The Last 30 and 9

I don’t like to leave things unfinished. You know this already, I’m sure. So… back in 2017, I was re-doing the 100 Happy Days challenge on Instagram (and cross-posting on Facebook) and, when I completed it, I was planning on posting the pictures here on my blog as well, but with more in depth explanations. I got a little over halfway through (-first month, second month-) but ended up giving up because… well, honestly, I was depressed. I was depressed while I was doing the challenge and continued to be well after I was done. Writing about things that made me “happy” felt false.

Here I am, almost exactly 4 years after finishing that challenge (for the second time… Not a great choice. You can read about why here, if you’re interested….) and I’m still not feeling like I want to go on and on about happiness. BUT~ I hate that I left it all incomplete. So. I decided I would just throw up the rest of the pictures, maybe make a comment or two if I feel like it, and then say I’m done.

For the record, I will NEVER attempt another challenge like that. I still believe in the value that that particular challenge can bring into your life and would still recommend that anyone try it. I got a lot out of doing it the first time. And I also appreciate the lesson I learned from doing it again the second time – mainly that these types of challenges seem to be a one-time benefit.

June 1

June 2

Hubby and I (sometimes joined by Niecey) make ridiculous taste review videos on my personal YouTube channel. It’s fun to be goofy with other people. Here’s the playlist link.

June 3

June 4

The previous year, I joined the official Weezer fan club. I thought it was time Hubby joined us so I bought him the entry package as his gift.

June 5

More about my stuggles with the smells of things...

June 6

Awww. That poor tree. He died after I repotted him. RIP, buddy. Glad to report no money troubles happened as a result. And after several years with no live greenery in our home, we are now the proud parents of quite a few houseplants and a decent sized garden.

June 7

We visited the market at Nathan Philips Square, where I chatted with a guy selling apple cider from my hometown, and then to the more ‘fancy’ market up at Yorkville. I like our “adventure days”.

June 8

I don’t like celebrating my birthday but it’s still nice that people remember I exist.

June 9

Made a gift and painted a card for my friends. It’s great to be able to express yourself creatively.

June 10

Whether in Japan or in Canada, maid cafés are expensive! Uncle Tetsu’s Angel Café is NOTHING like a true Japanese maid café but it’s the closest we can get. They made a good effort. And tasty treats!

June 11

Went to the bridal shower for my friends.

June 12

June 13

June 14

June 15

Hubby had the bizarre yet cute idea to see how many times we hug in a year so, just before the new year began, he bought a counter and clicks it every time. I think he’s cheating because sometimes he comes over to hug me just so he can click it – but it makes me laugh.

June 16

June 17

June 18

Happy Father’s Day

June 19

Can attest to. Getting outside into nature, even if it’s just a local park amongst all the concrete, does lift the spirits. 10 out of 10. Would recommend. (Watch out for angry geese though! Haha.)

June 20

My super long-winded blog posts that no one actually reads are really just for me. I work really, really hard on them and am usually pretty proud of the results. And since I have such a long to-do list of posts to cross off, I feel a huge sense of relief when even just one is complete.
Hong Kong: Day 4
Christmas in NYC

June 21

We had a Netflix account for just 6 months – and I made full use of that time. Most TV shows we watch are downloaded from torrents (🏴‍☠️) but anything that requires subtitles for me to watch along with is inevitably a lot harder to find. Having easy access to Japanese shows was wonderful and I miss it.

June 22

I love Pita Pit.

June 23

June 24

June 25

Happy Pride!

June 26

We bought our first denki pot (water boiler) during our Japan 2015 trip. Hubby was resistant at first because he thought it would use too much energy but he’s as reliant on it now as I am. And I bought myself a cheap mug warmer on Amazon which saves me from having to reheat my tea several times in the microwave.

June 27

Always happy to hang out with one of my oldest and dearest friends at one of the ‘original’ bubble tea spots. Geena is who I hold responsible for my bubble tea obsession.

June 28

I mention these tapes A LOT – basically every single time I bring up learning Japanese. I love them so much that I have a checklist for visiting all the sites mentioned (and actually got to a few in our most recent trips!) and made videos to go along with some of the lessons as a ‘visual accompaniment’. (Intro & Dialogue 1Dialogue 2)

June 29

LOL. I like to coordinate my earrings to my t-shirts.

June 30

July 1

When I was in Hong Kong, there was all this HOOPLA over a giant rubber duck that was sitting in the harbour. Everywhere you went, there were rubber duckie motifs. I thought it was stupid to get so excited over something like that. Our group stopped by on our way to Macau and there were hundreds of people jammed together trying to take pictures of the giant duck. So weird. And then… 4 years later, I heard the same duck was coming to Toronto…. and I got excited and planned an ‘adventure day’ downtown to go and take some pictures…….

July 2

Maggie, who has lived the majority of her life in the United States, is the biggest celebrator of Canada Day I know. I don’t really celebrate anything – but’s it’s always lovely to spend time with extended family. Happy Day-After Canada Day.

July 3

Hubby dropped me off downtown where I caught the bus down to Rochester to help my friends celebrate their independence.

July 4

July 5

July 6

July 7

Spent the weekend with Abbygail at her cottage for her bachelorette party.

July 8

July 9

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The Definitive 80’s Collection

Having lived through all but 6 months of the 80s, I’ve always had a strong affinity for that decade. Towards the end of high school, I started to become obsessed. (I even permanently crimped my hair by putting my hair in many tiny braids and pouring home perm solution all over it. Yeah. Not one of my best life choices…) That’s when I began listening, almost exclusively, to music from the 80s.

To this day, I still REALLY, REALLY love the 80s.

I mentioned briefly in an earlier post that I didn’t listen to a lot of popular music when I was kid, so I didn’t know a lot of the songs that were considered classic 80s tunes yet. It wasn’t until I started to collect those hits that I became familiar with most of them. (There are some exceptions. The first few songs on this playlist are songs I’ve known and loved since I was teeny tiny.)

Just after high school, I kept seeing commericals for one of those Time Life collections of hits from the 80s. Of course, I had no money for such luxuries as pre-made compilations, so I decided to make my own. And make it better. Add my favourites that they had missed.

And then, when Hubby and I first moved in together, we bought several variations of SingStar for his PlayStation. (It’s like Rock Band, but with just singing, for those that are too young to remember that one.) My favourite one, naturally, was SingStar 80s. It has even more great songs that Time Life had missed so I added them to my growing list.

Obviously this playlist needs some major heavy editing. There are some songs on here that I would delete now. Some weren’t that popular and some, I just don’t like. But, for posterity, here is my original Definitive 80s Playlist that I had set in stone (or at least 4 burnt CDs) around 2003.

Which 80s songs are your favourites?

a Playlist by kmah88~

Vol. 1

1. Peter Schilling – Major Tom
2. A-ha – Take One Me
3. Wham! – Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
4. John Parr – St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)
5. Men Without Hats – Safety Dance
6. Thomas Dolby – She Blinded Me with Science
7. Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
8. Devo – Whip It
9.  The Buggles – Video Killed the Radio Star
10. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen
11. George Michael – Faith
12. Corey Hart – Sunglasses at Night
13. Billy Idol – Dancing with Myself
14. David Bowie – China Girl
15. Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now
16. Kenny Loggins – Footloose
17. Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
18. George Michael – I Want Your Sex
19. Wham! – Freedom

Vol. 2

1. Simple Minds – Don’t You (Forget About Me)
2. Dead or Alive – You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)
3. The Human League – Don’t You Want Me Baby?
4. Culture Club – Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?
5. Naked Eyes – Always Something There to Remind Me
6. Tears for Fears – Shout
7. Robert Palmer – Addicted to Love
8. Talk Talk – It’s My Life
9. Soft Cell – Tainted Love
10. Lipps, Inc. – Funkytown
11. Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance
12. Blondie – Call Me
13. Eddy Grant – Electric Avenue
14. Nena – 99 Luftballons
15. Olivia Newton-John – Physical
16. The Bangles – Walk Like an Egyptian
17. Tommy Tutone – 867-5309 Jenny
18. Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time
19. Wall of Voodoo – Mexican Radio

Vol. 3

1. Belinda Carlisle – Heaven Is a Place on Earth
2. Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart
3. Duran Duran – Girls on Film
4. Kim Carnes – Bette Davis Eyes
5. M – Pop Muzik
6. Men Without Hats – Pop Goes the World
7. David Bowie – Let’s Dance
8. Deniece Williams – Let’s Hear It for the Boy
9. Irene Cara – Fame
10. Men At Work – Who Can It Be Now?
11. Madness – Our House
12. Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls
13. Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters
14. A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran
15. Crowded House – Don’t Dream It’s Over
16. Depeche Mode – Just Can’t Get Enough
17. The Bangles – Eternal Flame
18. Michael Sembello – Maniac
19. The Bangles – Manic Monday

These are my beautiful cousins. I grew up wanting to be them.

Vol. 4

1. Survivor – Eye of the Tiger
2. New Order – Bizzare Love Triangle
3. Tears for Fears – Everybody Wants to Rule the World
4. Duran Duran – Hungry Like the Wolf
5. Heart – Alone
6. Pat Benatar – Heartbreaker
7. Starship – We Built This City
8. Styx – Mr. Roboto
9. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Relax
10. Harold Faltermeyer – Axel F
11. Glenn Frey – The Heat Is On
12. Irene Cara – What a Feeling
13. Billy Ocean – Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)
14. Bananarama – Cruel Summer
15. Club Nouveau – Lean on Me
16. The Beach Boys – Kokomo
17. Duran Duran – Rio
18. Billy Ocean – Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car
19. Blondie – Heart of Glass

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I Wonder…

The first half of this was written five years ago when I was just beginning to learn things about ASD. I answer my own ponderings in the second half.

General disclaimer for my rambling posts: I tend to switch back and forth between writing in first and second person. When I use “I”, I’m taking ownership of what I’m saying and speaking from my own experience. When I say “you”, I’m referring to the general public or specific subgroup and am speaking more hypothetically.

I know autism is a spectrum disorder. Every single case is unique and no two autistic people share the exact same manifestations. I am curious about something though.

