Friday, December 24, 2010

My Stress Free Christmas

Apparently the trick to having a stress free Christmas is to remove all the stress. Who ever would have thought?!? *laughing*

So, I took my Imooto and Boy to and Irish Christmas concert. It was wonderful fun. Relaxed. We all dressed up and just enjoyed the music and one another's company. I don't think any of us are Christian. Not really sure. So that helped too. No weird lectures on god while trying to enjoy Irish tunes.

Then I had Imooto over to do baking. All her gifts got made and I got to enjoy her company again. No stress there, beyond going to stores to get ingredients. And that is a stress every week so I can roll with it. While we were out, we checked to see if Christmas meant sewing machines on sale. It did not. Epic fail. But I bought one anyway for my nieces, since we were there.

So then all her presents were done with low stress and much fun. So win for her.

Finally, I had friends stop by on three different days to just get coffee and catch up. They swung by while going to other holiday events, I think. Anyway, low key and just chatted. No presents or obligations. Just relaxed fun.

Finally, my mom wanted to get me a present so I told her I needed dance shoes. Mission accomplished in one trip. And I got to spend a day with her. Since we're getting along pretty well, that was good.

I also spent a couple days hanging out with my step dad and we did a trip to buy presents for his grandson. And he kept that totally low key and not stressful, too. There was no "what did you buy for whom?" or reminders that I should be more *fill in the blank*.

So, presents were accomplished (sewing machine, concert, and I fed Imooto when she was here cooking). Enjoyment of friends happened. Nothing else need be done.

I got last minute invites to both parents for dinner (Mom tonight and dad tomorrow) and I'm so lacking in stress, I agreed (with time limits). I'm not stressed about either. Dad's will be harder, as there will be a lot more people, including children. But I'll bring a good book and hand sewing and hide away. They think I'm weird and avoid me anyway :)

Plus, the dad dinner is lacking dessert. Don't ask ME how that happens. So I have the joy today of making truffles. Bwahahaha. And mom asked me to make my cranberry sauce. Cooking is always happiness.

So there you have it. Remove stress. Have an enjoyable holiday.

Friday, December 17, 2010

How to Create Charisma

How to Create Charisma in four easy steps!!!

1. Create ego. Before you can gain real confidence, you have to fake it. But that is what a ginormous ego is for!! Start listing every tiny thing about you that you can stand and put it on the "AWESOME THINGS ABOUT ME" list. Eventually, you will realize the scope of your awesomeness and your ego will grow.

2. Create positiveness. You have to be able to keep going if your evil plots are foiled; learn to give a laugh (preferably an evil chortle) and know that you are more awesome than any lame ass hero and will live to conquer them at some undetermined point in the future.

Remember to compliment others. Your people will rise up for you against an enemy more out of love than fear! Your underlings need encouragement and they need to bask in the glow of your awesomeness. The worse thing to happen to your plans is for one of your minions to leave and tell your secrets. Make them want to stay with you. If you really can't muster good feelings in others, shock collars are an option as well.

And finally, enjoy yourself. It shows if you are just going through the motions. If you are no longer enjoying yourself, find a new way of doing things. It might just be that you need a different perspective. Most of the joy in life is expressing yourself. Have fun creating your signature behaviors!

3. Create self esteem to bolster your ego. By this point you should actually be starting to like yourself. You know you are awesome, that you will foil your enemies, and those around you admire you. This bolsters your huge ego by holding it up with more than just hot air.

People are really drawn to those who like themselves. Most people want to be told what to do and if you like yourself, they will like you, entirely because you do. Liking yourself creates a trend that, like gravity, draws people in to you. Also, like gravity, it makes it harder for them to escape. If they try, don't hesitate to use shock collars.

Remember, anyone who fails to admire you is obviously an idiot or so neurotic that they fear how bad you make them look.

4. Take joy in life. If you have the first three points down, joy just happens. Everything you do is great fun if you are positive and full of ego and self esteem. People cannot help liking you and this is fun too. Joy is taking delight in yourself and the world around you.

Don't listen to anyone that says if you are positive and happy you have to do "good works". You can kill and destroy from a place of love. In fact, I cannot imagine a better place from which TO kill and destroy.

Congratulations! With these four attributes, people will flock to you. They will beg to be your minions and will enjoy doing your bidding!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dance Class!

I haven't written in forever. Work exploded and got on a new project (a BETTER project) and had to get through training and then I got a cold and blah blah blah.

So as soon as I got my raise on my new project, I signed up for ballroom classes!!!

My mom got me dance shoes for Christmas, and I'm working on leotards and knee length skirts! WOOT!

I loves to dance :) I'm not sure if I am any good at it, but I adore it so I don't care. Like singing. Only I know my singing isn't great. But with years of voice lessons I bet I could carry a tune in a bucket.

I'll think of something spiffy to blog about soon! I'm thinking of practicing a Christmas letter here...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

financial aid GAH

So I'm in the pointless running in circles point of school. They changed my schedule at work so I'll miss too much of class for a Pell Grant. So I have an email in to my instructor to get more details (ie: can I pass with only half the class taken, and can she count me as there even if I leave halfway through?) and, if all goes well, I'll use the Pell Grant next term (in ten weeks). In the meantime, I'm still fighting with work about my schedule.

So it'll be... interesting.

I really really wanna learn how to sew well. I want to be able to make Vickie fashions and cosplay. Is that so much to ask?? At the moment, that DOES give me this term to finish the niece's winter skirts, my winter skirts, and more jammie pants for work as I outgrew all the ones I had.

I'm also trying to figure out a more or less polite way to back off certain relatives without alienating the couple I can stand. My auntie gave me the best method so going to work on that. I'm very proud. I was pretty sure that gushing over something you previously hated probably meant you were lying about no longer hating it and I was indeed correct. I'm getting pretty good at this social shit! *beams proudly* Lookie me with Social Skillz. Not mad social skillz... but like... one. >.>

I also went to this site for scholarships and while it states they have scholarships for trade schools, it doesn't list any or link to any. So while it's very nice to know they exist, I'm not closer to getting applications out. I need someone to stop by and hold my hand and make it work because financial aid is financial aid. They don't actually want to help you in any way. I suppose it's rather comforting because I do so hate change!!!

On another note: I didn't get any bug bites sleeping on my mat on the other side of the room, reinforcing my idea that these are newly hatched baby wolf spiders and I was in the hunting zone between the cat food and the cat litter. So I think I'll set my newly washing sleeping mat across the room and stay out of there way. I loves my little wolf spiders. Other than gnawing on me, they also keep all the other bugs cleaned up. Nom, little spiders. Nom nom nom. ^_^

I now work an extra 90 minutes per shift. (Hence the eating into school time...) So no more having to scrounge for enough overtime to hit forty hours. Yes, it took 90 minutes per shift for me to hit 40. Life will be MUCH easier with these hours if I can just get school to work around it for me...

