My mini meltdown

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I had one two days ago. I knew it was coming – of course it was coming.

We’re selling our house. We’ve done this twice in the last 12 years already and every time we do it I become completely unglued. I try not to. I chant mantras to myself like “It will all work out” “The realtors want to make this happen more that I do” “Our place is great, we just need the right buyer” “You don’t need tons of buyers. You only need one buyer, if it’s the right one” (my adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s line in Little Women ‘You don’t need scores of suitors. You only need one…if he’s the right one‘)

But every time we go to sell our house I become unglued. I start out in the frame of mind that I’ll do better this time, after all, it worked out last time, didn’t it? I jokingly tell people that I’ve asked my husband to book my medically-induced coma so that I can get things ready, enter my coma, and then wake up once it’s time to start packing. I really wish this were possible. It would be so much better for all of us, including our realtor.

But….here I am. Fully conscious and trying to fight against my default nature. My perfectionist, hyper-vigilant Aspie brain wants everything absolutely perfect. I need to be blameless. It’s all up to me and I have to make sure this all happens. I clean, I tidy, I de-clutter, I fluff, I fret, I analyze, I agonize and then we sign the papers.

Then, the REAL fun starts. Showings: “Can you be out Saturday from 10-11 and then 2-3 and then 4-5?” And then there’s that surprise showing on Sunday at 10am. I was in the den happily and peacefully typing away when I heard strange voices coming from the living room. Thankfully I was dressed but really, there’s something wrong with the online booking system, obviously.

Be here! Don’t be here! Get out! Come back! Oops, sorry – Get out again! Clean! Polish! Don’t touch anything! Don’t stink up the house! Put your crap away! Don’t blow things up in the microwave!

The real estate market where we are is pretty hot so after doing that all weekend and into Tuesday we had an interested party. They wanted to make an offer with a particular ‘subject to’ and wondered if we would entertain that. Yes, we would. But then…nothing. We waited all day and not a peep. In the early evening we emailed our realtor for an update and was told the deal was off the table because someone told the prospective buyers that we had no internet and that was a deal breaker.

Wait, what? We have no internet? Then how can I be watching Netflix while I’m emailing with the realtor?

It must have been the buyer’s method of backing out but I was incredibly distraught. I set about to prove to our realtor 1000% that we DO have internet. We do! I wouldn’t lie about that! Do the buyers think we’re liars?!?!?!? I knew that familiar, anxious feeling that cramped my guts and made me want to jump up and down to release the sudden emotional and physical pressure. I was feeling attacked, threatened and helpless.

Call me irrational – I know, I know. I’ve beaten myself up my whole life for my ‘defects’ and ‘faults’ – you don’t have to. I feel irrational just reading my words but this is where I go, even at my golden age of 47. There is a part of me that will always be a scared child who is getting in trouble for something her brother did and then blamed on her. No matter how hard she tries to defend herself she is not believed and she will be punished regardless. She tries and tries more loudly to beg and plead to be believed. She is innocent! She says she’s sorry, even though she did nothing wrong! But, the punishment will still be doled out and she will always be regarded with suspicion.

That’s where I go.

After the last email at 10pm, the dam was set to burst. It had almost burst the day before, when my daughter and I spent 3 hours going hither and thither over a showing that was scheduled for a different time than we’d been quoted. We got out, came back, had to get out again and then when we got back I realized we were locked out, with the nearest key 45 minutes away. My key was the one in the lockbox and I’d forgotten to put the spare on my ring. Then, I couldn’t figure out what to do and I couldn’t get cell service so I had to drive up and down the road to try to make some calls. In the end we found a window that we’d left open so my daughter climbed through it. The tears were threatening while I was hauling the ladder out to set up against the house but I managed to send them packing.