You know how sexuality is a fluid, right? You’ve heard of the Kinsey scale? It says that an individual can fall anywhere on the scale from 0-6. One of the proponents of the theory also states that it can change over the course of a person’s life. You could potentially be born a 6 and end up as a 0 – although that high degree of fluctuation is highly unlikely, I think. It’s more likely that if you are a 4 at one point, you could be a 2 later and then a 3 after that, etc. 

kinsey

Anyway, back to fluidity.

As I’ve explained before, my way of understanding the world is through association. To comprehend a new concept, I relate it to something I already know. I make connections all over the place, even if they seem strange or completely unrelated to someone else, they make sense to me.

Naturally, my brain just likened the words “spectrum” and “scale”* because a thought occurred to me. Can the autism spectrum be considered fluid as well?

wave

Fact: Autism is something you are born with. It’s a different ‘wiring’ of your brain from the neurotypical way. There is no “cure”. If you are autistic, you will always be autistic. But~ is it possible to ‘make improvements‘, like Jenny McCarthy seems to want to believe? Can you get ‘worse’? My immediate answer would be no, of course not. That’s preposterous. And ignorant actually.

BUT.

I only wonder about this because I feel like the aspects of my own person case have… increased. I have always been autistic. I will always be autistic. But in some very concrete ways, lately, I feel even more autistic than I used to be.

There is an easy way to explain it, I suppose. I became adept at masking those obvious autistic parts of me. Now that I’m realizing this is who I am at the core, I no longer feel it’s as necessary as it was in the past for me to hide those things. I am who I am. Take it or leave it, fuckers. Haha. Now I’m in an adjustment period where a lot of things I didn’t even realize about myself are resurfacing.

Before really understanding what autism really is and that I probably am autistic myself, I had to explain things away or just deal with it. Now, I don’t have to. It’s all still new to me so things are out of whack. Things that were unpleasant but had to be done before are now monumental. I’m struggling with quite a few issues now.

For example, I hate talking to people. I’ve become quite reclusive. Making conversation is so much harder for me now. It was getting progressively worse and worse over the past maybe 8ish years, but now, I feel more awkward and panicky than ever before. I find myself saying things I don’t mean exactly, passively allowing people to misinterpret me without speaking up to correct them or back track what I said, following other social constructs I hate (breaking my own rules) like laughing at a joke I don’t find funny. This bothers me immensely.

social anxiety

There are other examples too. I’m just tired right now and can’t think of them.

So likely, it’s not that I’m more autistic than I was before. It’s probably a combination of the settling into my new sense of self …and old age. Haha. I’m less flexible than I was in my youth.

Still, it’s something to think about. COULD it be fluid? I’m not a psychology expert. I don’t know.

***

The above was likely written before I had heard much about autistic burnout. Without taxing myself to explain what that is in my own words right now, I’ll just recommend that you read these 2 articles and/or watch this video if you’ve never heard of it.

Autistic Burnout: An Often-Misunderstood Element of Austim

Autistic Burnout, Explained

Sometimes it can look like someone has lost skills they previously had mastered or can no longer “behave” themselves in public when they could before. It comes from spending every ounce of energy someone has to do those things to the point where they are just exhausted and can’t do it anymore. It can also happen when there are big changes in life – like moving, changing jobs, or hey, finding out they are autistic!

Five years ago, when I spending almost all my free time on educating myself all about what it meant to be on the spectrum, I was stressing my brain, using up a lot of energy on absorbing so much new information and deeply thinking through everything. Even though I enjoyed the research stage, my mind was working over everything I was learning almost constantly – even in my sleep.

I had ALSO just started a new job after having been unemployed and out of school for the previous 3 years doing nothing at home. It’s no wonder I was having a hard time doing a lot of the things neurotypical people seem to do with very little effort.

burnout

So, now, I think that your personal “level” of autism is not on a sliding scale – you are what you are – but what changes from day to day is your reaction to input and your ability to hold it (like a cup that is slowly filling up with input until it overflows). It can be dependent on the amount of sleep you had and how well your body is being taken care of (food intake, etc.), what things are going on in your life presently that might be taking up room in your cup, what the weather is like, etc.  It can be anything really.

The “ability” to pass in society also takes A LOT of energy. If you’re just at home doing your own thing, you may be better able to cope with dealing with all of the daily ups and downs but if you also have to work/go to school, naturally it will take more of a toll. You’ll have less spoons that you might normally have.

In conclusion, no, I don’t think you are more or less autistic at different points in your life. You just have a fluid capacity to deal with everything.

 

(* I actually have a lot more to say about the difference between scales and spectrums but that will be in another post later.)

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Jenn’s Music

Hey, hey. So while you are sitting, white-knuckled, on the edge of your seat, waiting for my own older playlists, I wanted to share a few playlists made by my friend, Jenn.

I don’t even know how we got on the topic but one day, several years ago now, we were talking about music and found out we are both frequent random playlist creators and collectors. I was about to cook a Thanksgiving turkey and she mentioned she had a playlist a friend of hers had made, specifically for hyping yourself up to cook a big meal. I thought that sounded awesome so I asked her if she wouldn’t mind sharing it with me. She was very obliging and offered to send a bunch of her others as well. Score!

Jenn works in the music industry and has a lot exposure to a wide variety of great music. She also has good taste!

Over the years, she has created more that she has shared with me and has even cultivated a couple upon my request of a specific feel.

I’ve been introduced to many of my favourite songs directly from Jenn. I am very grateful for that gift. 💚  Now I want to pass on some of that to you. I highly recommend perusing these lists, clicking on some of the titles, and finding some new gems for yourself.

They are in the order she gave them to me in, and if there was artwork for the playlist, that is included as well.

Cookin’ My Food Like Yeah

1. Miley Cyrus – Party in the USA
2. Martin Garrix – Animals
3. Britney Spears – 3
4. Jordin Sparks – Battlefield
5. Dan Black – Symphonies (feat. Kid Cudi)
6. YACHT – It’s Boring/You Can Live Anywhere You Want
7. Holy Fuck – Lovely Allen
8. YACHT – Psychic City
9. Animal Collective – Summertime Clothes
10. The Blow – The Big U
11. Amanda Black – Big Heavy
12. Animal Collective – Brother Sport
13. Whitest Boy Alive – Golden Cage (Fred Falke Remix)
14. Amanda Blank – Leaving You Behind (feat. Lykke Li)
15. De La Soul – The Magic Number
16. Lady Sovereign – So Human
17. La Roux – Bulletproof
18. Animal Collective – Did You See the Words
19. The Blow – Eat Your Heart Up
20. Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over (An Optimo (Espacio) Remix)

Blizzard of 77: Wintersongs

1. The Shins – Sea Legs
2. Papa Fritas – Way You Walk
3. (track 3 was missing from what she sent and she can’t remember what it was)
4. Stars of Track and Field – With You
5. Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Possess Your Heart
6. Stars – Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
7. Matthew Sweet – We’re the Same
8. David Poe – Doxology (I Went Home for Christmas)
9. Juliana Hatfield – My Baby
10. The Smiths – Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
11. The The – Love Is Stronger Than Death
12. The Church – Under the Milky Way
13. PJ Harvey – Big Exit
14. The Bird and the Bee – Fucking Boyfriend
15. Radiohead – Anyone Can Play Guitar
16. Miike Snow – Cult Logic
17. The Sea and the Cake – Interiors
18. Brendan Benson – Cold Hands (Warm Heart)
19. Midlake – Roscoe
20. The Cure – Catch
21. Matt Pond PA – Brooklyn Stars
22. Rosebuds – Boxcar
23. Ryan Adams – Harder Now That It’s Over
24. Oasis – Wonderwall

Impressions

1. Florence + The Machine – Heavy in Your Arms
2. TV on the Radio – Will Do
3. Broken Records – Nearly Home
4. Fanfarlo – The Walls Are Coming Down
5. The Verve – Lucky Man
6. April Smith & The Great Picture Show – What’ll I Do
7. Iron & Wine – Glad Man Singing
8. Other Lives – Desert
9. Best Coast – Honey
10. Philip Glass – The Kiss
11. Sia – Breathe Me
12. The XX – Infinity
13. Arab Strap – Dream Sequence
14. Two Door Cinema Club – Come Back Home

Stark

1. The Embassy – It Pays to Belong
2. The Bird and the Bee – My Love
3. Rogue Wave – Love’s Lost Guarantee
4. Other Lives – Tamer Animals
5. Bombay Bicycle Club – How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep
6. I Break Horses – Winter Beats
7. Austra – Beat and the Pulse
8. Class Actress – Careful What You Say
9. Light Asylum – A Certain Someone
10. Massive Attack – Paradise Circus
11. Ellie Goulding – Guns and Horses
12. Class Actress – Keep You
13. Gold Panda – Same Dream China
14. CSLSX – Keep On Shining
15. Washed Out – Feel It All Around
16. Creep – Jessica King
17. EMA – Milkman

Mix for Ric

1. Jay-Z – Empire State of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys)
2. Nelly – Just a Dream
3. Iyaz – Replay
4. Jay Sean – Down (feat. Lil Wayne)
5. Usher – OMG (feat. will.i.am)
6. Wynter Gordon – Talk Dirty to Me
7. (missing track)
8. Beyonce – Sexy Lil Thug
9. Katy Perry – California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg)
10. Fergie – Here I Come
11. Sean Kingston – Letting Go (Dutty Love) (feat. Nicki Minaj)
12. The Notorious B.I.G. – Hypnotize
13. Wale – Let It Loose
14. Kid Sister – Daydreaming (feat. Cee-Lo Green)
15. N.A.S.A. – Gifted (feat. Kanye West, Santogold & Lykke Li)
16. Motorcycle – As the Rush Comes

The Lost Art of the Mix

1. Jamie Lidell – Hurricane
2. Beck – Black Tambourine
3. Funeral Party – New York City Moves to the Sound of LA
4. The Wombats – Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)
5. Arctic Monkeys – When the Sun Goes Down
6. Metric – Help I’m Alive
7. Albert Hammond Jr. – GfC
8. Frightened Rabbit – Not Miserable
9. M83 – You, Appearing
10. Cat Power – He War
11. Sonic Youth – Cross the Breeze
12. Spinnerette – Cupid
13. Yeasayer – 2080
14. Queens of the Stone Age – The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret
15. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – 100 Days, 100 Nights
16. Barry White – Love’s Theme

