Long Time, No See

Its always interesting how things turn out. Its been a long time since I’ve posted anything. I guess I should start from the beginning again:

Hi, I’m Laura. Its been a long time since I’ve been to this AA meeting (Autistics Anonymous). Almost two years to be exact. A lot has happened in that time.

Since I last posted, I’ve changed jobs, watched my nephew grow, and even started something that so many high functioning autistics (HFAs) long for, a serious romantic relationship. There are times its surreal.

Changing jobs was a big deal. Its hard to leave something you know for the unknown. It will be two years this summer since it happened. I no longer work with adults with developmental disabilities. It was really hard to leave because these were people who had become a family to me. I am now a teacher at a preschool, spending my time in the infant room, snuggling babies though still changing bottoms.

My nephew is something else entirely. While I write this, he is upstairs taking a nap because I get to spend all of Spring Break with him (even though its almost over). He is almost two now. He is hyper and loving. There is no fear that he has autism, which was such a relief.

The last big thing is probably the most surprising still, even to me. Sean and I have been together for over a year now. He challenges me to be who I truly am. He amazes me every day, even though some of those things make me want to kill him.

Part of why I’m able to write this now is that I got a new computer. Its been almost three years since I had one of my own. I’ve had a lot of things on my mind lately that I have wanted to write about, so it was about time I actually stepped up and paid for one. Hopefully, I will be posting again on a regular basis.

It’s a Crying Shame!

I am so fucking tired of hearing about people being shamed!!! Why don’t you shame me? I can give you a lot of shit, so have fun.  Let’s start with the fact I am a 30 year old woman who lives with her mother. I am not married and don’t have kids. Just for shits and giggles, how about I let you know that six months ago, I had a mustache. Not like Tom Selleck’s epic ‘stach, but more like 13 year old boy peach fuzz. It was still a mustache, though. Not enough? How about the fact that I used to weigh 225lbs, which on my 5ft7 frame is obese? I wore men’s shorts for work and was almost to a 40in waist. Still need more? I have chickens as pets and I refer to myself as their momma.  I pick my nose. I think that about covers it.

Shaming, for any reason, is trying to destroy someone. There is no reason to do it, regardless of if you think someone deserves it. I gave you shit on me, and I dare you, I FUCKING DARE YOU, to try to shame me. Guess what? You can’t. Why? I put it there for you to see and the point of shaming is really to make someone feel bad by making public something they don’t want others to know.

Shaming kills. I have a friend who lost her brother due to shaming. There was a tragedy that he would have never forgiven himself for anyway. He spent time in jail because of it. Upon his release, he was hounded by those who thought he wasn’t punished enough. He made a mistake and they only got worse. He ended up taking his own life. This is a basic outline only because my friend doesn’t deserve to be forced to relive the horror she endured. I love her dearly and thought her brother was pretty cool. I can honestly say he was a good guy who made mistakes that would usually just be stories told, but instead turned into lives lost. He took his own life because being alive meant living in a hell where he wasn’t allowed to move past his mistakes.

Shaming is bullying. Bullying is NEVER acceptable. I grew up in a time and place (aka, the South during the ‘90s) where you were told that you “need to stop taking things so seriously” or to “just get over it.” There is also my all-time favorites, the “you are just too sensitive”, “it builds character”, and “well, maybe if you acted differently, there wouldn’t be a reason to…” I heard those three the most. From my dad and his family, from the parents of kids who bullied me, from the people who should have protected me and definitely knew better.

Recently, a personally trainer made a video where he basically yells at the camera, telling obese people how disgusting they are. Wow, really? We are disgusting? Here I thought I was fucking awesome, as are all of my friends, many of whom have struggled with their weights. I have friends who are morbidly obese. I have friends who have had to deal with diabetes that is a result of weight. I have seen friends struggle with infertility due to their size. I have never told a friend they needed to lose weight, unless they asked if I thought they needed to, and even then, it is still a very sensitive subject. Not everyone is supposed to be skinny. I know the size of my skeleton (yay, x-rays are fun!!!), so it isn’t hard to do the mental estimations of what would be healthy for me. According to the BMI, I should weigh between 136-142lbs to be considered on the HEAVY side of healthy. Wow, really? Well, last time I was in that range, I was 13 and I wasn’t healthy, but it had nothing to do with my weight.