But, at 10pm that next night with the no internet thing ‘out there’ it was enough. I’d reached my saturation point. It all came out and I turned into that blubbering mess I try so hard to resist. I cried and cried and let out my fears that our house won’t sell, it’s probably just a piece of garbage, all our neighbours are laughing at us, everything on our house is going to break within the next month, the house inspection is going to be a disaster, the bank won’t transfer our mortgage, we’ll have a disastrous earthquake that will crack the house in two, our woodstove will blow up, and a tree will fall on our roof. There’s more but I can’t recall the rest at the moment.

Magical Mrs. Catastrophe is in da house! Up too high? I’ll bring ya down…waaaay down.

*sigh*

I wish this wasn’t where I went when I’m under pressure and stress but it is. But, now it’s two days later and I’m feeling much better. I’ve managed to categorize and compartmentalize my fears and emotions. I go through a numb stage after my crashes where I’m physically and mentally exhausted. It actually feels great to not feel for awhile. The frantic yelling in my head has quieted and I will enjoy the peace while it lasts.

 

My memory is a strange thing.

Allow me to tell you the story of my life growing up and living autistic, but not knowing:

uhhhh…..

This is easier said than done.

Because:

My life is a series of fragmented memories.
They float around in a dark pool, hidden.
Sometimes they rise up to the surface at random.
Sometimes they are the bad ones.
I send them back down, and it takes work to make them stay there.
Other ones I want to come up to the surface.
I want to paint a picture.
I want to tell my story but they seem too scattered, too vague.
The net I would need to scoop them all up would be too huge.
Once plopped onto the deck, it would be a squirming mess to sort through.
The memories would be like an enormous catch from a fishing boat, where the net had scraped across the ocean floor and then gathered everything on its way up.
The net would contain these:

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But it would also contain these:
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I want to tell my story so I will try.
Instead of using a huge net, I will use a fishing line with one piece of bait at a time.
I will use a hand-line as opposed to a fishing rod.
I love the feeling of the catch on the end of the line in my hand.
I will stare into the water as my catch approaches the surface.
And pray I don’t bring up too many Angler fish in a row.
But I will pull them up.
One by one, until I have enough to tell my story.

My daughter is an Aspie Ninja.

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This is Aspie Ninja Girl. She’s a superhero, and she’s my 15-year-old daughter.

She flies under your radar. She swoops in and swoops out. You’ll never know she’s there. She’ll sneak up behind you and steal the snack you’re eating right out of your hand and will be gone before you even have a chance to turn your head.

Being Aspie Ninja Girl can be good and…not so good. Since she flies under your radar at the speed of sound without making a noise you don’t notice her. She blends in, but if you do catch a glance, she retreats into the shadows, leaving you to wonder if your eyes are playing tricks on you.

She watches. She listens.

Her special assignment: To figure out this world and try to fit into it.

The name of this assignment: Mission Impossible.

You won’t see her pain because she will only show it to the people closest to her. Even then, she will only share during the safest of times. If she feels threatened or misunderstood she’ll invoke her invisibility cloak. Sometimes her emotions are so strong and her feelings so jumbled all she can do is fold in on herself until that blessed numbness comes. She will do this in quiet and secret. You will never know it is happening. But you might see the scars.

In school, you’ll rarely notice her. If she’s doing okay you won’t notice her. If she’s not doing okay you won’t notice her. She won’t ask for help much. She doesn’t want to ask. She doesn’t want to appear stupid. If she does ask she may not understand your directions and will not ask again. She will withdraw. She will use her super ninja skills to be anywhere but in class but also not be obvious. She won’t be where the in-your-face, noisy troublemakers are. She’ll be in stealth-mode and when she feels a little better, she’ll slip back in unnoticed. Some days her ninja powers will be completely exhausted and she’ll be in bed. For a long time.

Aspie Ninja Girl just wants to love and be loved. She wants to fit in. She wants to feel comfortable. She wants to feel like she belongs. She wants to matter to you. She wants you to see below her exterior layers to her soft inner core, where she is gentle and genuine and caring and compassionate and smart and artistic and honest and naive and sensitive.