Work, Schmerk Part 1

1. Dolly Parton – 9 to 5
2. Jamie Lidell – Another Day
3. Björk – Big Time Sensuality
4. Van Halen – You Really Got Me
5. Beastie Boys – Sabotage
6. Flight of the Conchords – Sugar Lumps
7. Gnarls Barkley – Feng Shui
8. The Faint – Your Retro Career Melted
9. Adam Lambert – If I Had You
10. Kesha – Blow
11. Lady Gaga – Just Dance
12. The Bravery – Believe
13. White Lies – E.S.T.
14. Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out
15. Arctic Monkeys – Dancing Shoes
16. Friendly Fires – Jump in the Pool
17. The Velvet Teen – Radiapathy
18. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Zero

Work, Schmerk Part 2

1. Foo Fighters – The Pretender
2. Florence + The Machine – Kiss with a Fist
3. Violent Femmes – Kiss Off
4. Fugazi – Waiting Room
5. At the Drive-In – Pattern Against User
6. Funeral Party – Postcards of Persuasion
7. Eagles of Death Metal – Poor Doggie
8. The Black Keys – Your Touch
9. APTEKA – Striking Violet
10. Muse – Map of the Problematique
11. The Killers – Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
12. The Cure – Fascination Street
13. Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy
14. Unkle – Reign (feat. Ian Brown)
15. Aaliyah – Try Again

California H00rs

(Jenn made this playlist for a road trip I was going on with a group of mutual friends of hers that she was unable to join, so she gave us her music as a way of participating.)

1. Phoenix – 1901
2. The Good Natured – Skeleton
3. Wale – Chillin’ (feat. Lady Gaga)
4. Kid Sister – Daydreaming (feat. Cee-Lo Green)
5. Fergie – Here I Come
6. Iggy Azalea – Fancy (feat. Charli XCX)
7. Katy Perry – California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg)
8. Jamie Lidell – Little Bit of Feel Good
9. Gnarls Barkley – The Last Time
10. Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc.
11. Beastie Boys – Sabrosa
12. Missy Elliott – Pump It Up (feat. Nelly)
13. Trick Daddy – In Da Wind
14. The Pharcyde – Return of the B-Boy
15. 2Pac – California Love (feat. Dr. Dre)
16. BLACKStreet – No Diggity (feat. Dr. Dre & Queen Pen)

Fracture

(Jenn made this one at my request when I was going through a period of being very angry all the time, even without provocation.)

1. Mogwai – The Precipice
2. At the Drive-In – Alpha Centauri
3. The Murder City Devils – In This Town
4. Pretty Girls Make Graves – By the Throat
5. The Misfits – Where Eagles Dare
6. Band of Skulls – Bomb
7. HorrorPops – Kiss Kiss Kill Kill
8. Paramore – Let the Flames Begin
9. Rocket from the Crypt – On a Rope
10. Green Day – Platypus (I Hate You)
11. Lunachicks – Bad Ass Bitch
12. Silversun Pickups – Panic Switch
13. The Pretty Reckless – Heaven Knows
14. PJ Harvey – The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore
15. Nine Inch Nails – The Four of Us Are Dying
16. 30 Seconds to Mars – The Kill (Bury Me)

In the Mix

(This was another one Jenn crafted for a small group of us.)

1. Aerosmith – Outta Your Head
2. Haelstorm – Daughters of Darkness
3. Theory of a Dead Man – Panic Room
4. Finger Eleven – Whatever Doesn’t Kill Me
5. Black Veil Brides – We Don’t Belong
6. Volbeat – Find That Soul
7. Avenged Sevenfold – This Means War
8. Trapt – Headstrong
9. Breaking Benjamin – Into the Nothing
10. Anberlin – Hearing Voices
11. 30 Seconds to Mars – Closer to the Edge
12. Deftones – What Happened to You
13. Days of the New – Dirty Road
14. Haelstorm – Here’s to Us

The Tide Is High

1. The White Stripes – Jolene
2. Jack Peñate – Pull My Heart Away
3. Cold War Kids – First
4. Of Monsters and Men – Black Water
5. Vance Joy – Mess Is Mine
6. Florence + The Machine – No Light, No Light
7. The Civil Wars – Same Old Same Old
8. The Head and the Heart – Another Story
9. Greg Laswell – Comes and Goes
10. Radical Face – Ghost Towns
11. Mumford & Sons – White Blank Page
12. Adele – I Can’t Make You Love Me
13. City and Colour – Wasted Love
14. The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition
15. Washed Out – All Over Now
16. Sigur Rós – Inní mér syngur vitleysingur

10K

1. Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence
2. The Cure – Disintegration
3. Radiohead – Idioteque
4. Robyn – Dancing on My Own
5. Muse – Time Is Running Out
6. New Found Glory – Happy Being Miserable
7. Paramore – Misery Business
8. My Chemical Romance – I’m Not Okay (I Promise)
9. 30 Seconds to Mars – The Kill (Bury Me)
10. The Airborne Toxic Event – Does This Mean You’re Moving On
11. The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
12. Royal Blood – Figure It Out
13. The Murder City Devils – Idle Hands
14. Texas Is The Reason – Back and to the Left
15. Jimmy Eat World – Sweetness
16. Silversun Pickups – Panic Switch
17. Paramore – Decode

Hey, Jenn. You have anything new you can share with me? 😀

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Little Autism Oddities

Note: This post was written in late 2016.

I’ve talked about the general ways autism affects me and how some of the traits relate to me. Now I think I’ll just briefly touch on some of the lesser-known commonalities that some autistic people have that I myself deal with. Some of these things are quite fun. And for some reason, they have the weirdest, scientific names.

Synesthesia

What is it? From what I understand, it’s the crossing of sensory perception. Wikipedia says it’s “a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway”. In some cases, people see music or taste colours. Super interesting, right?

colour.jpg

How does that apply to me? This was a weird one to realize. I sort of always felt a kinship to the people described when I had heard of synesthesia before, but like with autism itself, I didn’t know why. There is someone on YouTube I subscribe to who vlogs about being autistic. They are fantastic and I’ve learned so much from them. Amethsyt Schaber. Check them out. They have synesthesia and explained that they can both literally see colour in music but also just strongly “feel” colours for certain sounds or associate certain colours with letters. That made me immediately think of what I have always done with numbers. I’ve told people about this before and no one ever understands it. They either look at me like I’m strange or just tell me I’m cute for thinking such bizarre things.

To me, the numbers 0-10 are either male or female. They each have a personality. It’s always been this way since I learned what numbers were. I don’t think this to be amusing or to personify numbers. It just happened naturally. For example, 6 is a boy and kind of a brat. 9 is a girl and thinks very highly of herself. 4 is a girl and likes to be babied. (An old, interesting and bizarre explanation of how I come up with passwords, with a section relating to my number friends can be found here.)

I wasn’t sure if this was synesthesia or not. It’s just part of the way I understand the world. But I was literally just scrolling down the rest of that Wikipedia page I just linked, as I was writing this with the strong inkling that it is, and there it is, describing exactly what I just said. Wow. It has it’s own name and is linked to it’s own Wikipedia entry – ordinal linguistic personification.

I also have other strong associations across other senses, which I can only assume are also synesthetic. For example, you will often hear me exclaiming that broccoli cheddar soup “tastes like British”. I can’t really tell you exactly what that means, but I’m quite certain about the statement. Also, certain smells are described with words like silky or bumpy, which are tactile descriptors. Sounds are described with taste. “His voice is like toffee crunch.” Words themselves associate with sensations not within the same sense. I saw another video on YouTube where Rosie King, another famous autistic girl, described the same thing. She also mentions how, to her, inanimate objects have feelings. I often think that too. If I have a row of Smarties, and I eat one, sometimes I have to eat the next one right away too, because ‘they are friends and they would be sad not to be together’. Or I’ll reorder them because two of them don’t get along. I often shake my head at this seemingly childish thought or laugh at myself but I have to follow through anyway because it feels bad not to.

Prosopagnosia

What is it? Another word it’s known as is face blindness. Wikipedia says “a cognitive disorder of face perception where the ability to recognize familiar faces, including one’s own face (self-recognition), is impaired, while other aspects of visual processing (e.g., object discrimination) and intellectual functioning (e.g., decision making) remain intact”.

faceless.jpg

How does that apply to me? That definition sounds extreme and I don’t have that. But~ Amethyst Schaber has this too and, while describing it, alerted me to the fact that I don’t remember faces after only seeing them a few times – I need to see them many times before it sticks and I rely a lot on other details to recognize people before I “know” them. I thought this was because I don’t make eye contact a lot or that I just had a bad memory. But then I thought about how I visualize things when I read. I never picture a character’s face. I just can’t. It’s not blank or missing, just not noted. I thought about how I used to get really stressed out when I worked in retail. If I had several customers in the fitting rooms, I would not remember which ones I was helping and which items belonged to with which people, even if I had only walked away for a few seconds. They had changed their clothes! I used to often joke around how “all white people look alike” – (This is a direct quote from Flower Drum Song.) – even though I think this about people of any race. When I accepted my new job, I got upset when I realized I had no idea what my boss looked like, having met him only once, and thought I might mix him up with the other regular employees. This is difficult to deal with but now that I understand what is happening and can stop blaming myself for not trying hard enough, I think it’ll be easier.

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Play My Mother#*$@ing Song!

Perhaps you’ve noticed that I am a fan of the concept of a “playlist”. Cultivating a list of songs centred on a theme is something I’ve done since I was quite young. I have posted several on my blog over the years, but I recently decided that I am going to share a bunch of my really old playlists I made here too – mostly for myself for future ease of reference. Around the time that CD burning became ‘a thing’, I made a whole bunch – and I still have and fairly regularly listen to a lot of them. (Alas, I don’t really have any of my super, super old mix tapes. The thing about CDs is that, once they’re burned, they are set. Cassette tapes though can be taped over, over and over again – which I did. Poop.)