I have no problems letting the world know I currently fluctuate between 181 and 186lbs. Why should I be ashamed of that? I wasn’t ashamed when I was 225lbs. I was sick, but it had nothing to do with my weight. My weight had nothing to do with my diet either. I actually have anorexia, though not in the way people think the disease can manifest. I don’t eat. I don’t physically ever feel hungry and because of that, I can easily get up at 8am and not eat until 8pm, sometimes later. My weight isn’t even due to my disordered eating. I have a condition called PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS. It is a condition where cysts can form on the ovaries (not always, but usually) and causes hormonal imbalances, usually extremely high levels of testosterone. It’s the leading cause of hair loss and baldness in women. It can also cause some pretty gnarly facial hair, so my peach fuzz mustache was just toeing the water. Want to know what happens when you try to shame a woman who has PCOS that lives with a full beard? She calls you a jerk, laughs at you, possibly hits you with something (maybe a lawsuit, depending on where you decide to shame her), and leaves. I got lucky that my treatment has been pretty easy: medication twice a day and making myself eat regular, though usually small, meals. I am about 40lbs down from my highest weight and I feel better because I’m not as sick as I used to be. The weight didn’t make me sick; it was the being sick that caused the weight.

And then there is Caitlyn. I’m sorry, but I figured she would be in the spot light for maybe two weeks, and then people would be over her.  Sadly, I was wrong. And the worst part is that it isn’t her supporters that keep her there, it’s those that hate her.  What is the point of shaming the LGBTQ community? My favorite argument is that “God doesn’t make mistakes.” Well, God also said you shouldn’t eat seafood (sushi, anyone?), wear garments made out of more than one material (means no cotton/poly blend for you), or eat pork (mmm…bacon). My response is that no one ever said it was mistake until you. Maybe this is just a chance to learn about humility and acceptance. I have a friend who is transgender. He is fucking awesome. When I met him, he was she. She was 17, turning 18. She was very angry, though never seemed to be able to say why. She was very depressed, though she thought no one could see it most of the time. She decided to become he. He started transitioning a little over a year ago. He is happy. He isn’t angry. He has the best smile I have ever seen.  Being transgender has nothing to do with wanting to be anything. Someone who is trans is what they say they are; it’s their body that is telling the lie. Using biology to say they will never be the gender they say they are is the same as saying that a woman who can’t have children because she had to have a hysterectomy at a young age isn’t a woman. Having a hysterectomy doesn’t make her less of a woman; neither does biological sex make her male.

If other cultures have revered those who are transgender as being sacred, two souls in one body, why do we make them out to be freaks, worthy of nothing but cruelty and forced to live in fear? They are as human as anyone else. How do we try to say that gender is a binary, only male or female? It’s more of a spectrum that doesn’t even take into account what you like in another person. Calling someone “gay,” “queer,” or “fag” because they don’t fit your definition just makes you the bad guy. You aren’t God (and if you are, I would love to talk, and by love to talk, I mean take you to an institution to have you evaluated because you are obviously delusional), so you can’t say “God Hates…” because you honestly don’t know.  It is not your place to make that judgement. The Bible even says one of the worst sins someone can commit is disowning their own kin over who they are. It’s Pride, pure and simple, one of the Seven Deadly Sins. You are too engrossed in yourself and what others think of you to love someone for no reason other than they are your family. That’s fine. That is your choice. LGBTQ people tend to be very accepting of others, including those of us who have autism, so we will all just make our own big happy family.

Try to shame me if you want. It won’t do you any good. Being able to shame me would mean I would have to be bothered by the things I told you. Honest truth is that I’m not. Why should I be ashamed? Life would be boring if we didn’t all come in different packages. Some have assembly required, while others have parts not included. We all write our own stories. Make sure your story doesn’t have anything you are ashamed of, lest someone be able to shame you for it.

I Want It

We all have things that we want. Some are big, others little. Some would change our lives completely, some we just want. Here are some of mine.

I want a job where I don’t have to worry about money. Adults with autism are plagued by unemployment and underemployment. We don’t always know where to look and networking is hard when simply going to a job fair is equal to an inquisition. That doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to be able to pay our bills and live our lives. We want to work; we just need some help finding our niche.