She wants you to know that she is struggling. That the things that are ‘expected’ of her are hard and when she can’t meet those expectations she turns her frustration inward. She wants you to know that she wants to ‘do’ better – if she only knew how. She wants to know that you love her, no matter how well or not well she is coping or doing those expected things. She wants to be accepted. She wants to feel safe.

Aspie Ninja Girl is special and has a lot to offer this world. She just needs your understanding and support. She needs to be able to be herself. Then, maybe she will decloak and allow you to see her, inside and out.

 

Trying to avoid the overload.

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I have so many deliciously wonderful topics churning around in my mind but…no time! No quiet, uninterrupted time, that is.

We just got through the Christmas school break and things are turning back to normal, except the sawing, banging and nailing going on all around me. My husband and son are finishing up a complete renovation on our house and today it went up for sale. You can probably understand the title of this post now. Although I am itching to sit down and write, I have 3 other people around me all day right now needing meals, help, encouragement, coffee and bandaids.

After decluttering our home, I have also entered a phase of  “don’t touch anything!” “don’t make a mess!” “Argh! The cat just put her dirty paws all over the door again!”. The house has to stay tidy and clean. This can basically put me over the edge, if I let it. Mix it up with the showings that will start shortly, the waiting, wondering, offers(?), home inspection worry/terror and the unknowns of what we will be buying next and I am pretty much over capacity.

So, during this time I have to take it easy on myself and try not to conquer too many things in one day. The renovations should/WILL be completely done by this Friday and the noise and extra work on that front will cease. We will be onto a new phase and I’m really hoping I can slip easily back into “normal” mode. Let’s hope…

Until then, my stories of how I learned that I am NOT a homesteader and about how I called our barbecue the garage yesterday will just have to wait…

Dealing with my rooster = Dealing with my fears.

We recently had a rooster named Greg. I’m the one who named him Greg. I loved having a rooster named Greg. Yes, I’m being serious.

Greg hatched out last July and was originally called “Chick 2”, then he was “Baby”, then he was “No tail” then he was finally “Greg”.

Our hen, Sarah (Sarah Stanley from Road to Avonlea), hatched 2 chicks for us last summer, one turned out to be a hen and one a rooster. We already have a nice, big rooster named Potato (youngest daughter named him that) so we knew if we had another rooster chick it would either need to be given the chop or given away. Potato is 1/2 cream legbar and 1/2 barred rock. He throws green eggs. No, he doesn’t really throw eggs – he doesn’t even have hands. The hens “lay” eggs and the roosters “throw” them. Make sense?

Potato’s green eggishness makes him kinda cool and a little easier to give away, in terms of giving away free roosters that usually no one else wants since everyone who hatches chicks usually ends up with a disproportionate rooster to hen ratio. Not sure why – it’s just how it seems to go around here.

Fast forward to Greg being 4 months old. Up until then I would try to convince anyone who would listen that he was probably a hen.

“Look, the tail feathers are pretty short, just like a hen. It’s pretty much the same size as its sibling and at their age that’s a pretty good sign. If it was a rooster, if would be MUCH bigger. Its comb and wattles are a little bigger than its sibling’s but that’s because they have different moms so that makes sense. It’s even making hen noises. I’m cautiously optimistic that it’s a hen!”

But…a few days later one of “its” tail feathers started to look a little too long. Hm, could just be one rogue feather and those types of chickens do have pretty high tails anyway.  We’ll wait. A couple of days later and another feather seemed to be a bit too long. Hm….

And then it happened. 

One morning, I was letting the chickens out and as I turned to walk out the gate a fairly faint but horribly crackled and guttural sound came from behind the coop. Uh oh. I know that sound. That squacky, warbly, scratchy “I need a lozenge” sound. The “it” chick was now officially a “he”. Drat!

Now, I was going to have to do the thing I didn’t want to do: find him a new home. It wasn’t him moving to his own flock that was the problem. I wanted that. I wanted him to have the chance to run free through the leaves in his very own chicken yard that he could be the king of. It was what I was going to have to do to get him that: interact with people. Gulp. Oh gosh. My anxiety rose every time I thought of it. 

