Words Mean Things…

I have a challenge for you this week. Take a piece of paper and a small pencil or pen with you or open a notepad app on your phone… I want you to keep track of every time YOU use one of the following words:
– crazy
– daft
– deranged
– derp
– dumb
– feeble
– handicapped/handicapable
– idiot/idiotic
– imbecile
– insane/insanity
– lame
– loony/lunatic
– mad/madhouse/madman
– manic
– maniac
– mental/mental case (
– moron/moronic
– nuts
– OCD (to describe a need to do something a certain way/being rigid)
– psycho/psychopath/psychopathic/psychotic
– retard/retarded (anything ending in -tard)
– short bus
– spaz/spazzy
– special needs
– stupid/stupidity
– suffers from (with regard to a disability)
– wack/wacko

These are all terms I’ve heard/read in the last 24 hours alone. I will join you in this challenge and I’ll be super honest about it. Next Sunday, I’ll take a tally and we’ll meet back here to compare notes. Deal?

Why am I doing this? Because on the personal Facebook page, belonging to the vocalist of one of my favorite bands, he tends to post a lot of political stuff. I like politics and get involved in discussions fairly frequently. Unfortunately, that vocalist uses words like “retarded” and “idiot” and moron” …a lot. So do a lot of his Facebook friends. I’ve quit paying much attention to things he posts due to this. However, he posted a great meme today and the discussion was one I didn’t mind getting involved with… until I scrolled down and saw this nonsense in the comments.

I said something. And then was taken to task for it. But that hilarity isn’t the point…
The point is, these are words I see many times a day, every day, used on the internet. I hear them being used frequently, by people whose company I typically enjoy. And these words mean something. They’re hurtful and disrespectful. You can read more about ableist language here.

But let’s work on this challenge. Seriously. Copy and paste the list and make an X – or some sort of mark – next to a term, each time you use it. If you can’t do it throughout the day, make a mental note and do so at the end of the day.

Meet back here in a week and we’ll compare notes. And yes, please share this with your friends. Let’s get _everyone_ talking about how to change our language to be more respectful.

Let’s Play “How Autistic Are You?” (Or Not)

This is something I posted on my personal Facebook page, two years ago today, and felt was worth sharing with the world at large, because hey… something to think about when interacting with autistic folks in your life (or in general).

If you ever want to call me out for being not autistic enough to understand what “real” autism is like OR as someone – whom I considered a friend until tonight – called it “the variety of autism that poops its pants…. or are you? if you do poop your pants I will still be your friend”… please know what the f–k you’re talking about. And don’t ever be so disrespectful as to ask me what I will tell my child if they want to kill themselves or why I would want an autistic child.

 

Unless you are the person I am procreating with, that is none of your f–king business or your concern. If you were my friend, you 1. wouldn’t send me such a message privately 2. wouldn’t question my neurology 3. would notice that I’m already stressed as f–k this week so privately asking me disrespectful questions in a highly disrespectful manner probably isn’t the best idea if you don’t want to trigger my anxiety even worse than it already is.

 

Or hey, maybe you do. Maybe you want to see just how bad I get in shut down mode… or as this person put it when describing their “clinically autistic friends” (OH HEY, that’s ME!) “living in dysfunctional isolated hells” and being “too bitter to hide it”… huh. Like I’ve never been there? Like I’m not on the brink of being back there?

 

NONE OF YOU know just where I am psychologically or psychiatrically right now. NONE.

 

I am not inclined to share with you details. I don’t like people worrying about me. Especially my mom. And again… NONE OF YOUR F–KING BUSINESS. But if you are my friends, trust me when I say I am NOT in a good place right now. I am trying my hardest to remedy that and do have a plan of action, but don’t you ever dare question my neurology or how it affects my daily life. The vast majority of you do not see me daily or even weekly. Hell, most of you see me once a month if that. Why? BECAUSE I AM A SOLITARY CREATURE OF HABIT AND YOU ALL ANNOY ME. I love you but social interaction drains the ever living hell out of me and when I’m struggling with depression and/or anxiety more than usual, it makes it even worse and I just want to hide all the time.