I want to take the GRE! So this is my personal one, and it does go along with the previous. The test currently costs about $200 to take, and if you aren’t currently in school (*raises hand*), there are no easy ways of finding assistance. Taking that out of meager budgets is hard and leaves other things not covered, like food. I mean, my monthly grocery budget is about $200, so that is a lot of money that I don’t have.

I want to go to grad school. Why? Because it is the only way I can become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and be able to live my dream of helping those affected by autism. BCBAs don’t only work with autism, but also those with traumatic brain injuries, like soldiers and those who have been in car accidents. The list of the conditions that BCBAs work with is growing as our knowledge of the brain grows. The desired rate is one BCBA to every 100 clients, with various technicians and therapists working under the BCBA to help implement therapy plans. Sadly, the rate is on average closer to 1:10,000. That means majority of the people who need these therapies don’t have access because there is no one available. That is not acceptable.

I want to have a date that turns into a second date, then a third, and just keeps going. Finding someone when you have autism is hard. You have strange interests (have I told you about my chickens?) that not everyone appreciates. You may talk too much when nervous (*raises hand again*) or become selectively mute (think Raj from Big Bang Theory before season five). Meeting people is difficult because bars are over stimulating and dating sites tend to make you feel like a creep! Speed dating sounds like something pulled straight from hell and your friends are all in the same boat as you. The idea of having an autism dating site seems like a bad idea because we may never get past who we are on the computer enough to meet in real life. Take that step and make a friend who is outside your comfort zone (not extreme, like into things you can’t stand, just one who you want to be more like. Think confident and outgoing, but still likes the same things you do to a degree). Do something that scares you. Make a dating profile and send as many messages as you can. Eventually someone will respond. Maybe you two can get some coffee.

Here is the big thing from this:  people with autism want the same things everyone else does. I think secretly, everyone wants to be famous. I mean, how cool would it be for someone just like you to come up and let you know how much you mean to them, that you have changed their life? And isn’t that what it is all about? We are here to change the world. Autism doesn’t define us; it is just part of us. You can break the cycle of fear that comes from letting things scare you. Take the time to look at what scares you and pull it apart and realize that all the little pieces aren’t nearly enough to be as big what you thought was scary. You have to decide to change you.

A friend recently found out, after starting a new job, that the guy training her has Asperger’s. Her son is on the spectrum. This guy is working in sales at a car dealership. He took his autism and said it was part of him, but it didn’t define him. He used it to help him overcome what he had to. He saw what he wanted and got it. I think this guy rocks and I’ve never even met him. My only response to her was that “We are everywhere.” “And I love it” because she knows she will always have support from her friends with ASD.

Call me by My Name

Bruce Jenner coming out as transgender and transitioning has got me thinking about how someone who is transgender has a journey that to a degree is similar to someone who is on their own journey of discovering what it is to be a HFA. There are a number of people in the HFA population who are transgender, which gets you thinking about what it all means.

Autism and being transgender are both something you are born with. It is fundamentally who you are at your core. You don’t feel like you belong in your own skin, though you don’t always know why. Because of what we are taught, we start to hate ourselves for who we are, what we are. How is it fair to be hated for something you didn’t choose? It’s not and we can’t let anyone tell us it is.

You can’t give someone autism or make someone transgender. If you could, neither would exist. But they are here and have been and will be as long as there are people. There is no one to blame; it’s just chance, luck of the draw. Neither is something any sane person would wish on their worst enemies, but it still exists. It doesn’t mean you are sick. It doesn’t decrease your value. You are only different, not less.

I, for one, am someone who has struggled with who I am, before I knew about my own autism and before I knew any terms for any of it. I was labeled a tomboy. I’ve never been any good at “being a girl.” Yet I always felt like I was a girl, even though I had to endure teasing and taunting that tried to tell me otherwise.

Gender isn’t something that is binary. There is no black and white. We live in a colorful world we need to embrace and respect. I identify as my biological sex, but not everyone does. This has no link to malicious intent. Everyone is beautiful, whether a life-long tomboy like me or a loving father who realized he was not only hurting himself but also his kids by telling the world he was a man; whether a straight man with a feminine side or a gay man who no one would have thought could be that way.

