Fool me infinity shame on me. Fool me the last time…..

I have learned a lot over the course of my Autistic life.

Mostly about who I can and can’t trust.

Unfortunately I’ve learned that I can’t trust anyone.

After spending the entirety of my relationship life with people who were abusive and toxic, I had built up a very big wall for self protection.

After I finally succeeded in removing the last abusive one from my life (for the most part) I spent many months in a state of shock and trying to come to terms with a lot of traumatic things that then proceeded to occur directly after it.

When I started to come out of it months later and get to the point where I could start taking steps in actively repairing all the damage that had been done over many many years, I met a person who I really wanted to believe was the friend I’d never had.

Never had.

While I was taking steps to work through PTSD and a whole mess of other issues (changing my name was one big step I took. Leaving the past with my old name that was associated with all the trauma) this friend appeared to be right by my side.

The meeting was quite unexpected. I had recently made my debut into the lgbt world, and met this person on a new group I had joined on FaceBook. This group was completely out of my field of experience. I had till then only been in groups for Autistic people and those from the assistance dog community. I was used to the dynamics in those groups. I knew how they worked.

But this group was way out of my known social interactions.

Then up popped this person who I had actually known from the beginning of my Kobash Mats adventures. I hadn’t met her in the flesh but now she lived not far away.

We started to hang out. I was not used to having a friend mind you. All my social interactions were online. I had put up a guard against friends after suffering some very nasty things at the hands of people who said they were my friend.

I was still guarded. But over the months of spending time with this woman who was a personality the polar opposite to mine, I started to let that guard down.

This woman was vibrant. She was concentrated orange juice. Completely undiluted and on the go. She had suffered her own loses and traumatic events. So I felt assured that she would be able to relate to mine even if they weren’t the same.

I found myself stepping out of my comfort zones and into things I wouldn’t have been pushed into doing before.

Every now and then I would get the niggling thoughts. I’d see something that wasn’t quite right, a reaction to something, the concerns would hover just in my field of vision to torment me that things were not going to end well. I brushed them aside. Like I usually did when I really wanted to believe in something.

I hate that my mother was right.

She warned me.

But here’s me at 44 years old. I’d suffered enough. I was prepared for anything. I was an old hat and discerning.

I was a fool.

I joined an app (yes one of those apps). I was on the full go and on the mission to make new friends (and maybe something else) and get to know this whole new life I was embarking on. I was ready to push past the trauma of the past and the people who had hurt me. The friends who weren’t friends.

I started chatting to this one lady. After a slow start, one day the messages came on more and more. I thought I was being careful.

Her attention of me, and the flattery, the sweet words and the consolations, the anger at those that had hurt me and her admonition that I was safe with her, that my son was safe with her. I wanted to believe them.

Thoughts of Brian Lumleys dreamworld books with the undead pirate princess, sweet and lovely on the outside, but death and corruption and ooze just beneath the surface…….

Those are the visions that played in my mind upon hearing those words.

I thought I was being over careful. But again I didn’t listen to my instincts.

Things became intense very quickly. And the while my friend was encouraging me and pushing me, “your girlfriend this, your girlfriend that”…..We had by this time gone out a couple of times. For coffee, the movies. When valentine’s came around my friend pushed me to give this woman a gift. I wasn’t ready for that and I thought it was too soon, but she insisted and said it was the right move. She even bought me the necklace with which to give to her.

My friend asked if I wouldn’t mind if she sent this woman a friend request because she said she wanted to suss her out. I didn’t think anything of it and thought she was being protective. I thought it was sweet.

During this time my friend had been going through relationship troubles of her own. I felt so bad for her but had no idea how to help.

After a particularly troubling time there were concerns for my friend as she also had a history of suicide. And when she went quiet all of a sudden I sprung into action.

I have a horrible fear of driving on the highway. My peripheral vision is really wide, and with the constant flickering going past that field of vision and the hyper vision at the front, I get quickly overloaded to the point I can actually feel my eyes start to shut down and I panic.

But I smashed through that and drove over 40 mins down the highway in the rain (I couldn’t even see the road) just to get to my friend in the case she did something.

I don’t even know how I made it there. But I did. I told her she was coming back with me so she could hang out. She didn’t have to talk if she didn’t want to. She could drink or do whatever, but she was coming with me. I brought her back to my house where she did drink and then I drove her home. At night time. With the headlights to blind me and my vision impaired. But I did it because she was my friend.

I almost didn’t make it home. I almost died running off the road I couldn’t see anymore. But I did it. I wouldn’t have done it for anyone else.

We all hung out one afternoon and evening. It was fun. Just having a few drinks (for me it was the first drinks I’d had in years as I’m not much of a drinker and don’t like the taste). After hours of talking and just sitting on the living room floor, my friend dozing on the couch behind us, and us watching tv, she leaned over suddenly and laid one on me out of nowhere. No build up or anything just bam. I was shocked as I didn’t expect it. This was a first kiss. My mind was already whirling from the unexpectedness of it, but then she put me on the spot by pressing me as to what I thought of it. I had no idea what to say. So I fumbled and said it took me by surprise. Which it did.

Of course I started over thinking things again. My past was quite religious so thoughts of damnation were swirling through my head. I was also terrified of the thought of stringing this woman along because of the abuse from my past because I honestly didn’t know if I’d ever be able to have a physical relationship with anyone. I was really trying to force myself through that past and fighting it. One half of me wanted to take the chance that not everyone was out to hurt me. But the other half was just waiting for it to happen again.

I tried to talk to my friend about how I was feeling but I didn’t feel that she heard me.

Then a couple of weeks ago an event happened which my girlfriend (which I believed her to be by this time) actually saved the life of a young man.

Boy was I so proud of her. She was amazing. Not only was she super intelligent, but a hero as well. I bragged.

Of course up to this point we had stuck to text communication because I don’t do well on the phone. I can’t concentrate on what the other end is saying and I lose the conversation. The day after the event the gf asked if she could call me. I said yes.

She was very upset about the events following what had happened to the young man outside her apartment building, the cover up by the council and police of what had actually happened. She was ranting on the phone. But I let her. Even when my brain was struggling because she was so angry and getting more and more agitated and the energy coming through the phone was so intense. She was getting more riled up and then said she needed to calm down. I had no idea how to help her. It was late in the evening and being a single mum I couldn’t just leave my son and go over to her place. I was racking my brain trying to find was to take some of this agitation away from her.

I thought, I’ll distract her with something funny. That sometimes helps me when I’m angry and upset. Maybe that will help her.

I had the perfect funny anecdote that was fresh and I was still giggling over it. I thought that will certainly distract her so she can calm down and the be able to process things better.

Now in my Autistic mind this was the perfect thing to do. We suck up everyone’s emotions and energies and after already being overloaded by own concentrated versions of those energies, our brains just don’t cope with them and we have no idea how to help when we see someones who really needs our help.