To try to make the task less daunting, I thought I would be preemptive. I wasn’t ready to post him on Craigslist or Facebook yet because things were still peaceful in the chicken yard. Potato hadn’t seen him as a threat yet and I was secretly hoping that because they were related, Greg might be given special privileges. But I knew the day would probably come that he would have to go and, even though I wasn’t prepared for that yet, I could at least do the legwork. So, I took a few pictures of Greg and drafted up an ad that I could post when the time came. That way part of the work would be done and it hopefully wouldn’t be quite so hard.

Here’s the ad:

Attractive young male seeks females for companionship and more?

My name is Chick # 2 but you can call me Greg.
I am 5 months old and am a strapping young rooster.

My big rooster dad is being a bit territorial about things and will soon be kicking me out of the chicken yard so I thought I’d be proactive. I think he’s overreacting but, whatever.

My dad is 1/2 Cream Legbar, 1/2 Barred Rock and my mom is a Rhode Island Red or Hyline – not sure. My dad throws green eggs so it is likely that I will too – cool!

Anyway, if anyone has a place I can permanently crash pretty soon that would be great. My hobbies include walks in the chicken yard, hanging around on the outside roosts, preening (well YA, I’m GORGEOUS!), eating, running through the leaves, posing and, of course, cockadoodledooing.

I am available for pickup after 5pm any day – you’ll never catch me unless I’m on the roost for the night. Come get me and I’m yours. No exchange of currency required.

 Looking forward to meeting your lovely ladies soon.

With that done, I let another month pass, still being cautiously optimistic that Greg and Potato might be able to come to an amicable understanding. This was not to be. As the days went by it was clear that Potato desired the absence of Greg. There was no fighting or attacking, just a lot of running and crowing. Greg was running here. Greg was running there. Potato was chasing him hither. Potato was chasing him thither. There were daily cockadoodle competitions: who could be loudest, who could crow longest. You get the idea.

My husband had been doing some outside work over the course of a couple days out back and commented that the running was pretty much an all-day event. Greg was tenacious in his desire to stay near the coop and the hens, and Potato was equally tenacious in his desire for Greg to make like a tree and leave. 

Okay, fine. I get it. It’s time for Greg to go. It will be best for the whole flock, including Greg. Crank my anxiety up a notch. Okay, I can do this – we’ll just post him on Craigslist first. We’ll wait a few days and hopefully we’ll get a taker. Hopefully they’ll just come get him and maybe I can hide in the bedroom while it’s all going on?

So I posted and waited. The second day I got a reply! They didn’t want the rooster, but they thought I should be a standup comedian. Okay, well, at least someone saw the ad – we’ll wait. A couple more days go by and I knew things were really ramping up in the chicken yard so I pulled up my big girl pants and decided to reactivate my Facebook account so I could post him on a Hobby farmers group in my area.  With that done I waited a day more. The post got some likes and laughs but no bites.

Then…..a reply from Craigslist: “I’ll take him. I have 15 lovely ladies in my flock. But, you’ll have to meet me in town.”

uh…..okay, that’s not what I expected. 

I was completely derailed.

How would that work? When will we be going to town next? It’s close to Christmas. Would I take him in the evening? I can’t drive in the evening so my husband would have to come.  Would I trap him in the evening and put him in the broody coop overnight to transfer him the next day? What does the person want to do? They didn’t say. How am I supposed to know how to do this? They were supposed to come here to pick him up after 5pm! That’s how this played out in my mind! Waaa!!

So I waited another day…no more bites. I couldn’t even figure out how to reply to the inquiry. I was hit by a nasty bout of Analysis Paralysis. So, around 1pm the second day I told my husband that I hadn’t responded and didn’t know what to say. All of a sudden, the paralysis broke and I blurted out “Should I just see if we can meet tonight in town at 6:30?”

