meltdown in front of her.  I’m so glad that didn’t happen.  But it also made me recognize the fact that I’m afraid of that happening in front of her.  So I’m disarming that minefield.  It’s irrational, and I hate being irrational.

A few friends on Twitter helped me make a form to address sexual harassment in the workplace.  They read it, and agreed not to continue with the behavior.  The guys like to tell dirty jokes, and make sexual innuendos at work.  It’s uncomfortable to me because it doesn’t fit in the co-worker relationship category.  I ignored it for a long time.  Then I didn’t want to hear it anymore, so I just worked from home most of the time, and kept my office door closed when I went in.  My work performance hasn’t been where I want it, either.  Low level depression symptoms are easy to miss.  I took a depression assessment quiz the other day, and some of the answers I chose were inaccurate because I didn’t realize at that time some of the symptoms I’m experiencing.  It didn’t click that my new VR goggles and Alexa Dot gadgets, still sealed in their packaging, is an example of my interests waning.

Normally, when I get a shiny new gadget, I’m like teenager who just bought their first car.  I want to spend time with it, show it off a little, and figure out everything it can do.  I keep thinking about them, but still haven’t touched them.  A friend on Twitter figured it out when I mentioned this.  I need to put it on my schedule.  I have to push myself to do the things I normally love for now.  Eventually, the effort required will decrease, until it’s gone.  Then I’ll be able to experience the joy again.  For whatever reason, knowing this helps.  I always find comfort in knowing what I need to do.

Letting Go

I’ve spent some time grieving over the recent violence in America.  The fact that I need to qualify that statement is disgusting.  The recent mass shootings in Colorado Springs, and San Bernardino.  Both were committed by people who felt justified in their actions.  Anything further is speculation.  I grieve for the fact that justification for mass murder is considered an option.  I don’t believe anyone has the right to kill people for any reason.  I understand that there are laws that sanction it.  I think they are wrong.

To steal existence from another is the ultimate arrogance.  To rob their loved ones of their existence, and to dismiss their future and potential is anathema to me.  I deliberately avoided news coverage of these events out of self preservation.  Some facts leaked through, regardless.  I saw an image of a black SUV riddled with high powered rifle impacts.  It was an image of massacre.  The murderers died by the same means as they inflicted on others.  Violence begets violence.  Live by the sword, die by the sword, blah blah blah.  It’s all bullshit.

You can’t punish a crime by committing the same crime.  This is illogical.  Taking a life in human history has most often resulted in a life being taken in retaliation.  We equate our grief with a right to seek revenge.  An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.  I was born into a blind world.  I was born into a world ruled by hatred and fear.  These are what motivate humanity as a whole.  These are literally chemical reactions within human brains.  Yet they are allowed to end the existence of millions of people.  Love, joy, and acceptance are also emotions, yet we reject these in the face of hatred and fear.  We walking chemical reactions are ruled by perceptions based solely on our emotions.

It seems like insufficient motivation to rule the human race.  Logic takes a back seat to emotion, when instead, it could be utilized as a guiding force to prevent such madness.  I’m an outsider.  My mind functions differently.  At times, the chemical reactions in my brain are random, and unrelated to my emotions or environment.  They rob me of control of my emotions, but don’t force action.  I sit back and observe, having had much experience with this phenomenon.  These experiences have allowed me to separate myself from my body.  From the community.  From the environment.  From the human race.

When I allow myself to interact with other humans, the eventual result is profound sadness. Something within me keeps experimenting, seeing if a tweak here or there will bring about new results.  I’m attracted to the goodness in others.  I can see it beneath the fear in most people with which I’ve interacted.  It’s motivations are love, joy, and acceptance.  This is goodness.  But the mask of fear usually surfaces, and eventually wears down my endurance, leading to deep sorrow.  I’m older now, and would like to be wiser.  I would like to limit my actions to logic.  I would like to step back permanently.  I know it’s within my ability.  I know that the longer I remain apart, the more difficult it becomes to communicate with others.  But if my goal is to remain separate, this becomes a desirable result.

Allowing my emotions to dictate my perceptions is a trap.  A trap that entangles me in the actions of others.  It traps me in an ocean of blindness.  I end up drowning rather than thriving.  And like anyone who is drowning, at one point, the will to survive becomes resolve in embracing the inevitable.  It’s time to let go.  If I am to continue, I have to do so on my terms.  I have to allow logic to be my guide, and I must avoid the trap.  The sadness I feel now will pass.  I will hold tight to goodness, and turn my back on fear.  I will dissociate myself from all who allow it to motivate their actions.  I will turn my energy to creating.  I will thrive in the joy of solitude.

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.

Kind Hearted Woman

I watched a show on PBS today that wrapped itself around my heart and tugged.  It’s called, Kind Hearted Woman.  I caught it in the middle, but was instantly hooked.  Its a real story about a Native woman from the Spirit Lake reservation in ND.  A woman was comforting her daughter before she went to sleep.  Her daughter had spoken up about being sexually abused by her Dad.  Everything her Mom said to her was so perfect.

She knew exactly what her daughter was feeling, as she’d experienced it herself when she was a child.  I have never seen someone help a child cope with this so well.  It’s not a scripted show. These are real people living within driving distance of me right now.  I immediately picked up on the Native accent.  I grew up with foster siblings from various reservations in SD, so conversing with their families during visits was common throughout my childhood.  They were like extended family to me.  Their kids were usually in foster care because they had a medical condition that couldn’t be properly treated and accommodated on the reservation.