What makes life worth living is knowing that someone loves you. If we can’t give another human being our love, then we need to spare them from our hate. Love begets love; hate only breeds hate. Love creates; hate destroys. Love has the ability to become so many positive things, while hate just festers into a cancer, destroying what love works hard to build. Love even if you don’t agree. Love even when you don’t understand. Let love be a blanket that can smother the fires lit by hate, that can shield us from the arrows that hate fires.

Love is free to give while hate costs you yourself. When you give love, it is returned in a way that we can’t explain and in a number that we can’t count. Let us wrap Caitlyn and all of those who are on a difficult journey to find themselves with love so we can be a positive page in their stories, so we can make their roads a little smoother, their loads a little lighter.

Monster in My Head

I don’t remember how old I was when depression started. It has been there for as long as I can remember. It has always been an unwelcome friend, like a heavy period that just won’t stop, for days or weeks or months or even years. It has been my constant companion, my plus one in life. How a child can survive depression still boggles my mind. It is something that is heavy-handed, pushing its way into every part of your life. It turns happen moments into horrible ones, only leaving ashes after setting fire to anything and everything that could be good.

I remember feeling sad for no reason. I remember being 14, listening to a public high school guidance counselor telling me that I wouldn’t have any emotional issues if I just let Jesus into my heart, like some mystical deity would be able to fill a void left by the real world.  I remember being 15, standing in the kitchen with the point of large knife in my belly button, waiting for the strength to make it break skin. I remember being 20 and crying for no reason, wondering why I had to live like this, why should I live like this? What had I done to deserve this and why was I such a bad person if I didn’t remember ever doing anything so wrong?

I sabotaged relationships because I didn’t deserve to be happy, that I didn’t deserve anything good. I clung to those who hurt me, telling myself that it was what I did deserve. I wasn’t worthy of being loved, only kicked when I was down. I didn’t deserve to be someone who loved me for who I was, so those who despised me were the ones I went to for love, support and acceptance. I had less value than a rock, less than dirt. I was truly worthless.

“Stop being depressed, you are just doing it to yourself.” “This is all in your head, so stop it.” “You are only depressed because you just learned what it is.” “You just want attention, stop it.” “You are so stupid; you are only doing this to yourself.” “What is wrong with you? Stop it!”

Why was I worthless? How can everyone be more valuable than me? What did I do to deserve this?

Little by little, I was able to realize I didn’t deserve this. I hadn’t done anything wrong; it was just a part of who I am. I also realized I can’t just stop. It may be all in my own head, but it isn’t something I created. Things I have no control over created my depression; things that have no rhyme or reason. It took me a quarter of a century to figure that out.

I remember the things I did that would “fix” my depression. I remember talking to therapists, which only made it worse. I remember going to church, but how that helps when you feel nothing being there, no connection, is beyond me. I ran away, leaving the place I knew for somewhere new, though that was only a short-term fix, resetting the cycle of ups and downs. I tried to be someone others wanted. I put myself in positions that caused me to have anxiety attacks, yet I kept doing it though they didn’t stop and just made everything worse. I tried to erase me.

I remember antidepressant ads growing up (mostly Prozac and trying to get people on more drugs than they were already on) saying that one in ten people will battle depression at some point in their lives. That 10% of people will feel so sad for an extended period of time that they think they are worthless, unwanted, unlovable. Some of these people even end their lives because of feeling this way.

My battle is my own. I’ve been on and off of medications for years. I’ve wondered if the world really would be better without me. I have been up, and I have been on the floor, unable to move, barely breathing.

Love is the only way to conquer depression. Love is the only thing to turn the enormous dragon into a small lizard whose tail falls off when you try to pick it up. That tail is the memories of what depression once was.

It took a long time for me to realize I didn’t deserve depression. I didn’t do anything wrong to cause it. What I did wrong was letting myself believe the lies that depression told. I am not worthless. I am not unwanted. I am not unlovable. The honest truth is no one is worthless, unwanted or unlovable.

It took me a long time to realize that I had to make myself happy; it wasn’t going to just happen. That was the hardest part. My depression told me I couldn’t be happy, at least for more than a brief moment. I realized that being happy long-term wasn’t achievable, so I set my goal to be content. To be content is to be satisfied, to not feel a need for something more, to be enough. I am enough. I am enough for me. I am enough for those who love me.