I'll come up with something much "deeper" and more significant later. At the moment I just realized I hadn't blogged in a while. Of course, when I opened this I realized it hadn't been that long but I hadn't remembered writing it but it did sound awful familiar when I read it so good on my crazy brain and all the people in it working together to write a blog! Go team awesome.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Schrödinger's Nutshell

It's sometimes quite a funny thing to be able to hold every single memory as equally true and untrue. Logic might dictate one more probable, but there is no proof to swing things one way or another. It all exists equally because nothing can be certain.

Perhaps the more amusing thing is that this gives me stability. I'm more stable saying "this is me in a nutshell, and the nutshell is Schrödinger's", than I ever have been before. So much stress removed, not having to fit thoughts into one reality or another. It's quite liberating.

Science is not about proving or disproving. It is about gathering evidence. It is about finding facts. It is about truth. You can jump off the roof 100 times wearing a superman cape and hit the ground each time. This makes it very unlikely that next time you'll fly, but it doesn't prove you cannot fly.

When you recognize that no one actually knows more about their past than I do but that, for their sanity, they simply accept that certain things must be real, you can see how flimsy reality therefore must be. No one cares whether or not things are, one is simply relieved to have something certain in which to believe. This is neither good nor bad, it simply is, and I think far more people would suicide or refuse to go on if they didn't have a past upon which to cling. I can see why this is so since I give up all the time and wish to not have to exist and I can see that this might perhaps be less so if I had something solid upon which to stand. But since that isn't so and here I am, I find it quite difficult to actually quit, despite how thoroughly I've given up.

I appear to have a rather well developed sense of survival.

This all comes up because it turns out my father hadn't actually meant that he wouldn't pay for school when I was 19. As he didn't bring up the damning conversation, I suppose he didn't remember it. He was simply surprised to learn that I hadn't quit school because I'd given up on school, but had quit school because I couldn't figure out how to pay for it. He was probably just annoyed at me and said something that I, being me, took utterly seriously. And I, being me, simply accepted it as fact and carried on, realized I had no way to gather funds, and figured I'd wait til I was old enough to qualify for more grants. He, meanwhile, assumed I'd given up on school because I'd always hated school.

This is, perhaps, why I've had to learn to not make assumptions: none of our realities are the same reality. They merely overlap from time to time when our perceptions line up just right.

I still do, however, simply accept what one says as what is. Knowing and understanding aren't always the same thing. I know that people lie and I know that people just talk out their asses. But I still don't understand that people do not say what is.

While I was at work today, I lost all sense of mouth noise being words. So I typed the random syllables the mouths spouted. Then I read what I wrote to see if I could spot words. Luckily, I more or less could, and so I carried on. It occured to me much later that perhaps this was a good tip for autistics: don't worry about making sense of words. If you can hear syllables, just type them out as the person talks because reading phonetically is far easier than turning mouth noise into comprehendable words.

It's funny, some days I can type out all the words as proper words, but I cannot make sense of the meaning of those words until I read what I typed.

It's a VERY good thing I type as fast as I do. I really ought to practice moving much faster so that I can fully keep up with conversations. It would be rather amusing to spend a day typing everything I hear so that people can read it back and see the nonsense I come up with.

Not only do I say "cow" instead of "milk"... I'm just as likely to hear "cow" instead of "milk". But since I didn't have the right word in my head and just said it wrong (although often I hear my own word that is wrong and it starts its own domino effect of associations), I hear it wrong and then cannot get caught back up to the conversation again. So long as I am not being timed (as on calls at work), this is often amusing and I have an entirely other conversation than anyone else with whom I converse.

I think I shall go pass out now. Pre-seizure week is always odd.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Lolita Outfits

Because this is photo heavy, I'm just linking to my photo albums and people can browse. But I have the school clothes done and some great shots of my work!


I just finished signing up for the first semester of classes for my fashion design certificate at Emily Griffith so my sewing will improve!

The main album... On the left are all the individual things we made ...

Lots skirts. All the blouses are in an album together cuz I didn't sew them, I just decorated them. So it's all shots of the details there.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Trickle Down Morality

There is a fundamental belief in people that if we can only put the right rules in place, people will change. The morals will trickle down from the top until we are all moral people.

Libertarians think that we have enough personal responsibility that we can self govern. And with fewer laws there will be fewer issues because we'll shoulder that responsibility once we have the option.

Republicans and democrats both seem to think that we can be personally responsible in some areas but not in others. So some things need governed and others we should choose. They both have different ideas of what those areas are and how much we need our hands held.

The Christian Reicht seems to believe that if they dictate every social act, people will quit offending them. I'm mean, quit sinning. We'll all become good, moral folk.

But people don't seem to realize that they're all assuming the same thing. With the right governing in place, we will become what they wish everyone was. From self responsible to biblically moral, they all think that they can change what people are. Some of their ideas are more or less offensive to their various followers, but their ideals are all the same.

People seem to have a real tendency to invert cause and effect. The people at the top reflect the people they rule. In America, this is because we're a democratic republic. We vote for people to make choices for us. We vote for people with our values so that their choices will not be too distasteful. They make their choices based on pleasing their constituents so that we will continue to vote for them. Family values do play an important part. What values we have dictate the chain all the way up.

The biggest driver for social change is economic change. Not laws or governing. What they are really trying to do is control the economics that will bring about the social changes they most want. If you think that family values mean a woman stays home with the children and the man works and runs the household, you need a financial situation that reflects that. A man has to be able to afford his family and childcare must be prohibitive to a female working. She should also be paid enough less that she is the logical choice to stay home.

So when someone says "return to traditional values", what they are saying is they want women to be paid less and childcare to be very expensive so that society has no choice but to have the man work while the woman stays at home. She also has to be forced into having children to tie her down, so contraceptives should be difficult and abortions illegal.

If you want everyone to have an equal voice, you want everyone to have equal income. Hence higher taxes on the rich and "fair" hiring laws. In order to have smaller government, you need more personal power, which means more personal wealth and buying power. Both are a catch-22: if you eliminate all competition so that everyone is the same, you also lose incentive for growth. If you push competition, you are going to have richer and poorer folk.

Here's another thing: people vote into office what they want. People want governed. They want told what to do. They want hand holding, coddling, and fairness. While a few of us might want smaller government, most people want big government. Huge government.

