Thursday, April 4, 2019

30 Days of Autism Acceptance, Day 4

Day 4: Reactions to 'coming out'

I don't have much to say on this topic, because mostly I don't. I've told Twitter and my immediate family. My therapist thinks it would be good to tell my doctors, and maybe it would, but I just can't face it. I hate being questioned and I know this would bring on a barrage of questions, and probably a lot of disbelief. I had enough of that when my son was little, and I couldn't get anyone to take my concerns about him seriously.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

30 Days of Acceptance Day 3

My diagnosis/discovery story:

My story is boringly similar to other adult-diagnosed autistics. I had always felt different and had a hard time connecting to people -- and though I didn't really realize it at the time, was prone to meltdowns. But I had many issues to attribute this to: Living in a counterculture; moving around constantly; a childhood filled with neglect at best and abuse at worst.

And then I had a child, and endeavored to give him the most secure, loved, comfortably middle-class life possible. Nice home, which he's lived in since he was born. Loving parents. Christmas and Hannukah and Easter and Passover. Plenty of everything, but not to excess. Right out of one of my favorite children's books.

And nonetheless, he was basically me. The sensory needs, the anxiety, the odd freakouts. Like me, he was very happy and friendly and open when young, and then grew lonely and closed off and suspicious. Like me, he was intelligent, but had some communications issues. (I was a late talker, which no one thought anything of at the time.) Like me, he had a desperate need to chew on things. (I am so envious of what's known and available for this now. I chewed on my hair, the hands and feet of dolls, and pen caps. I hate to think how many chemicals I ingested.) Like me, he had a much easier time getting along with adults than other children.

He was diagnosed when he was two, so I had plenty of time to read about autism and notice all the ways in which I had been similar. I sought out an autism-friendly therapist, not really sure if it was for him and me. As it turned out, I started seeing the therapist and they diagnosed me. (I sometimes feel guilty about this, for "hogging" my therapist, but I'm not sure my son would be open to it anyway.)

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

30 Days of Autism Acceptance, Day 2

Day 2:

What I love about being autistic is... hmmm. This definitely requires some thought.

I love the pleasure I get from stimming, especially visual stimming. I love sensory experiences, though proprioception issues have ruined some of them for me. (Spinning and swinging both now nauseate me.) I love having a good memory and hate that I'm losing it as I get older.

And I love having insight into my son's needs.

30 Days of Autism Acceptance Day 1

(I don't know who to credit for this, but I got it from AutisticZebra.)

Intro post:

I love challenge prompts. Usually I use them for reading, but I hope this one will spur me to do more blogging. I'm already behind!

I asked my son if he wanted to join but looks like it's just me.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Finding Neurodiversity in... Nonfiction: Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life

This is a little trickier than my usual posts, because it's about a memoir. I don't want to create an autistic headcanon for Amy Krouse Rosenthal --

(and let me take a moment to mourn the deletion of feminist aspie's blog and her wonderful post "A Headcanon Called Autism." I hope she is well.)

-- but I do think this book has... let's call it an autistic sensibility. Rosenthal, who sadly died fairly young, had a passion for wordplay and interesting patterns. This is apparent in the very form of this book, which is written as a series of alphabetic entries -- they start with "Amy" and end with "You." It's also apparent in what the entries are about... random feelings about life, odd memorable coincidences, observations. Reading the book is like briefly living inside someone's special interest.

A moment of personal sadness about this book:

"1989 Reads The Day I Became an Autodidact by Kendall Hailey. Writes author and receives letter back."
That's a real gut-puncher for me, because I read that book sometime in the 90s and also was also inspired to write to the author... but never mailed it. 

Rosenthal had a policy of always answering letters and she created numerous situations in which readers of her books could be inspired to contact her and participate in something with her. (For example, one reader got to propose a tattoo design, which they both got together.) So that also makes it a bit of a sad read, since she is no longer here to respond. The entire last chapter is a plea to "You" -- me, the reader-- to recognize her ordinary life:
"I picked at a scab. I wished I was older. I wished I was younger. I loved my children. I loved mayonnaise. I sucked my thumb. I chewed on a blade of grass.
I was here, you see. I was."
I can't read that without crying.

But most of the book made me smile in recognition... of the fun of wordplay (She tried to get her client Kraft to do a show called the Krafterschool Special,) of those embarrassing memories you can't forget, of just being a person in the world.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

People Are Exhausting... And Yet

I finally made it to London, a few months ago, solving the problem by taking all my family with me.  It was hard and wonderful and exhausting and awesome. London is probably not my soul's city as I thought it might be, which was a little sad to realize, but better to know, right?

One of the things I've been pondering since the trip is how strange it was to be around such... distant people. Unfriendly isn't the right term, because I could always ask someone for help if I needed to, but people generally ignored each other in public.

I don't remember noticing this in New York. I'm not sure if it's because I felt familiar with the pace there, having lived there when I was young, or because we were always in such busy areas it wasn't obvious. Probably the later. Walking around a residential neighborhood in London, the lack of acknowledging nods/smiles was really obvious.

And if you'd asked me how I'd feel about that, I probably would have said it would be great! Because having to put on friendly normalcy can be really hard at times. And yet, I really found it weird, and lonely.

This came up for me today, because I bought shirts for me and my son that say, "People are Exhausting."   And I almost wore mine today and then I realized, it might stop people from making casual chit-chat with me. And though I hate obligatory "how are you"s, I like a bit of chit-chat. I've gotten good enough at it that it's a pretty small outlay of energy, as long as I'm in an okay frame of mind, and in return I get to feel some harmony with the people around me. It makes the world feel more comfortable.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


I just discovered that a bunch of comment notifications were going to an email address I no longer use, and I had no idea they were awaiting moderation. My apologies for not publishing or replying!