I started to relate her the funny anecdote. I didn’t get very far before she started yelling at me over the phone. It got louder and louder. She yelled at me for pandering to idiots, she yelled at me for not picking my battles, she even started yelling at me about my sons dad and court and a whole bunch of other things totally out of nowhere.

I went into shock. I do not ever cope with being yelled at. I spent my whole relationship life being yelled at.

My brain started to shut down. I tried to interject a couple of times to make a correction or to stand up for myself, but she would just yell over me to be quiet.

The she stopped. A few more words were spoken and then she hung up after getting me to tag her in a link on fb.

I was completely stunned. I was in total shock. I started going down a ptsd spiral and I fought to not get drowned in it. But for anyone who does suffer ptsd you know it’s not that easy. And it doesn’t take much to send you into one.

The next day I battled with my brain to be able to send her a text saying it was not ok that she yelled at me. She had actually sent me one first to say she knew I was cranky at her and that she wasn’t trying to be hard on me.

I wasn’t cranky. At all. I was shocked. I sent through that I was processing to which she replied she’d leave me alone then. I  was still as I always am, afraid that I would be seen in the wrong light. So I pushed myself together to write the text in defense of myself and that it wasn’t ok what she did.

She said I was right and that she shouldn’t have yelled. I said thank you.

I was full of adrenaline and emotion. I knew that she had just had a bad event happen. I was feeling so guilty that I was going through a ptsd episode and having all these thoughts rushing through my head.

I hate playing games. And I don’t like it when people just stop communicating. So she messaged me I still responded. I couldn’t get out more than one word here and there, but I still responded. She accused me of playing games and playing the silent treatment. I defended myself and said I don’t do that, and I was actually in and out of appts with doctors and physio that day as well.

She then dropped out of contact.

The next day a post popped up on my fb feed. She was over at my friends house having drinks. Just the two of them.

I was stunned. I really was. But I was telling myself that I was being an absolute tool bag and no way anything was going on.

I called my friend to see what was up but she didn’t say anything about this woman being over there but told me to come over. So I did. I drove down the highway in peak hour traffic telling myself over and over what an IDIOT I was being.

When I got there they were having drinks and playing a game of jenga. I felt like I walked into something. But I stood there like an idiot because my brain decided to work against me. Should I sit next to the woman? What if she didn’t want me to? I got the feeling she didn’t want me sitting next to her, but she was wearing the necklace I’d given her whatif she got angry if I sat next to my friend? I went back and forth like this for what seemed like an eternity. Feeling like I an idiot. Am I standing normally? How do I put my arms? My feet? What is a body supposed to do???!

In the end I pushed myself in the woman direction. Did she just move away a little or did  imagine it? I felt this intense energy that she didn’t want me there at all. And after being there for about an hour and the feeling getting worse and worse I made an excuse and left.

I felt like a complete fool.

The next afternoon I still hadn’t heard anything from her so I made the first move and said I was sorry for being weird on the weekend.

She ignored the text.

But the next day she sent me a message saying she’d been doing some thinking and……..I hope we can still be friends.

What are else are you supposed to say to that but ok? Even if you don’t mean it? I mean all the talk of wanting to get to know my son (she sent him a friend request without even asking me), all the sweet words of what she wanted to do with me, that we’d travel, the road trips….. All stopped.

Of course all the little things that niggled at my mind started coming to the surface, remember this thing that happened that time? What about that time we all hung out and she kept moving toward my friend, that wasn’t in my imagination….I remember at the beginning of it all when she said the end of her past relationship was her fault. I had “forgotten” about that. Even when she started telling us about what a nasty person her ex was.

The inconsistencies built up. I tried to talk to my friend about it. I really wanted to talk to her about it. But she said she didn’t want to get in the middle. I was stunned. I was there for her when she was having issues with her girlfriend. I sat and listened even when she kept repeating herself because that’s what friends do.

That’s what upset me the most about the whole thing. The fact that I couldn’t even talk to my friend about it.

I sent her a detailed message about and I thought she finally heard me and that everything was ok. But now this woman is hanging around her with her. Alot.

I spoke to her about it. I asked her if there was something going on with them and she said no. But she’d video chat me and she was sitting right next to her acting like it was perfectly normal. Was it just me that gets upset by this? I posted about it on my autism group. Every single one of them told me it wasn’t in my head. They told me to delete both of them. But I didn’t because something was going to happen. I could feel it and I was worried for my friend. I thought this woman was playing games.

After calling and telling me she was coming down and we’d hang out, and I’d wait around all day, my friend wouldn’t turn up.  Then a post would pop up on my newsfeed and she and that woman were together. But my friend would tell me that she got tired early and went to sleep.

I knew something was going on. But another friend we had in common was assuring me that no way would this friend go out with her. She wasn’t like that.

Then yesterday morning I got a message. It was from that woman and she said she had something to talk to me about. Of course the adrenaline set in. I was already having a potsy day and the palpitations were wreaking havoc on me. But they amplified. I spent half an hour debating with myself on whether or not to respond. In the end I did and said, what is it?

She replied I think you can guess. I really couldn’t guess. I already “knew” that there wasn’t anything going on between her and my friend so it wasn’t that.

I replied, well my empathic abilities don’t extend to telepathy so you’ll have to tell me (smiley face).

I was standing in eb games when her reply came through.

Poodle and I are together.

BOOM!

I could feel my brain explode. I lost the ability to speak. I ran out of the shops (well I limped as fast as i could). My son knew something had happened. He asked me was I upset and I said yes. He said let me guess, they’re together?

I was stunned that he had picked up on it. My 16 year old who is also Autistic, who I thought was oblivious to this stuff had already known. I sat there blinking at him. He said, it’s ok I didn’t like them anyway.

I tried to call my friend to see if it was true. No answer. I messaged her. No answer.

Another message. I hope you can be happy for us.

I felt like I’d been punched in the face. My turned back on and I replied, what do you honestly expect to happen? I talked about all the sweet words, I said it was only one event that I didn’t react the way she expected and it was over. How did she think I’d react that she’d gone to my friend?

That was my one fear about all of this. Not that I was single again, but that I was going to lose this person who I thought was my friend over it.

But that’s exactly what happened.

The other woman then started on the attack. I have no idea what it is to be an empath. During that nasty event that happened to her all I did was force my own agenda and talk over her so she couldn’t speak.

Hang on. That’s not what happened. My memory for these things is a steel trap. I remember everything. Well I don’t remember that we’re out of toilet paper and there’s a pandemic where if you have toilet paper you’ll die from coronavirus.

But I remember all that other stuff. I can’t ever forget any of it.

I said I barely got a word out before you started yelling at me. I did the only thing I could think of at the time to try to help you calm down and I got yelled at.