Once again, hearken back to nature. In all social animals, there are few leaders, many followers, and those followers need their leaders. They need to be told what to do and how to do it and don't survive well without that structure. There's a reason cultures are what they are. It's what is most needed. Anarchy is followed, gratefully, by monarchies and dictatorships. The first thing humans do when given freedom is to make rules. Tell young children to free play and they choose a leader who invents rules and everyone else follows them. This doesn't change as people age, only the form of game does.

So when people talk about family values, and laws to keep people safe, think about what they really want. It's a play on words for economic control. It's the morals of the people that dictate who is in office.

I get very tired of people bashing whoever is in charge for their choices when they are in charge, with those choices to make, because of all of OUR choices.

TED Talk on the need to believe, which I think is what influences our views on govvie.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

the Fear Factor

It seems to me that autism is a very fear based disorder. All the neurological components eat at the ability to process past fear. Lack of filters and natural structure. Lack of social skills required to create a network of support. Irregulations in hormone balance. Heightened sensory input.

Constant bombardment from the world until we have to flee.

We create anything we can to simulate filters and structure. We overstim and shut down. We make enough noise to block out the noise that other have natural filters for. That handy thing where once a sensation is there a while it gets blocked out... not so much. We feel it and feel it and feel it unless we out shout it or shut down enough we can't feel anything.

How do you tell the difference between avoiding something due to rational processing versus due to fear? They feel an awful lot alike. The results are similar. They both take an act of bravery to push through. They both leave the bad taste of cowardice.

It forces one to create a new line of questioning: If someone walked you through could you do it? Would it be possible if certain factors were removed? What would you need to be able to do this? Could you do it with anti anxiety drugs?

Maybe it's because I'm autistic, but cowardice is second only to lying in things that make you worthless.

Perseveration and avoidance tend to be fear based. Hermitude. Stimming out the world. Shutting out the world.

I'm just not sure I understand that balance. Some things one fears because it actually presents a danger. Some things are dangerous only until one has the skills to do it safely. Some things you fear just because you have nothing better to do, or out of habit. Some things are feared only for being new. Others are feared due to a bad experience. I can't help but wonder if the sorting is easier for those with categories and filters.

Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.

And since when is the feeling of dying inside a bad sign?!? I have to admit a great deal of confusion. How can it be a sign of depression when one feels awe and wonder at everything and always has reasons to be joyous? Why can't you have non stop pain so intense everything inside screams even while it's dancing in pleasure? And why do people get upset when you know that some day it will stop and you can rest or be done and that's just as joyous as every day being a sensory orgy?

Why does pain have to be a stopper? Can't it just be there too? Along with the laughter and fear and joy and tears and everything else that seems to always be there? Or is this another filter thing?

If it's a filter thing than, once again, autism wins!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

what's next?

I've been reading a lot about autism and advocacy and those amazing autistics who manage to ascend their autism. This is what I've learned so far:

1. Funny thing about curing autism or 'ascending' past it; it looks an awful lot like a compromise of Self. Learning to join the human world is no less than an acknowledgement that you aren't, and never will be, lovable. What you are inside is something dark and scary and they want you to sugar coat it and be presentable their way. It's a sure and certain knowledge that affection is a reward for good behavior. There is no such thing as unconditional love. Nothing is freely given.

You can show affection. They can know you are showing affection. Yet while you must accept their terms, their 'right' version of interaction, they will not accept yours. So, you'd best learn to talk, and lie, and keep your fears well hidden, cloaked in social games, or they'll never love you or care about you. Keeping your fears hidden your way is wrong. Stimming, spacing out, tuning in, and all the other autistic methods of dissociation are wrong. Dissociating their way is right. Dissociating into a social persona and masking yourself with the right words and right clothes and right actions, that's a good thing.

2. They'll advocate for people to let you exist, but not to live. Strangle out every purity in you until you are filthy with social aptitude. Integration into their world is a resignation of yourself. They call it freedom, but we've seen how one people free another from barbarism and it seems to result in plagues and massacres. But you don't have to massacre autistics. Humans naturally withdraw from things they fear, and they fear autistics, and any child will do anything to get their needs met, including fighting to get to your world to get the affection they'd starve without.

3. Advocates are pompous and insulting. "She is to autistic people what Jane Goodall was for the wild chimpanzees." This is the praise on a book on autism. Between Their World and Ours, by Karen Zelan, isn't too badly done. It holds tight to the us versus them the whole way through, and making us more them, because NT is the right way to go. But she does acknowledge that communication requires NTs to bend to the autistics if they want the autistics to follow them back to the good world. It's really just that quote that bothers me. Or perhaps I missed the part where wild chimpanzees have integrated into our society?

4. Getting "past" autism negates the autism. If you learn to function you are cured. You used to be autistic. You used to have difficulties. You used to be difficult. But now you are normal and speak and do what you are told. Now none of the pain you fight through daily to be good and be right counts, because now that you function, you are fine and probably always had been. Just a tough little stage.

By this theory, if you break your leg and learn to walk again, it was never very broken in the first place and it is not more likely to break again because there are no scars and no other damage done. You are cured from having had a break. If you learn to read after being dyslexic, your dyslexia is cured. Never mind that you read with a ruler under each line, that's just a silly thing you do because you have no more reading problems. It's just adaptation and learning to cope. If learning to adapt turns all your effort to shit by proving you were never unadapted, or that you now have no future difficulties, why "advocate"?

Most adult autistics adapted enough to work will never get the diagnosis and never have anyone appreciate their efforts because "beating" autism means you are cured. All effort negated. And who the hell cares that you fight non stop to cope? You don't get used to it all, you learn to deal with feeling like you are dying, all the time. You accept always being afraid. You adapt to the nonstop adrenaline and cortisol and function anyway and I am certain that there is no association between that and the statistics that show autistics have a very high tendency to develop seizures in their early twenties.

Stories on autism all seem to stop when the person communicates enough to be integrated into school. Whistles and bells if they manage to graduate. End of story.

5. NTs don't know what matters. You were right growing up: you don't matter. But if you want to live, just live. You'll never be good enough or human enough. You will always be judged. NTs treat one another like dirt, too. We learn to differentiate between Human and Person and learn to despise them as much as fear them. Curing autism through forced human socialization is cruel and breeds anger, resentment, and despair. They work so hard to make sure we know we'll never quite fit in or quite get it. And how many will be strong enough to throw off the shackles of freedom, ascension from autism, and learn that your world doesn't matter?

Friends matter. Those few individuals who care beyond the number of words you articulate. You can't have honesty and social mores. Most social mores depend on lies.

6. We don't go through anything NTs don't go through. The only difference is the pace. Developmental delay. We're just really really slow and we plod through what we can, as we can, in any way that we can. The issues you have, all NTs have had. They probably just did it before kindgarten while you are an adult and still trying to get there.