His answer was “Sure.”

I’m jealous of my husband. Some things that are so hard for me are so easy for him. When I’m spending my time and energy worrying and fretting while anxiously wringing my hands, he’s playing solitaire on the computer in blissful oblivion.

With a potential plan in place on our end, I replied to the inquirer that we could meet early that evening in town, if that worked for her?

The response was Great! Where? When? … and then…oh no…a phone number.

Have I ever mentioned that I am deathly allergic to phone calls? I go into anaphylactic shock. Okay, that was pretty ridiculous but kinda funny too. This post is getting far too long to go into the whole topic of phone calls and how they are one of the more unpleasant things in life so I’ll just leave it there.

Now, I knew if I wanted to make this happen, I’d have to call. The back and forth of emailing could go on and on and then we’d be finally confirming at 9pm what was supposed to have happened that day at 6:30pm. So, once again I had to put my big girl pants on. I took a breath, steeled myself and picked up the phone and dialed. A man answered. I said “Hi, can I speak to Debbie please?” “She’s out with the horses but I’m supposed to take a message.” So, I relayed the details of where and when and then followed up with a quick email just to be sure.

We needed to leave at 6pm and I’m a great backward timer:

If we need to leave at 6:00, we’ll get him in the box by the door at 5:45, so I’ll put my coat and boots on at 5:40. That means we’ll have to eat at 5:00. That means I’ll finish the Christmas wrapping right now and have time to put that load of wash in the dryer. Then I’ll start dinner at 4:00 so I can put it in the oven at 4:30 once the bread comes out….

And we go back as far as we need to. I am a pro at this and my timing is usually spot-on.

Queue the stomach butterflies. Apparently my brain wasn’t busy enough with everything else so felt it had some spare time to freak me out with little jolts of adrenaline, cold hands, feet and the need for frequent trips to the bathroom. I continued to wonder how something seemingly so simple could stress me out so much. I could rationalize that this was going to be a simple and quick transaction and said to myself “Just think – by 7:00 it will be all over and you’ll be in Costco. You’ll be calmly choosing a pie and your hands and feet will warm up then.”

And I was right. By 7:00 I was in Costco and feeling much better. Greg had been handed off to his new owner who was very thankful. I only worried on and off for the next 24 or so hours that I had somehow put the wrong chicken in the box or that the air-hole in the top was too small and that I had handed a dead rooster off to the lady and would get an angry email the next day about how I was a cruel chicken-killer and a terrible person.

None of these things occurred. What did occur was peace and quiet in our chicken yard. No more flapping, running, squacking or excessive crowing. That next morning everyone leisurely hopped out of the chicken coop, stretched their legs and wings and declared what a beautiful morning it was. Potato was able to focus on his harem undisturbed.

And with his 15 new ladies, I’ll bet Greg had the best day of his life.

I got “That Aspie Lady” from my cat.

“This is Clara. She’s a kitty. She has legs.”

Yes, I say that. I can’t explain why I describe her this way and why her legs are the only part of her body that I mention, but saying it in my baby voice makes all the difference.

Here is a really ugly picture of her:


It makes me laugh every time I look at it. I love to laugh. I hope it makes you laugh too.

Since getting Clara, my whole family has learned CTL – Cat Telepathy Language. On a daily basis, we will express her thoughts out loud to each other.

Clara is often unsatisfied with the amounts and types of foods dispensed to her. For example, at around 10 in the morning, if someone new comes into the room she will be sure to inform that person of her thoughts and needs. 

I will now submit Article 2 dated December 10, 2017 9:45 a.m. This conversation is between Clara and middle daughter. 

And I quote:

“Oh! It’s That Girl. Hey Girl! I’m starving. Starving! That Lady won’t feed me and she doesn’t even care. Then I told That Other Girl. And then That Guy. They didn’t feed me either. Look at me! I’m wasting away! Suffering! And you don’t even care! But… you could pet me instead I guess. That Man petted me a few minutes ago but I guess you can too. Yes…that’s nice.”

