What’s Up?

buns

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.

sex

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.

sad eyes

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!).

spice

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?

coffee

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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538: Assumption Junction… the truth of my Aspie words

People who don’t know me well, and some who do, sometimes jump to conclusions and assume things about my intention and motivation behind my writing that aren’t necessarily true. I write to write. It’s largely a processing mechanism.

The problem is that who ever is reading my words will interpret said writing based on his or her own opinions and prior knowledge. In other words, if someone is naturally confrontational then the chances of this same person thinking I am being confrontational in my writing is high. Or the opposite might be true, where a confrontational person might make a judgment call that I am weak because I am not displaying a countering personality. Wherein I might be explaining something for a thousand different strands of reasons, all of which pop in and out of my head through the process of scribing, he or she will make an abrupt conclusion about my intentions that includes perhaps two or three primary reasons (again, based on his or her experience). The worst part of it is when this said party then turns and suggests he/she knows what I was trying to say and why I was trying to say it. When truth be told, I have already played over in my busy mind a hundred times why I said what I said, how I said it, and why I said it.

People don’t often know how long I take to write a response. When I am dealing with an out-of-my-comfort-zone response to someone, for example via email or instant messaging to someone who I do not have a close relationship with about a subject I deem important, I take a very long time to write, upwards to an hour for revisions, rewriting, rewording, reworking, and rereading. I stim through the editing process itself to calm my anxiety over the situation. If I am triggered, particularly by what I interpret as an injustice towards another, it takes me even more time to write. What is difficult then is when I am accused by another to have written something in haste, without thought, at length, or without consideration to the audience or the communication rules of some company or organization. It is hard to digest this type of assumption because nothing is further from the truth. The receiver does not understand that I have painstakingly relived scenario after scenario of possible outcomes of how my words might be interpreted. That I have tried my hardest to follow any rules of communication. That I have pushed myself to shorten all I want and feel the need to say. That I have left out more than 75% of what is really on my mind, and sometimes much more than that.

In example of the revision process, I will write a sentence and then imagine the person/audience reading my words. I then evaluate their potential reaction and adjust in hopes of causing the least amount of miscommunication. It’s not about people-pleasing or avoiding conflict, it’s more so conveying my truth as I see it in the most gentle and kind way (and rule-following way) as possible. To do this I switch around words, I alter adjectives, I choose new phrases, and I clarify repeatedly through transposing my words and readjusting. A draft will be rewritten more times than I can count, and large sections deleted, redone, and deleted again. It never seems to be right enough. Not in a perfectionist way, but in a ‘this is my heart’ way.

I discern ahead of time feasible misgivings or upset on the upcoming reader’s part. This process is exhausting at all levels and causes physical and emotional pain. The most troublesome hurt follows if and when the intended recipient responds in one of the many non-constructive ways I had foreseen him/her responding, and then I see all my efforts were for naught.

People think that the length of my writing equates debate, that length = ego, that length = confusion, that length = selfishness, that length = not caring about the recipient, that length = non-professionalism, etc. etc. I don’t write at length to get my point across or to prove something. Once again, I write to clarify my inner workings and to let the person know my intentions fully. If a part of information isn’t shared that I believe at the time is a pertinent piece of the subject at hand I feel as if I am being deceitful, even as I logically know that by definition I am not. No amount of reasoning fixes this.

I over explain myself in written word as much as I do in spoken word. Particularly when emotionally triggered. And such triggers can come from a variety of sources, especially from others’ behaviors that are not privy to the autistic experience. With all my spiritual studies and practices, a part of me would like to say I am ‘above/ being triggered, but that’s hogwash. I am neurologically wired to be more prone to fight-or-flight responses. (And in my case biologically/physically wired that way, as well.) So, I accept that I get triggered.

It is cumbersome and downright dangerous for me to write (without a lot of editing) after I have been triggered. I cannot help but let some of the emotional upset leak through. As much as I try to pamper and sugar coat the words, this ache of being triggered comes out. And then, even with careful revision, the trigger leaks through. In response, I am evaluated based on the characteristics of my writing. I am labeled emotional, reactive, too concerned, too sensitive, etc. This adds to the initial trigger, and to the continual compounded feelings of being misunderstood and misinterpreted throughout my life. Thus is the prospect of such an invisible disability when held by a person that primarily seems to function at a high-level of ‘normalcy.’