Everyone panics, gets overstimmed, and is in a fairly steady state of fear. The poison is in the dose. They have built in shock absorbers: filters and structure. NTs fear themselves and others and the world around them and they dissociate into their little worlds too. The difference is they agree upon a world and live in it together, a world of social constructs and all those weird little things they evidently find important that baffle us entirely. Kinda nice to know it's mutual.

It's just that it's easier to empathize with your own sort than another. Cross cultural empathy is actually very difficult and we are acultural. We never picked it up. It's a natural knack NTs have. So they can't empathize with us easily because we're not in the cultural context that allows it.

7. They really think we don't have feelings. I'm not sure how this works but it seems to follow along with their Theory of Mind game. Since they aren't communicating with us, we have no thoughts or feelings. I think it's the same theory that allows them to say they have souls but "animals" don't.

Some day, an advanced alien race will meet humanity and since they don't speak english and write english and use the same gestures as humans, they will be discounted as illiterate barbarians.

Okay, so I haven't learned much, but I'm starting to learn how they think about us. That is probably not a good thing. I'm not sure it's going to help me really want to learn to communicate with them on levels they're capable of comprehending. The more I learn about NTs the more I think they aren't capable of those basic things they accuse us of lacking: empathy, communication, bravery (pushing past fears), intelligence, theory of mind...

It makes me question how hard all of us fight to get "beyond autism".

I think rising above autism has three stages. First you hide from OutSector in yourself. You hide from yourself in yourself. Then you emerge from your dissociation into the social world by locking more and more of yourself away - you hide yourself from OutSector to interact with it. Finally you have to decide whether to integrate the two and in what way. Do you hide in yourself and from OutSector and become a hermit? Do you emerse in OutSector being the perfect docile puppet and lose yourself? Do you somehow manage to pull your self into OutSector and be you while interacting? What are you going to do?

Will you implode or explode under the strain? I've met very few happy autistics.

No one has thought very far beyond a cure. People only now seem to realize their children that are so difficult will some day be difficult adults. All the focus is on children and early intervention. There is very little "then what" being discussed. Those around us might feel good about a successful rescue operation, but then what? It's great you conquered enough fear to hang out with the humans, but what next? You are still autistic. They still fear you. You will never be wholly comfortable with them nor they with you. So now what? Sit and be awkward with other between world autistics and hide in one another's neuroses? Wrap yourself in isolation or isolate yourself in social constructs you don't grasp? If you are more than a mimicking monkey, what are you? Advocacy asks: how are you going to make yourself useful and survive in this world? I ask: what's beyond survival?

It's well and good to learn to hold down a job. It's one of the most important things there is. And it doesn't matter at all. Why exist if you are miserable?

Why aren't there more happy autistics? Why do "successful" autistics have a list of career achievements, and not much else? Why are autistic support groups so full of self pity, self loathing, and complaints? I tried joining a couple, expecting hints on how to cope, and maybe some smug gloating that all the cool kids were autie (we claim tesla, einstein, mozart...), perhaps sharing frustrations on interactions and dissecting it into sense. Yeh, not so much.

What makes so many people so miserable? Is it the interaction we fought so hard to be capable of? Is it the daily living tasks we fought to do? Is it the words we fought to speak? The proper gestures and appropriate motions we fought to mimic? Or is it this constant fighting that doesn't seem to get us what we started all of this to achieve?

What makes any child fight so hard to get out of their world enough to interact in OutSector where all the inner worlds collide in relationships?

Probably the same thing that makes the NTs so miserable. This shining picture of what should be, if you are normal enough and good enough. But we're all just folk. And no one is good enough. And if you don't find your own way, you're just going to stay lost. At some point, the autistic hits the stages that all children do and, like all children, they get the idea in their head of what should be. It's perfectly normal. And it draws them from InnerWorld to OutSector and from there there is no going back. You cannot make yourself smaller or younger. You can only go on. Choice after choice after choice.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Illegal aliens are currently big in the news.

If I understand right, and it's always possible I don't, this being a social issue, people are upset that someone illegal is taking a job a good American could have, and using up all the welfare money, to boot.

So, if we are admitting that 11 million people is too many extra (and that isn't an annual growth, that is simply how many were counted in 2008), why is it okay that we add 27,855,843 a year (9% growth a year)?

If we are going to block illegal immigrants, shouldn't we also make population growth laws? Seems kind of hypocritical to get upset about population numbers if we don't look at our own objectively. And the fastest growth is among the poor who are most likely to need government assistance.

With the economy in such a slump, someone else having the job is a valid complaint. There's a reason the fuss is loudest now, not when people had jobs. However, if they have a job you'd be willing to take, they are also paying taxes, and spending money back into the economy. Certainly there are some with a US born child who get government help. There are also Americans scamming the welfare system. If I could find reliable numbers I'd tell you who was wasting more of our money.

"In fiscal year 1995, about $1.1 billion in AFDC and Food Stamp benefits
were provided to households with an illegal alien parent for the use of his
or her citizen child."

"The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) had previously reported that over 39.6 million people, equivalent to one in every eight Americans, were receiving food stamps during February." PressTV but I saw this stat on several articles.

The big issue is I cannot find any set of articles that agree on numbers for welfare, legal or illegal, honest or scamming. Basically, they all agree that we are in financial distress as a nation and more people are on government aid than before, but every state needs to cut the numbers down because we can't fund the number of people that need assistance.

Illegal or not, times are tough. My confusion is that people are in an uproar about illegal aliens (who if working are paying into taxes) and not to all the people scamming the system and avoiding working, paying taxes, and just mooching off the rest of us. Why aren't there protests and petitions for welfare reform to be stricter so that we aren't funding scammers? I can't find any good studies on actual numbers, but in my own experience, over half the people I've known getting government assistance could have been working. And of those, about half bragged about it and about half complained about how rough their lives were while they sat around not doing anything to better themselves (like job hunting).

And if someone has legal US children, born in the US, are you going to deport the parents and keep the kid? It's probably far more expensive to foster the child through college (foster kids are eligible for a lot of grants!) than to just let the parents stay and raise them, even if they do get food stamps. According to a government website, each child is at least 1400 a month to raise in a foster home.

Or are you going to deport a US citizen and send the kid back with their parents? If so, what rights does that mean any US citizen has?

Whatever your opinion on it, all I'm saying is to think it through carefully. Anyone we boot out is no longer giving us money (and most they catch are illegally hired, tax paying, services buying people). There are plenty of US Citizens scamming for money. And I have to wonder if it costs more to find the people, prosecute (and house during the prosecution process) and then deport than it costs to just give them all food stamps (not saying they are all on food stamps. I'm just wondering if that would be cheaper). Since the argument is mostly financial, think carefully on what is actually the least costly. I'm not sure. I've not found numbers yet.