She said she wasn’t going to go into it with me because, she isn’t going to let me ruin what she has with my friend….. But I’d blocked her by that time. I wasn’t going to let her play that game with me. I wasn’t going to let her gaslight me into thinking I’d been the wrong one during it all and that I saw it all wrong…..no way. Not again.

Gaslighting is an all too common occurrence for Autistics. We are a target for it because all we really want to do is help. We want to take the other person’s pain away. But when we try to defend ourselves, our over thinking minds are a prime target for gaslighting.

 

Of course during all this my friend stayed silent.

I was completely crushed.

The one best friend I’d ever had in my entire life was gone.

That is the thing that tore at me the most.

That out of all of it I saw the friendship in a way she obviously didn’t.

Our intense feelings of loyalty don’t extend to those outside of the Autistic community.

I had let myself me vulnerable to another human and it cost me. Again.

 

What has all this taught me?

To not trust anyone else. That Autistics should stick to their own kind because no matter how nice someone appears to be, no one else but our own kind will EVER understand us. I know we still have issues within our own community as there are in every other one, but at the core…..

Others will force their own agenda while accusing you of being the one doing it.

Whether be it passive aggressive or not.

I won’t be letting anyone get that close ever again.

 

 

#planetautistic

#actuallyautisticB510B941-29D8-4474-BB2E-86C9386EBB45

Processing

How does anyone else process things? Events, situations, life changes. Huge changes…..

This year has been a never end rollercoaster of just about everything. Somehow I stepped into the twilight zone and my life turned into a loop of This is the days of our lives.

This had built up over a very long time and by the end of January this year my marriage was over. It was for lack of trying either. I had never worked so hard at anything in my life. I really thought that reason and logic would prevail but in the end it didn’t. I already was no longer the person I was. Other stuff was going on there too.

By February my much loved Greyhound was dead. She got sick and just nose dived down hill. The vet used the words “internal disintegration” and that is a phrase that will forever haunt me.

My assistance dog Kobash was badly affected by how she went. Right after she did he got sick as well with a nasty skin flare up and double ear infections. He also developed anxiety about being an only dog. The stress of the first couple of months of year were taking effect. I wasn’t sleeping, was too scared to sleep. Every light in the house was on because the anxiety I get at night had kicked into hyper drive  and was kicking my arse.

The time frame for Kobash’s successor was sped up. My health had gotten to the stage where I need a mobility dog. Now I am not a short person and a mobility dog needs to be 30% of your height. But finding a large breed dog that has the abilities and qualifications to be an assistance dog is anything but easy. It also takes a long time to train and you can’t mobility training til they are fully grown so it would be past 2 years of age. So many factors all including the cost. Being limited means there was no way I could afford it.

Then I was approached by a lady who offered to donate me a pup from the next litter of dog she breeds for assistance dog work. I was stunned. Completely stunned.

I was also at the stage in my life I was starting to fully fear anything good happening at all because even with the littlest thing something really bad happened after it.

Too much to process. The dread and anxiety were with me constantly and I was just waiting for the next thing to go wrong.

I had been scouring the internet trying to find a dog suitable to foster. I had the abilty now. I wanted to foster a Greyhound in Nova’s memory but it wasn’t to be. No one would let me as I have cats. But I was confused as I had seen others fostering Greyhounds while they had cats. I also wanted Kobash to have a companion no matter for how short a time as I was trying to find anyway I could to help his anxiety. The vet wanted to put him on anti seizure medication for it but I refused it as the side effects were too great. I went another way which has since proved to show success.

The troubles with my sons dad were never ending and were escalating because my son had for the last few months flatly refused to see his father at all or ever talk to him or acknowledge his existence.

In my efforts to help them repair their relationship I set up a psychology appointment for them to talk it out. My son really balked at that idea. There was much conversation about it. He had massive anxiety about it. He finally agreed after I promised him that we would go to the pound afterward to have a look around. I told him I am not getting him a dog as I can’t afford it but we will just have a look as he was asking me if we could and the psychologist office wasn’t too far away.

The appointment went horribly. My son refused to even verbally speak to his father and would just text me. His dad spent the whole session telling us that I have no idea how to raise an autistic child as I am also autistic (……) and then comparing him to other kids (all of one child he actually knows) who does sports and  stuff and why isn’t his son like that?

So off to the pound we went. It was afternoon. I don’t do well in the afternoon. I really start wearing down, my ability to process information isn’t as good, my pain levels go up, I hadn’t eaten lunch and the lack of sleep was a constant hover.

After repeating the “not buying a dog”, my son made a bee line for one enclosure. One. The dog inside made a beeline for him and only him. It plastered itself against the cage mesh and tried to morph itself in to my son.

So naturally that dog came out for a play. I was talking with the staff about fostering, Kobash had started playing with this dog named Han ( I really wanted to foster a girl if possible as I like to keep a balance at home). It was the perkiest I’d seen Kobash in ages. He was really enjoying himself playing with this giant pup who they said was a wolfhound mix and just 6 months old. He was the same size as Kobash.

This was where my boy started the pressure. It was pressure I could not take. I was so tired. I was standing there watching them together, this giant puppy following my son around like his shadow and then darting off to play with Kobash. The staff member was giving me the details about how this pup had been dumped and I was looking at this fuzzy face giving me the “eyes”. You know the eyes? The ones that make you go aww and give them whatever they want? Well this dog is a genius at it.

I was so tired. I was so hungry. I was in pain. I wanted to sit down. The staff member and my boy took good advantage of this condition and pushed further. Now I didn’t think anything would come of it. I had no money. At all. I was lucky to have enough fuel to get home which was over an hour away. It was really getting late as well. There were mosquitoes everywhere and I just wanted to go home. So I said, look I’ll call grandpa and see if he will loan me the money.If he said no then that was it and there was nothing I could do.

Well guess what cooperative person said he’d loan me the money?? I was not expecting it. I was fully expecting him to say a flat out no. Then I could home and eat and collapse.

But he said yes. Sigh. I had screwed myself over with that one. I don’t break promises. I do what I say.

So then I spent the next 2 hours filling out paperwork, the pup had an infection of something and had to be vet checked, this had to be signed that had to be signed, the rest is a blur and we were going home with another dog when I had no intention of it.

Now I had at some point intended to get my son a dog. He has his own issues but I wanted to wait till he was older to get him an assistance dog of his own. And this was the only way it would work out. If this dog became an assistance dog. He appeared to have some potential in the regard.

But it was a wait and see. I had no idea how he’d work out.

I had a 2 week trial period. And man were those 2 weeks hell. Issues arose. He was not good with cats like I’d been told. He had food anxiety which was displaying as aggression. He had separation anxiety and we went out he trashed the house. I really thought he’d be going back. I had a lady come and do emmett therapy sessions on him and behavior stuff and she regarded him as a foster dog because I really honestly thought he’d be going back to the pound. More of this dogs story came out and why he had the issues he did. I figured by this stage if he wasn’t going to stay then he would go to a foster place or we’d foster till another more suitable home was found. So much work went into him. And money too.