 

So next time any of you want to know how autistic I am, here’s a guide:
Are YOU autistic?
a) No.
Answer: I’m more autistic than you.
b) Yes.
Answer: Neat, we’re both autistic and you probably get just how frustrated I am by this situation <3

 

The end.

I also feel like sharing it because during the course of recently ending things with the person I had been dating for a couple months, he texted this:
The whole autism thing, i don’t really buy, you’re just quirky, which is cool, you don’t need to self diagnose yourself with a disorder.

Except… I’m not self-diagnosed and he knew it. He’d seen me break down due to anxiety. He’d seen more than just quirks. But he was one of those self-absorbed people who made everything about them and wasn’t all that observant when it came to others. He was also just looking for excuses to end things and coming up with any exaggerated nonsense he could think of (including attempting to say I didn’t start ZombieWalk:SanDiego… which, eh… pretty well documented that I did start it a decade it ago and still run it to this day)

Questioning people’s diagnoses (or any established fact they share with you) is a form of gaslighting, which is a form of emotional abuse. Don’t engage in it. Questioning HOW autistic someone is shows that you have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to autism. That’s not how autism works.

Birthday Cards Won’t Save the World

This is likely the most disjointed thing I’ve written in a while, but I am so absolutely livid… if I go back and try to edit, I’m going to get more angry, so please forgive the lack of eloquence and use of caps…
 
DO NOT SEND BIRTHDAY CARDS TO PEOPLE TO WHOSE BIRTHDAY PARTIES NOBODY ATTENDED… unless that person themselves is asking you to send cards. Do not send cards to people, especially out of pity.
 
For someone – especially a family member – to take a picture of a young woman in such a mortifying situation, then publicly post it to the internet without permission, begging strangers to make this young woman’s solitude and loneliness the center of attention…
 
If someone did this to me I would kill myself. No hesitation. The embarrassment would be way too much for me. My loneliness and rejection to be splashed across the internet and media would be too much for me to handle. And even if that weren’t one of my biggest fears, it would still be really embarrassing for a family member to have to beg total strangers to come to my emotional rescue, when those closest to me – my family and alleged friends – couldn’t even be bothered to support me. How lowly must I be that people who don’t even know me have to support me when those around me can’t? The abject terror of that situation is too much for me to consider.
 
And yet, the world at large is about to put a young woman through that, simply because her cousin wants to gain some notoriety as a savior.
 
As someone who is autistic, it’s no secret it’s difficult for me to connect with people. But as an adult, I’ve learned that life happens and sometimes people can’t make it. Sometimes people are cruel. Sometimes you’re not the center of attention and you just need to deal with it. We all have birthdays, they happen every year. They are what you make of them.
 
On one birthday in my mid-20s, I found out my fiancé had been exchanging naked pictures and sexual texts with his ex-girlfriend. I foolishly forgave him and we ended up getting married a few months later and, well… let’s just say I’m no longer married to that jackass.
 
A boyfriend physically assaulted me on my 30th birthday. I spent most of the day crying while he packed his things, because I kicked him out of the house, then took an Ativan so I could sleep through the rest of the night without doing something drastic out of sheer depression. Did I beg people to make it up to me? Nope. Because that’s not how life works.
 
Last year, the guy I was seeing ghosted me on my birthday weekend. He made an excuse about needing to work and how he would meet up with me later that evening. Never heard from him. We had talked about going to Catalina two days later on my actual birthday. No response to my texts or calls. I moved on, because that’s his problem, not mine.
IMG_9611
 
This year? I spent my actual birthday in my pajamas, being stressed out, having a couple of anxiety attacks, and well… see the above picture. Yes, that’s me on my birthday and it was the only moment of solace I had during the course of the day marking my 35th revolution around the sun. Later that evening, I had a very awkward dinner with someone whom I was dating and things were ending between us, but he still wanted to hang out. Less than ideal. Did I beg people to make it up to me? Nope. Because that’s not how life works.
 
A few days later, there was the birthday party I planned for myself and for which a few dozen people RSVP’d they were going to show up to celebrate my birthday with me at a bar. How many showed up? Half a dozen.
 