A lot of these playlists, I have on my iTunes and… I am pretty sure I’ve mentioned this a few times before… I am kind of paranoid of losing all my iTunes information again. It happened a few years ago so now I back up EVERYTHING. (Although, let’s be honest, even without losing that stuff, I’d probably still document and hoard all this stuff because ~that is what I do~.)

I’m old and stuck in my ways. I made the switch from tapes to CDs and then to iTunes while I was still relatively young. But now, I’ve been using iTunes for so long and use all the various functions to organize all my music the way I want it so I am most likely just going to keep using it as long as it’s still viable. iTunes is almost obsolete at this point. I guess all the cool kids are using Spotify or … whatever. I don’t know how those work. And I hate paying for subscriptions and things like that so that type of service isn’t for me.

Unlike most people (yes, I’ve asked), I do make use of many of the editable functions in iTunes. It’s actually pretty great for a compulsive organizer such as myself. I spend hours (AND HOURS) tweaking things. I reorder and rename songs and albums. I make sure everything is in the same sort of format/appearance. I have as much information for each file as possible – title, artist, album, track number, year, album art, lyrics, etc. And then I sort a lot of songs into playlists, obviously. So, yeah, I don’t want to lose the actual files (hence the double back up of my entire music collection I currently have) but I also don’t want to lose all of that information. It’s years’ worth of details.

THEREFORE, I like to put a lot of that crap online so that if my computer and/or hard drives crash, I can easily recopy the information from there. (Don’t talk to me about the Cloud. Free space is way too limited so I don’t use it at all for music.) My blog is the most convenient online space for me to hoard all of that stuff. I have gone back though my blog to find specific information in the playlists I’ve already posted so far. Sometimes I need the track list order or something like that. So it makes sense to me to add all the older, frequently used playlists too.

There are already a bunch sitting in my drafts but it’ll take me a long time to roll them out. I like to make things pretty. I want to add pictures and links and format everything ‘properly’. I’m not in a rush and I just want to work on them when I feel like it. And, FYI, I’ll probably backdate a few of them.

All of this preamble is basically just a forewarning to those who are subscribed to this blog because you’ll get a bunch of email alerts in chunks and all those posts will most likely not be of any interest to you.

This is all for me. 😀

*The title of this blog is a reference to the song Play by Jennifer Lopez.

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Autism/Asperger’s: Differences in Females

Here is another post I wrote several years ago and left sitting in my drafts. Re-reading it over now, I really want to update this but… it’s already SOOOO long! There are many points I have a better understanding of now and a few things that my views have changed a bit. Perhaps at some point, I may revisit it, but for now, it’s good enough. 

I also feel I should mention that I am fully aware that everything that follows is extremely self-indulgent. Consider this your warning. And also your free pass. I will not be offended in the least if you are bored to tears and bail at any point.

~

I had no idea that there even were differences between males and females with autism. It was that post on Facebook I mentioned before that I had seen which alerted me to that fact and got me thinking that maybe I am myself. When I was pestering my friend about their experiences, they sent me a chart listing some of those specific traits and, in doing my own rabid research, I came across the same one again and again.

There is a person who blogs/vlogs about having Asperger’s and made a series of videos listing the traits and how they apply to her and then another response series from one of her viewers. I don’t know why I find it interesting to hear such mundane detail about the personal lives of people I have never met or had any interactions with… but anyway, I watched the entirety of both. I think between the two of them, they may have misinterpreted a few of the trait explanations so I thought maybe I’d record some videos too… but really, who am I kidding? I’ll never get around to that. So I’m just gonna dump all that personal stuff right here instead.

This is the chart (although I made my own because the original is really blurry and had some continuity errors I felt compelled to fix – and I also feel compelled to say I couldn’t fix all the issues I have with it so that it remained close enough to the original).

traits

I’ll try not to get TOO wordy as I reflect on how I relate to these traits.
Okay, off I go:

Appearance/Personal Habits

Dresses comfortably due to sensory issues and practicality.

Right off the bat, this makes me laugh. I am the typical “jeans and t-shirt” girl and always have been. I have been told by quite a few different people, and realize myself, that I dress like a little girl. My ‘uniform’ is a pair of comfortable jeans, converse, and a printed t-shirt, often depicting a cartoon or fandom-related image. It’s easy. I don’t put much thought into choosing what I wear. Fashion is something I don’t understand. I don’t even try anymore. That takes care of the practicality side. As for sensory…  Fabric-wise, I am picky. Soft, thin cotton for the most part. (I have a huge problem with socks, as mentioned before in my Japan shopping post.) I’ve read a lot of autistic people have problems with tags in their clothes. This used to be a big issue when I was a kid – not as much now. (Tags have gotten softer, I think.) The thicker ones on the side are still bothersome. But I have much more of a problem with seams. If they are crooked at all, I am very irritated. Sometimes I can feel the stitching too. Ugh.
It should be noted, I DETEST dressing up. Hate, hate, hate.

Will not spend much time on grooming and hair. Hairstyles usually have to be ‘wash and wear’. Can be quite happy not grooming at all at times. 

This is a tough one. My hair cuts ARE wash-and-go styles. I’m quite plain and, going along with the fashion thing, I am not good at doing trendy hair dos. But the actual doing takes me a long time. I don’t know if this is an autsim thing or just a me thing, but I am SO SLOW in every task I undertake. My typical current hair routine is wash, dry, straighten which takes a long time. Or lately, I can’t be bothered to even comb it and I throw it up in a messy (wet) bun. So, I guess that counts?
Full disclosure: I don’t leave the house much and when I don’t, I don’t get dressed. Annnnnd I tend not to shower for a bit…. Yep. Gross, but true. I have a weird thing (again, just me?) where I will do something to the extreme. When I sleep for a long time, I try to sleep longer to ‘collect’ sleep. Same with staying awake, or not eating… and all other personal care rituals. It’s really weird and I don’t know why I do that, but… there ya go.
However, the “can be quite happy” not to? Uh, I actually do NOT feel happy when I’m dirty and disgusting and stinky or whatever. But that doesn’t make me stop. (Psychiatric field day, right here….)

Eccentric personality; may be reflected in appearance.

I have been told I am eccentric or strange or weird or unique, and I do realize that I have a lot of quirky differences from most people… but, since I have been thinking about this A LOT lately, I’m not sure I completely understand why. Like, I know I’m different and from a logical, intellectual standpoint, I know why. Also, I know myself, so I see how I’m different. But from another’s perspective, especially someone who doesn’t know me well or at all, I don’t get why they think that of me. I have observed that some people seem to hate me right off the bat and I’m realizing now that I’ve rationalized this to myself in a certain way that I don’t think I fully grasp. I have a way of conducting myself in public at times that rubs people the wrong way. When I was young, it was blatant and made sense for me to have issues with people not liking me, but now….? I don’t know. So I don’t think I can really attest to my own eccentricity.
As for appearance, like I said previously, I am pretty plain looking but the childish-ness of it, for someone my age, makes it unusual. Not eccentric. Not even necessarily memorable. Just slightly odd.

Is youthful for her age, in looks, behavior and tastes.

See above for deportment. I also physically look a lot younger than I am. My face is young and I’m little in stature (short still, although chubbier now). I am often mistaken for someone 10 years younger and still get ID’ed from time to time. I always have been. And I hate it. Everyone always told me “you’ll love it when you’re older”. No. I won’t. I don’t. When I was a kid, I was teeny tiny. Always the smallest in the class. My own father admitted to thinking I was actually a little person. Now, I often don’t openly tell people how old I am and keep it to myself for as long as possible. This isn’t just because of physically looking young but because of my behaviour too. If I just looked young and people found out how old I was, there would be shock and maybe even some envy. But paired with my behaviour and the things I’m into, I often feel disdain coming from other people. Judgement. A month or two ago, I might have thought I was either projecting my own feelings or being paranoid or just being silly. But now, knowing what I know about the ability for autistic people to pick up subconsciously on what others think and feel (that possible sixth sense thing)…. I think I’m right.
Behaviour-wise, I don’t know if I can accurately explain to you what I do and what it looks like. Maybe you have to see it. I guess I look like an excited teenager a lot of the time. Bouncy, hyperactive, loud, goofy, immature.  Annoying…  You get the idea? Not all of the time, of course. Only in certain situations and with certain people. But it’s uncontrollable for me. It sucks.
The interests in juvenile things just compounds the problem. I like things meant for children or teenagers. (Disney, animation, Twilight, other youth-targeted franchises, “cute” things, etc.) The good thing is that it’s not exclusively the case. I like very adult things too. I understand and enjoy complexity. I CAN conduct myself around other adults. I just don’t if I don’t have to.

Usually a little more expressive in face and gesture than male counterparts.

I’m not sure where I stand with this one. There are times where I feel that my face is expressing something, and then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror or see a picture immediately after it was taken, and think how expressionless my face looks. Honestly, I think I’d have to ask other people what they think of me. Also, “in comparison to male counterparts”… I don’t actually know any personally to compare to.

May have androgynous traits despite an outwardly feminine appearance. Thinks of herself as half-male/half-female (well-balanced anima/animus).

I’d say not really for this one. I know of a few girls with autsim who are quite androgynous in all aspects of their being. This is not me. I am most definitely female. But I’m not “girly”. At all. I wear make up but if I could get away with not, I totally would forgo it. I feel like my face has a manly-looking quality to it so I try to look more feminine with hair and makeup. I was frequently mistaken as a boy when I was little. (Thanks, Mom, for that awesome hair cut from the time I was 4-10.) Once I developed some curves and grew boobs, that died down. But physically, I do not identify with males at all. (Oh, I do envy them quite a bit!)
On the other hand, I have much more in common with guys mentally. I still enjoy typically female things (romance, talking boys, nurturing type things, etc.) but I have typical boy traits too. Simple thinking, crudeness, interest in Sci-fi crap. I get along with boys better than girls, which is weird cause I don’t really have any guy friends. (I blame taking ECE in college and the fact that I don’t keep in touch with anyone.) Boys are easy to talk to. Girls are intimidating.