I had been put onto a dog training place that actually allowed me to pay off classes. These trainers are excellent. They helped me to see Jonah (as he was now named) for what he is. Just anxious. Just adjusting. Still growing. Logic and reason were still in there somewhere.

He was going to stay.

He is the smartest dog. He is so in tune with my son and they have such a connection that it’s like they are each other in dog and boy form. And both just as gassy. He is hyper aware of everything that goes on around him. He’s is a giant.

During all this life was still kicking my arse. My business Kobash Mats was being attacked and slandered which still does not compute. I mean I make work mats for assistance dogs. I don’t much for it financially and it all goes back into the mats. I will never break even. It mostly comes out of my pocket. But I liked the fact that I was helping other handlers in some small way. Making work mats for their special dogs. So when it all got attacked it really threw me. I was just about ready to give up everything.

I had a huge falling out with my mother that was long time coming and another story altogether. My central nervous system was so screwed up I was seeking the most extreme ways to regulate it.

I was a step away from really hurting myself. Not the bad kind where you end up dead. There is no way I’d ever do that. Ever.

But I wanted the screaming in my body and my brain to stop. Too much was going on, I was having autistic burnout and shut down and break down. My ability to cop was shattering. My hyper senses had gone up to another dimension and everything was up in mega volume.

I got a tattoo. The sharp feeling on my skin shocked my central nervous system like banging on a tv to make it work.

It didn’t last long though.

Then my car died. Completely died. There was no way for it to be fixed. I knew this was the case and was coming for ages. But then I got abused by one lady who accused me of only saying no to any suggestion she offered and she cut herself from me. I thought she was a friend. In fact all the people I thought who would possibly help me if it came down to it completely backed off. they were all connected to my mother. I had no way of leaving the house. My physical condition means I can’t catch a bus ( I can’t even read the time table it may as well be in french). Taxis are expensive. i can’t catch Ubers everywhere. We missed the last dog training class as I had no way of getting there and we can’t even get to a back up class. He didn’t graduate.

I’m still getting abusive texts from the ex husband and he off spreading all sorts of rumors about me to anyone who will listen.

Are you tired from reading all that?

There is no way I’ll ever get a car as being on a pension I can’t get a loan and couldn’t even pay it off if I did. It’s so fun being stuck here (no it’s really not).

I have struggled for many years over who I am. I know I’m autistic and I have no struggle with that. I also recently found out I have ADHD, OCD, social agoraphobia, extreme anxiety……..Not depression though. Just all the other stuff. I thinking about trialing adhd meds and hoping it might help the executive dysfunction.

I had also been freaking out about how to make a really long trip to meet a possible pup. I don’t travel well. Yes I had before in the past but I did not do well. Now going I don’t fly so I had to find other methods of transport. All of which would take two days and I would have to stop midway or really suffer the consequences. It was going to cost a fortune and I also had no car. I also couldn’t find anyone to come with me.

Then circumstances changed yet again. Kobash’s successor won’t be happening any time soon over a situation I can’t do anything about. I won’t go into the details. But I was left with the inability to defend myself and my situation again. Of yet again being viewed as something I’m not and being helpless to do anything about it.

But I’m too tired to defend myself. I have spent my whole life defending myself from being seen as something I am not. If anything I’ve been accused of being too honest for my own good. And I’ve always been a chronic oversharer.

But I can’t, and have no ability to change anyone’s mind about any of that. I  am constantly waiting for the next bad thing to happen. I had not being talking about the pup or any details behind it because I was honestly afraid if I did it would go poof.

In the end I don’t have to freak out about travel anymore. I really don’t think I would have coped with such a long trip. The only thing I am really upset about is being seen as something I am not. One thing my life and especially this year have taught me is that no matter how hard I try or what I do I never have closure over anything of the things that have happened to me.

Yes I should move on. But any other autistic person out there can tell you that is easier said than done when our brain will hold on to every single little thing with a ferocity and fierceness that nothing can match. We suck it all up. And we fight so hard to process it all. Just processing every day is a struggle as it is without the drama of life being tossed on top. Processing words and conversation. Processing the environment we are in. The weather. The pebble in our shoe. The way some person blinked us at a shopping centre back in 1985. It’s all there. And there is no closure which would make moving on more of a possibility.

I’m definitely not processing this year at all.

And this year has taught me that I can complain really well. I’ve gotten really good at it. I’ve also gotten really good at being constantly frustrated. The one safe stim I had of driving my manual car with my music blaring is gone. Life has become one ludacris event after another. I am stuck in the outer limits in a never ending episode of this is the days of our lives.

I still don’t sleep.

reciprocate

bunnyhopscotch

100T6240e cropped I dance because I cannot walk…

Should a disabled person have to apologise for not performing according to ableist constructs?

Should a wheelchair user apologise for not zipping up steps and not running marathons?

Should a deaf person apologise for using sign language instead of the spoken vernacular?

Should a blind person apologise for feeling, touching, smelling and listening to the world instead of seeing the way the sighted do?

Why, then, should an Autistic person apologise for not performing to normative social standards?

Who writes the librettos? Who pens the symphonic blue prints?

Look me in the eye!

Don’t stare at me for goodness’ sake!

Sing when you’re told to sing.

Stop singing when you’re told not to sing.

Do not flap, you look silly!

You need to learn to self regulate!

You’re crying for nothing again.

Can’t you see I’m hurting, how insensitive can you be?

All the world’s…

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Goodbye to Real Food Kitchen

I know it might sound a little silly. Saying goodbye to a cafe. And for those who don’t know me and my boy I could understand that confusion. But for us, it was literally the only place anywhere that we could actually eat something. Because of our intolerances and allergies and my stupid health, it was impossible finding anywhere that met all of our requirements.

Till we found The Real Food Kitchen.

When we first found it was called the Paleo Cafe. Around that time we had basically switched to paleo (for lack of a better word) and I’d given up ever finding anywhere where we could ever eat out again. It had already been 5 years since the last time we had. And I was thoroughly sick and tired of having to cook I can tell you.

After driving past several times I finally psyched myself up enough to go it. I was with my boy the first time we went. Of course me being the giant chicken that I am with trying anything new and always scared to because of one reaction or illness after another, I thought I’d try the coffee first. Other than remembering the feel of a burnt tongue the memory that stuck with me was the look on my sons face when he was brought out his drink. A giant iced chocolate. His eyes grew 10 times the size including his smile and that drink lasted all of 10 seconds too and was gone in a slurp of the straw.

The chocolate brownie didn’t last long either.