Am I annoyed? Nope. Because hey… I’M AN ADULT. I had fun with the people who did show up and made the most of it. Had nobody showed up, I would have bought my own drinks, still made the most of it, eaten all the pizza myself (oh wait, I kinda almost did… hah!), and then went home to get a good night’s sleep.
 
Know why I’m comfortable with this?
 
BECAUSE THOSE AROUND ME NEVER MADE A BIG DEAL WHEN THINGS DIDN’T GO MY WAY AND NEVER MADE BIRTHDAYS THE END ALL BE ALL OF MY WORTH. I’m awesome 24/7/365… even when I’m not being awesome. I don’t need people to acknowledge my existence and my birthday to assure me of that. I just need to keep being awesome.
 
Just like the young woman, who inspired so many people to engage in this nonsense, is likely awesome in her own way and doesn’t need any of you total strangers to prove it to her. She needs her family to show her… without help from the outside world. Her family needs to step up and show her she’s loved, valued, and cherished.
 
Without making themselves into saviors in the process and potentially embarrassing her beyond what my words can even explain to you.
 
Don’t send cards. Instead, reach out to those in your life who matter and tell them they matter. Tell them you value them and cherish them. Birthdays are great, but you should tell them when there’s no special occasion to do so.
 
It means a hell of a lot more.

Always Cry For Love, Never Cry for Pain…

Those who have known me long enough (hell, some of you who have only known me for a few months)… know of my Prince obsession. For those familiar with autism terminology… he’s one of my longtime special interests.

Music has quite literally saved my life time and time again. It continues to be the one thing to consistently keep me going. It’s the only source of stability in my life. Bowie was one of my greats. One of a handful of immortals who shaped my soul. Prince was another. While I may not have known these men, they have thrown me immeasurable life preservers, just by existing and creating.

Electric word, life…
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time

To lose both of these enormous entities, mere months from each other, for me… it’s like ripping off my left arm, throwing me off a boat into the ocean, and telling me, “Hey, shore is only two miles that way… you can do it!”

Sure, I probably could. But do I want to?

What is the world without David Bowie? I’ve been trying to adjust to that. To ask me, what is the world without Prince?

Nope. Can’t do it. Can’t process this. Not one bit.

Stuck With Illusion Now, I Drown in Your Sea

Currently listening to the new Deftones album in full, for the second time. It’s probably gonna take a while to grow on me, just as the previous album did.
 
It’s definitely a departure from where they were going with “Diamond Eyes” and “Koi No Yokan” (the last two albums), going back to more rock and less ethereal influence… but I’ll take it. Especially since it’s been four years since “Koi” was released. I’m a little more angry and a little less zen than I was in 2010 and 2012, so this works for me right now. 
 

I needed this. So much.

Tomorrow, I will be waking up early to make my way to Amoeba Records, in Hollywood… to purchase two copies of the new CD (even though I pre-ordered the vinyl and already received the digital download). This will get me two guaranteed spots to see them perform live at Amoeba, on Monday evening. I also have “priority” passes to see them perform for Jimmy Kimmel Live, on Tuesday afternoon (to be aired that night on television… so look for the brightly-colored pigtails!). And today, as a birthday present to myself, I purchased two tickets to see them perform at the Greek Theatre in August. I scored really great seats.

Sorry not sorry for Deftones talk. They’re my most reliable life preserver. And like I said, I needed this. More than usual.

Who Cares if He Treats His Son Badly… I LIKE HIM!

Recently, a certain Facebook page run by an autism parent requested their followers to list Facebook pages run by autistic people and, as I expected from the followers of someone who compares themselves to a superhero in their blog/Facebook title, the majority of suggestions were pages run by parents, co-run with parents, and/or shiny aspie stuff.

One particular commenter suggested a specific Facebook page, which is attached to a specific blog, run by an awful parent who consistently speaks of and treats his son disrespectfully (and that’s putting it mildly). I couldn’t NOT say something…

[different awful blog] is NOT written by someone who is autistic and actually denigrates his autistic son fairly often. The writer is not looked at kindly by many in the autistic community, as he has a long history of gaslighting and silencing autistic voices, in addition to speaking poorly of his son.”