I deserve love, so I found an unconditional love machine. It’s called a pet. I needed to get several. Every time I would go down, there would be a new one to help bring me back up. I gave my pit bull anxiety because of my depression. He couldn’t bear the burden alone, I was too low. I needed a team.

That love helped me learn to love myself. Loving myself helped me learn to love others more honestly. Loving others more honestly helped me love myself more. Love taught me that I deserve to be loved. Love taught me that everyone should be loved for no other reason than they are alive. My depression tried to tell me that love was always conditional, that love was something I had to deserve to get. Love taught me that depression is a liar; its only goal is to destroy. Love builds.

Faith, hope, love; the greatest of these is love. Have faith in what you believe to be true. Hope that all will be good and that the bad will be outweighed by hope. Love fully, deeply, honestly, truly, without expecting anything in return.

When the Why is Important

Why we do things is a question that gets asked a lot. Why? Because we want to know the reason behind everything. Why is the first question we ask in life, and continues to be the most asked question until the end, especially if the end comes too early due to illness or tragic event. But why?

I have been asked why so many times in the past year, though I think the most important whys we ask are of ourselves. These whys make us look inside ourselves, and in turn we learn more about who we are and what we want and need. I guess, today I am going to answer some of the whys I get asked and have asked myself

Why did I start a Blog? Honestly, I started a blog because I talk to myself too much. A lot of what I talk to myself about are things that aren’t mindless conversations, but things I actually want to address. By writing them out, giving the thought a thesis, I can relieve that mental stress and help flesh out all of my ideas. I never claimed to be an expert in what I talk about, though I do aspire to it someday. I have had these conversations with Austin the entire time we have known each other. By publishing my thoughts in a blog, I can put myself out there to get feedback and let other people who think the same way know they aren’t alone. One of the hardest things about having HFA is feeling alone, like you are the only one. This makes it where I am able to connect with those who may be feeling the same way, letting them know they are not alone.

Why do I love pit bull? This is actually something I have heard too many times to count. I get asked if I feel safe having pits in my house, let alone in my bed. Honestly, after seeing Pup-Cake, the service pit, and her girl, I am even more proud to have a pit bull in my bed, even if he steals the covers and she snores (yes, I have 2, a pitty boy and a pit/chow girl). In 2007, something told me I needed a pit bull. I, like many other people, had heard they were aggressive in nature, but something still said I needed to get the damn dog. Long story short, Vaughn has been a life saver, both literally and figuratively. His sister, Janycez, has been the same. The thing people should realize is that breed stereotype doesn’t mean that every dog of that breed is going to behave that way. I figured I would get a hyper dog that would make me get up and move more. They are both lazy couch potatoes. The thing to remember is that first, and foremost, a dog is a dog, regardless of its breed(s). The most aggressive dog I have ever had was a Pomeranian, the least a pit bull. Both were/are just dogs.

Why do I want to go to graduate school? Why do I want to study what I have decided to study? These two go together because answering one answers the other. I am a school junkie. I honestly miss going to class, listening to the lecture, engaging in the group discussions. Being a HFA has nothing to do with it. I love to learn. Knowledge is power. The honest reason I want to go to graduate school is to continue to learn. I want to study Applied Behavior Analysis and Developmental Psychology because I love working with people with special needs.  I currently wipe the butts of people with these disabilities for a living (it’s a small part of what I do at work. Working direct care with adults with developmental/intellectual disabilities includes helping with all, and I do mean all, of their health and hygiene), but it has just cemented my want to move forward in learning more ways to help them. I also love working with kids, which is where ABA is mainly focused. The more I have learned about autism, including my own autism, the more I want to do it. As weird as it may seem, it has only increased my desire.

Why am I so weird? I just am. If you have a problem with it, that isn’t my problem. I would rather be weird than the same as everyone else. By being weird, I am remembered, I make a difference. Weird isn’t a bad thing. Weird challenges us to make changes. Weird encourages us to be ourselves. Weird is wonderful. Stay weird.

Parasocialism

Tags

, , , , ,

I was watching The Fault in Our Stars and I started thinking about the emotional connection we have been able to form due to social media. I am a so-called “nerdfighter,” a follower of the Vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green. This connection is a new thing, at least to a degree, because of how social media is able to let us connect with those we idolize.

