Solace in Solitude

ActuallyAutistic, asd, autism, Photography

I haven’t posted many photos in this blog before but I am at a loss of words as the days meld into one and the most adventerous thing I’ve been doing is exercising in my living room and failing at baking.

The construct of “time” is finally revealing itself to most people to be an illusion.

I’ve been going out for our allocated “daily exercise” walks in as much isolation as possible, which has been okay. Nature and music are the only ways I can truly connect to this world for autism reasons so I’ve been photographing nature’s profound beauty on these walks. I will leave some here for you that were taken during sunset last night. Maybe it’ll make you smile. Maybe it won’t. But I hope that it at least makes you feel a little more comforted nonetheless.

“Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.” – Cormac McCarthy

ActuallyAutistic, asd, autism, feelings

I have so much to say about so many things but now that I’m sat down and able to take the time to type them, I don’t know where to begin.

I’ve been furloughed from work, which I expected to happen but not quite as soon as it has. While it isn’t the worst thing in the world, having it happen so quickly has kind of pulled the rug out from under me (so to speak) and I’m left with so many work things unfinished. I feel weird about that and I feel like a ghost, in a strange sort of way.

Feeling like a ghost though, in general, is nothing new.

Self-distancing hasn’t been so bad for me. As autistic and an introvert, I’m feeling pretty fresh and okay with the lack of external stimulus and the overall “daily grind.” I do get weird though if I’m not around people regularly. I begin to revert back to my natural state and almost forget how to mask as well as I’ve learned (though that is almost muscle memory at this point).

I am part of a group that takes part in studies for research into autism. Normally, I enjoy this but I have been invited to some recently where the researchers are pushy eager to learn how this COVID-19 situation is impacting autistic people.

It makes me feel like a lab rat.

Coronavirus is impacting me the same way it is impacting everybody else.

While I may be okay with the social distancing, for the most part (the immediate routine change of furlough is proving hard to adjust to), I am not okay with the profound economic impact this is having on everybody and I’m not okay with what these measures have done and are doing to grown ups, animals, and children in toxic home environments.

Amidst the negativity, there does seem to be positive impacts on the environment around the world. The planet is probably enjoying this breather it has received from our reduced activities.

Of course, this event is temporary and we will persevere. But it’s strange and tough to put into words the complex feeling it brings.

I like to think something good will come out of all of this in the long run.

But right now it’s a pretty rough ride; heartbrokenly so for a lot of people.

The Binary Code We Leave Behind

feelings, Musings

I was on the bus this morning, thinking about this blog and how I haven’t updated it in a while. I’ve had a lot of stuff going on but have been too overwhelmed to write about it.

But that reflection got me thinking — what will happen to our digital identities when we (as a species) become extinct?

Flesh and blood decanting to 1s and 0s; like ghosts within machines.

I guess a good portion of our IT infrastructure will be consumed by natural elements, as it should be. But I imagine some may remain usable for quite a long time. Maybe not long enough for the sun to potentially swallow the Earth, though.

I wonder if new evolutionary entities or intergalactic visitors will discover our algorithmic fossils.

What they will think of all of our collective pretty and ugliness spread across devices?

I imagine they would be shocked at the collective destruction the human species has caused and the ultimate downfall it will have created.

If the intergalactic visitors haven’t already been shocked by it.

But I also imagine they would see some of the beauty and kindness in the human condition, and the good fight many have battled (and conquered) to create a better space for our planet, animals and each other.

I am happy with the digital footprint I will be leaving. I hope you will be happy with yours too.

 

 

 

 

 

Bones & Anatomy

ActuallyAutistic, Musings, Prose Poetry

I love bones and anatomy.

No, really; I love bones and anatomy (hence where the name of my blog comes from).

I love bones and anatomy so much I wrote a poem about it once.

Enjoy.

 

Gothic Architecture

Tarsals, metatarsals and phalanges grip lush turf, sustaining weight of skyscraping cathedrals. Standing at attention, the humerus, radius and ulna graze amethyst skies. Femur, fibula and tibia connect like clustered columns, statuesque and limber. Clavicle and scapula arch like flying buttresses. Muscle fibers, vertebrae and sternum fuse together creating ribbed vaults. Hip bones spike like spires aching to be embraced. Blood pumps and pulsates as golden threads spill light and radiance throughout the hollow of rib cages.

 

 

 

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Gothic Architecture by Lori Cantwell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at noweaknessinwords.wordpress.com.
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Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

ActuallyAutistic, asd, autism, Take the mask off

Things have been hard.

