It’s All About the Ovaries (Second Edition of Everyday Aspergers: Part One)

So, I’ve been procrastinating on this post since December 2018.

I’ve analyzed why and have come up short. It’s likely that I don’t care much for self-promotion. Indeed, in the last 6+ years I can count on one hand how many times I’ve asked folks to share about my Everyday Aspergers Facebook page. (And that counts the mention here!) If you haven’t checked it out, please do.

I could blame my procrastination on the countdown to menopause, which I hope and pray arrives tomorrow, as I’ve been dealing with the complexity of endometriosis for years, including the 2018 road traveled of chocolate cysts. Don’t let the name fool you; it’s all about the blood. And now that I’ve over-shared, I will switch gears.

 

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Recently, I’ve had a profound peace — could be hormones shifting and my lady parts semi-retiring — could not. (Oops, focus Sam!) I’d like to think it’s something to do with my faith and spirit. It’s likely a combination of coffee, getting older, and finally getting fed up with not speaking up for myself and finally understanding boundaries! That, and I do feel the presence of an angelic spirit. But that’s another story.

Not much has changed in the past years, since I started writing Everyday Aspergers. Which now has over 1.4 million hits! Well, yes, some of the reason behind the high ‘hit’ number is because there are over 500 posts! Omgosh — write much?

My point being, I still digress to a close-to-annoying degree.

That’s likely why I typically get called to interview for a job, based on my awesome resume, skills, and experience, but don’t seem to ever get the job! (In fact, I don’t even get a rejection letter — just GHOSTED.) Picture me bungee jumping off a high cliff of ‘tell us a bit about yourself,’ and swirling in rapid circles, giggling like I’m twelve, raising my voice in high pitch, fidgeting about, announcing how proud I am to have ASPERGERS, and then correcting myself: “I mean to be on the autism spectrum.”

I leave an interview feeling like I either nailed it and they absolutely LOVED me, and want to be my best friend, or convinced I terrified the living daylights out of them. It’s likely the latter. As I mentioned: I don’t ever hear back. Thank the lord for my job at ultratesting.us, where being neurodivergent is the norm! Thank my lucky stars. (< Madonna video)

Ironically, I have studied 1000s of hours of best hiring practices for my vocation, and can’t seem to keep my Aspie-ness in a bag when under distress at an interview. There must be a pill I can take. (Now picturing Violet in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and now must Google to find an image.) “. .  . because Charlie she’s a nitwit.” Not to say I’m a nitwit.

 

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Okay, alas the REAL point of this post is to tell you THE SECOND EDITION OF EVERYDAY ASPERGERS IS HERE! And it’s now available in paperback in many countries. Check out Amazon or ask your local library to see if they can order it. Look at the PRETTY cover by an autistic artist (and my friend and colleague)!

USA amazon

UK amazon

AU amazon

10 Facts You May Not Know About the Book Everyday Aspergers

Are we friends yet? (Facebook link)

 

Okay … done! Although, I don’t think this is what my publisher had in mind. 

 

 

On a side note, I will speak to you as if you and I are in a cafe and I’m catching you up. Sorry for the monologue and the white-haired man sitting kitty-corner to us that is blushing because I am talking too loud.

This here ^^  … that’s an image of a chocolate cyst. Funny story … after an ultrasound in early 2018, when I found out I had at least one chocolate cyst, (and had gone to ER in excruciating pain, and was curled up on couch most days for weeks) in typical Sammy-fashion, I researched with hyper-focus about the chocolate cysts and implemented some home treatments — including essential oil, strict dietary change, etc. When I returned months later for a follow-up ultrasound, the technician confirmed indeed they presented (3 of them) exactly like chocolate cysts, and she explained to me in her techie-talk way. Immediately following, (literally a few steps down the hall), my OBGYN doc informs me, “The cysts are shrinking, and that doesn’t happen with chocolate cysts, so we can’t call them that anymore. They don’t shrink.” I was dumbfounded.

Surely, in some cases they can? And I’d done so much, including talking to my body, to ensure healing. Certainly, my scrunched up face demonstrated I was confused as I asked, in a high-pitched voice, that no longer suits my age: “Well, what would we call them if they weren’t shrinking?”