My thought is that if they steal a social security number, prosecute them and kick them out. If they find work (and I should put honestly in quotes, but at least not through outright theft) and are paying into the system and trying to make ends meet to support their family (and usually US born kids), good on them. If they are scamming the system (welfare and food stamps), they need to go. I feel that way about US born citizens too, for the record. If they're scamming, make them work off what they stole. I fully agree with the "why are we supporting all these people who aren't giving back?" crowd. I just play it across the board, US, immigrant, or illegal immigrant.

Then again, I think everyone on government assistance should be required to do community service to give back in some small way. I'm not really big on welfare as a concept.

Where I got my population numbers:
Google Public Data

World Population Clock

Illegal Immigration Stats per wiki

EDIT: Someone else had the same idea... visit :D

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Book Review

This is an early book review as I'm still reading the book.

Autism's False Prophets, by Paul A Offitt.

I've never bought the vaccine hype. In fact, I rather enjoy not dying of childhood diseases that used to plague humans. Nonetheless, I'm fairly impressed with everything that went into the anti-vaccine farce.

Everyone should read this book. It's a good reminder that anecdotes and coincidence are not science and, more importantly, believing media hype is plain dangerous.

Anyone with autistic kids should read it just to be informed. People know that desperate parents will pay a lot of money for hope and this book let's you know some of the worse ones. Better to be aware.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Nut Cream Ganaches

I know... I know...

You would rather listen to my biased and ill-informed opinions about mental health and humanity in general. But today you are going to learn about desserts. Ganaches, in specific.

And if you don't like chocolates or are allergic, you should think very carefully about the sins you committed the last life to incur such punishment.


Chop up chocolate. The finer you chop it, the faster the melt. This is a good thing. The better quality the better the ganache. I go for the darker the better and usually use 100% cacao unsweetened, and 77-88% dark, about half and half.

Put it into a glass measuring cup and see how much you have. I tend to end up around 1.5 cups.

Measure out that amount of heavy cream into a double boiler (ie, a saucepan filled with water, with a glass or metal bowl sitting in it. When you boil the water, the bowl heats gently, insuring you do not scorch the cream).

Once the cream is damn near boiling (that is the technical term. For me, it's when I can't touch past my first knuckle without burning), pour it over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit half a minute or so to melt and then stir gently until it is mostly mixed. Then beat it until it has a nice sheen.

Let it cool a few minutes. Put liners in muffin tins and dallop about a tablespoon or so into each one. For 1.5 cups of chocolate, this comes to about 36 muffins.

The Nut Cream:

1.5 cups of any nut butter you like. Unsalted, unsweetened. Preferably grind it yourself at a health food store.

Add 1 stick of softened butter (salted or not, up to you. I like salted).

Mix thoroughly. Add a tablespoon of molasses, honey, or maple syrup if you like. Or a few drops stevia or other sweetener.

Once the ganaches are cool enough to hold shape when you tip the muffin tin, dallop the nut cream on top. Again, about a tablespoon each. I smooth it out with my finger because I run a very clean & careful kitchen.

Refrigerate. Let sit about 24 hours before you bag them, or else they sweat.

That's it!! Yummy, low sugar, more nutritious than a candy bar candy!!

edit from auntie: for people who weigh things, 1/4 cup cream to each 3-4oz chocolate bar

Friday, May 7, 2010

anecdotes aren't evidence?

Humans go for fast thinking, not good thinking. If someone does something stupid in a crisis, people seem more likely to say "at least he did something" than, he should have stopped and thought that through.

This is shown by news stories complaining that the President chose to confer with his staff for very long periods of time before making a decision. Gathering of facts before stating something as true seems, perhaps, rather a waste of time.

But there is a huge difference between fact and opinion, between evidence and anecdote, between cause and effect and correlation... Most people don't even understand the terms, let alone how to distinguish them. Learning to think is not taught in schools. Regurgitating information in the same form it was given to you is what gets you good scores.

It's not just the way we are raised that determines this ability to think, either. The body, itself, is trained to respond to clues and come up with cause and effect. This is how one stays alive. If you eat a strawberry the same day you get the flu, your body is just as likely to grow allergic to the strawberry as any other reaction because it found a correlation.

But when this is the basis that we also approach science, we run in to problems.

We end up with a large group of parents saying that immunizations cause autism. We also end up with people finding correlations in nutrition that may not exist. We have doctors saying that fat causes heart attacks even though no study has fully proven this. All the studies have shown is that clots have fat in them. Never mind that clots aren't the biggest reason for heart attacks, nor type of fat (vegetable more often than meat), nor what causes clotting!

So most facts are, at best, incomplete. At worse, politically skewed.

Take the studies on whether or not carbs are harmful. The same studies are cited by quite a few different groups, all showing different results. And you can say that the corn industry backed a study that showed corn is healthy, and that the meat industry backed a study that said red meat is healing, and the PETA folk proved red meat causes cancer...

But when it comes down to it, what evidence of anything do we actually have? A handful of inconclusive studies (because they were not done well. Because nutrition studies are very difficult to do well), a lot of anecdotal evidence, and everyone calling "proof" wherever it fits their needs.

Now, I personally am a big fan of low carb. The studies I choose to buy into show that grains raise insulin and insulin is the basis of most modern epidemics (obesity, diabetes, auto immune disorders...). It is almost all based on anecdotal evidence (my friend went low carb and all her health issues cleared) and studies interpreted by low carb advocates. Do I have proof? No.

I'd love proof. I'd love to see some serious long term studies done. On most aspects of health and nutrition. Then again, I'd love for them to decide on what autism is, so it can be studied.

If you want to study a disease, you isolate the virus and you test it. You can immunize 5000 folk and not immunize another 5000 folk and study their blood to see who got which antibodies. You can discover patterns because there is a damned virus to look at.

No one knows what autism is. There are a handful of symptoms that people don't really agree on. There are behaviors that show in so many ways there's no real agreement there. They keep spreading the spectrum further and further out, making any real studies even more difficult. It isn't a disease. It's a behavioral pattern that annoys the piss out of most people. It is all the annoying traits most people have to a small degree... done huge and exaggerated.

Yet, people claim "proofs" and "evidence" and make diagnoses and cite studies and anecdotes and think they have some damned clue what is going on. The truth is, you don't have a definition to parse. Without a definition, there is nothing else. Form is beauty. Without form, there is nothing. Which is probably why people are so ugly about the disorder.

And that goes for all these things people claim "to know" without any real evidence.

Anecdotes are only that. Someone did something that seemed to have an effect. That's all. And that's perfectly fine to go by. There's nothing wrong with saying "my sister did this and it worked so I'm trying it". The problem is saying "and therefore this is true" or "therefore this is right". You don't have any kind of proof. You have a story of assumed correlation.