Because we are able to follow bloggers and writers, actors and singers, we feel like we know them and they are part of our lives. This is called a parasocial relationship. A parasocial relationship is a one-sided relationship, basically something everyone goes through at some point or another.  I personally don’t see these types of relationships as being either good or bad, though both are present in the spectrum of this type of relationship.

Parasocial relationships are often seen as bad, horrible, scary. This usually involves stalkers who see themselves as being in a romantic relationship with someone, celebrities being most common in the media, who they are not actually in a relationship with, often with the victim not knowing about the relationship until it comes to a point where the stalker becomes a danger to them. This type of parasocial relationship is honestly scary as hell. These people often have major underlying mental health issues, often resulting in the formation of delusions. But the fact is that these aren’t the only places where you see parasocial relationships.

Parasocial relationships can make you feel more connected to a person’s work, whether book, song, or movie. This type of parasocial relationship is sometimes unconscious. You don’t realize that this person has become a part of your life until something happens to where they are not, though you are never part of their life. And honestly, that is ok.

Parasocial relationships can be away for those of us with autism to be able to explore emotions without fear of rejection. That is definitely a good thing. Why? Raise your hand if you have ever been self-conscious and/or nervous about talking to someone you like. That is everyone, whether or not they are on the autism spectrum. The thing with HFAs is that we often have trouble expressing appropriate emotions, especially when it comes to those we have a romantic interest in. I’m honestly saying this from personal experience because I have a history of always saying and doing the wrong thing, or not saying something at the right time.  A parasocial relationship can allow us to work on the emotions that we feel for someone, even though we probably will never be able to express those feelings to these people because people rarely meet those who are famous or infamous that they have this relationship with.

And the honest truth is that many real relationships do start as parasocial relationships. I remember having a major crush on a guy all through high school, saying we were supposed to be together. Yeah, we have never done anything together, but we still know each other, probably better now than when we were in high school. When I look back on it, I think “oh, my god! Really?!” and that is totally healthy. In a parasocial relationship, you create character traits for a person that isn’t that person. Those traits are fiction, part of someone who only exists in your own mind, just given the physical appearance of someone who is real.

In a healthy parasocial relationship, you use your infatuation with someone to work up the courage to talk to that person if they are someone you actually know. They can give you the confidence to come out of your shell and be open to new experiences. They help give you a voice to express yourself, because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Parasocial relationships are part of life, yours, mine, everyone, everywhere.

Just don’t get the idea that this means I’m saying to do anything illegal, because that is definitely not what I’m saying. All I’m saying is that parasocial relationships are normal, natural parts of life.

Like I said, I started thinking about this while watching The Fault in Our Stars. Because of a parasocial relationship, I felt a little bit of pride watching it because it was written by someone I know, though I really don’t know John Green.  And if I’m going to be honest, I got into watching his brother, Hank, on SciShow, which lead me on a long, semi-convoluted path to Mental Floss (a magazine I adore and freaked out when I found out they have a channel), which has a few series that are hosted by John. Honest truth is that I would probably go all fan girl and scream and possibly faint if I met either of them. And yes, I am almost 30 and still saying this, and that is ok. We all have those people with whom we have parasocial relationships. It’s just another thing those of us on the autism spectrum have in common with the “normal” people.

Do You Like What You See

Tags

, ,

I was thinking about something while I was dying my hair: why do I do this? I’ve actually had people ask me who I dye my hair. It’s long, almost half way down my back. I don’t style it or even blow dry it. It is usually in a clip, a braid or a ponytail. I wash it once a week (don’t judge me; it’s what works for me). But I have dyed my hair on a semi-regular basis since I was 13. At nearly 30, I can honestly say I have dyed my hair over 50 times, always at home and usually by myself.

But why do I dye my hair? My natural hair color is mud, not kidding. Before I started dying my hair, I regularly had people, even total strangers, ask me if I ever washed my hair because it looked dirty. My grandmother would wash it any time I came to her house, even if it was still wet from having washed it before coming over. By dying my hair, no one comments on how dirty it looks.