By “things” I mean generally being overtaxed by the strain of trying to live up to all work, friends, family, life-in-general demands that are not in sync with my needs.

It’s been just under two years since I received my autism diagnosis.

I was not offered follow-up therapy.

Instead, I was provided a reading list of books and access to a local support group.

I have read the books.

An in-person support group is too much for me so I’ve accessed numerous online resources instead.

I’ve learned a lot.

I’ve felt supported to an extent.

I’ve tried to put myself out there to avoid autistic isolation.

It has been scary and rewarding.

But it’s not working.

I’ve finally booked an appointment to see a therapist who specializes in autism.

I need to speak to someone who actually gets it.

I have been let down by most in my daily life.

I don’t know why I thought my diagnosis would be the revelation to everyone else that it was to me.

I don’t know why I expected so much out of most people.

I suppose it was pretty naive to think that people would change when I’m the one who is used to doing the changing.

Comfortable being uncomfortable.

I have written about this before with a little more gusto than I currently have as I’m typing this.

There’s that saying that if one keeps repeating the same action (like banging your head against the wall) but expects a different result then it’s insanity?

That’s currently where I’m at.

I thought I could do this on my own but I don’t think I can.

I guess I underestimated just how unaware the general public is about autism.

To be totally honest (and I know this may come off bad but I don’t mean it with any malicious intent–just an impulse feeling right now), I’m finding it a little bit of an injustice that I’m the one who has to seek therapy because most people around me won’t respect my diagnosis.

But those are feelings I can talk through with the therapist.

Admission is step one.

Seeking help is step two.

On a side note: when I booked my appointment, she sent me the most detailed directions to a location ever. It was like 3 paragraphs of super-specific instructions on where to go, what to expect, how to pay and so on. That, alone, brought me the most relief I have felt since I became openly autistic. Silver linings.

Get Back Up And Do It Again

ActuallyAutistic, asd, autism, Taking off the mask

I had a moving experience recently at a concert by an artist whose music is one of my “special interests.”

I was on such a cloud of bliss during their show that kinda hit me between the eyes spiritually and politically.

It dawned on me that I am afraid of all the things that matter, that create empathy to spark change, that fulfill the soul of me rather than the perception of me.

People would say I have done “fearful” things in my life

like moving to a new country to go to university,

performing live shows in a band,

doing a poetry reading in a fully booked coffee house,

or taking part in a panel discussion for international students for UCAS conference in front of 400+ global higher education leaders that was also live-streamed for millions across the world.

I have done fearful things. But that isn’t what I’m afraid of.

I’m afraid of being misunderstood,

hurting peoples’ feelings due to my bluntness,

misreading social cues,

going off script,

using the telephone

or my good intentions being mistaken for malice.

I’m afraid of making friends,

sharing my “special interests,”

or staying quiet instead of educating people on important causes that I care about like the environment.

It isn’t about ego. I don’t have an ego to bruise, to be honest, and I can thank my superpower for that.

The reason I was able to do all of those “fearful” things was because I believed in its higher purpose to help, heal and support other people who may have related to my music, my words or studying abroad to start their lives over or to just start their life like I did.

We all wear masks regardless if we’re marked as neurotypical or neurodiverse. Taking the mask off is scary for everybody and for lots of different, complicated reasons.

I am afraid of fully taking off my mask

and I’m deeply, painfully lonely partly for it.

I isolate myself because of my fear of expressing common qualities that attract people to one another. It’s not like I’ve been a total failure in this, because I haven’t been, but I am still shackled, and I don’t want to be shackled anymore.

So.

I’m going to try again.

I need to be more “me” and less the “me” that I feel people want to see because I’m afraid of my autistic weaknesses.

The reality is I may be weak at some things, but I am damn good at other things like pushing my fear out of the way because I don’t have ego.

Baby steps.

I may fail but at least I will have tried.

Sometimes ‘busy’ just falls off your plate

feelings

This is one of the most generic things to say but life has been very busy.

Work.

House.

Work.

House.

Some sleep.

Work.

House.

Some sleep.

Redundantly busy.

I feel like I haven’t accomplished much in this whirlwind but maybe I have and it’s just hard to see in the midst of the redundant blur of busy right now.

My birthday is next week. This is another generic thing to say but it is pretty crazy how quickly time passes. It feels like it just happened yet here it is again. I really want people to plant trees or donate to reputable environmental charities for my birthday. I don’t want tangible gifts anymore. I am lucky enough to have what I need. The planet does not and that will, of course, impact all of us in time.