The commenter responded to me:

‘First [page admin] kindly already explained she was looking for pages with autistic writers, which I did not understand from her post. This was my mistake. However I love [different awful blog] blog, the work [awful parent] does and his love for his son. I do not wish to argue with you, so to each his own. Go troll another persons post.”

Trolling. Yes, I’m trolling if I speak up against someone who views autism as a curse, regularly refers to his son by patronizing nicknames like “his highness” and “the king”, and has a history of treating autistic advocates like garbage. And of course, your “love” for an awful person is much more important than making sure people don’t think it’s acceptable to view autism in the manner he does and to treat autistic people in the manner he does. Yes, to each their own, and thank you for showing me how you feel about autism and autistic people, by aligning yourself with someone like that, commenter.

The caped administrator of the page we were commenting on (not the awful parent blogger in question) decided to chime in…

“We can all agree or disagree respectfully:) My own perception of [awful blog] has been to find him to be willing to offer help and support to families of children with autism, to offer information that could prove to be helpful for many, and I don’t find his posts about his son to be denigrating, but more honest in his frustration at not being able to help his son reach a higher level of independence. I absolutely understand how it can be perceived as speaking poorly, so I surely don’t mean to suggest one person shouldn’t feel the way they do…but I am also entitled to how I feel. Not gaslighting. Not silencing anyone. Just disagreeing.”

I responded to both…

“Commenter – Thank you for showing yourself to be a typical [awful blog] fan/autism parent.


Page Admin – Yes, you’re entitled to your opinion, but as someone who strongly feels autistic children’s personal information should be private, I believe
[awful parent] has seriously violated the privacy of his son, continuously exploiting his son’s diagnosis and situation for his own personal gain, with no regard for his son’s dignity. And that disgusts me. He has been extremely rude to many autistic advocates and is a terrible example for parents of autistic kids.”

Of course, the superhero blogger had to make it all about them…

“I certainly can’t speak to how rude or not anyone else has been to autistics. I can only speak for myself. As for personal gain, I’m not sure what personal gain anyone might be talking about because I can tell you with some certainty, there is NO personal gain in telling a story on Facebook. No book deals, no movie offers…for me, this is all about connecting with people who might understand my journey. And yes, I have a journey with my autistic son. I do respect his dignity, most especially because he can’t tell me how he feels. But there is no personal gain.


And for the record, ‘typical autism parent’?!!! Is that anything like a ‘typical’ gay person? Or a ‘typical’ white person? It diminishes the credibility of your argument when you use derogatory comments toward others. To call someone a ‘typical’ ANYTHING is offensive.”

Oh. So you’re going to paraphrase The Bullshit Fairy at me, but completely miss the point of their entire post in the first place (one which you all really should read)? Way to perfectly illustrate the accompanying graphic on said post. So I responded…

Don’t quote someone else’s recent blog post at me, trying to make a point about the term ‘autism parent’ or I’ll start quoting a plethora of blog posts right back, to show you how your behavior and [commenter]‘s behavior in this thread are dismissive and typical.


There is absolutely personal gain to be had in blogging and having an online presence. It’s not always financial, though
[awful parent]‘s has been, along with ego-feeding, etc. I never said YOU were in it for personal gain, Admin. I said [awful parent], of [awful blog], has been. I’m really not sure why you are taking this as my talking about you. Please re-read my comments. However, thank you for gaslighting and backing up a parent over an autistic adult. 


There is very much a ‘typical’ parent of an autistic child, especially online. They are the people who assume everything is directed toward them, they assume everyone who disagrees with them is trolling and/or ‘just being negative’ and/or ‘obviously doesn’t understand’, they also tend to assume autistic folks like myself are ‘high-functioning’ and/or ‘not like their child’. They also tend to enjoy tone-policing and/or correcting autistic individuals on the individual’s lived experience.