She responded, “Oh, definitely chocolate cysts.”

I then got that familiar feeling in my gut that means ‘NO ONE on this planet is truly an expert in anything and most of the time professionals are talking out their donkey.’ (“vulgar slang To say foolish things; to talk of nonsense. Don’t pay Jonathan any mind, Mary, he’s just talking out his ass again.”)

The next time I went back in for a check up, with said Doc, she informs that my chocolate cysts are shrinking or stabilized. So I guess we are back to calling them that?

Anyhow, it reminds me of the time I head a dead front tooth when I was in my early 20s and I went to a dentist a colleague had suggested I see. It was 1992, a sunny day. The dentist’s recommendation for my dead tooth discoloring was to darken all my teeth to match!!! Yes, that’s right. And, no, I did not!

I have trouble believing this actually transpired, especially after I told my dental hygienist the story yesterday, and she said that’s the worst telling she has heard to date. Also, because decades have past with my pretty veneer tooth. (The other dentist I saw bleached all my teeth to match the new veneer. Yin and Yang. Dark and Light. Theme of my life.)

(On another side note, I found out this week I have no cavities and an unusually small mouth. And I warned the dental hygienist not to say she has a small mouth despite what her husband says, because that can be interpreted in different ways. She was appreciated and said, “We’re going to get along just fine.” I always find it to be an interesting phenomenon when I give out unsolicited advice to non-autistics about social graces.)

Needless to say, I never went back to that dentist! But the young, inexperienced (terrified) me did shake hysterically in her car afterward. The same way I shook after seeing a ‘specialist’ a few years back. That time a doctor would diagnose me with ‘a close cousin to POTS syndrome,’ (as my blood pressure acted a bit different from typical POTS but the tilt table test confirmed.)

This was after 5 ER visits wherein my pulse would go to 160 upon standing, wherein the IV would add sodium to my blood, and remedy the POTS like reaction, making me better, only to be sent home and it to come back at 160 upon standing, only for me to return and be told I must be inventing it for attention. Yes, ‘hysteria’ is still widely falsely the diagnosis for women! No wonder I have white-coat syndrome. (No one believed me about POTS as ‘it’s too rare for you to have it.’) Gosh, I despise arrogance. Okay . . . onward.

Fortunately, my then-husband Bob (now-good friend) was in the patient room with the ‘specialist’ (notice the quotes) and me, when the Doc told me my diagnosis and prescribed an exact treatment plan, e.g, constricting stockings, raise bed, exercise regime, salt intake, etc.

A year later, I came back, feeling super pleased I’d followed her directions and was able to sit up for long periods of time, and return to life as normal (well atypical normal). BUT THEN she scolded me, accusing me of making it up, and saying I didn’t have POTS and didn’t have to do all that. That I wasted my money on salt pills and where did I get the idea I had POTS?

I had to phone my ex-hubby from the car to avoid a nervous breakdown; literally thought I was losing my mind, until I realized the doctor was … (Scan down for book reviews.)

So . . . I likely should write another post soon that is more about the book. I will. I think. Can’t wait to see what pops out of LV’s mouth then! Sir Brain is shaking his head in shame. (He doesn’t have ovaries.)

Samantha Craft’s Updates August 2016

last updated August 2018

You can find me at Spectrum Suite LLC  and email me directly at marcellelinn @ icloud . com. Spectrum Suite will soon be offering vocational coaching, life coaching, and spiritual coaching. Stay tuned!

Thank you for your support through the years. I couldn’t have wished for a kinder and more accepting community.

This blog was open from 2012 – 2016. I make updates from time to time with new news.

Sam’s other blog can be found at Everyday Aspie.

Both blogs are retired, after many years of writing, except for occasional updates about happenings related to autism, the autistic community, and the book Everyday Aspergers.