Just to put things into context, Clara isn’t starving. She eats too much. She is an indoor/outdoor cat who prefers to spend her days sleeping on her back in a lounge chair in my bedroom. She is almost 2 years old now and with her obsession with food, is well on her way to an obesity problem. She eats the measured amounts we dole out to her and then polishes up her brother Finn’s food when we’re not looking. She doesn’t think that the lip licking tips us off but we’re quite a bit smarter than she is. Then, there’s her belly: if that’s a six pack under her, it’s made of jello.

So, while I was setting up this blog there came the inevitable challenge: what to call it. Something not already taken, something that feels right, something that explains the blog and something that I won’t completely hate after a month or two.

The thought that Clara always refers to us as That Lady, That Girl, That Man etc. popped into my head.

Perfect! That Aspie Lady!

Thanks Clara. I couldn’t have done it without you.

In gratitude, I will post a picture of her of her yawning. My youngest daughter took it. It also makes me laugh.

Personal Space: How big is your hula hoop?

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I heard that term from a nurse I worked with briefly in a doctor’s office seven years ago. She told me everyone has a hula hoop around them and getting inside that is invading someone’s personal space. I had never heard the term before, or thought of it that way and loved it.

So, how big is your hula hoop? Mine is big. Like huge. We’re talking 40 feet around. Okay, that is a bit much but it is pretty big and I like to be right in the middle, all tucked in with my arms and legs close by.

We’ve been off and on church-goers over the years. Some churches have had gregarious participants who love to chat up and hug anything with a pulse in the near vicinity – stranger or no, and some have staid and introverted congregants who will greet you with only a handshake (bone-crushing or limp-fish). If I have to touch these people, I prefer the handshake variety, as long as it is quick and not too firm, limp, hot or sweaty.

You know how some cats are when you pick them up and try to hug them? They push against your chest with their outstretched front legs with ears in the back position? This is how I usually feel about hugs. If I have to do it, I can do it. Let’s just do it and get it over with quick and with as little contact as possible. I brace myself and lean in with the hopes of just patting you on the back with a little shoulder contact.

But what about the hug-lovers? You know they love hugging. And you like them and don’t want to disappoint them or for them to feel rejected. So when they pull you in and give you a big squishy, full-contact hug and then hold….and hold…and hold, you just wait…and wait….and wait. You try to disembark but it’s not over yet so you just wait. This doesn’t happen very often to me but it is always a surprise. I know I definitely give off the ‘don’t touch me’ vibe but some people just want to love you with their hugs. I don’t have to like it but I get it. The only person I feel totally comfortable hugging is my husband and we actually don’t even hug very much.

What about close-talkers? Those people who slowly chase you across a room during a conversation that you can’t seem to get out of. You move backward. They move forward. You started over by the door but now you’re across the room and just about the enter the kitchen after shimmying down the living room wall as they followed you. You keep wondering why they are trying to eat your breath. You keep wondering how they can’t know that they are standing WAY TOO CLOSE. So you cross your arms across your chest to create more body volume between you and them and your eye darting really ramps up. This seems to work. Phew!

 I never understood my aversion to close contact and, again, chalked it up to a personality defect. Why wouldn’t I like this wonderful thing that everyone else seems to like? What’s wrong with me? I should like it…?

Now I get it. Ah….I finally get it.

I have come up with a few words to describe how it feels when someone gets inside my hula hoop. The best ones are: invaded, confused and distracted. My skin crawls, my hackles rise and I start to hold my breath.

I was tossing the idea around of having a shirt made up that I could wear to church or other social functions. It would say something like: 

BACK AWAY!
(It’s not you. It’s me…)

What do you think – too much?

To me, New Years means: “Yay! The holidays are over!!”

Yup, nothing profound from me over here. The holidays are usually something I set my mind to survive. My husband and I keep them as simple as we can. We hate being busy, stressed and I am easily overwhelmed. Up until around December 15th this year when someone would ask me if I was ready for Christmas my answer was “Absolutely not.”