Our visits there became more frequent. Usually on a Thursday when I had my support worker with us. At first it was just because I wanted my son to be able to know there was a nice place for us. Then it became about the coffee for me. For a long time that’s all I had there, The first thing I had to eat was the brownie. Warmed up with whipped coconut creme. It was just like eating a hot chocolate cake! Of course I went back for more. And oh my goodness the chocolate caramel brownie cake!

Over the past few years it wasn that cafe that became my place to escape to when things were bad at home or I needed to have time to myself. It was my son’s and my special place. And we got attached to the people there. It might not have been the most quiet of places. Many times a screaming kid drove me out or had me scrambling for my head phones. But I knew that it was a safe place for me. It was my spot.
I spent many Saturday or Sundays when my boy was at his dad’s, sitting at my favourite table with my coffee and sweet potato chips, watching the world go by, feeling the breeze and smelling the salt from the beach just  down the road. In summer when it was so hot it could melt concrete, the breeze from the ocean, and the over hanging trees were a welcome escape. It was my spot. It was my son’s and my spot.

I don’t think anyone will ever understand how special that was to us.
Being autistic its so important for us to have our safe places. Our bolt holes. For me it’s supposed to be home. But most of the time thats not the case. The amount of times I went out when I was in so much pain either physically or emotionally, just to go to my special place, exposing myself to more overload and more than likely more pain when I should have stayed at home, I’ve lost count. It was my routine for the last 3 1/2 years.

I’ve been bracing myself for over a year now since the boys at the cafe first told me of their plans to sell. But as the months went by I pretended that everything was ok and that they’d always be there. They just had to be. Now I completely understand why they needed to, if I think logically. The boys have been through such a hard time trying to keep things running. But the way the world works……..
Unfortunately being autistic I also react emotionally to change. I don’t cope with it well.
I’m not coping well now. I’ve spent the rest of today, their last day, editing a video of how special that place was to me. My boy was quite upset today at having to miss out on the last day as he was with his dad.

It was just me alone today.

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I don’t know if that was a good thing or not. Maybe it was. I know the kaleidoscope of emotions I’m going through will take some weeks to process as I’ve spent the time leading up to this day trying to be strong for my boy. Trying to be positive that will be other places that we can go to. Even though inside the both of us are skeptical about it and pessimistic.

I am grateful though to have the sense memory that I have. I will always remember the smell of the coffee. Always remember taking that first sip, that first smell that went straight to my brain and woke me up. The first sip I could feel opening up the blood vessels in my neck and up into my head and would ease the headaches or neck pain I get. I always knew by smell who made the coffee, and I’m pretty sure the new guys would always dread me coming and rating I’d give them hahaha.

We were spoilt too much there so its even harder to let it go.

It was our spot.

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It was my spot.

We’ll miss you guys. Thanks so much for looking after us. I hope the next stage in your adventure brings you much happiness.

I’m too hard.

I don’t know about other auti’s out there, but I’m finding it more and more difficult to hide the feels I get when other people find me too “difficult” or too hard to handle just because I’m autistic and I have chronic health issues.

Its frustrating.

I didn’t ask for the super sensitivities and need for things to be a certain way like my life depended on it. I didn’t ask for the sense of smell so powerful I can smell a flea’s fart. And hear it too.

I would dearly love to be able to go out without the need for someone to be with me. To go to the movies and enjoy it without going deaf from how loud it is or get sick because someone decided to bathe in Lynx that day.

I’m tired of not being able to eat what ever I like.

I’m tired of feeling like all I ever do is complain.

I don’t think people realise how embarrassing to have to share your medical history or other issues with strangers just so you can get support. I hate that I have to have support. And I hate having to listen to people talk about issues that I’m having just so I can get support, especially if they relaying the wrong information because they’re too embarrassed by having to explain it.

And even though I hate having attention drawn to me, and that is one of the reasons why I have an assistance dog, I end up having attention drawn to me because of him. Which is funny.

It’s funny because I have turquoise and purple hair and an undercut but its still Kobash that draws the most attention.  1EE19A4F-E18E-4D3A-87A2-827EF964BF11

 

Side track: At the earth markets the other week and this couple were standing in the same position for like 10 minutes just starting at us. Dog, me, dog, me, dog, me……. I turned to my husband and whispered loudly “its so weird they’re staring like that, how rude is it??”They must have heard because they started moving.  I turned to try to go down another aisle to avoid them but they separated with the guy going one way and the woman another. Dread feels. I’d have to past one of them. The guy approached me and asked about patting Kobash and I said no, you can’t pat a working assistance dog or distract them.He mumbled something and stood back and continued to stare.  I could see the woman out of the corner of my eye waiting to see if she could come and pat the dog. The guy continued to stare at us until I finally couldn’t handle it anymore and said “please stop staring at us. You’re making me uncomfortable”. Thankfully he backed off and went to his wife.

I have to deal with instances like that the majority of times I go out.

I’m finding myself less tolerant of it. And I’m ranting a lot about it too which can’t be just annoying me 😛

Being autistic I really find people staring or drawing any kind of attention to myself completely anxiety inducing, and would much rather jam a cattle prod in my eye than deal with it.

Yes, it is ironic that I hate that and yet I have purple and green hair. I’m aware of the irony.

I love irony.

I don’t love stares.

Anyway……The reason for this rant, which I must type out because I’m actually fighting a melt down, is the being slapped in the face again with the realisation that people find me too hard to deal with.

Too accomodate. To get to know….

We were planning an outing. Its one we do every year. The stress alone of the travel and having to get ready in time and then the sensory overload from it has me recovering for days after. And with my health getting worse wreaking a heavier toll on me each year. But the outing is good. The program is always excellent. Up building. But because of my worsening health, my sensory issues are so exaggerated now and I’m so sensitive to  everything, and my executive functioning is so much worse that the build up to this outing is causing me to freak out. I spent $30 at the physio to get my back taped up just so I could handle having to sit all day. The only thing that was enabling me to be able to go was being able to sit in one section of the hall. Only one. I have to have a wall behind me because I can’t handle people sitting behind me. I can heard them breathing and chewing and blinking and whispering….I am incapable of tuning it out. The light from the curtain-less windows shines in and blinds me even with my irlen lenses (which need adjusting) so my eyes get heavy and then I’m fighting to stay awake. The fact that people drench themselves in enough perfume or hairspray to last 3 people a 1000 years and the face mask I have is powerless against it. The sounds of candy wrappers and chewing gum, and babies crying and everyone talking and breathing and the sound system up so loud I’m surprised Uruguay hasn’t called in a noise compliant. All that to deal with. And then the car ride up (an hour and a half drive) and back again on the highway I have a phobia about (I Know. How weird is it have a phobia of highways? But I see everything and my brain is doing the worst case scenario of that truck driver going over the sped limit having a blown tyre and then……yeah I’ll stop now). And then recovery time. But I can’t make it if I can’t get that special spot up the back of the hall. Right next to the sound booth (so if its too loud I can maybe ask them to wind it down a little so I don’t feel like my skull will burst) where I have a shield from the windows on that side and far enough away from the windows to combat sun blindess. Right next to a door for a speedy exit.