New book I contributed to here

BOOK INFORMATION
· Amazon US link
· Amazon UK link
· Amazon Australia link
The soft back version is available in USA on Amazon here.
Current updates can be found at my company Spectrum Suite.
Please consider posting a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

THANK YOU ~ SAM

Marcie Ciampi, M.Ed   (AKA: Samantha Craft)

Craft is best known for her prolific writings found in her well received book and blog Everyday Aspergers. A professional educator, she has been published in peer-reviewed journals, been featured in various literature and venues, including Aspien Women, Autism Parenting Magazine, The Mighty,  Spectrum Women, Project Aspie and Different Brains.  She is coauthor of the book Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism and speaks on the topic of neurodiversity around the world, including at the Love & Autism Conference (Fall 2018) and Southwest Washington Autism Conference (Fall 2018).

Craft was the Community Achievement Award recipient at the ANCA World Autism Festival (2017), her works have been translated into multiple languages, with her list of traits for females on the autism spectrum shared in counseling offices around the world. Since 2012, she’s had the opportunity to correspond with over 10,000 individuals on the autism spectrum. Her blog Belly of a Star features her paintings and drawings and over 100 poems and spiritual writings. Craft also serves as the Lead Job Recruiter and Community Manager at ULTRA Testing, an innovative technology company with a neurodiversity hiring initiative.

Balancing the World; thoughts on leadership and autism

My entire life, like many on the autism spectrum, I have oftentimes been misjudged, misinterpreted, and misunderstood. When I finally, after over four decades on this earth, located individuals with like minds, I was overcome with mixed emotions. I’d finally found “my people” and at the same time lost a piece of myself that I thought was extremely different. Lost in the sense that I came to realize, after conversing with other autistics, that I wasn’t so different and “unique” after all. However, this was okay—extremely okay. Finding a home base community in which I was at last understood, accepted, and supported far out weighed any sense of loss of elements of self.

Four-plus years later, after an outpour of online writing, and I am navigating another aspect of my journey. I am entering another unfamiliar zone—a place of no predictability. I am facing a wide-open space of new people and new encounters. In addition, I am trying my best to maneuver in rarely frequented territory: that of an autistic leader.

Autism, in my case Asperger’s Syndrome, comes in all shapes and sizes, multiple colors of the rainbow. It is truly a spectrum. With autism, there are the typical “gifts” and tribulations. For me, the beneficial attributes of my ASD are profound empathy and insight, prolific writing, poetry, and the ability to put into words my suffering in a way others can understand. In this way, I am able to make the loneliness of some less of a burden, and I have been able to serve as a sort of gateway into a supportive community of other autistics. A community in which we find ourselves in one another. I don’t say this lightly. There have been streams of individuals filtering through the pages of my blogs and social media pages to essentially say that they now have at last found hope—and some a reason to not end their life. I don’t say this to brag, either. Those that have known me, know my heart, and it is for them I speak.

The trouble today is not so much my tribulations related to ASD, such as peak moments of heightened anxiety, bombardments of feelings that at first look are hard to decipher, the jarring reminders every hour of my waking day that I am somehow not built like most others, the intense heartache and lack of breath from searing pangs of empathy, and the worries brought on by my minds ability to steer off into complex, multi-level corridors of discovery. No, it’s not so much in that—though “that” still consumes me. More over, it is this new place I find myself, in where I am exposed.

I am a natural born leader; I always have been, despite my own qualms and misgivings. Despite my protest. Despite my quirks and challenges. Overall, I tend to end up as a voice of some sort–usually for the downcast or underdog. And it’s not amongst my favorite of tasks—this speaking up for myself and others. Indeed, it would be fair to say, I dread many moments beyond the comfort of my home. Still, there are mornings of great hope and gratitude for my ability to reach out, and with this comes waves of great peace; but there, on the other end of the pendulum, is the bareness of naked vulnerability, the removal of shield, the entranceway for stinging spears. There, in the darker zone, lives my fear and weakness, and the very brittle fight to survive exposure. For I’m not the average person, I’m not made the way of the masses. I am very much, despite where I stand, still autistic.

I am hurt daily, by my own accord, by the acceptance of others’ truths as mine. By the energy it takes to abstract and remove everything that doesn’t ring true to me. And to then wade through the muck of others’ ideas, input, feelings, insights—and on an on—to hopefully decipher what is valid and necessary at this time. I am not only balancing myself, which those on the spectrum readily know is a gallant effort, I am also balancing everyone within my reach. In this way, it is hard to be outside exposed in the “real” world.