Stressing out about something others may think is minor is a common thing for HFAs. Why is it an issue? Because too many people see it as something to call HFAs out over, causing even more stress and anxiety. HFAs are anxious and paranoid, whether we want to be or not. Social situations are not our thing, but they are required because we can’t stay inside all the time.

This doesn’t just apply to hair, but to pretty much anything that anyone may say something about, from physical features to clothing choices to shoes to cosmetics. Some are aversions to textures; others are anxiety related for various reasons.

I dye my hair for the same reason a person gets a tattoo that no one else can see unless they choose to show it. I dye my hair because it makes me feel better. I have a little more control over something that people might say something about, that people have commented about. So what if I never do anything with it. It’s a part of me. The only reason to do anything that changes your appearance is to make you feel better. So tell me, do you like what you see when you look in the mirror?

All You Need Is Love

When it comes to dating, it’s difficult. Finding someone who you share interests with and actually want to be around seems to be nearly impossible.  Add in Autism, and it’s a wonder that some of us ever find someone.  Austin has been married for over a year now, so I know it is possible to find someone who’s crazy is compatible with your own. That being said, it’s not easy.

One of the key things in finding someone you could possibly consider spending the rest of your life, or at least a movie and a pizza, with is to meet people. That is where Autism makes things a hard thing even more difficult. How am I supposed to meet someone if the idea of going to a bar or any other social meeting place means a major freak out when not within very specific parameters? My sister met her husband in a bar…but that makes me just lose my shit, sometimes literally (biology is weird like that). I go to a bar for karaoke, but I only interact with my friends outside of talking to the host about what song I want to belt that night.

So, how do HFAs meet people? Online dating sites work. Chances of meeting a prospective significant are greatly improved by increasing the number of interactions, which online dating sites are able to do without having to go into any kind of social meeting place, like a bar, and make it where you can get the awkward introductions out of the way quickly and mostly painless, though having received enough messages asking if I wanted to see a guy’s…well, um, member, isn’t going to get a response from me.  Meeting someone through friends is good, though it can be awkward because, let’s face it, people are weird.

Honestly, there is no one way that works best for everyone, HFA or otherwise. The main thing is the more people you meet, the more likely you are to find someone who you want to see again, whether as just a friend or as something more.  And it doesn’t matter if you meet at a bar, at church, through friends or online; all that matters is putting yourself out there to meet someone.

It makes me think of Moulin Rouge! when Christian sang “All you need is love,” to which Satine responded “Love is just a game.”  The fact of the matter is love is something we need, and it is the only thing we truly need from another person. But it is also a game, a war of hearts and minds between people. The goal in life is finding people who you want to play that game with, regardless of if it is romantic love or platonic, sibling, parent, child. Love can be enough to give a preemie a chance. Love saves lives, lack of it causes them to cease. Love is, was, and will always be a beautiful thing, especially love for the sake of love, no other reason. Don’t be afraid of being hurt, it just means you actually cared.

Fear in a New Beginning

Tags

, , ,

I’m going to be an aunt. My sister is expecting her first child. When I first heard this, I cried, though she probably doesn’t believe me. My nephew will be entering the family at the beginning of May, though I think he will be here mid-April. He doesn’t even know how much he is loved, though I think he will learn very quickly. He’s the first grandchild on both sides, mother and father’s, so he’s going to be very spoiled as well.

There is something about getting a sweet nephew that scares me. It has nothing to do with babies; I love babies and am great with small children. What scares me is that he could have Autism. The fact that there is about a 25% chance of him having Autism because of me having it is enough to scare the shit out of me.

I don’t have any fear that he will be profoundly Autistic. My fear is that he will have the same type I do. I’m scared of how other children and their parents will act and react towards him. I’m scared he will not understand why they do the things they do. I’m scared he will have some of the same negative experiences I had that no child should ever have to experience.

I keep trying to remind myself that the chance isn’t high. I’m the only one of 3 kids with Autism.  Out of my cousins and their kids, I’m the only one with Autism. The odds are in his favor when it comes to having Autism, but it still scares me.

What I look forward to is his big brown eyes and smiling face. I hope he gets his mom’s curls and his dad’s complexion. I can’t wait to hear “I lub Lala.” I can’t wait hold this sweet boy in my arms.  This is the child I have been waiting for, whether or not he has Autism.