[awful parent]‘s fans (like him) are usually most – if not all – of these things and, the cherry on top, also do not see adult autistic advocates as worthy of listening to, despite our ability to provide insight to your child’s thought processes and willingness to do so for no other reason than we care about our younger peers and their future. They talk down to us, shush us, and refuse to listen to what we have to say. And they make it all about them, not the bigger picture.


When an autistic person says, ‘Hey, this particular blogger is being consistently disrespectful to his son, in a manner which will harm his son (if and when the day comes his son reads the blogs).’ and you stick up for that person with the ‘But I like him!’ attitude… you’re gaslighting and saying you prefer your own comfort, at almost any cost, over reality. And that, right there, makes a ‘typical autism parent’. 


If you want to argue with me further, feel free to continue to expose yourself as yet another typical autism parent. I’m unfollowing this thread. Otherwise, take the time to read and process what I’ve said, look at it critically and unbiased, and maybe figure out why I’m saying the things I am… rather than trying to find a reason to take it personally and defend yourself. Therein lies the issue with most parent bloggers: they make everything about making sure they stand their ground and refuse to take into consideration the ground they’re standing on is potentially unstable and quite muddy, in the first place.”

I’m off to play Autism Parent Bingo.

Just Because You Delete, Doesn’t Mean I Can’t Reply…

So, my friend Jess (Diary of a Mom), shared a fantastic post from M at Invisible Strings – this is like playing a game of neurodiversity telephone… hah! – regarding autism not being a mental illness, but not insisting on autism NOT being a mental illness, because that shifts the negative stigma onto those who do have a mental illness… and that’s just not cool. (You can – and really should! – read M’s post here.)
 
On Jess’ post sharing the link, one of her readers commented the following:

 

Autism seems to be its own entity for now and most likes will be until we truly know what causes. It crosses so many thresholds. Even as a professional no one can agree what to call us. Are we behavioral therapists? technician? And then when I tell them I’m a BCBA explaining what that stands for gets even more blank stares.

 

Some situations are much rougher than others. For parents who have children who are perhaps older and who engage in dangerous behaviors it might look more like a mental illness. 

I replied to the commenter with no, and said that if I had more spoons I’d get into it, but I don’t. Jess replied to the commenter that she wasn’t sure what they were saying (and then commented a sweet note for me to take care of myself… which I am working on, thank you!)…
 
After several minutes, I thought better of my original comment and started writing a long explanation for “no” and just as I was typing the last words of my final sentence… a pop-up alerted me that the content was no longer available. This means the comment was deleted. BY WHOM, you might ask… well, I’ve confirmed it wasn’t Jess… so, it had to be the commenter.
 
So, commenter, because I took the time to explain myself, but you were too much of a coward to stick around to hear the explanation for “no”… I’ll just post here, instead. YAY INTERNET!

 

I’ll elaborate a little, because I feel like I kind of owe the community that much…

 

Kori, I’m an autistic adult. I have mental illnesses (depression, PTSD, OCD, and anxiety), which are not autism. The more ‘dangerous behaviors’ I engage in are not related to my being autistic, but to those actual mental illnesses. However, behavior is communication. When I engage in those behaviors, it is because I do not know how to otherwise express myself. My brain tells me to do awful things, because the depression and its friends are bastards who really don’t like me… and they want me to not like myself, either. That’s not autism.

 

Now, when I have an autistic meltdown and slap myself or pinch myself or otherwise harm myself… it’s because I need to regulate my sensory input/output and those stimulating behaviors give my brain something on which to focus, which isn’t the million thoughts per minute rushing through my head. It’s the same reason I save getting tattooed for when I’m feeling overwhelmed with stress… an hour or five of constant pain stimulus helps me regulate my thoughts. Thank goodness I have more blank canvas left (though, it’s quickly disappearing as I get older).

 

My autistic responses to stress are nowhere near the same as my depression/OCD/PTSD/anxiety responses. Those particular responses are: ‘Eff this, I don’t want to be here anymore, I want to go to sleep and never wake up. Throw yourself off a bridge and get this over with. You suck. You are worthless. Why are you still here?’ My autistic responses are more along the lines of: ‘This is too much. Can’t think. Can’t process. FRUSTRATION! PANIC! UGH! Get out of this situation and go somewhere to calm down! GO!’ …which leads to bolting (something I still tend to do, even as an adult).