People with autism usually get me. And I in turn get them. I am the first to smile when someone sends me a very long online message. Usually the person is apologizing ahead of time for what they label a ‘rambling.’ And usually I am skimming some of it and finding the golden nuggets of what was written. I get it. I am the same way. I am going on and on about a particular subject whilst at the same time stepping back and observing myself and thinking: Why am I doing this? Sorry! Still, I do it. I process and I stim through words.

I can go through periods of purposeful semi-muteness, wherein I try not to talk at length to anyone. I am mad at myself and the world at that point. And don’t think I can function unless I change who I am, at least outwardly. Usually this state by nature turns me into some type of hermit, where I am only talking to maybe one person I know. It’s the way I retreat and I guess hide from the world. When I have had enough of me and I believe the world has had enough of me, I burrow like a wounded animal licking my wounds and punishing myself for having any form of self-pity and the brain I do. Not long after I come out of it and I am a babbling brook once again.

People who are wired like me understand. They know the ebb and flow of being this self. They know that even we get tired of the non-stop jabber and thoughts and processing. And they, for the most part, accept me unconditionally, with so-called flaws and all. It’s the others that just don’t get it whom I have a difficult time repeatedly associating with.

It’s like this, supposing I am blind: I am blind. I need a different form of communication format to write to you. It’s not typical. It’s not traditional. And it’s accepted. After all you can SEE I am blind.

And then it’s like this: I have autism. I need a different form of communication format to write to you. It’s not typical. It’s not traditional. And it’s not accepted. After all you can’t SEE my disability and I should be able to change. I can adjust. I can conform. I can just communicate like you do. Follow the rules and protocol. And if I cannot then I must be inconsiderate, impossible to train, or stubborn.

But it’s not that way. It’s just not. I cannot adapt without modifications and understanding anymore than the person with a visible disability can. If I was an amputee I wouldn’t be able to grow legs. If I was permanently deaf, my speech would be affected. If I have autism, my brain is different. It doesn’t just change based on suggestion. It’s an impossibility.

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

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

531: The Balance Beam

I have a hard time giving to me. It’s not about esteem, as far as I can logically decipher. Nor is it about being selfless or completely altruistic; though I strive for those ideals, I highly doubt they’re attainable in my human suit.

I have a hard time feeling my achievements and accomplishments. It’s not that I don’t take note of my hard work and efforts, and even the path I climbed, (or sometimes slid down rapidly screaming for help), to get there.

More over, I don’t think I have the capacity to feel, essentially, who I am.

I can see that I am intelligent, kind, and for the most part understanding and forgiving. I recognize what could be quantified as a kind of ‘goodness’ in me, and even an over-riding sense of wanting to serve to serve and not to gain approval. I get all this about me. I see it. I recognize. But somehow I can’t feel the experience.

I don’t know if one would call it a sense of pride or fulfillment, or other abundant amounts of labels—but whatever it is that other people seem to get and obtain, in an abstract way after achieving a goal, I don’t seem to have that. I can’t even say if it’s a feeling or outcome, simply because I don’t understand.

Perhaps this inability to understand is because I don’t think the race or game, or what-have-you, is ever over; and to top that off, I don’t even believe that the race or game actually exists. I see the process of achievement as a cluster of something or another, all unrecognizable and indistinguishable amongst the rest of life’s happenings.

To me, I do to do. I give to give. I care to care. I exist to exist. There isn’t this motive or agenda underlying my actions or ways. And if there is, the motive, if not for others, feels heavy, poisonous, and akin to wretched waste.

I just am. And this way that other people sometimes maneuver through life baffles me: the secret schemes, the plots, the webs spun and re-spun. And furthermore, along the same lines, in comparing the declared ‘loser’ to the announced ‘winner,’ the latter seems nothing of grandeur in comparison to the agony of the defeated one.

With this said, I cause myself great harm in overanalyzing my every move. The spectator I am, observing self, tinkers about with scoping tools, contemplating if my action is suitable representation as reflection of interior. If, in fact, in the light of the day, what is said or done, matches my intention or desire. In a constant state of analyzing, I am aiming for the path that is in direct resonance with my soul self.