Bad science is very aggravating. Logical fallacies make me want to kick people in the head. What ever happened to "I statements"? They have a huge place in science. "I suspect" "I believe" "I have noticed"... What are people so scared of?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

fat, weight, & body size

I just finished reading Barry Groves' Natural Health & Weight Loss. My favorite part about reading books about low carb dieting is their view on a healthy weight. Women are supposed to have curves. A healthy weight is one that supports life, and that means enough fat to support breast feeding. That weight isn't unhealthy.

I have finally put on enough weight that you can't count my ribs, and then hit puberty and have tits and hips and a belly. And mixed in with the joy of finally not looking 12 is the urge to poke at the belly and wonder if it's too fat. *Rolls eyes*

Considering that underweight is far more dangerous than overweight, and that my health is better now and I have more energy and look better... I have to be impressed that even through my autistic tendency to not notice social programs... And my autistic tendency towards logic... I still poke at my little belly.

Everyone needs things so categorized today, and need approval from someone of authority, that we have invented numbers that mean nothing and all risk our health to meet those numbers.

My other favorite thing about low carb dieting is that there are no special things to buy, no special numbers to count, no weights to reach. All you do is cut out grains and sugars and most fruits and increase fats and call it good. You don't need anything you can't buy at a farmer's market or grocery. While everyone tells me how strict my diet is, I actually put very little effort into maintaining it. I would cook all my meals anyway, because I simply love to cook. Since I cook, I don't buy prepackaged foods so I don't have any labels to read. While my diet might be "restrictive" I think it's a lot simpler than most peoples'!

Most people I know have to read labels and count calories and grams of this and that and measure how much they eat and when they eat and how much exercise and of what types... That's way too much effort when they aren't getting any healthier from it all.

It seems to me that people were capable of maintaining health without the help from research groups for a pretty long time and maybe the body has a good idea of what it needs. Not a revolutionary idea, it's an evolutionary idea.

Friday, April 30, 2010

This Way to OutSector

I learned something amazing from my auntie today. I'm grounded. In reality, no less. In fact, I'm more grounded in all my realities than most "sane" folk and most NTs.

After many years of all realities being one and none being any more or less real than any other, I've finally fought my way through to telling which is which. They are still all equally real (or not real), because there are still the factors of proofs and legitimate realities.

Nonetheless, I fully understand if something is Shadow World, the Nutshell (my internal world), Abi World, or Out Sector (that being what most folk consider the world). I also know if something is Out Sector versus someone else's world. (Abi World being my version of Out Sector).

There are things that seem to hold steady in Out Sector. Gravity, for example. That we have to eat. That we have to have money in this society to get things to eat. Cause and effect, physics, biology...

Opinions create Insert-name-here World. Positives and negatives. Good and bad. Right and wrong. My Abi World is a mishmash of whimsy and logic. Not so much social and emotional constructions.

For all that I can't read a map, I have somehow figured out how to map all the various realities around me and to understand how they interact and to face each one on its own terms. I suppose most people aren't as good at it because they haven't had to fight so hard to tell them apart? More points for Team BatShitNuts!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Let's Be Neighbors!

My roommate innocently asked me why it isn't good to be congenial and say hello to strangers while we take walks. Amazingly, I actually know that answer!

Making eye contact and small chat implies a connection. I know this because on calls at work we are required to do small talk to "create rapport" and a sense of intimacy.

I am not sure why anyone would want this with a stranger and it seems to only apply when you are the help and doing customer service... because in public... you sure as heck do NOT want random intimacy. It's creepy. And culturally, it's far worse coming from a male as intimacy implies sex and sex with strange males is rather frowned upon in America.

What happened to the small town feel? It was eaten alive by "stranger danger" and xenophobia. Sure, once upon a time in America, one wanted to know their neighbors and anyone new was intently interviewed by half the town. Times, however, have changed. Now only small children and the mentally ill give friendly hellos to strangers. The rest of us have been taught that this is dangerous and foolish.

Personally, I think the isolation is far more dangerous. Parents are too scared to let their kids play outside and explore, seriously inhibiting their physical health and mental growth. I'm sure the current "lack of vitamin D" epidemic is influenced by that fear: kids are kept "safely" indoors. When I was growing up, we ran around outside all the time. Met strange children from other neighborhoods. Went exploring. Had neighborhood barbeques. Watched neighbors' pets when they were out of town and shoveled elderly neighbors snowy driveways just because.

A lot of that is missing today and I think most people are diminished by the lack of neighbors. They seem to have fewer really close friends as well. But we are social animals and the lack of social contact takes its toll. Babies die of failure to thrive from lack of touch. Adults just get depressed and mental agility. It even influences heart conditions!

This fear of social intimacy seems to be growing. Personally, I think having the good excuses of aspergers and other spectrum disorders just makes it worse. Now you have an excuse to not put an effort into expanding your social circle. How is that helpful? With diagnoses of social phobia and anxiety disorders just gives permission to hide away. We create more sickness by approving the fears. Yes, yes. Meeting people is terrifying. Eventually, you have to realize if everything scares you, the fear ceases to count.

Then again, I think people greatly enjoy being sick and so it's probably an added benefit to those sorts that their "disorders" add to their physical distress. It's like a badge of honour to be ill. If you don't have enough diagnoses you have something wrong with you?

The real question is, how does one break out of the loop by being friendly to neighbors without getting a restraining order slapped on them by a sociophobe or well meaning but over protective parent?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Settling In!

So we've signed the lease, moved our stuff in, signed up to have power and gas and stuff. We're like real growed ups around here!!

I do keep forgetting to do a change of address. I know I have a form somewhere. Or I might get annoyed enough at the form to pay a dollar and do it online. I guess with all this email business they have to make cash somehow at the post office.

I'm doing the Big Scary and trying to fill out job applications. I like my job well enough (read: I hate it and it's miserable but it mostly covers the bills so long as I have no other expenses come up), but I'd really feel better with a little bit more coming in every month. They have these online applications now... with psych profiles. Apparently they want dumb people. That's what I understand by reading it. If you think too hard about the answers you prove you are either too smart, too conniving, too honest, or too analytical. No one wants those. They prefer the expense of retraining folk for high turnover, as opposed to the risk of one smart person taking down the whole company.

So I tried to not read the questions and put answer "C" a lot on all the multiple choice. And, assumedly due to the crap economy, there were ten pages of "so if a person isn't paid enough/denied the raises they were promised/was refused their bonus, would it be effective to..." with the answers all being choices about stealing from companies. I happily picked "ineffective" the whole way down without reading anything hahaha. So hopefully I didn't look like I was smart enough to read, so that they'll want to hire me.