I was toying with the notion of skipping Christmas all together, but in the end I got on board. I will admit having Christmas going on around me but not being mentally engaged in it was quite nice. One part of my brain said to the other “Aren’t you worried? You haven’t done any shopping, baking or decorating?” The other part replied in a blissful stupor “Nope. The thought hadn’t even occurred to me. Oh yeah……”

I don’t really care much about the New year celebration. Yes, on December 31st tomorrow is next year but today is still the day after yesterday and I enjoy being in bed well before midnight that night. I rarely have any profound thoughts regarding old years turning into new years. I don’t make resolutions. I think the rebellious nature in me resists doing these things because they are the “thing to do” this time of year. If I want to reevaluate my life I will do it whenever the heck I want. And I do. I am constantly questioning, analyzing and adjusting all year – I don’t save it up for an all-at-once experience at New Years.

So, at this time of year I just feel a tremendous sense of relief that the holidays are over, the decorations are put away and that my gallbladder and pancreas can begin to recover from all the rich, sweet and disgustingly unhealthy foods I’ve given myself license to eat over the past few weeks. With the holidays behind me I get a feeling of freshness, newness. January lays before me like a crisp, new set of white sheets. The days are getting a little longer and it’s only around 2 more months until I can sit outside my back patio door with my eyes closed, listening to all the new little birds that are migrating back. That thought fills me with a palpable comfort.

Having said that, 2018 may be quite different than 2017 and previous years for me. Having learned late in 2017 about my Asperger’s / Autism has put me on a very different path than I’ve ever been on. One part of that is blogging. The other part is joining a community of “my people”.

I began Blogging in early December on Blogger, since I was a little familiar with the platform and it seemed a quick and easy way to get started. I wrote some things and posted them but, after poking around and trying to find other blogs to read, the interface seemed awkward and it seemed to be just me and the crickets over there. I wanted to connect with others; to hear and be heard. I noticed people posting blog entries on Twitter and most seemed to be through WordPress so I set myself up and am currently in the process of adding my initial content from Blogger and mixing it with my new goodies over here.

There seems to be a tremendous community over here, which is awesome. However, I tend to get very easily overwhelmed and will need to take it slow. Posts, settings, customized themes, comments, moderation, replies, 1 million other blogs to check out and extra emails can all get a bit daunting at first but I’m excited to see what happens, who I connect with and what we all learn in 2018!

So, here’s a toast:  Happy New Year to us all!!

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I am hurt and I am hope. Reflections on a life lived undiagnosed #ActuallyAutistic.

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I am what you see and what you don’t see.
I am a mixture of who I was born as and what I’ve experienced.

As I read more and more accounts from adult women, like me, who’ve lived their whole lives never knowing they had Autism / Asperger’s until recently and of the toll that has taken on their (our) lives I am sad.

I am sad because a lot of them had a similar experience to me. I am sad because a lot of my life I have hurt.

Some of the initial words we use to describe this is that we never fit in, we felt different, we were ostracized, bullied, tricked, misunderstood. All of those things hurt. We were given suggestions of how to change our behaviour, which didn’t work. We were told to just be more like so and so. We were told to lighten up, have fun, stop being so sensitive, don’t be so emotional, just act like everyone else. We tried. It didn’t work.

For some of us a blackness developed inside. An abscess of frustration, confusion, isolation and self-hatred. We retreated into ourselves. We found ways to cope with living  in a world where we didn’t belong; where we were told we were wrong, unacceptable. We could stand outside the glass and look in. Everything looked so nice in there but all we could do was bang on the glass and shout to be let in. No one usually saw us. If they did they might just look away. Or they would point at us and laugh.

We went to appointments with ‘experts’ who tried to fix us. They tried to talk us into or out of things. They gave some of us pills. They told us we were responsible for our thoughts and emotions and it was our job to change ourselves so we could be happy. This made us feel worse. So much worse. Powerless. Ashamed. We retreated even further.