In addition, I cannot detect the idiosyncrasy of common conversational rules spawned by the associate facing me; yet, I can dissect with fine-fashion the inner-weavings of my own motives. So much so that I deliberate with self questioning if my words are appropriately suited for ‘proof’ (to self) of authenticity.

Is the exterior self accurately representing the unspoken self? I ask. Still with this perceived self-harm, I need this way of being. The manner in which I tread upon a dreamland stage, whilst all about more selves collectively critique the actions portrayed by the exterior, is a proverbial limb of my essence. To be without such manner of existence, I would find myself broken and obsolete, and abandoned, the same as wood for fire. And as tree, I would weep.

In honesty, the worst of the matter is when another enters my zone: the place in which I sit unsettled watching for discrepancies between what is intended and what was produced; distinguishing the gaps, molecular they might be, between what is felt intrinsically as truth and what is displayed as reflection. I hide within, in constant wonder-state, questioning if what I have done is honorable. And here the pain comes, as the mind blunders and rallies for evidence of what is honorable.

Again, I find myself today, in the balancing act of striving for neither perfection nor satisfaction, but rather the gentle center point that does more to extinguish self and lighten all. It’s a varying balance beam of grace that beckons me to be all I can be, but not too much.

515: Invisibility

I don’t mind when someone challenges me, as I don’t take things as challenges anymore. As soon as I feel a rise in myself, whether that rise be quantified as anger, fear, sadness, or some deep powerful emotion, I stop and ask ‘why’? I don’t take the time to sit with the pain. I don’t think the pain is caused by another. I know all emotional pain is triggered by me. Triggered by my exact reasoning and in the resulting ‘truth’ I create based on what I choose to believe and what I choose to tell myself.

I lack the ability, anymore, to blame anyone for my own response and feelings. I own up to how I feel. It’s me. No one else is in control of me. No one.

I have learned that I can accept everything anyone gives out. I have learned, also, that I have the right and power to release what another gives—to kindly return it with a “thanks, but no thanks.”

No one’s thoughts, or words, or perception represent who I am. I know this fully. It’s not a concept I have to convince myself of, or remind myself of.

In many ways I am much more free than I was two years ago, during a time period wherein being in the public spotlight I held onto every stranger’s belief of me as truth. Had you told me five years ago that I would care about people but not care about what they thought of me, I would have thought you crazy, or at minimal an idealist who didn’t know me at all. How could I, so sensitive, so attune, so empathic, not ALWAYS care what people thought?

The truth is there came a point where I didn’t have a choice but to let go, because the two camps, my only options, were clearly marked: 1) Care about what everyone thinks about you and constantly yoyo back and forth in your self-perception and self-worth 2) Realize no one’s perception of you is accurate.

The latter took some hard looking and soul-searching, and some help from above—call it collective unconscious, angels, God, or aliens, no matter. There came a point where I was truly shown the light. I was given the vision of a room full of people, each standing on a soapbox and taking a turn to talk about me. Each was pulling from their random memories and past, from what they had chosen to collect, and then again chosen to remember. It was subjective to the third degree. Everyone’s view of me was first, and primarily, based on their own lives and gathered ideologies, belief systems, personalities, experience, etc. I was merely a random interpretation. I was a flower being dissected by multiple viewers. Some loved me for my sweetness. Some adored my beauty. Some merely saw me as a weed to be plucked. Some thought I stunk. Others inhaled and couldn’t get enough. Still, regardless of the onlookers, I remained a flower. Or at least that chance name I’d been assigned by society.

I theorized, in reviewing this vision, that it wasn’t just the loose interpretations of me that sporadically changed (and were skewed based on the onlooker and all the onlooker brought to the table from his or her past), but also the onlooker him/herself. Everyone’s view altered in any given random point of time. People were affected by their past (foundation they’d built up as truth) and by the moment in time they drew conclusions.

I realized also that any word, action, or subtle way in which I lived could bring about an altered interpretation. If I left my husband. If I abandoned my children. If I joined the circus. How would this audience interpret me then? And if they, the viewers, made any life changes, or faced crisis, or shifted consciousness or outlooks, how would their view of me change?