Does this seem a big backwards to anyone else?

I already dragged (kicking and fighting, for realz) my roommate to the gym and signed us up! Hoorah for exercise! Now it's just exploring the neighborhood. We need to go get library cards. I think I'd die without a library card. How do you know where you live if you don't have a card stating which library to send you to if you get lost??

"If found, please return to Denver Public Library" it will say. And when I wander and forget where I live, they will find me and deposit me with books. And all will be well.

I also had to buy two more cupboards in which to fit my kitchen. It's all prettiful at least. And now the counters are clear in the kitchen so I can cook. Now I just need a place for my cookbooks and stuck up food magazines! And my books. I hate moving bookcases, so I'm going to build something much more transportable. I measured: I have 50 feet of books.

Lessee... we also got internets hooked up. Obviously or I'd have no intertubes to send this page through! They misspelled my name. And my email. But nonetheless, we have some interwebs in the house so I can be all social.

That's it. Off to the library now for my card! The one form I've never had issues filling out hahaha.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

What's so bad about change?

I'm not sure why people have any confusion about change. No one likes it. It's not an autistic only trait to despise change.

Even people who thrive on change thrive on change they create. They still don't seem to much like life throwing changes at them. They might be a bit faster at coping because of the extra practice, but change sucks.

Being in the midst of a move, my brain has gone haywire with all the changes. It's not fear of the unknown because at the moment there are not any unknowns. It's the disconcertedness of not being.

Quite simply, the here-now doesn't exist. The was is past and I'm waiting on will be to exist. So the here-now is neither was nor will be and no now is yet. So I'm in temporal limbo. Without a now how can I exist? Nothing anywhere is until time settles back into now as the temporary will be that isn't quite.

I imagine this is why most people resist change. But in any case, I'll be finished moving this weekend and the will be will be now and now will settle into existence and then I can exist and it will all be good.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Temple Grandin at TED

The points Temple Grandin hits aren't true just for autistics. Everyone thinks differently and schools are destroying kids' interest in learning. Funding is cut on the things that most involve kids in the world around them. It's all about scores and numbers, not about learning and creating and thinking and exploring.

The most interesting thing she touched on was categorization. I think the way auties categorize has something to do with the lack of filters. There aren't broad generalizations in our minds. It makes us both more capable of learning new things and less capable of coping with change.

I also like that she points out that learning social rules by rote is just learning a play. It's not natural or automatic. We learn exact responses, right down to action and voice. And then people say we've outgrown autism because we can do all the social things. It's all very silly.

Enjoy the video!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Dissonance Factor

When you read about autism, you are very likely to hear about how tragic it is. All these higher functioning sorts have no social skills and are doomed to a life of isolation and depression. They may or may not have spiffy skills that allow them to work, or cute quirky obsessions that make them book material. No matter how you look at it, though, they aren't going to have close friends and they are tragic figures who know only loneliness.

That, however, is utter crap.

The basic social skills can be taught to anyone who is functional enough to speak. With the internet and autistic groups and just the sheer number of kooky quirky freaks out there, any autistic has a really good chance of making several close friends in person and probably several close friends over the internet. Being alone is a choice, usually made out of fear or out of a poor conceptual construct of what people and friends are.

The real "tragedy" is that we are young. I'm not sure I can even explain what it is like to have a life time of experiences and still have a child's mind. Developmentally, autistics age very slowly. There is a huge dissonance between the perceived age of a high functioning autistic and their actual mental age.

We look grown up. We have good vocabularies and can discuss an amazing range of topics with logic and depth, making us appear adult. We might even have a really good grasp of our own basic emotions. We might have a bit of social awkwardness, but it comes across as shy or gawky or geeky. We tend to hold down jobs, sometimes extremely good jobs, and have apartments and hobbies. Sometimes even fairly common, socially accepted hobbies. Or at least normal within our peer group.

However, we are children. We are children with decades of experiences that cannot be deciphered in an adult way. Sometimes this leads to moments of clarity and insight. Sometimes it leads to extreme confusion.

I read often that children who deal with adult things have psychological and sociological development issues. In other words, dealing with things before you are actually ready for them will screw you over.

What does this mean for an adult with a child's mind who is having to behave as an adult? You have someone with an adult's vocabulary, but a ten year old's emotional and moral age, and they have no choice but to work and pay bills and live on their own. Is there any damage from this? If so, is the damage made easier to deal with for the length of experience, or does the length of time make it worse?

One of the biggest factors in a child taking on responsibility too soon is that they miss out on play and this damages their cognitive and social abilities. Play is absolutely vital to social behavior. We're already a bit lacking in social ability. And I think our cognitive is a bit wonky, at best. So what does that mean for us?

And why are autism get together groups not playgroups if that's the big thing that builds social learning?

I wish I could explain the dissonance factor and how much it sucks. There are quite a few movies about children magically going into adult bodies and realizing they aren't ready to deal with being as big as they wish they already were. Picture Tom Hanks in Big never landing such a spiffy job and just trying to get by and never having a chance to be put back into childhood.

We high functioning autistics are nothing but children playing house. Some of us do a better job than others, but when it comes down to it, we are all lost in the great big grown up world without filters or delusions to protect us. It's not an instability. It's knowing too much and having no recourse from the onslaught of reality as it beats down your door and has its way with you and all the while you are only a small child who can't understand it. You are just a young, feral animal going mad under the pressure until you build so many rituals to tie yourself safely up and hold you in.

And all the while you have enough cognitive ability to realize there is something not right. Something isn't meshing. Maybe you know you are autistic and too young to deal with being a grown up in this world. You can see the lack of social understanding and can grasp exactly what autism is and how it effects you. You know that you can't do anything about it because you know you are not yet developed enough TO do anything about it. You can't even really communicate it because those concepts are beyond your capacity to put into words.

I think most of the secondary problems adult autistics have stem from this dissonance. Social issues get worse if everyone around you grows up. Ever have a younger sibling who wanted to tag along and they annoyed the crap out of you because they were so much younger? Eventually the adult autistic is always the annoying younger sibling tagging along. You have to really search to find a group of people you don't pester. Knowing you pester most of the people you interact with leads to "social anxiety" and depression. You isolate to protect yourself and it just spirals in. It's harder to hold down a job when you don't interact correctly. And if you do learn the little rituals needed to interact successfully, those rituals are only stressful. They are lies and deceits and they burn autistics up inside, like any small child with a secret, especially a negative secret.

Adult autistics get more bullied. We are a naive group and most autistics have funny gaits and funny ways to phrase things. We often look like victims huddled in on ourselves against the outside world and victims will always draw bullies to them. In this world, naivety is a dangerous thing. Adult autistics are easy marks. Unless we can develop a fairly healthy paranoia, we tend to be extremely gullible. But is it worth it to learn to lie and cheat?