 

So, as I said… no, please don’t conflate autistic self-injury with self-destructive behaviors of those who are mentally ill. Yes, there are people who cut themselves as a means of regulating their depression, etc. but it’s not quite the same as the self-injurious behavior of autistic individuals. Again, low on spoons, so I’m not going to get into the entire diatribe I have on this.

Back to self-care.
 
P.S. Giraffe Party now has over 1000 readers on Facebook… THANK YOU! <3

State of the Giraffe; March 2016 Edition

I posted this on my personal Facebook page, a few minutes ago. I figured I would share here, to give y’all some insight into where I am and that things aren’t always peaches & cream…

It’s no secret my anxiety levels have been higher than usual lately… and that’s saying something, since my anxiety levels have been increasing since July 2014, but especially since Septemberish of last year. The last few weeks have been pretty bad and I’m at the point where my agoraphobia is kicking in hard. It’s been a few years since that was a regular (almost daily) problem.

 

I’m trying really hard to regulate it, the best I can, but if I seem like I’ve disappeared… please understand it’s likely nothing to do with you directly. Yes, I can leave the house sometimes… and I usually end up where I’m comfortable, because it’s either quiet or I’m familiar with it or the person/people with me don’t require many of my spoons. Again, nothing personal, but some people do drain me quicker than others – it’s not necessarily a bad thing on your part, it’s just a sensory regulation thing on my part; it may be something as simple and complimentary as you make me think critically too often and I can’t really handle mental gymnastics on that particular day.

 

However, this also means that my paranoia, extreme self doubt, and PTSD are all being triggered almost constantly. And that, in itself, is extremely draining. I’m exhausted halfway through the day, most of the time. And with so much to do lately, I don’t have time for a nap.

 

I seriously attended WonderCon one of three days this past weekend and even then, I got a late start in the day (was awake early, but couldn’t get out of the house ’til later)… and ended up passing out before midnight on Saturday night. That’s not a good sign.

 

There are many days I end up crying myself to sleep, because I’m so mentally exhausted and my brain just keeps going a million miles a minute… and I just want it to stop. This is where I was, mentally, five years ago. And not-great things happened five years ago. I am doing my damnedest not to allow myself back to that point, though. Therapy helped. I don’t know that it would at this point, however, because I’d have to rehash everything and that really fucked me up for the first year or so of therapy… so, I’m trying to utilize what tools I acquired then, now.

 

It’s not easy, but again… I’m trying. I really am.

 

I ask that y’all please be patient with me. I’m not ignoring you… I’m just trying to throw myself a life preserver, because I’m the only one who can right now. I’m involved in what I can be involved with, I’m staying busy on purpose, and I leave the house when I can, for what I can handle. Please be patient. Thanks.

High-functioning my ass. I spent the entirety of Friday on my couch (almost 15 hours straight), barely speaking and in my pajamas. Couldn’t even get in the shower and the idea of leaving the house scared the hell out of me, to the point of almost vomiting at one point. I just couldn’t push myself to get ready and go to the convention.

Several times on Saturday, I had to leave the expo floor… and even the building itself a couple times. There were too many people, too many sounds, too many lights (even though they were dimmed a bit), and just too much going on for me to process. It was harder than I thought it would be. Sunday, I was a mess and stayed home again. I did manage to take a shower, but couldn’t unwrap myself from my towel and get dressed until later in the afternoon.

Does this mean I was entirely unproductive? No, I got a lot done… on my laptop. Projects I needed to work on were picked at and I managed to get myself to a place where I wasn’t at all stressed about those particular projects today, when it became crunch time, but I was still very uneasy today and I’m right back into the paranoia phase of my anxiety (mostly to do with a certain social situation I’m experiencing; dating is hard… we’ll leave it at that). Luckily, it’s been a long day and I’ll probably try to sleep soon, so I won’t have to worry too much about that for long… and hopefully, it’ll be gone once I wake up tomorrow.

