Bones & Anatomy

Musings, ActuallyAutistic, 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.

The Moon, My Love

asd, autism, Musings

Conscious I haven’t written about my autistic journey for some time, I sat down to write about my most recent misadventure involving my special interest in music, and how I may or may not have gotten myself into a little bit of a pickle around concert tickets out of fear I would miss out, spending money that I don’t have, and the reactions from those around me who aren’t autistic.

But I really just feel like writing about the moon.

One of my most favorite activities is to sit outside under a clear sky and observe the moon and a plethora of stars above us.

No photo can ever do it justice.

Before I moved away, I used to do that almost nightly in my parents’ backyard no matter the season though partial to the crisp Autumn months and spring evenings lit by lightning bugs.

My favorite was going to an isolated part of the beach and just sitting and observing; bathing in the pearly glow of the moon.

The mellow breeze rolling off the onyx-colored waves kissed by moonlight lulled the sticky, humid summer air.

It was mega cathartic for me.

Nowadays, my back garden has replaced my parents’ backyard but the same activity occurs no matter the season.

I live less close to a beach now, though, and this is something I deeply miss.

There’s something magical, ethereal about the moon and its energy that resonates with me.

I sometimes wish I could sit on the moon and just observe what it has, does and will observe;

all of the cyclical shifts,

extinctions,

creations,

loves,

losses,

destruction,

beauty,

it has seen from Earth and mankind.

There are a lot of scary things happening around us everywhere and it’s easy to get weighed down by it all.

But, regardless of who we are, what we’re doing, where we’re doing and why we all look at the same moon at night.

7.7 billion people observing a 4.53 billion-year-old moon observing back.

Infinite in feeling, finite in observation.

I am in love.

Fun fact: my childhood nickname was moonbeam. 🙂

 

Get Back Up & Do It Again

feelings, Life events

It has been a pretty rough start to this year, which may be mildly ironic given my year in review of 2018.

But things can’t always be peachy keen.

How dull would life be if everything was perfect all the time?

We would never appreciate the good moments,

the beautiful moments,

the vulnerable moments,

those moments that feel infinite.

I am a firm believer that hardships happen to spur growth and/or change,

and boy, I sure am going through some growing pains right now.

It’s easy to think that, with age, you become impervious to growth;

that you’ve learned all you needed to learn during your youth so now the world just sorta happens around you,

but that is truly naive thinking.

Part of what I am learning is that, while I thought I had learned almost everything there was to learn, I was wrong and I am learning a lot right now,

changing a lot,

metamorphosing.

I mean, I guess life has been pretty sweet for the last 4 years.

I’ve been long overdue for a rocky one.

So, here we are and here I am learning.

It’s kind of rough.

But there is so much shimmering wisdom blooming within this chaos.

sunlight in landscape

Life Is A Funny Thing

feelings, Life events

My stepdad passed away the other day.

Three weeks ago, he went to the doctor for back pain that wouldn’t subside.

Turned out to be pancreatic cancer; tumors from his pancreas pushing into his spinal cord.

The doctor told him he had at least 3 months.

The cancer was in his bones but not his other organs.

Radiation treatment began, chemo to shortly follow.

He was admitted to hospital the other night with shortness of breath and confusion.

His blood levels were very low oxygen due to the cancer being inside his bone marrow.

He kept saying to my mom “Let’s get through this so I can get my treatment,”

“This won’t impact my treatment, right?”

He became scared, confused and agitated.

Then he passed out.

They tried reviving him for 45 minutes.

He was 48.

They think he may have had a blood clot that caused the rapid decline in health.

My mom didn’t opt for an autopsy so we won’t really know for certain.

My birth father passed away in 2008 from liver disease.

He was ill for 15 years so was slow and gradual in comparison to this but no easier, obviously.

He was my hero.

I am still broken in places due to his passing.

This is my first real experience with a more sudden death.

I have a lot of complicated feelings right now.

Some of which I feel incredibly selfish for like “Why am I not allowed to have a father figure in my life?”

Others, less selfish like “Why isn’t my mom allowed to be happy?”

“Why did he have to leave scared and confused?”

“Why did he even have to leave?”

When my birth father passed, I developed this permanent heavy weight from death’s hands resting on my shoulder, whispering the Virgil’s quote:

“Death twitches my ear;
‘Live,’ he says…
‘I’m coming.”

I live with an intense urgency of life.

Multiple times a day I ask myself if I’m happy with what I’m doing,

if I should be doing more,

if I’m okay with my current life,

if I should change things,

if I should move back home,

if I should change careers,

If.

Life is a funny thing.

I’m a firm believer that we are all on our own paths that are meant to teach and we are to learn accordingly.

But I am struggling to understand what all this death is trying to teach me.

I mean, I know it has taught me humility and deep empathy for the human journey.

It has taught me patience and spiritual compassion that we’re all hurting inside from something; that we’re all working on something (even if many don’t realize it) so to be kind even if people are not kind back (something I think I will forever be working on).

I thought I learned all I could the first time around.

But I guess I was wrong.

And, really, it’s not even about me.

Grief is a deeply personal experience so I cannot speak for others.

I just know that I want them back.

Please, come back.