May not have a strong sense of identity, can be very chameleon-like, especially before diagnosis.

Yes, absolutely. I’ve had a very hard time lately trying to figure out “who am I”. I spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about it. I constantly question if the things I think about myself are true or if they are just things I’ve heard others say about me that I’ve adopted. I understand now why that is. It’s this whole chameleon thing that females with autism do – the thing that had left me undiagnosed and unaware, even to myself, for so long. Right from the time I was a very young girl, I have always been observing other people, evaluating what I liked or didn’t like about them, and borrowing their traits, trying them on for size and seeing if it worked for me. Then, I’d see how other people would react to my newly-found trait and re-evaluate to see if it was appreciated. And (I think I mentioned this a few years ago), I noticed I am different with different people. Different situations bring out different aspects. Different friends bring out different qualities. Sometimes, these qualities are completely at odds with each other so that I have many conflicting traits. But they are all still parts of me. This constantly changing persona has recently really bothered me. I felt like I was faking something or covering up the ‘real’ me somehow. (Or I was at least worried other people would think that.) But I am also very adamant in saying “always be yourself” and being sincere and honest in my interactions. I am just now seeing that these are two sides of the same thing. It’s not that I don’t know who I am. It just is me to adopt all these various traits so freely.
Now what I have to adjust to is not working so freaking hard to make myself more palatable for other people and just do the things that make me happiest.

Enjoys reading and films as a retreat, often Sci-fi, Fantasy, Children’s, can have favorites which are a refuge.

Yes!  I am a lazy reader and don’t read often, but when I do, it is definitely a means of escape. TV and movies, even more so. I don’t just watch for enjoyment. I feel literally transported into another world. I become the character. It’s great. Although drama can do this too of course, the best escape is into a world so different than this one. Sci-fi/fantasy is perfect for that. Children’s movies are great too because they often have that magic that this world lacks, or seeing the world through the eyes of a child is much more congruous to how I actually see the world myself.

Uses control as a stress management technique: rules, discipline, rigid in certain habits, which will contradict her seeming unconventionality.

This is another one that is funny to me. I have fallen victim to black and white thinking in regards to this many times. Before, I thought, if I wasn’t 100% like that in everything, it didn’t count. I am very much in the grey area when it comes to self-control and discipline and rules and rituals.  Yeah, I’m all over the place with my schedule but my routines themselves are rock solid and unbendable. I may wake up or go to bed or eat or shower, etc. at extremely varied points in the day, but when I do them, there are steps in each that are followed every single time. When I do my make up, for instance, I do it in the exact same order every time. I have a  ‘proper way’ to do everything from loading the dishwasher to organizing the cupboard to cleaning the bathroom and folding laundry. And rules are a big thing too. (Don’t confuse them with laws. Haha. Authority means little to me.) For example, grammar. It irks me immeasurably when grammar rules are broken. Etiquette (that makes sense to me) and societal norms are a sticky point too. Hubby always scoffs when I say I’m easy-going. I can see why since it’s mostly household stuff I get uptight about (and I live with him) or because he is the one who hears the majority of my rants about people breaking rules I feel that they shouldn’t. But I am easy-going about some things. The point is that this is exactly why I do have rigidity in my thinking – to exercise control in my world as a way to reduce stress.

Usually happiest at home or in other controlled environment.

Duh. From an autistic point of view, this is vital. Your home is the only place you can have control over most sensory things. The temperature, light, sounds, smells, etc. can all be set how you want them. You can tell anyone else who is present to stop doing what they are doing if they bother you somehow without feeling bad about it. When you leave to go elsewhere, you are at the mercy of the rest of the world. It’s not so bad for me that I don’t like to leave the house at all but I enjoy myself much more when it’s only occasionally. My house has all the things I want and need and there are no expectations of me.

Intellectual/Giftedness/Education/Vocation

May have been diagnosed as autistic or Asperger’s when young, or may have been thought of as gifted, shy, sensitive, etc. May also have had obvious or severe learning deficits.

Obviously not diagnosed as a child. My mom always knew there was ‘something’ going on with me. She thought it was just academic. I was tested for learning disabilities and ADD. I was clearly smart and “not working up to my potential”. But when I went to her with my concerns, in tears, saying “I need help” (meaning mentally), I was pretty much just brushed aside. I self-diagnosed as depressed very early on in adolescence. Even after starting medication for it as a young adult and talking to professionals, I was told even my depression was not severe enough for an actual diagnosis because I couldn’t accurately communicate what I was feeling. Autism/Asperger’s was never even considered. I knew there was something more but have always felt trapped inside myself with no way of letting anyone else see it. I even considered the possibility that I had my very own syndrome and a psychologist would find fame and fortune if they just made the effort to get in there. Now that I understand what autism actually is (rather than the meagre education I received about it or the depictions of it in the media), it’s like I finally have an answer to every question I ever asked. 🙂

Often musical, artistic.

A little musical, a little artistic.
I love music. I love how it thrills me and touches me. I not only love listening to it but I love to make music, either by singing or with instruments. I am not exceptionally skilled, but I love it anyway.
I also love art. I love experiencing it. I love creating it. Again, not overly good at it, but find it very enjoyable.

May have a savant skill or strong talent(s).

Unfortunately not. 😦  I have slight talents in a few things but am no better at anything than most people. I’m very jealous of people who are.

May have strong interest in computers, games, science, graphic design, inventing, things of a technological and visual nature. More verbal thinkers may gravitate to writing, languages, cultural studies, psychology.

I like computers and science and stuff like that and have an appreciation for technology but not to any degree where I have wanted to pursue any of it. I do love to write. I have written a bunch of things on that topic on my blog already. I love putting words together in just the right way. I also love languages. Obviously. Written on my blog about that too. Also love cultural studies. Duh. And I’m fascinated by pyschology. Probably mentioned that a time or two as well. (Hahaha. The more I think about answering this, the more amusing it is to me.) I could have made any of those my main interest and found a career out of one of them. It just seems like so much work to formalize it though. I’d rather just dabble at my leisure.
The part that tripped me up with this point was the “verbal thinkers” thing. Temple Grandin outlined her ‘3 Types of Thinkers‘ theory and said people could be a mix of them. Visual, Verbal, and I forget. I think I’m both visual and verbal in my thinking and more one than the other at various times. I would more likely call myself an associative thinker though. I understand the world by relating things to other things I already know, whether the association is clear or not. Tangent…. Anyway, I was stuck on that because I wasn’t overly interested in any of the ‘visual thinker interests’ and I find that weird.

May be a self-taught reader, been hyperlexic as a child, and will possess a wide variety of other self-taught skills as well.

Nope. As far as I know, I learned to read at school with everyone else. I liked listening to stories and had a good vocabulary before school but nothing out of the ordinary, I don’t think.
I think most of my skills are self-taught, or at least I sought out someone to teach me what I wanted to learn and then supplemented that training with my own research for improvements, but nothing really to note. For instance, all the computer programs I use, I taught myself by playing around or trial and error but I’m no whiz. I can’t really think of anything else.

May be highly educated but will have had to struggle with social aspects of college. May have one or many partial degrees.

I am not highly educated because I gave up too easily. University was hard. It was too daunting and executive dysfunction got in my way. College was easier because the time frame was shorter and I think it’s aimed more at people who need more direction, like me. I don’t believe the social aspects played much of a role in my quitting. I have started several different times for different things though…

Can be very passionate about a course of study or job, and then change direction or go completely cold on it very quickly.

Related to the last point, my interests come and go pretty quickly and don’t generally last long enough for me to realistically pursue. Or I find aspects of something interesting but then don’t pursue it because I start thinking of all the additional aspects that go along with it that would not be enjoyable.
For personal interests (not school or job related), I pick up and drop things almost too quickly to notice them. I even have trouble reading a whole book before I get bored and want to move on.

Will often have trouble holding onto a job and may find employment daunting.

Bane of my existence. I’ve only ever had one long-term job. That was a long time ago. Everything since then had either been contract based so that it was short term in nature or I quit after a short time. I’ve never been fired (yet) but have trouble sticking with a job because, due to the anxiety it creates, I feel the need to leave. My last job, I quit the first day. My current job, I want to quit as soon as I have another option ready. I was unemployed for 3 years because I found the whole idea of trying to get a job overwhelming and nauseating.

Highly intelligent, yet sometimes can be slow to comprehend due to sensory and cognitive processing issues.

It will take me a moment or two to comprehend what someone has said to me, even in the best of times. When it’s noisy or I’m distracted for some other reason, it can be very difficult to understand what is being said. I think I do an okay job of getting the gist of something and inferring the rest or just making it look like I understand so that people don’t notice. But I hate looking stupid because I need something repeated multiple times because I either didn’t catch what was said or I couldn’t hold the information and forgot it. If something is multiple steps, I need to break them all down one at a time and mull them over to comprehend it all.

Will not do well with verbal instructions—needs to write down or draw diagram.

Completely suck with verbal instruction. Written helps if I have the time to dissect it the way I need to or given with specific detailing. But the best way is through demonstration/observation.

Will have obsessions but they are not as unusual as her male counterpart’s (less likely to be a ‘train-spotter’.

I definitely have my obsessions (Japan/Twilight) but I don’t think they are that unusual.

Emotional/Physical

Emotionally immature and emotionally sensitive.

Uhhh… extremely? Haha. I think I’d probably have to get an objective party to weigh in on the maturity part. My emotional responses are pretty basic and I don’t have a lot of control to how I react to both outside emotional stimuli and internal fluctuations. I’m not very adept at pinpointing what incidents have prompted an emotional response or even what it is that I’m feeling. When I’m upset by something, I seem to lose control over my external reactions and often appear like I’ve regressed to adolescence in my behaviour. I’m very sensitive in general but emotionally, that manifests in two ways. I get hurt quite easily. If I feel like I’ve been slighted, I take it hard and dwell on it. I feel the need for reassurance a lot but, with life experience, I’ve learned that seeking that out too often is off-putting to others. I internalize it and try to work through it on my own as much as possible. I’m also sensitive to the “vibes”, I guess you might say, that other people give off or that I witness. I may not consciously comprehend it but if someone around me is upset, it puts me on edge. It doesn’t matter if it’s reality or TV. I absolutely hate the fact that if someone is crying, I will cry too, no matter how I feel.