But then being told its too hard to save those seats and it was a battle even trying to save other ones last year. Why don’t I wait and see whats there when we come up and if those seats are gone then you can always go home……. Even after having to embarrass myself by explaining the reasons why.

Because its too hard.

Or is it just me?

I need a coffee.

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Neuro-cultures.

I wake up every morning and make sure my son is getting himself organised for the day, getting his breakfast, shower, teeth etc, prodding him along when he gets distracted (which is all the time), all while trying to get myself organised and breakfast ready (all before coffee mind you). Its not an easy task to get ready for the day. Why? Because executive dysfunction sucks big time. And both my boy and I have difficulties with it.

We each have our own strengths and weaknesses as Autistic humans. But I don’t tend to focus on the “weaknesses” of our neuro-culture. I don’t get up everyday and put my boy through hours of ABA or other type therapies. I don’t subject him to all the so called “treatments” that they put our kids through in the effort to purge them of being autistic.

I actually love my boy the way he is. He was born this way for a reason. I was born this way for a reason. To see the world differently. To experience it in ways that others sadly lacking our neurology will never understand or experience. See more colours, feel emotions so intensely. Move with the rhythm that the world around us has like a boat bobbing on the waves of the sea.

Yes the world around us can loud, and too bright, and too in your face. Yes it can overload us and cause us to shut down or meltdown or close ourselves off. But if I had the choice to be anything other than what I am would I?

No. Immediate. Resolutely. Undeniably no. I would never give up seeing and feeling things the way I do. To enjoy the little things so much I flap and jump or skip. To see my son laugh so full bodily to anything that strikes his funny bone. So completely and enjoyably. I would never give that up.

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Yes this world frustrates me to the point of apoplexy, the way most “normal” people treat us, see us, abuse us. Why they don’t see that they are different too. That they have the same issues that we have (if at a different scale). Why are we the only ones to have to suffer all the therapies and treatments? Do their children not also have social issues and have to put up with peer pressure and bullying? Do they not also feel like the odd one out or alone or find it hard to make friends? YES they do.

SO if this is the case why are we the ones that are “wrong’? Why is our existence so bad that you would force your children to suffer electro shock therapy? Chelation therapy? Bleach enemas? You think your child enjoys all that? Why are we the ones used for fodder for comedy shows? Does it make any sense?

No.

It doesn’t.

So I go about my day making it through the best I can when it wasn’t built with us in mind. I love and care for my son the way any good parent would love and care for their child, without restraint or limitations. Because to me regardless of this culture, his neuro-culture, he’s a human being. I am a human being.

Forgiveness.

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It’s not easy to forgive people sometimes.

Ok, most of the time. You make a mistake and your first instinct is to either pretend that it didn’t happen, or or you cover it up, or you make excuses, or the worst thing….blaming someone else for you mistake.

I’m not saying unforgiving that that I make mistakes…..ok I make mistakes.

In my journey of Autistic self reflection I’ve come to learn things about myself. Not all of them I like either.

I’ve learned recently that while I will rant and wail at people being un-apologetic about their faux pars and down right nasty wrong doings, I never really looked at it from the angle pointing to me.

Now most of the times when I make a mistake I will take the blame for it and admit my wrong doings, almost to the point where I actively take pleasure in taking the blame. Weird I know. I am currently working on the root of that strange trait.

BUT!

I’m not always so forth coming in admitting my mistakes. If I am currently in the process of being at logger heads with someone I find it reeeeeeeaaaaaaalllllllllyyyyy hard to admit my fault in the argument. Like, really hard. And it will make me angry having to say sorry, especially if I’m not the only one to stuff up.

Meanwhile I will rant and wail at someone else’s faults if they don’t even make the effort to apologise.

I also learned thatI find it hard to forgive. This goes against my beliefs too. Being a spiritual person I know that God can’t forgive us we aren’t going to be forgiving of someones wrongs.

Now if my son stuffs up and says sorry (he has the same compulsive sorry trait that I do) I forgive him. If my husband says sorry then I find myself hesitating at forgiving him. In some way I think it’s a pride thing, but there seems to be another factor to it as well that I am trying to figure out.

Being Autistic I work my logic and reasoning things through. I can also be very black and white about somethings while being very loose about others. One of things I am black white about it people admitting when they’ve a mistake and saying sorry for it. Especially if their wrong is directed at me.

 

The back story of the position I am in right now goes thusly. I won’t name names. Maybe one day the person who this is about will read this blog post things might change. But until then……… (Take into account I have left out a LOT of information and tried to keep it generalised.)

This person I have known most of my life. And for most of my life I have copped the brunt of her wrong doings and unwillingly taken the blame for her mistakes. I was the one blamed for all the bad things that happen in her life. I was stolen from, had lies told about me, was bullied…..the list goes on and there are too many stories and examples and details of things that going into it all would take a novel. The whole could be a novel (or a tele novella) its dramatic enough.

A couple of years ago everything finally blew up. I could no longer tolerate the hypocrisy in the relationship and finally took a stand. In a small way. Knowing the flack I would cop if I blocked her from FaceBook I altered my settings so that no more of my current posts could be seen by her unless I specifically tagged in her them. I did it this way because the back lash I would cop for blocking or deleting her would be far worse. But in the mean time I wouldn’t be able to see her posts on my feed either.

Well didn’t that just blow up in my face.

And it blew up big. This action resulted in me receiving multiple messages from family members and her ranting about how I had blocked her (I made the tweak to her daughters page only because I knew this person would still see me through that page. But in no way did I block, I just tweaked and they could still see my page and past posts if they looked) from my page and I was the most horrible person in the world. I came with exactly what I had done and why. But it made no difference. I was the bad guy again. Because I was trying to protect myself. In the end I was blocked from their page and they blocked my son as well. Since then my son was unblocked. I eventually had to block this persons phone number because the texts were causing such stress. Lots of blocking on going here.

I haven’t spoke to this person since then. And while I no longer have that drama in my life I am still copping the flack from it all from other people. Over the two years that have passed since I have been working on my anger over this issue because I know how damaging holding onto anger can be. But its very hard when the whole issue is constantly thrown up in my face.

My autistic brain holds on things that can’t be resolved. It takes a long time before my brain can shuffle through every aspect of an unresolvable problem before it will let it go. The fact that I am almost 43 and only recently been putting my traumatic school years behind me can testify to that.

I want to let this issue go. But the longer that time goes by and the more it is shoved in my face the harder and angrier I become. I hate being angry. It sits like a heavy ball in my chest filling me with adrenaline and I can almost feel it eating me away. Its a physical emotion. And I hate it.