It is especially challenging when outsiders (who do not know me and often see a reflection of their own self) try to pin their tail of identity onto me. I feel smothered, unrecognized, and brought back to the bastardized halls of my high school years. Brought back to the pettiness, the name-calling, the finger pointing, and relive the nightmares over again. It is equally difficult when another, particularly in the autistic community, starts proclaiming how I should tailor my words to suit their needs—the current societal trends—the current “right way.” To see this conglomeration of “do-gooders” with supposed good intention in mind, attempt to steer me into what is the most well accepted approach of the day is excruciatingly exhausting.

I can only be so much. I can only do so much. And I don’t understand why my own tribe would not see this. They forget that I am autistic. They forget how dreadfully scary this is. How frightening to attempt to build a bridge from the autistic world to the non-autistic world, and to appear “normal” enough in the typical arena to be heard and listened to, and “autistic” enough to be trusted in my own community. It is a fine balancing act in which I am continually on a high wire with a long heavy pole. Constantly pushed off balance while attempting to get to the other side to the unknown. I am walking step-by-step toward something that is neither a goal nor destiny, but rather a calling. I am serving, I am giving, I am loving, I am supporting, I am being my all. Yet no matter how I struggle, no matter where I step, to some, as is this world—it is never enough.

 

(I normally post at my blog Everyday Aspie, but my WordPress options were not working accurately there today.)

 

Sam’s book Everyday Aspergers is now available internationally on Amazon.

More information can be found at her company: myspectrumsuite.com

10 Years in the Making! Everyday Aspergers

This Blog Everyday Asperger’s by Samantha Craft is retired. Her company website is myspectrumsuite.com  Thank you for the community and support you have offered through the years.

 

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In 2004, I was called to write. I dedicated myself to write every day for a year. I only missed one day and completed a 250-page memoir. I often wrote 4 to 10 hours a day. I spent the next years editing because my dyslexia and dysgraphia make it very challenging for me to detect errors. I knew nothing of writing. It was pretty substandard material at the start. I didn’t even know when to capitalize the word ‘mom’ or how to use a semi-colon. It took me three years of writing and editing to find ‘my voice.’

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I taught myself to write by studying other books, relentlessly. I took notes and would write pages and pages of words I found (in other books) on notepads. In 2012, I started Everyday Asperger’s (blog) and  wrote almost every day for a year. I then continued posting blog posts several times a month, for another two years. Each Everyday Asperger’s blog post took a long time to edit. Then, after it was online, I would reread the words for an hour (at least) trying to find all the small mistakes that I couldn’t find the first time. (I didn’t mind; it was a type of stimming for me.) At the time of writing the blog, I also reedited some of the original (year 2004) childhood stories.

Recently, after 3.5 years of writing over 1,300 pages online, I began the process for my book: Everyday Aspergers (EA). I tore through 1,200 single-spaced pages of this blog, some of which were my childhood stories, picking and choosing, and then piecing the posts together like a puzzle. This took a solid two months of working almost daily. From there, I refined and refined, trimming most posts to 1/3 original size; some of those posts, if not most, were originally two to three pages long. Next I found little parts that got cut but were still gold nuggets and found places to sprinkle them in.

After that I polished and polished and polished, and began to edit. Soon the final editing took place from December to today. Most weeks I spent the equivalent of a full-time job editing. I also employed the help of a professional editing team. To date, the manuscript for Everyday Aspergers has gone through four editing rounds, in which I read the words (at first 717 pages, then 615 pages, then 417 pages) from start to end. Each page was reedited each time! I’d spend marathon days, up to 12 hours straight editing. Some of the childhood stories have been edited and polished at minimum 15 hours per page! Counting the years before, I’d say the book itself has well over 5,000 hours of editing alone. That doesn’t count any of my writing time. It’s a HUGE accomplishment. It’s not just something I threw together. It has a huge heart and huge effort behind my endeavor.

I cannot wait for the book to be in my hands. More so, I cannot wait for those who wish to have the book to hold the story in their hands! I’ve been waiting since 2004, when I had a dream.

Much love,
Samantha Craft

I updated the Checklist for Females with Aspergers here

Me on Twitter: aspergersgirls

More about the book on  new website

 

 

 

 

What’s Up?