Watching this woman cope with her past, and present while battling for custody of her two children felt like listening to one of my sisters.  She had a lot of things working against her in the episode I watched.  Tribal council law was so unjust.  They blasted her character in an attempt to cover up the sexual abuse issues going on behind closed doors on the reservation.  I haven’t yet seen how it will play out as this was filmed 2 years ago.  I ordered the DVD’s on Amazon, because I have to know that things worked out for her and her children.

I’m so used to being the outsider who never fits in, and is baffled by the behaviors of other people.  I feel a connection with her because I can relate to her struggle in feeling like the world is so confusing, and actively working against her, yet getting up and living life anyway.  It’s a nice feeling.  Like there is someone on this planet with whom I can understand and root for, and hope for her to find lots of joy in her life.

Reality

I got a job offer in Estonia.  I don’t speak Russian, and I don’t see myself learning Russian in a timely enough manner to take the position.  This was an attractive offer because I like the Russian spirit of brutal honesty.  I like that even their corruption is honest in that they don’t bother to hide it.  They enforce it with brutal violence, and it becomes the way of life.  The Russian people, regardless of how they feel about such a harsh world, go on living their lives.  They’re very fatalistic, too.  I watched a portion of a video of 3 Russians in a car that was submerged in a lake.  They were absolutely going to die from this predicament, and not one of them showed any signs of fear or alarm.  They had a very, “Oh, I’m going to die.  Goodbye”, attitude.  They accepted the inevitable, and didn’t try to change reality by wishing or praying or any other futile method of self deception.  I like that.

It’s a way of thinking with which I can relate.  As an autistic person, I could communicate with people who think that way.  They are honest and accept reality for what it is, as it is.  I can understand them.  Where I live, it’s almost the opposite.  I live in a red state where people are always kind to your face, profess a deep religious faith, and live the lifestyle of an atheist in secret.  When you go online, you find a lot of them on Reddit subforums engaging in orgies of hatred.  You see them on the news getting caught with child pornography on their computers.

I was raised here, but fortunately, I’m autistic,  African American, and I have always been an outsider in this world.  Not everyone here is like what I described above.  But they are the majority.  It’s not hard to live among them, because they are so concerned about how they appear to others, that they don’t spew their hatred publicly.  It’s supposed to be a secret.  The irony is the fact that the people they put forth the most effort to hide it from are the people who are doing similar shady things.

I can walk about town without a single person mistreating me.  It’s not that they respect my basic human right to exist unharmed.  They just don’t want anyone else to see them mistreat me.  I figured this out at a young age, and decided to be amused by it.  I didn’t vote for Obama, but as I stood in line, cursing McCain for partnering with Palin, a lot of people felt the need to tell me they were voting for him.  It was like they thought since I’m black, they were obligated to tell me they were voting for Obama.  I thought it was funny at first.  Then it felt wrong, so I left.  I don’t like it when people feel they have to overcompensate in order to avoid being identified as a racist.  Nothing about that is funny.

I don’t like phoniness or lies.  I don’t like it when people use manipulation in order to try and skew reality, or in an attempt to control another human being.  The fact is that all of these behaviors lead to self loathing.  Anything gained by lying, cheating, or being phony will not present the desired result in the long run.  It will only require you to continue lying, cheating, and being phony in order to convince yourself that your misbehavior was successful or justified.  In the long run, it hurts you far more than those you prey upon with deception.

Right now, I feel a lot of pressure from society to abandon all of my autistic traits, and accept their idea of normality.  I reject this.  I have a solid basis on which I make this decision.  While I don’t expect neurotypical people to conform to my way of thinking, I don’t appreciate their efforts in doing this to me. I’m not ill.  I don’t need some form of a cure that murders some of the traits that make me who I am.  I don’t buy into these subtle ideas of treatment, special diets, and therapies as a means of improving myself.  I see them as an opportunistic way of generating income.

This is why I want a physical world where I can live my life unmolested by these ignorant vultures who think they understand autism.  I want a large acreage where autistic people can live and support one another without the interference of those who are eager to fix what isn’t a problem.  It’s a symptom that some neurotypicals suffer.  A need to make everyone like them.  It’s a pretty primitive mindset.

I’m going to pursue my choice of living in a village where the population is mostly made up of autistic people.  It won’t require people there to be autistic, nor will it shun those who are neurotypical.  It will shun those who refuse to accept us as we are.  They have no place in my world.  I don’t know yet if I will continue living in the USA.  Serving in the Army was a great way to see my country naked.  I love the American people, and I love the land where we live.  But I do not love the corrupted government.  I don’t love the fact that money is the real god here.

When I joined the Army, I was a gung ho, naive patriot by default who thought America was the best country ever.  Now, I look back at that belief with sadness.  I fell for the lies they taught us in school, just as many others do.  The truth is, there is no perfect country.  Every nation has blood on her hands, and has committed atrocities in her history that explain why ‘The Game of Thrones’ is considered entertainment.  Patriotism is another word for ignorance.  It was a painful lesson.

Now that I’m aware of the fact that nationality is irrelevant in the big picture, my views have expanded to include all of humanity.  I don’t care about the color of your skin, your religion, your gender, your sexual identity, or your neurological variety.  I care about your character.  Do you choose to be a loving person because it’s what you want to be?  Than we can connect.  It’s about what you choose, not where you happened to be born, or how you were raised, or how much money is in your pocket.  This is what makes you who you are now, and who you’ll become in the future.  This is the only thing about a person that matters to me.  These are the people I can love, learn from, and live beside.  These are the people I care about, and want in my life.  The rest are on ignore.