In the two years that have gone by more and more I see where I was the one who made the first attempt at reconciliations, at seeing to her welfare. In that time I lost a family member and the stress of it all caused me physical pain and anguish (I feel emotions very intensely. Like each one is an active force that physical impacts on me). I ended up developing neuralgia and was in and out of hospital for other issues as well for over a year. But nothing from this person. No enquiries to my welfare. In the mean time I am given all manner of excuses for this person actions.

Now here is what my brain rationalises. If you are sorry for something, really sorry, it wouldn’t matter if your number was blocked, you could email. Write a letter. Come over, SOMETHING to show you cared and were repentant. But I got nothing. I am still copping flack for everything and being the one taking the blame. I often wonder if its because its just easier to blame the Autistic person because they don’t really understand everything anyway and they’ve got the whole mess mucked up in their minds (Yes I am being sarcastic).

Yes that happens to me more than I care to count.

That is the attitude I have had to always deal with. I can’t have an actually issues with something because I am always the one to blow it up out of proportion.

I see everything. I see the way things are. But most of the time I have learned to keep quiet because I know the ableist attitude that most people have.

I think I diverged a tad.

The whole point of this blog post was about forgiveness and repentance.

I have gotten to the stage with this issue that if this person were to come to my door with a repentant attitude, would I invite this person in with forgiveness in my heart?

At the moment the answer is no. At first it would have been yes. But so much time has passed now and so many excuses made and my anger at it all being shoved in my face weekly has driven me to the point where if this person did show up at my door my first instinct would be to slam it shut.

I am very black and white about things. Forgiveness is one of those things. You can’t forgive someone who isn’t sorry.

Its a big issue this whole forgiveness thing. We humans, whether Neurotypical or Autistic or Neurodivergent are all at our cores the same. We hesitate to being forgiving while we demand it from others. We push against saying sorry, but if no one says it to us then we wail. At our cores, no matter what you are, we are all the same. I don’t thing anyone is 100% automatically forgiving of anyone else. I never really thought about it in relation to me until this issue came up. I used to think that because I am autistic and so different that I wouldn’t have the same weakness as most. See I so know when to admit when Im wrong. I can get a high and mighty attitude to at times. And this is one issue who core I am very familiar with. BUT I am working on it.

I don’t think I will ever be able to be forgiving if someone isn’t sorry, but the other weaknesses I’m working on 😛

I think in the end everyone needs to work on their own failings and not look so hard at someone else’s. And admit what those weaknesses are. Its only then that those things will loss their strength and we will win.

Did I diverge again?

 

 

Photo for the sillies. IMG_1931

I don’t bite

Its not difficult to get to know me. I don’t bite (ok so I bit one guy once, but to be fair he was a dentist so that doesn’t count), I’m not going to punch you in the face if you talk to me. And I won’t run screaming.

And yet for some reason, people avoid me. They only give cursory greetings and maybe a wave as they continue to walk past me. That is, the people I am familiar with. Most others who don’t know anything about me are  not a problem.

There is a problem. But what was it? I’ve spent a long time going over this in my head Autistic fashion. I am always polite. I am courteous. Yes when I get excited all attempts at voice modulation goes out the window. I speak faster than a locomotive, hate small talk and only do deep and meaningfulls, flap my hands and clap when I’m happy or in anticipation, rant at anything that I see is unjust or wrong, and stare at my phone instead of you face  when having a conversation.

I’m not difficult to get to know. I tell it like it is. My words don’t have a double meaning to them. It’s illogical to me to say one thing when I mean something else and I don’t understand anyone who does that. Being verbal takes up so much mental and physical energy that to not be upfront is irrational.

So why do people avoid me?

As an Autistic I have spent my whole life trying to “pass” in society. Its taken its toll on me and caused a large amount of pain and I have gotten to the point where I don’t do that anymore. I was always the one to make first contact even though the thought of approaching a person and initiating conversation made me want to roll up like an armadillo. I was the one who invited people for coffee or to “hangout”. I was the one to chase people up when they forgot or to remind so they wouldn’t forget. Of course there was the odd occasion when someone else would say “hey, why don’t go to this place and have a beverage sometime or on this day next week?” And then I was the one to call and confirm and remind. I got tired. And I started thinking. What would happen when I stopped doing all of that?

Nothing. Not one…thing…..happened. I learned very fast that the only reason I ever did any socializing at all was because I was the one doing all the work. And once I stopped, so did everyone else. Those times when someone else would ask to meet up on some occasion were just empty words when I stopped.

I went through a range of emotions and thoughts about all of this. One side I know that other people have lives and everyone is going through some kind of hardship or troubles. But the on the other hand when you speak to me I will take you literally. I don’t understand or automatically realize that what you are saying is just one of those things like ‘Hi how are you?” when you really don’t want to know how I am you’re just using small talk.

It was a painful slap to the face this realization.

I came across and article last week that explained it all (I will put the link at the bottom of this post). The piece is about 3 studies that were done that suggest that our social issues aren’t a result of our neurology but actually down to neurotypical’s views of us than anything else. Once a person became aware of our Autism their attitudes and behavior toward us changed…

In other words, they found that an important contributor to social and communication problems stemmed not from the autistic individuals, but rather from the neurotypical reactions, based on (by definition) exclusionary social attitudes and first impressions, which led to a decreased drive to interact with autistic individuals. That is to say, neurotypicals tend to decide, within moments of meeting autistic people, that autistic people are less worth socialising with than neurotypicals..

It was a fascinating article and I am interested to see if anymore study is done on this.

I have my answer. though it stings. But when I bump into someone I know while I am out and about with Kobash, when they brush past me like they didn’t see me, or I get a drive by hi while they keep going, it’s hard in those instances to stay polite and not be sarcastic when all I really want to do is raise my voice and yell “Whats so scary about me??” (yes I am aware of the irony of that statement) And the worst part is that I see it happening to my boy too.

Do these realisations make me want to hide my neurology in the to eliminate these issues? Hell no. I will never hide who I am. I’ve worked to hard to get to where I am to give up. I’m not completely alone. There are those that actually know me for what I am and they don’t run screaming in the opposite direction 😂 Those that know my boy too.

For all intents and purposes I look perfectly for you definition of the word ‘normal”.  Till you see the dog in assistance dog vest by my side. I might be wearing my Autism World Domination t-shirt, my irlen lenses perched on my nose to stop the light from blinding me. Marks of my minority.

At the moment I am still working on my anger. And I do have some anger about this. But I am also frustrated and sad. I have had to take a step back for my own sake and ignore it. I don’t have any hope that things like this will change any time soon. And they won’t until people perceptions of  us change. And that will be a long time yet.

https://intersectionalneurodiversity.wordpress.com/2017/11/19/new-research-suggests-social-issues-are-down-to-neurotypicals-more-than-autistics/

When are we enough?