Anxiety and fear are the predominant emotions.

I’m not sure I like how this one is worded. I obviously have a far greater range than feeling mostly just anxiety and fear. I do feel anxious frequently, and at seemingly mundane things sometimes. I wouldn’t say I deal with a lot of fear more than most people. Anxiety is just low grade fear though, isn’t it?
I definitely don’t like being scared for entertainment. I don’t find that enjoyable the way some people do.

More open to talking about feelings and emotional issues than males with AS.

I would probably say that I do enjoy discussing feelings, especially in an abstract sense, but I find it very difficult to speak about my own emotions when I’m upset. I’m willing, just unable.

Strong sensory issues—sounds, sights, smells, touch, and prone to overload. (Less likely to have taste/food texture issues as males.)

I think I covered this rather extensively already. It would take a lifetime to itemize every single sensory issue I have. Suffice it to say, a resounding yes. I am realizing now how much my problems with external sensitivity impact my life. The three biggest problems for me are smell, temperature, and light.

Moody and prone to bouts of depression. May have been diagnosed as bipolar or manic depressive (common comorbids of Autism/AS) while the AS diagnosis was missed.

As I stated before, I self-diagnosed as depressed when I was in my mid-teens but didn’t get any professional help with it until I was on my own as an adult. (The perks of being in charge of your own welfare.) No two doctors ever agreed on a diagnosis. I think that I can appear “normal” and have had to for so long that I didn’t even realize it was an act that hindered me in getting the assistance I was seeking. The possibility that I might be bipolar was suggested by a few people over time but nothing ever came of it. I wasn’t extreme enough to qualify for that diagnosis. Not one person ever suggested autism.

Probably given several different prescriptions to treat symptoms. Will be very sensitive to medications and anything else she puts in her body so may have had adverse reactions.

I was on various combinations of anti-depressants, sleeping aids and “uppers” for a period of about 10 years, but weaned myself off all medication (doctor supervised) back in 2010 when my husband and I were considering having a baby.
My body is sensitive to medications and I usually have to reduce the strength. I inevitably feel worse off while taking round of antibiotics. The side effects are… not fun.
I did the whole ‘exercising my new freedoms’ thing when I was first living on my own and I seemed to have a normal reaction to it but I’ve realized now I do NOT handle alcohol or drugs well. At all.

9 out of 10 have mild to severe gastro-intestinal difficulties—eg. ulcers, acid reflux, IBS, etc.

I laughed out loud when I read this one. I’ve had “stomach issues” since I was young. I had no idea this was related. I thought I was just lucky. :/

Stims to soothe when sad or agitated; rocking, face-rubbing, humming, finger flicking, leg bouncing, finger or foot tapping, etc.

I don’t think I stim any more that neurotypical people do. (Yes, everyone does it.) I do find certain fidgety things relaxing and am sometimes completely captivated by complex patterns. I found out through researching that the reason autistic people might rock or flap, etc. is the need to stimulate the vestibular or tactile senses due to being hyposensitive and are under stimulated. I am pretty sure I am hypersensitive to movement. I hate any and all forms of extreme movement. If my feet are not firmly planted and am upright, I am not happy. I detest rollercoasters. I’m not a fan of trampolines or those bouncy castle things. I am unnerved during airplane turbulence. I had a complete meltdown on a gondola in Banff last year. Horribly embarrassing. I’m also annoyed by other people’s constant repetitive movements in my vicinity. I can feel the vibration and hear the sound it makes. So with all that, it would make sense for me to do the opposite of movement stimming. When I am agitated, I prefer absolute stillness. I move as much as it takes to keep breathing. It makes sense in those terms. I shut out all vestibular stimuli and I feel better. In the midst of a shutdown, I often find that I can’t move or at least find it very difficult.

Similarly physical when happy; hand flapping, clapping, singing, jumping, running around, dancing, bouncing, etc.

Hmm. I’ll have to take note of what my natural physical reaction is next time I’m happy or excited. I don’t think I do anything in particular that stands out.

Prone to temper or crying meltdowns, even in public, sometimes over seemingly small things due to sensory or emotional overload.

I mentioned it before but I don’t have meltdowns often and when I do, temper doesn’t seem to be present. They aren’t angry, yelling, violent, loud tantrums that draw a lot of attention. When I do have a meltdown in public, I would think from a stranger’s view, I just look like someone who is visibly upset. Mostly it’s just crying. It’s a big deal only to me and my husband rather than anyone else. If you asked my husband, he’d say they are “over nothing” and come out of nowhere. Shutdown though, as I said, is much more common. That happens regularly. I do know that I’m much more prone to these things when I feel overwhelmed.

Hates injustice and hates to be misunderstood; this can incite anger and rage.

This was a tough one to process. I was originally thinking about social injustice or something along those lines. Those videos are not fresh in my mind now but that was probably where both of those girls had gone. I don’t really pay attention to social issues and I don’t get involved with “causes”. I might have opinions about things I regard as cruelty towards other people or things of that nature but I don’t generally think about it for too long. I will hold a grudge against people for things I perceive as slights against myself or a friend (usually much longer than the friend does personally). I am oddly annoyed by people who break the “rules” though – and by that I mean more my own rules I have based on standards. It’s more about the way I think people should be. I can go off on long rants about that. I get the impression that other people think I’m overreacting at those times.
I do hate being misunderstood, which is a lot of the time. It’s difficult operating on a slightly different plane than everyone else.

Prone to mutism when stressed or upset, especially after a meltdown. Less likely to stutter than male counterparts but may have a raspy voice, monotone at times, when stressed or sad.

I am physically unable to speak during a shutdown. I covered that already. But even without a complete shutdown, I do have issues with mutism when I upset. I feel a constriction in my throat and a panicky feeling. If I’m forced to speak, I inevitably cry so I avoid it as much as possible. Many fights have started because my husband didn’t understand that I couldn’t speak.
I don’t stutter in the traditional sense. I trip over my words and stop and start a lot though. It’s something I’m self-conscious about. It’s worse when I’m trying to talk to someone I don’t know or someone I’m intimidated by but it happens with everyone, no matter how comfortable I am with them. I’m MUCH more confident with written communication.
My voice isn’t raspy but it is definitely monotone. I have “resting bitch voice”. I can fake the normal inflection but it’s a conscious decision. I have what my nephew pointed out as a ‘polite voice’ I use for speaking to people I need something from, like when ordering food or that type of thing. My normal voice is deeper than I wish it was. I think I can sound quite manly sometimes. Unfortunately, it’s not just when I’m stressed. It’s all the time. I can just fake it better when I’m not too tired.

Social/Relationships

Words and actions are often misunderstood by others.

Always. *sigh*   Not only the thing I posted about before with people not understanding what I say, which is baffling to me, but there have been a lot of mix ups with people not understanding my intentions towards them. I’ve been told many times that people thought I was a bitch or snobby when they first met me. I’ve been told I look angry. Conversely, I have a lot of people having random conversations with me as if I’m putting some vibe out there that I’m open to conversation with passing strangers. So not the case! It’s actually something I wish I could avoid. It’s so weird. Even when I’m out with other people, I’m the one who is singled out when the little old man wants to talk to someone. I wish I could turn off whatever that beacon that draw them to me is.

Perceived to be cold-natured and self-centered; unfriendly.

See above for the bitch thing. I think to a certain extent, I AM cold-natured. I have what I consider circumstantial compassion. At times, I’m very compassionate and understanding. But I also don’t really care that deeply about the majority of other people. People in general are tedious and stupid. Haha. That sounds worse than the reality. There’s no great way to explain that.
I am admittedly quite self-centered. I ponder the hows and whys of human nature and since I’m me and have firsthand knowledge of my thought processing, of course I’m my favourite subject. It could probably be classified as an obsession.
So I don’t really know how much of this is perception or actual reality. It’s conflicting because at times, I’m the exact opposite. Very warm, open, and caring.

Is very outspoken at times, may get fired up when talking about passions/obsessive interests.

When I tell people I’m shy, they laugh. I speak out a lot, whether I want to or not. It feels like Tourette’s sometimes. With my friends, I can be loud and goofy. This adds to the idea that people who I am not acquainted with yet think I’m a bitch. I won’t talk to anyone else in a social function except for the people I already know.
If someone shows even the slightest interest in one of my personal interests (sometimes even when they don’t but if I’m particularly excited about something), I will spout of information like an encyclopedia. It’s hard to stop. I wish I had more people I could discuss these things with. What is even better than having a captive audience though, is being able to talk with someone who matches my interest or knows just as much or more than I do.

Can be very shy or mute.

Haha. I just mentioned being shy. I don’t like talking to people I don’t know. I get very nervous in social situations. I’m always worried about saying something stupid. Isn’t that what being shy is?

Like her male counterpart, will shut down in social situations once overloaded, but is generally better at socializing in small doses. May even give the appearance of skilled, but it is a ‘performance’.

I love hanging out with friends but I always prefer small groups. Even if I have fun, I need recuperation time. I absolutely hate structured social events and don’t enjoy large parties. I intensely dislike small talk and it takes a lot out of me to do it.

Doesn’t go out much. Will prefer to go out with partner only or children if she has them.

I hardly ever go out. I spend most of my time at home. Now that I’m working again, even though it’s only three times a week, that takes away from my ability to go out on my days off because I need to recover from that. I do like spending time with other people that I like from time to time but with my husband, I don’t have to perform, so I prefer to spend my time with him. Or at least with him tagging along with other people. He’s like a security blanket. There have been many invitations I’ve turned down because he didn’t want to come with me.

Will not have many girlfriends and will not do ‘girly’ things like shopping with them or have get-togethers to ‘hang out’.