We tried to socialize and make friends. Some of us did all the chasing. We couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t reciprocate. We started to give up. We felt worthless. We lost hope. We retreated. We existed. Some of us longed for that day when instead of waking up in the morning, we wouldn’t. It would be over.

I am confusion and clarity.
I am self-aware and oblivious.
I am a million thoughts, like butterflies, trying to find a place to land.
I am buried under 47 years of layers.
I am swimming in a pool of fragmented memories of a life I would not have chosen to live.
I am grown up and still a child.
I am crushed under a lifetime of not being what I should and being what I should not.

But…
I am still breathing.
I am learning and I am beginning to live as me, unfiltered.
I am sad but I have hope.
I am trying to be patient.
I am sorting and resifting.
I am reprocessing.
I am trusting in this process.
I am hopeful.

The Blurt Out: To say something unexpectedly

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“I Like Pasta”

I took to saying that two summers ago. It was middle daughter who said it originally. We were discussing something riveting, like which one of our chickens was the cutest, who went to the river that day or what movie we should watch that night and at the oddest moment she said “I like pasta.” 

Okay……

I will write much more about our family’s ASD in future posts. At the moment, I will just say that the Asperger’s comes to me from my dad. His hefty portfolio includes high intelligence and Asperger’s with a zesty splash of ADHD and Tourette’s mixed in. He is now 75 and has lived his whole life undiagnosed until just recently. Along comes my brother and I, both of whom were very ADHDish and, I guess I’ll have to say, had ASD. My brother lives across the country and I don’t talk with him much so have not been able to discuss my recent findings with him, but I am pretty positive he is under the same umbrella as I am.

Fast forward to me having kids. We have three, with # 1 and #3 having varying degrees of ASD. My son has functioned better socially than my daughter. It is probably due to the fact that boys and girls are so different socially. The boys can get away with way more than the girls can. You’ve probably read all about it in other places so I’ll leave it there for now….

My husband is an introverted and sensitive Neurotypical and middle daughter (who is 17) is the same as he. Before youngest daughter couldn’t stand to eat meals with us anymore (too much chewing, moving, sniffing, drinking, slurping, talking, eye contact etc etc), we would gather around the table for most meals and always dinner.

Us fast-talking ASD interrupters would jump to and from our lively conversations to the point that middle daughter and my husband would just quit trying to talk, since they couldn’t get a word in edgewise anyway. But there were/are lots of times when we have good group conversations. And there are always times during those great discussions of what happened during the latest episode of some TV show that my son will say something like this: (sorry, I know these aren’t his exact words but my Greek is really rusty)

“Ya, I sure love the way the hemi-quad on my Camaro makes the thrusters rattle against the sparknodules. It’s such a great sound. And I think it makes it go faster. Or at least SEEM faster. What do you think? Does it seem louder? Faster?”  cue that screeching record sound. So, on those time I remembered I would respond with “I like pasta.”

I’m sure I should get the “I like pasta” response a lot. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks it’s funny or I’m the mom so the kids don’t say it to me. I totally get it – he is enraptured by the new motor he just put in his red ’86 Camaro. The car is beautiful, loud and fast. Now it is louder and faster. What’s not to like? I get that it is REALLY hard to stop thinking about those hemi-quads and sparknodules, especially when you are so revved up about them and then to have to not talk on and on about them during dinner????  Argh!!!!

Or what about that joke you heard 3 days ago but just got??  Out with it now! That felt great! Why isn’t everyone else laughing? Or, I just remembered that I figured out that crochet stitch that I couldn’t get right so I announce my epiphany to everyone. It all makes so much sense in my head. 

Yeah, I guess I like pasta…

One of my favorite quotes in life (which I’ve repeated to my husband many a time) comes from Anne Shirley and was penned by Lucy Maud Montgomery:

“…if you only knew how many things I want to say and don’t, you’d give me some credit for it.

Enough said.