I saw how I had altered the way I looked at the world and others in the past years, and in so doing the people I thought I knew appeared different to me. It was only logical to conclude from my reasoning that I, ever-changing, would remain incapable of stagnant being based on continual transitioning. And that likewise others remained incapable of stagnant being, and thusly incapable of stagnant viewing of me.

In understanding I was nothing more than gathered evidence, and that the evidence itself always shifted based on the moment, circumstance, and the observer, I understood that I, this loose interpretation of I based on others’ viewpoints, was never stagnant in interpretation enough to be called factual.

With this, I saw that all opinions of me no longer mattered. Even the so-called ‘positive’ comments were not able to penetrate me. It made no sense to attach myself to fleeting ‘positive’ descriptors based on the once again random observers with their random viewpoints. Plus, if I was an information gatherer shifting my gathering, (what I caught in my positive net based on my shifting self), then how could I ensure what I gathered was substantiated by any form of non-stagnant truth?

Sure, I could know someone for years, and they could view me as consistently steadfast, sweet, and loyal, but what in that individual’s life made them an expert on those ‘virtues,’ and how much of me had she seen, had she known, and what had she missed? I could get a round about idea of who I was, but only based on a round about idea of who someone else was, (and where she’d been, what she’d experienced, and what ‘truths’ she momentarily upheld as valuable.) The complexities of attaching my being-ness to an outside source soon became an intellectual burden and a tiring mind-puzzle lacking any sort of sense-making end mark.

And beyond this, if I had latched on to semi-permanent, most-likely-true and reasonable interpretations of me, then how could I be judge and jury of self? How was I to decide what was me and what wasn’t me? How was I to allow myself to collect everything flowery and rosy and make this me, while disregarding and discarding the rest? How could that not be some extreme form of ego-lust and ego-building? It seemed logical that the only way out of the process and habit of decorating my self based on outlookers’ viewpoints was to disrobe myself of any and all doings and opinions of others.

From here it followed that in order to dispel the potential hypocrite inside of me, that if I were to discount others’ opinions about me in totality, then in equal balance it was essential that I discount my opinions about others. In other words, if others could not define me, I reasonably could not define others.

Next, the process became a matter of what to see, what to believe, and what to qualify as truth of those about me. And the only natural conclusion, that arose no further conflict or query within myself, was to apply love to all, to choose to see another being as another being and nothing more, to love the light in all, and to overlook the illusion of what appeared to be ‘wrong’ or ‘against’ me.

In a sense I had annihilated self through logic—the act of rationalizing no stagnant representation of ‘me’ existed. Without a true ‘self’ I had no true or stagnant opinions. In reality, my opinion couldn’t be trusted. My thoughts were just that: thoughts. Nothing more. Nothing less. Not bad, just not real.

If I had based my ‘wrong’ and ‘against,’ and the concept of me, on my limited scope of life, if I had based my judgment and view of the world on only what I had been exposed to, able to process and assimilate into memory, and able to recall with any ounce of reality, and then based all this recall on my current state of thinking, emotions, and environmental influence, if this be true, I was a constant changing judge. So to enlist my personal arsenal of evaluation on another was a form of temporary fallout and nothing more. It was adding illusion to illusion, and agreeing to be a game player in a game I no longer believed in.

And so the act of evaluating another became self-abusive. It actually hurt. It hurt because my mind was bombarded with this sequential reasoning that again and again reached the same conclusion, despite my ever-changing hypothesis: no matter what I thought at any given moment, it wasn’t permanent enough to remain true.

In addition, it is obvious to me, now, that I am dying off and I am regenerating. Some part of my body is digesting and decomposing, and another part is fighting and refueling. And just as the interior microscopic parts merge and shed, the exterior view of my life follows suit. There isn’t anything I can hold onto. And in this way there is no one I can hold onto either. I only have a fleeting moment in which I spot someone, and then he has changed as much as the rest. I cannot define self. I cannot define another.

And in this place of no definition and no judgment, I am freed. I am freed from the burden most of society carries. Freed from attaching to one ideal or concept or way of life. Freed from battling to make my opinion heard. But most importantly I am freed from needing to be seen.