If we didn’t need money and work and other make-believe “things” like status in our society, I would prefer to spend my days lounging by shimmering ponds, lakes, rivers and oceans by the moonlight or lazing in the shade beneath a tree, think deep thoughts about existential stuff and just be.

So, I guess I’ll put my headphones back on and complement my life with postpunk 80s music, the new Lana or Bat for Lashes albums, or whatever strikes my mood and keep pushing through because one day the busy will ebb, the calm will become boring and the cycle will start all over again.

Earth Is the Most Beautiful Thing About Earth

feelings, Musings

I haven’t been sleeping very well.

The burning sun rays that split the darkness of the room around 4am have been pretty invasive.

And so have my thoughts.

I was on vacation last week in a place geographically south of here.

The sun rose around 7am.

I would wake up around 6:30am, sit on the balcony and watch the morning rise over the Atlantic ocean.

That was probably my most favorite part of our vacation:

absorbing the sleepy silence of the morning,

noting the tender tinkering of silverware being set up for breakfast below us,

the gentle rolling and breaking of slumbersome waves along the cliffs,

and the sporadic trill and chirps of morning songs from sea birds.

It was sensory bliss.

Waking like that reminded me of home.

I would wake up around 6:30am for a 7am sunrise.

Instead of a balcony, I would sit on our back porch and watch the morning rise over a tree-lined yard instead of a tranquil ocean.

Trill and chirps of sea birds replaced by bird song from robins, blue jays and sparrows.

Earth is the most beautiful thing about Earth.

I wish the human species had it hardwired in the brain to appreciate, respect and care for the planet it is so lucky to live on and experience firsthand rather than from a telescope.

Speaking in Public

ActuallyAutistic, asd, autism, Life events

I’ve mutually volunteered/been asked to do a presentation at work about autism in the workplace.

I feel kind of excited about it but also a bit unsure of where to start.

There are so many things to say but don’t want to say everything as to not overload people.

A million questions swirling and consuming my thoughts:

How detailed do I go?

How open should I be?

Do I really need to share that I sometimes have meltdowns in the middle of the night because insomnia can be overwhelming for me?

Will people understand what “executive function” means?

Will anyone care?

Will they think I’m making it up because they can’t see it?

Am I wasting my time?

Will I offend?

The list of ‘what if,’ ‘why,’ ‘because’ is expansive.

And then there’s public speaking.

But I’m comfortable being uncomfortable so have spoken publicly quite a bit when I’ve had to so it’ll be alright.

And, with age, comes experience and far less concern about what others think about me.

I’ve never really had that ego though; I’ve never really cared what other people have or do think of me.

Sorrynotsorry. 🙂

I am hoping for the best with this presentation.

It does leave me feeling exposed and vulnerable to open up about my brain like this but

there is a strength within that vulnerability.

Sidenote: I actually was able to be a “normal” human being and spoke to my neighbors for the first time by myself last week. I’m considering that a life event so tagged the post as such. I was recoiling inside but it did feel good to show myself how far I’ve come. Little steps = big progress.

“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.” ― Charles Bukowski

feelings

I’ve started and stopped about 5 different posts so far.

I’ve had wretched writer’s block for around the last two months.

I guess it’s because a lot has been going on since January and I haven’t really had the headspace or time to sit,

think,

reflect,

feel

with a keyboard in front of me.

I used to keep a paper journal and write outside during stormy weather (under shelter, of course).

If I kept a paper journal now, I’m not sure how legible my handwriting would be.

As most people in the world, I’ve become pretty accustomed to communicating super duper quickly with the ferocious tapping of keys.

I recently attempted to create a Twitter account to accompany this blog but quickly realized that Twitter is way too extraverted for me.

I have a hard time figuring out what to say in a face-to-face conversation let alone what to say in limited amount of characters to, what feels like, the entire world.

So, I deleted it.

And here I remain with my quiet, humble spot on the internet to divulge my love of nature,

flowers,

music,

and find catharsis in putting some of my story out there in hopes someone, somewhere will benefit from it and/or feel less alone.

I guess one funny way to think of it, as paraphrased from Neil Gaiman:

“As writer’s, we’re lucky. If we’re not productive, we can blame it on ‘writer’s block,’ an ailment that doesn’t seem to exist for other professions. For instance, shoe salesmen do not get ‘shoe salesmen block.’”

Please note: I do not consider myself a ‘writer’ though I have been writing poetry and prose for most of my life, and have done some readings, but I am by no means a writer like Neil Gaiman or a billion other awesome writers.

So, for now, I sit with wretched writer’s block

behind a keyboard

with a million and one things to write but no scintillating clarity to write them.

Ugh.