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Hello!

I have missed you. Everyday Aspergers (EA), the book, is coming along quite well. It’s in the final draft stages and I hope it will be ready for your eyes by this early-May. (And the cover is awesome!!!)

As some of you know, I have spent countless hours editing . . . I recently had a huge aha moment: being dyslexic I ought never ever try to edit! But alas, it’s a bit too late for that. I have ‘literarily’ (notice the non-risqué double entendre?) edited my book more hours than I can calculate. And the book started off at 1,200 pages! Don’t worry, I have a professional editor. Good thing because I still have trouble with sneaky homophones, like verses and versus. Who ever invented the English language sucks.

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What’s been challenging is grammar rules—there are lots and lots of rules, and not everyone is in agreement. In addition, commas hurt my eyes, if they are not placed in the correct place; correct as in where it seems I ought to sprinkle a little dash based on the rhythm in my head; not ‘correct’ as in rules. So that’s been an interesting predicament. Also, hyphenated words fall into a similar spot as commas: the inconsistent box. And it doesn’t help that I went through a happy-to-hyphenate stage and a put-a-comma-everywhere phase. I am still recovering.

The other, (likely Aspie-related), recent challenge has been chopping up my previous blog posts,(there’s over 500), rearranging, refining, omitting, rewording, embellishing and realizing that this process is not LYING or being dishonest in the slightest degree.

And the most laughable moment to date, regarding this book journey, (at least according to my autistic partner), is when I said, “I don’t think my book is autistic enough,” with weeping puppy-dog eyes, and he adamantly responded (after asking if I was PMSing), “If you are not autistic then I am not autistic.” So that set things straight. He then added, in his arrogant Aspie-genuis tone, “Plus, you’re like the poster child for Aspergers.” Still processing that one.

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Publishing a book is kind of like childbirth—had I known the pain, I doubt I’d ever have started; however, once I see my baby, it will be worth every agonizing moment. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

I do have to say that my psychological metamorphosis has been fascinating: One moment confident, next moment terrified. One day never wanting any human to read my words ever again, next day, over sharing my works. It’s kind of like the publishing process has intensified my autistic extremes! Go me!

Oh, and I’ve had ample opportunity to sit back and listen to LV (little voice inside my head) burst aloud fret after fret. I think she’s grown a small pink cape monogrammed with ‘insecurity.’ First off, I apologize for the short phase (about 1.5 months) in which we (me, LV and Sir Brain) we’re never going to have ANYTHING to do with AUTISM ever again! This was largely due to the ebb and flow of opinionated jerks online (something I swiftly swam away from), my tendency to hyper focus almost to the tipping point of my sanity, the way my life drips and oozes of autism (partner, son, ME, job, writing, reading, social media platforms, blogs, book, research, friends, so forth …), and my forever search for balance (psychological and hormonal!).

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For a short stretch of time, I figured I’d be a hermit in the back room, behind my garage, and just obsessively paint, never to resurface, except out of loyalty for the occasional chocolate bar left outside my door. After some retreat and reflection, I realize autism is in my bones—and most definitely in my genes—so not really a smart plan to try to escape it, entirely. Still, I am attempting to not let my special interest consume me. But alas, I likely will always have my all or nothing tendencies, despite my best efforts.

With all that said, my prolific abilities for writing and off beat wit seem to have resurfaced. This following two years of gradual rehabilitation from a weeklong hospital stay, in which the trauma to my system greatly affected my executive functioning ability; I mean I couldn’t even open an envelope for months. Took me three months to be able to sit up for more than an hour. There was some major healing that had to take place. But thankfully, I feel about 95% back to normal. Except now, my premenopausal brain-frying hot flashes and hormonal extremes–seem to be affecting my dyslexia and dysgraphia. Kind of like someone turned up the omitting words, mixing up words and letters, and forgetting thoughts dial to about the umpteenth power. So that’s been fun. Good timing, don’t you think?

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Talk soon,
Sam the Ham
(Now I want to list words that rhyme with ‘ham.’ Yep, I’m back!)

My recent interview about females and autism:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/positivelyautistic/2016/03/05/positively-autistic–jeanettes-autism-show

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