I’ve spent all day knowing I need to write something but not knowing how to start. I’ve got so much going on in my head that the need to get some of it down in written form is almost crucial to life itself.

My whole life I have tried. At everything. Being autistic meant that I had to try harder than everyone else at everything. Being a person. Thinking about other persons. Having facial expressions (I would practise that in front of my bathroom mirror to the point I felt like an idiot thinking,what was I doing it for?) Holding inane small talk in conversations. Toning it down. Being quite. Not talking because when I did actually talk which was what people wanted I talked too much and over shared or went on a monologue about a favourite topic. Be normal. Make friends. No not that way this way. It’s not enough. It’s never enough. You can try harder. Harder. HARDER!

When will it be enough? When will I be enough?

I spent my whole life knowing no matter what I did it wouldn’t be enough. With family or boyfriends, work, anything. I felt like I drifted around like leaf litter in a river being washed around, occasionally coming into contact with the bank and hard ground and life.

When I finally knew the reason why I struggled and that I wasn’t built to function the same as everyone else around me, it still took me years to learn, to want to learn, why that was so.

I was so happy when I did finally start learning more. That I wasn’t deficient or wrong and that this is how I was built to work. I took on life with a whole new perspective. Now I had the answers and as time went on those answers would become more refined.

It I still kept trying (chameleon) always trying because that was how I’d spent the majority of life up to now. It was programmed into me. Like a default switch that I couldn’t turn off. And the trying was slowly wearing me down. Trying to be something and someone I’m not.

The questions would arise: Why am I trying so hard? Why isn’t anyone else trying? Why is it so hard? Even though I had these answers I was still living the life I’d been pushed into like that square peg into a round hole. I didn’t fit. Like downloading android apps onto an iPhone. You know it’s not going to work, but by the slim chance you can get them on there they will never function properly and will end up taking the whole system down.

Because doctors will be doctores, and psychologists will be psychologists, I’d had one form of anti depressant prescribed to me on and off for years. Trying to medicate the autism out of me which also wasn’t going to work. All they did was numb me. They took away my natural defences and abilities and left me vulnerable to manipulation and abuse.

I have many scars.

7 years ago I managed to finally get away from it all. And it was like my hyper senses before were in hyper sleep like in a deep space travel movie, or waters trapped behind a damn that suddenly burst. I think it was both. Because when all that rubbish was purged from my system my senses woke up. They burst out of me from nothing to everything. From 0-100 kilometres an hour. Here I was in my mid 30’s having sensory experiences for the first time since I could remember and I was now faced with having to learn how to control them (yeah because that was going to be easy). I still feel sometimes like a character in a superhero movie who has been suddenly endowed all these powers and now has to learn how to use them or else.

I smell everything, hear too much, see too much, feel too much. Like Dorothy going from black and white Kansas to technicolor Oz. And the older I get the more acute it all becomes. The more sensitive to the point that I feel that if gets any more sensitive I’d hear it if the moon farted. And smell it too.

My son also laughed at that analogy.

Finding the autism women’s group I became apart of was so incredible. I felt like I found a home. A place where I didn’t have to try anymore because they all liked me just the way I was. I could be me.

But who was me? What was I? Who was Elle?

With everything going on in my life, all the troubles, all the pain both physical and mental, the turmoil the anguish the GAH! This year something inside of me snapped. It took that latest fight, that latest misunderstandings, that latest need to defend myself again….. I couldn’t do it anymore. I took a step back to get a breath and examine it all. My life. The people in it. Where I was. I was going through all these changes. I felt like everything was changing. (There was shifting in the force)

I was alone, metaphorically speaking. I had reached the end of….no broken the tether. With all the trying over all the years I saw the same pattern. I was doing all the work. I was the one who had to change. I was the one who wasn’t enough. I still couldn’t participate in a conversation at 42 without being told to be quite.

(snap)

It took me almost going into autistic shut down to finally wake up and see that I, for my own health and well-being HAD to stop. So I stayed in that step back. And waited to see what would happen. The realisations and what I learned in that step back both broke my heart and crushed the last of my hope. That unless I tried. That unless I did the work, no one else would.

So I stopped trying. But in my hurt and pain and frustration, I became angry. It wasn’t until the other night that I realised how angry I was. I’d shoved it down so hard. So now I have fight being cynical and pessimistic and negative (oh my!)

Even though I stopped, I still get the urge to defend myself when someone inevitably misreads me or misunderstands me (I’m not speaking Klingon or something am I) which happens quite a lot (I’m autistic I’m not a bitch!). My facial expression won’t be right. My tone is too harsh. My voice to loud. I didn’t think to ask how someone was. You have to understand other people. Everyone is going through a hard time you just have to try harder…….all those words hurt me. Can’t you see they hurt me? Can’t you see that I’m suffering too? That I have my own pain to deal with? No. Because I don’t see how it is. I don’t have the empathy or connectivity to other humans to be able understand properly. I’m not normal.

Yes I know from all these words how full of it all I’ve become. But I can’t keep holding out my hand only to have it ignored or smacked away.

It’s not hard to get to know me. I don’t bite. Yes I’m blunt and matter of fact. Yes I’m right almost 100% of the time and it’s annoying. Yes I need to have things a certain way to be able to function smoothly. Yes when I get passionate about a subject my voice modulation is beyond my control along with my facial expressions and physical movements so I look more like I’m agitated than happy. I’m intense. I hate small talk and will actively avoid it wherever possible. Yes I will tell you stop whistling or cracking your fingers. I will tell you if that dress you’re wearing is ugly or your hair cut unflattering. I won’t remember to ask how you’re doing if you’ve been sick unless you ask me to specifically. I will tell you if you’re being an idiot. I have an intense sense of justice.

But I’m loyal. I am fiercely loyal. Until you break my trust and than I will have no feeling for you other than as a fellow living creature.

I am passionate. I’m eccentric and quirky. I have such intense empathy that I feel physical pain when I see an animal run over or someone hurt to the point I have to shut it off. My memory is looooooooooooooong (yes I will remember that time you were wrong and I was right)….. The pluses outweigh the negative. It’s not hard to find them if you try.

But I’m not waiting anymore.

I started seeing other kids do the same to my boy. But I’ve learned from the mistakes of the past, yes I know they were well meant but they were damaging. Now I’m teaching my boy how to function with the abilities he was given. Body language over facial expressions. No he doesn’t need to make eye contact or shake hands or hug someone he doesn’t want to. Yes be polite have manners and think of other people but don’t let that compromise the person he is. We aren’t wrong we are another culture. A neuroculture.

It might be a while before I’m done processing everything that’s happened this year let alone the events of the past. It might be awhile before the feelings of cynicism and frustration fade (I wish they’d hurry up).

I guess I’m still trying in some ways, just not in the ones that hurt me anymore.

I’m autistic. I’m not what you think you see.