This one is not really true for me. I do have a few close female friends that I enjoy hanging out with. ‘Hanging out’ is one of my favourite ways to spend time with others. I get to be lazy with company. Works for me. I do hate shopping though. Hate. It. Only do it when I have to and for the most part, unless I need an objective set of eyes, prefer to shop alone.

Will have a close friend or friends in high school, but not once adulthood is reached.

This is ridiculous. Of course I have close friends in adulthood. My husband is my best friend. That said though, apart from him and two friends I’ve had for years but don’t see often, my friendships don’t seem to last more than a few years. I find the upkeep difficult. Part of that self-centered thing. My two long lasting friendships work for me because we only see each other a couple of times a year and don’t talk very often.

May or may not want to have a relationship. If she is in a relationship, she probably takes it very seriously but she may choose to remain celibate or alone.

My husband and I are very close and I rely on him for everything. I take it extremely seriously. There are times though when I miss being alone. I have a lot of preferences that are difficult to reconcile with living with another person but I’d rather put up with the inconvenience than be without him. If I weren’t with him specifically, I would choose to be alone.

Due to sensory issues, will either really enjoy sex or strongly dislike it.

Um… both? Dependent on my mood. And certain aspects, both at the same time. That said, I don’t have sex often. Hardly at all, actually.

If she likes a male, she can be extremely, noticeably awkward in her attempts to let him know—eg. She may stare when she sees him or call him repeatedly. This is because she fixates and doesn’t understand societal gender roles. This will change with maturity.

I did some pretty odd things when I liked guys when I was younger. Mostly, I would “stalk” them but never talk to them. I wouldn’t really ever ‘let them know’. I was too scared of boys to attempt a relationship. I definitely fixated though. I was sort of obsessed with one guy in particular for about three years. I didn’t call him (much) but I did write him letters. I was also very confused about what actual boy/girl relationships entailed too. It was way beyond my level at that time. All I know is that I wanted the title of having a boyfriend but in hindsight, wanted nothing to do with anything else a relationship called for.

Often prefers the company of animals but not always due to sensory issues.

This one is another one I’ve struggled with. I hear a lot about autistic people loving animals. It makes sense too. They can’t relate well to people because of the societal conventions but connect with animals on that basic soul-to-soul level since that pressure is off. I’ve never been particularly fond of animals. I’m pretty afraid of them actually. I’ve often thought that something essential is missing from my DNA. I don’t hate animals, by any means, but I don’t really like them. The more I think about it, the more I think it is a sensory thing at the core of it. I definitely hate it when they touch me. I feel disgusting and dirty after I’ve pet a dog or cat and I can’t stand their fur being on me or my clothes. And they smell really bad. Without those social constructs we have with people, you never know how an animal is going to approach you. They may touch you without your permission. They stare at you and invade your space that way. Basically they do whatever they want, whether you like it or not.

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New ASD Series

If you happen to be a follower of this blog and receive those emails telling you when I post something, you may have noticed a few back-dated entries lately. That’s because I’m doing a bit of “housecleaning” behind the scenes and I have a bunch of stuff sitting in my drafts.

The drafts include a lot of posts about autism. So, heads up… There are going to be more to come in the next few… months?

Back in 2016, when I first stumbled upon this ASD thing and started feeling that it was a possibility for me, there was SO MUCH going through my brain. I was a giant ball of thoughts and emotion (good AND bad) for a long time. In general, the way I process things is to write it all down. So I did. A lot. I always had plans to share it all on here at some point but I was waiting… (I’ve already talked about why.) The concrete answers I was looking for never came so I had to come to a point where I was comfortable with how I identify on my own. Still working on that…… BUT, I do want to share all those posts I wrote going on 5 years ago now. I read A LOT of blogs of other autistic people when I was working through all of it and it was very helpful. Maybe some of what I’ve written can be helpful to someone else.

I’m not going to be back-dating these posts. I’m just gonna throw them up there, maybe weekly or bi-weekly (or whenever I feel like it) until I run out. Just keep in mind, IF you’re reading them, the vast majority of these words were written many years ago now.  (Just a few edits.)  Ideas and opinions may have changed. If you do read anything you’re curious about, feel free to ask.

And, hey, if you’re just stumbling across my blog now, looking for autism-related stuff – because I keep getting those – HI. 😊 Maybe I’ll do an ASD index tab or something for those people in particular at some point…

If you aren’t into the autism posts… don’t worry. I’m still here with my usual months of silence interspersed with Random Thoughts™️ and quizzes that no one reads and general, long-winded posts about, like, bubble tea and shit too.

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Surprise

What do you think of when you hear the word “autism”? For many people, it conjures the image of Rain Man. Or screaming children in public. Or someone “freaking out”, perhaps banging their head on a wall, or flapping their arms wildly and spinning around and around. Although this idea might be an accurate depiction of someone with autism, these are not defining traits of autistic people.

rainman

The thing about autistic people is that no two people are the same – just like ALL people. Maybe that’s why there is not a lot of understanding about what it means to be autistic from the general public.

I am autistic.

Maybe.

Probably.  (Read my recent post for an explanation on the iffy-ness.)

I am expecting this news will hit the people that know me one of three ways:  1. “Ohhhhh. That’s why.”   2. “Really? You hide it well.”   3. “No, you aren’t.”

For those who have the first reaction… yeah, that’s why.  For the second group, that’s part of the problem of recognizing and diagnosing autism and kind of sad, if you think about it.  For those who think the last, well… you either don’t know me very well or don’t know much about autism. And I can’t blame you for either of those.

I would say there are VERY few people who know me well, if really any at all. I’ll get into that more later. And as for not knowing much about autism, I myself didn’t really understand, even after learning more about it in my Special Needs class for my ECE diploma in college.

As I mentioned in my other post, about 4 years ago now, a friend of mine made a post on Facebook about being misinformed about Asperger’s Syndrome and how that delayed their own autism diagnosis. A few references to what it was like for them were made and I thought, hey, that sounds like me. Through a series of private messages, asking a ton of personal and invasive questions (LOL Sorry! and THANK YOU), and then doing a lot of research online, I came to the realization that maybe this is what has made me feel different my whole life too.

Through this rather obsessive searching online, I came to the conclusion that I really had had no idea what it meant to be autistic. I knew of the more common traits but not what the actual differences in brain function and processing – the core of autism – are.

There is also a lot of confusion because of the recent changes to the diagnosis and labelling.  In short, there is a book – the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which psychologists and other professionals use as a frame of reference for diagnosing all the various mental conditions. In 2013, the 5th edition (commonly called DSM-5) made a lot of changes to what constitutes as Autism Spectrum Disorder and what was previously split into several different diagnoses (like Asperger’s, PDD-NOS, etc.) are now all under one.

spectrum2.jpg

Now anyone who fits the criteria is diagnosed with ASD and it covers a wide range (spectrum) of symptoms. Some may say “high-functioning” vs. “low-functioning”, but there is controversy over that and I myself don’t like it. Pretty much, now, instead of all these different labels and categories, you either are autistic or not.

*Note: At some point, I may get into the issues of “person-first language”, but that is a whole other thing, so for now, just accept that I’m saying autistic person rather than person with autism.

The criteria for being diagnosed with autism covers 5 points. In order to be formally diagnosed, an individual must meet all of them. The DSM-5 is wordy and confusing so I’d rather link you to this guy who is autistic and reworded it so that it’s easier to understand.

From my own understanding, people who have ASD have trouble with social situations in both understanding what is going on and performing the expected behaviours, have narrow intense interests, and issues with sensory input. It’s something that has always been since birth and cannot be “cured” – because it’s not an illness but a different wiring of the brain from ‘neurotypical’ people. The differences in processing, perceiving and understanding the world cause problems for the autistic person and make living in a world designed for NTs difficult.

The problem I have with the leveled functioning labels is that they marginalize in both directions. The low-functioning person is considered stupid or incapable or less of a person. The high-functioning person is considered less in need of help or not disabled enough to count or “deserve” the label. For myself personally, because I have tried to adapt, spent my entire life trying to figure out how to behave in a socially acceptable manner, can speak and maintain a job and have friendships, no one really understands or truly sees how much I struggle.

Just FYI if you are curious, here are the ways having autism makes my life difficult. I’m still learning about this so some of this is a new revelation to me, whereas some troubles I’ve been fully aware of all my life.

(Important disclaimer: I wrote the majority of this post back in 2016. Since then, I’ve had some time to adjust to these things.)

I have always been aware that I seem to think about behaviour (my own and of other people) a lot more than the majority of other people. I wasn’t aware of just how much I do that though until recently. I have always observed other people and the way they act and how they react to the way I act and tried to adjust my behaviour accordingly (not always successfully). I spend hours pondering over the whys.  Why do people do [insert baffling behaviour]?  What is the purpose of [whatever social construct]?  If it turns out to be something that I can make sense of, I will mimic it, making it part of my social repertoire. If I just can’t wrap my head around it, I will refuse to do it myself and will be angry or judgemental when other people do it.  I HATE it when people do something for no reason or just because everyone else does it. For the most part, I try to do and say everything with purpose. When other people don’t think, I get very upset. I didn’t realize how much time and energy I was expending constantly evaluating and re-evaluating every minor detail of social interaction I encounter (real life, TV, books, etc.).

Socializing itself is very draining, even when it’s fun. I love talking to people and feeling that connection with other human beings. I love spending time with friends, but it takes a lot out of me and I need a lot of recovery time afterwards. On the other hand, I really dislike structured social gatherings where there is an expectation to behave in a certain way. Weddings are the worst. Not only do I have to do the whole dance of small talk and proper etiquette, I also have to be uncomfortable in clothing I hate.

I dislike meeting new people. I don’t like running into acquaintances. I really struggle with what to say to people. I’m awkward and don’t know how to start, continue, or end conversation. I actually fear it and avoid this type of interaction as much as possible. I don’t even really like getting together with someone I’m friends with one-on-one. This puts too much pressure on me to “be on”. I prefer someone else be there as a buffer. Hanging out with 2 or 3 friends at a time is ideal. There are a few people who I am now comfortable enough with that it’s not so much of a task. (I even have difficulty spending alone time with family members.)