Keeping busy again tomorrow, because that’s all I can do right now to mitigate the suicidal ideation constantly creeping into my thought processes. Five years ago, I allowed those thoughts to beat me down for the last time… five years and one week, give or take a couple days, to be exact. I don’t want to get back to that place again. I really don’t want to die, I just want my brain to take a few steps back from the ledge and let me catch my breath. Therapy helped me recognize that it’s not about death, it’s about getting the noise in my head to stop… or at least slow down enough for me to handle it.

This is all very scary and I don’t like writing about it at ALL, but I feel like maybe it might help someone reading it to know they’re not alone. Maybe it will help a parent or partner of an autistic individual, who has anxiety issues and struggles with depression like I do, see how important it is to be supportive and make sure that a solid support network is in place for their loved one.

And Mom, I know you’re going to read this… please don’t worry. I’m okay, relatively speaking. Nothing in particular triggered this… it’s just snowballing and I’m trying really hard not to let it avalanche again. I love you.

I Am Not a Taco Sauce

Wrote this as a reply to a comment on a friend’s FB page, but it could do with repeating to the general public:

“…autism doesn’t come in condiment varieties (i.e. mild, etc.). Autistic is autistic. Saying someone is ‘mildly’ autistic is misinforming, because the spectrum isn’t a scale… it’s a spectrum. We can exhibit different symptoms at any given time, dependent on the sensory input/output processing requirements and a large array of variables leading to that precise moment in time.”

Stop using functional language. It serves no positive purpose and accomplishes nothing. Each individual human has their own way of being. Autism is a filter through which I experience life. It isn’t a disease or affliction, nor is it something from which I suffer.

Saying simply “I am autistic” is enough to tell you that I process sensory input and output differently and may respond in a different manner than that to which you may be accustomed, if you have limited experience around people with diverse sensory processing capabilities.

If you genuinely want to know my “symptoms”… ask respectfully and give me a scenario, because otherwise the response you get will be a couple dozen qualifying questions, so I can specifically respond to your request… because how being autistic exhibits itself in my life really does depend on a large array of variables, at any given time.

Radio Silence…

I know I’ve been unusually quiet lately and I apologize. There is a lot going on in my life and I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it. Bronchitis turning into pneumonia, resulting in a hospital trip probably didn’t help matters much.
 
There will be more posts coming soon, as I have a lot to say… a lot to get out of my system. I think I’ve been coming to terms with being more open on here and the impact that may have on my life. The last several years have been very demanding for me, in terms of both mental & physical energy and fortitude in general; the last two years especially.
 
And I believe I’m at the point where I have reached a rather important crossroad on my life’s path. About a year ago, I realized I would be approaching it, but it may be time to finally make a decision on which route my path will continue upon. There’s a lot to consider and I’m not taking any of the considerations lightly.
 
I’ll be thirty-five in April and it’s been weighing on me pretty heavily. My biological father died when he was thirty-five, from pancreatitis, likely due to his predilection for substance abuse. At this point next year, I will be older than one of my parents ever was. That’s a rather sobering thought… literally and figuratively. His alcoholism is one of the reasons I caught myself going along the same path in my 20s and dialed back the self-regulation through substance abuse, myself. Luckily, I’m apparently stronger willed than he was.
 
However, the obstacles I’ve been traversing over the last couple years have set up a less than optimal path for me. I’ve had to reroute multiple times and it’s getting increasingly frustrating. At this point, I just want my stability back (which I fought rather hard for), rather than the constantly wondering what I’ll be doing in a month or six. One of the things I’m wrapping my head around is the people in my life and where I stand with them… and where they stand with me. It’s not a simple task.
 
So, what I’m getting at is… please bear with me. I will likely start writing about my thought processes regarding certain aspects of this choosing of paths. However, I do need to maintain some semblance of privacy out of respect for the people in my life. If you’ve read my posts, you know I’m a huge proponent for respecting individual privacy. And that won’t change.
 
More posts soon. Promise.
 
In the meantime, I’m likely going to set up a Periscope account, to chat with people and answer questions. If you have a Periscope account, feel free to comment with your username (or message it to me) and I’ll add you once it’s set up!