514: Aspergers: The Potency of Knowing

Today, I know more about myself and my makeup than any other time before. Today, I know more about my world and my place in it than I ever thought possible. I understand concepts at a deep intellectual and spiritual level. A grasping that even I gasp at from moment to moment. I see interconnections everywhere, and I reach conclusions at a constant and continual warp speed. I am and I am not, and I feel forgotten and fed at the same instant, spread out and dipped in a breaded-pudding for some type of monstrosity to munch and munch upon. I am twisted, and I am broken, and I am entirely undone into myself. And I am lonely…again.

I have twice-forgotten why I am here: my mission, my purpose, repeatedly dreading what is to be and what is to happen, and immersed in a fear-state regarding what has already transpired. I see now that I have lived in a constant state of reliving fear. Everything has been about anxiety, everything wrapped in misgivings and in the sap-trappings of my flight/fight mentality. I am inspired by mishap and mayhem. Miss-shaped by my potentiality to turn each and everything into imaginary illusion and puzzle. I don’t know how to live—say be—without deciphering and analyzing. I don’t know how to look upon my own world, without seeing the impending danger. I’d like to believe this isn’t true, and I’d like to believe further more—with enough belief, say faith—that if I believe enough I can make it so. And I’d like to believe that I can change. But now I stand at the crossroad of wondering if indeed my very nature, my very infrastructure, is not one of exact design predicated by the intense longing to solve. And if so, if I am mere machine set out for deciphering, if my mechanism be one of constant discovery, and if I am have stumbled or purposely fallen into hyper speed, then what is to become of me? And have I not, by simply being as I am, caused my own fate?

I am confused, but not entirely. And I am torn open, but not fully. There is a part of me strong, always strong, holding on, just as the child clenching to her mother’s drapery, the curtain the last plight, the last hope, the last saving grace. If I just hold on, no one can tear me out of the house I am in. I am that hero on the swinging high bridge, the last rope unraveled, the planks removed, flanked and flailing in the unforgiving air, thinking if I let go, even for moment, I tumble to the death of me. And then again, I am. Lost just as before.

I can think, and that is my burden. I can think into depths I don’t understand. So deep I can dwell that in seconds I unravel information that by all rationalization should be data that would take another decade to retrieve, if not eons to fathom. I say this not as pompous one or know-it-all; abundant am I in feelings of guilt and regret. I say it merely as fact. I think, and I fall into a deep abyss of what is. And I come out having reached conclusions and understandings that are beyond my own grasp, yet somehow sticking to me much the same. I am removed, and yet still dwelling in this place of knowing. And in this knowing, I know I know not. I know that each and every place assumed reached is still another empty finish line. I know that everywhere are rules that do not exist and answers that are mere ghosts whispering their bent truth—like the rays of light manifesting mirage. What I see is naught. What I know is naught. And still I dive, twisted into misgivings of self and universe, the same.

This is how I live, from day-to-day, from moment-to-moment, somehow lost in myself, and still alive and here. Still performing the medial and mediocre tasks, whilst deciphering all about me, and all that lines the walls of the interior self. I am a complexity so entirely complex that I segregate myself, dividing and re-dividing to the ultimate-power trying to manage what is layered and layered within. I am the worst enemy and the staunch supporter. I am the fuel that keeps my churning and the water that attempts to douse the rioting debtors’ quarrels. I am that which turns the key and that which wishes to stop the engine. All at once, I am made to be without wanting to be—and here in this state I wander about, alone.

You cannot reach me, because you cannot find me, and my mind is unknown to you. Unless, you too, are this sort of mechanism made to churn and to long. To understand you are the machine and the person all at once. To understand that you are made up of the essential elements that make whole, and to watch yourself transition instant upon instant, morphing with each choice, each thought, each word, each influential force. And everywhere and everything is about. To be sensitive to the cycle itself, to the give and take, the yin and yang, the light and dark, the here and there, the wait and see, the envy and love—to watch self as bystander and take note upon note upon note of what is. This is to be awakened. This is to be semi-exposed to the power of the now and the power of the singular demolished and whole eradicated. To watch as the power is seen in all. To watch as the demons, too, turn into angels and warriors. To see the universal connections both outside of self and inside self, and to know, beyond doubt that nothing is of this being named I. And to still shiver and shake, thinking the potency of knowing must somehow diminish with enough discovery