The telephone is a nightmare. I hate making and receiving calls. I will avoid it at all costs. I logically know nothing bad will happen to me, but my instinctive fight or flight thing takes hold and I have panic attacks whenever I have to use the phone. Even if I am close with someone and comfortable with them, the initial starting of the call is difficult for me. I definitely worry about not having the visual cues to aid me in conversation but it’s more than just that. I feel sick even just thinking about it.

As for interests… Hahahaha. Have you read anything else on my blog? I think it’s fairly apparent that when I’m into something, it’s completely life consuming. No prizes for those that know my two biggest areas of interest: any and all things pertaining to Japan (and East Asian, in general) and the Twilight Saga. I don’t like to say I’m an expert in anything, because there are always people who know way more than me, but I know quite a bit about those two subjects in particular and love learning more. I spend an inordinate amount of time soaking up whatever I can or going back over what I already know. I will talk the ear off of anyone who shows even the slightest amount of caring to listen.

I also spend countless focused hours on what I call digital hoarding and organizing. I download crazy amounts of… crap, really. Movies, music, pictures, documents. More than I could ever have time to actually use. And then I catalogue and organize (and reorganize) it all. For example, I like to read fan fiction. I’ve maybe only read about 200 stories, but I have maybe 10,000 collected. I’ll never get to them all. But I like to have them. I like to be able to give them to other people, should they want them. They are all labelled a certain way and I have them all organized into folders. And I have “my chart”, listing the titles and pertinent information about them. I have spent sooooo much time on this chart. I am always going back to it and changing the formatting, the information it contains, the order it’s in, etc. It’s… silly. But I enjoy doing it. I also have a chart for the movies I own that is just as scary.

It’s not just digital things I organize and reorganize over and over. I do this with books, DVDs, the way stuffed animals/collectibles are displayed, etc. I rearrange furniture frequently. I change the order of things in the cupboards. It’s weird. You’d think that I would just put something in an acceptable manner and then go with that, but I feel I can always improve it or that it needs tweaking.

Conversely, I get upset when things are moved by others (namely, my husband) or not placed according to my current system. Example: I like the dishwasher to be loaded in a certain way. To me, it makes sense. The dishes will be cleaned optimally if placed correctly. They won’t be as sanitary otherwise. I logically know this is ridiculous. Okay, when 2 spoons are stuck together, they may have some residue or leftover food where they were touching, but in general, there are no germs left behind if a knife is upside down or right side up. I just like order.

My sensory issues are vast, even more so than I thought before. I’ve always considered myself quite particular. I’ve been told my whole life that I’m picky. But it’s more than just preference. It’s necessity. I thought I was being irrational and immature when I would get so worked up. Now I know it’s because I become overloaded by negative sensory input.

overload.png

The biggest problem is with smell, but I am also bothered visually, by touch, by sound, and by temperature to the point where I “freak out”. (I don’t really meltdown like some other autistic people might. I may to a degree, but I do experience shutdown a lot.) I wrote on my blog before about soap. This is one example of my narrow acceptance of various smells. There are some smells I love and I find them calming. Most scents are obnoxious and overwhelming. When I encounter a smell I don’t like, I have to remove it (or myself) immediately. If I am subjected to a bad smell for too long, I will become extremely agitated and have had meltdowns.

I should quickly interject to say my meltdown don’t look like other people’s. I don’t scream or hit or things like that. I have taught myself to “behave” as much as possible in public and the fear of public attention is so great that when I lose control over myself, it still doesn’t appear that drastic. (It may to my husband though, who has witnessed this a few times.) As a meltdown comes on, I will flap my hands in front of my face, start … moaning? (IDK what to call it. Whimper, I guess.), then start crying. I might pace or crouch down into a ball. If it progresses, I will start sobbing uncontrollably and hyperventilate.

Usually, I shut down before I meltdown. For me, that means becoming physically still, unable to move without great effort, being unable to speak and becoming upset/crying if made to. I literally look like a robot in power saving mode. I will stay like this until I sleep it off.

Back to sensory stuff…

Visually~ I am bothered by bright lights (I HATE the sun). I am revolted by a lot of things (people eating, other body functions, feet, bugs). I enjoy darker spaces, a lot of colour, many accessories or adornments although I dislike clutter and chaos. I like moving things like kinetic toys but don’t like strobing effects for very long. I like pattern and intricacy and fine detail.

Touch~ I am very discerning with textures. I absolutely despise wet fleece and fuzzy shoelaces. I can’t wear certain fabrics. I don’t mind seams as long as they are symmetrical. I like heavy pressure on my body. I can’t sleep without blankets covering me completely, no matter how hot it is (which sucks, actually). I don’t like hugging people but that is less a sensory thing and more of an intimacy thing. I can’t sit with my legs straight or dangling. I don’t like persistent movement at all. I like to be still as much as possible myself and if someone is near me and moving, I get agitated. (Hubby jiggles his feet a lot and it drives me nuts.) I hate the feeling of things on my face. I don’t use products on my body because it feels bad.

Sounds~ I love music. I love the complexity and harmony of sounds. Natural sounds are very soothing but mechanical sounds are irritating. I enjoy low frequencies. Thunder and rain are my favourite. Sudden changes in volume upset me. Anything high-pitched is not good. I hate alarm clocks. Certain types of voices can either soothe me or agitate me to the point of freaking out. I am extremely stressed by raised voices and become upset when people argue. I have a really hard time understanding what someone is saying if there are other noises happening at the same time. Absolute silence hurts my ears.

Temperature is a problem for me. I can’t seem to regulate. From one minute to the next, I can be freezing and then feel like I’m burning. I prefer cool spaces. I get overheated easily and hate being sweaty. Being hot is another thing that can throw me into a meltdown. I like the feeling of being bundled up but will panic if I can’t strip off whatever it is fast enough. I can’t eat/drink food until it’s cooled and what most people think is cool enough is still too hot for me.

Taste isn’t a big issue for me. I don’t like spicy things. For the most part, my aversions to food are to do with texture. I do have a huge problem with food that greatly affects my life, but it’s more to do with how it makes me feel. I don’t like things in my mouth so I don’t enjoy the physicality of eating, which is annoying, but I have digestive problems so I feel sick the majority of the time.

There are so many little things about me that I am just learning are “autistic things”. It’s actually kind of fascinating how every single little quirk I have seems to be attributed to having autism. It’s making looking back on my life very interesting, if not a little sad. I wish I had known earlier so that I would have had better coping skills and so that I wouldn’t have felt so ‘weird’.

I think maybe at first, realizing this about myself was sort of shocking and embarrassing. There is still huge amounts of stigma around autism and so much is misunderstood. But, really, I’m used to being misunderstood. I’m not going to be taking on the active advocacy role because that is too daunting for me, but I will do my best to be a positive face if and when it comes up.

In a way, I have sort of always known I was autistic. From the very first time I heard about it, I felt a connection to those people I heard about and identified with some of what was being described. It’s nice, after all these years, to know the ‘why’ to almost every question I ever had about myself.

I’m autistic. And I’m totally okay with that.

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Future Wish

Remember way, way back when I had talked about how cool it would be to be able to take the Internet with me anywhere I went and wouldn’t have to depend on sitting at my computer at home? And then, obviously smart phones and WiFi became a normal everyday thing.

Yeah, so… maybe if I put it out there, the universe will respond again. I know they are already working on this but I want it to happen in my lifetime. And not in like 40 years, when I’m too old to actually make use of it. Like, soon.

I want self-driving cars.

Whenever “old” movies were set in the “future”, they always had flying cars. I never liked that idea. It seems way too dangerous. People can barely drive on a flat surface. If you add in having to track what’s going on above and below you as well as in front and behind… No thanks.

I can think of a few movies that had self-driving cars – Total Recall, Minority Report… maybe The Fifth Element? – but I think these were all also flying. I don’t want that.

I had to look up if there were even any self-driving cars in movies that DON’T fly. Something like what I actually want. I came across this list and this list, both of which I take objection to since many of theirs are self-aware autonomous beings in car shapes. Like, why didn’t they just include Lightning McQueen, in that case? LOL. But the inclusion of I, Robot is interesting. I only saw that once, yeeeeeears ago, and don’t remember that scene at all. Maybe it’s time for a rewatch. And I’ve never even seen Timecop, although it’s on my list.

(It’s been awhile… I had to check. Total Recall had self-driving taxis (Johnny Cab, FTW!) but it looks like only the cabs were auto-piloted.)

More recently, because self-driving cars are on the verge of being a thing, more examples can be seen in TV and movies. We just finished watching the first season of Upload, which has a self-driving car as a critical element in the plot. It’s the closest version I’ve seen to what I want. Minus the crash, obviously.

Really, what I’m looking forward to is to not be dependant on someone else to get me where I want to go. If I want to go visit a friend, I can just hop in my car, and sit back while it gets me there. I don’t have to schedule a time when Hubby can take me. I don’t have to feel guilty about getting a friend to come pick me up. I don’t have to pay a fortune for a taxi or the hassle of slow-moving, uncomfortable public transit. If I wanted to go on a road trip alone, I could. I can just go where I want on a whim. You know, like people who actually drive their own cars do now.

For many years, “learn to drive” was on my New Years Resolutions list. It was always something I meant to do that I just hadn’t gotten around to yet. After awhile, I gave up on the idea because I was just THAT lazy and it was too expensive. But now? Honestly, I know I don’t have the coordination and concentration to be able to operate a motor vehicle safely. With the executive dysfunction issues I have, I’m aware of my limitations when it comes to things like that. I’ve had so many people tell me things like, “It’s never too late” and that it’s not that hard. I just smile and say nope. I know what I’m capable of and I’m okay with not killing myself to do something that I find way more difficult than most other people do. Maybe if I put in a supreme amount of effort, I could be a mediocre driver someday, but the amount of stress and uncertainty I would have to endure to do so, with the reality that it IS actually more expensive than what we can afford, it isn’t worth it.

I will never learn to drive.

That’s okay.

They are working on self-driving cars now and *fingers crossed* that may become a viable reality within my useable lifetime.

If not, give me an AI butler that can drive me places.

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