And while we're on the topic of interactions (isn't bullying an interaction?)... Relationships. What relationships can you have if you never develop past childhood? Children can certainly attach, and attach strongly. And love deeply. And feel passionately. But there is something different in grown ups when they are in a relationship. I don't know what it is because I'm not there yet, but I know it's there. I have been told about it and read about and all I've been able to figure is I'll be told when I'm old enough. Until then it makes no sense. It doesn't seem to be as big a deal with friends. Although my friends all have an amazing capacity for acceptance and patience.

And yet it gives us such wide eyed innocence. There is a charm to adult autistics. A part that seems to never be tarnished by the outside world because we never grow up enough to fully interact with it. How can that be all bad? We are honest and forthright and earnest, in general. We have that childlike sense of wonder and awe. I'm not sure it's worth growing up to lose that. We can't lose the childlike perspectives that see the truth and blurt it out. The wise old crone is also a toddler who points out that the Emperor has no clothes.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I suddenly realized I am in another growth spurt. The achy tired fussy fidgety overstimmed feeling wasn't a klew, apparently.

So hoorah for autism and hormones!!

This means no coffee til I'm done. Caffeine leeches calcium. It means more calcium and weight bearing. And I wrote to nutrition friends to make sure my diet is supportive.

I'm practically 17 now! Whoo hoo!!

*wanders off grumbling cuz she is fussy and achy*

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

mouth noise

you aren't listening:
when you taste color on your tongue
and music explodes across your skin
and numbers play a symphony across the page,
what words can take
the taste of a sound
or the deep thrum against the skin from a rich smell,
can make the shadows dance in joy
against the candle flame?
what words have ever described
feelings that lap against the shores of the soul;
the great dissonance from reality
as senses meld and melt and reform
into the every day that is how i perceive?
what words can form the emotions
that bubble up into a fount that bursts through my skin
and into the world around me
fascinating me with the rhythms and sighs
that pulse and breathe from every object i interact with?
when words fail utterly
and i shout with all my senses inverted
until i feel deaf with the input
and still you do not hear.
you do not listen to the way a raindrop glitters
and holds entire worlds
until it splatters against a surface
dislodging its inhabitants.
what words can recreate my world for you
so that you can perceive
through my senses?
speak express emote, let you in,
emoting makes you nervous
full of tapping drumming humming spinning
emotions pure: love and fear and anger and sadness and joy
laughing crying stomping shouting
mutters flaps disjointed words
interacting with worlds you don't see
details you don't notice
rich tapestry and you can't count the threads.
why make words
useless abstractions that tell nothing
mean nothing
until there is a word that means
the taste of a shadow on your tongue like the last wisps of smoke from a blown out candle

Saturday, January 9, 2010

an average abi day (or how do i have a job??)

i wake up when my alarm goes off and i chitter at the alarm.

literally chitter. like an angry mongoose. because it woke me up! i usually have it set to NPR and i listen for a while until it annoys me into sitting up. then i go to the bathroom and get a glass of milk and go back to bed and drink my milk.

usually i sing to my milk. and to my cat who is snuggled back on me for a nap. and sometimes i sing to the morning and to the sun in the window and to the alarm clock. they're just little songs. like "my milk is cold and full of fat and makes my tummy happy!" or "amira is my cat my cat and she is a fuzzy attack cat!" often the body needs to stomp and dance and spin and tap things when i'm going on my milk mission. so i stomp and dance and spin and tap things. the body is happiest when its needs are met.

anyway, i usually choke a few times on the milk because i'm drinking while singing, or i just forget when to breathe, and get confused on the order in which to do this. sometimes i upend my entire cup of milk on myself and have laundry to do. this makes me annoyed at myself. i have a lot of pillows so that i'm sitting up nicely so that i WON'T kill myself with my breakfast, but sometimes it's hard to do things in the morning. (that makes it sound like i don't choke on food all day long. i do, actually. it's not a morning thing, it's just WORSE in the morning.)

if i haven't spilled my milk (i don't cry over it), i usually get my laptop and check email. amira usually demands i let her under the covers so i put my knees up for a tent and she naps while i check email. i check my favorite forum too. and then i usually start to strongly consider the day.

first i consider that i'll have to work. after my panic attack passes i consider i'll have to put clothing on. i get too comfy otherwise, and don't take my job at all seriously. after i get all the flapping out over that idea i go back to the idea of work and flap some more. then i ignore work and see if there is something comforting going on, like friends online. then i usually remember food so i go get breakfast. i like bacon and eggs, or cranberry bread slathered in butter.

after i eat, i pace around making sure my room is still my room. i check to see what has changed while i sleep. amira watches me with, i'm sure, a mixture of annoyance (because she already did this today) and understanding (she had to do this today too). once things appear okay or i correct them into okayness, i change her litter and make sure my alarm is set for the next day and then i listen very hard for a while. i have to know who is home and where they are and what they are doing. amira and i sit on the bed together and both listen for hours. sometimes i chat with friends online while i listen. sometimes i just listen. sometimes i flick my fingers in my ears so that i can listen more precisely. sometimes i have to close my eyes and sometimes i want music.

when it is about 230 i panic because i have to go to work. i usually stomp and fuss and make lots of rhyming words and pace and flap. and then i run and turn my computer on (i work from home) and run back to my room to hide for a few minutes. then i run upstairs to the bathroom and make sure i'm washed up and teeth are brushed and my hair is in a neat braid (or else my headset bothers me).

then i trudge back downstairs and put my laptop next to my work computer and make sure that everything is set up for work. i have to have my tissues in case i get a runny nose. and i have my mug warmer in case i need a mug of coffee. and i have my bottle of water that i fill. and i have a pad of paper and pencil. and my laptop has to be at the right angle. and my chair at the right height. and the headset at the right volume. then i go through all my logging in steps.

then i flap and sing and rhyme at the computer while i log in to work. it's the worse part because the inevitable is coming. i try to be very cheerful when i log in to the chats at work so that everyone knows i'm a real trooper. i don't want them to know i die all the time and cry at work.

to die: when everything overwhelms and you fall into the dark and you have to put the pieces together enough to come back to the surface.

then i log in and i check to see how many calls because i have to panic every time a call comes in and i want to have an idea of how much adrenaline this will take.

then i have to test my voice. it takes a LOT of concentration to make my voice have "energy, empathy, and enthusiasm". but you have to have that at work. and then i put my brain through harmonization exercises so that i am ready to hear and harmonize with the voices on the phone. then a call comes in and i try to not scream out loud. i hear for a while their up and down music voice. then i match the harmony and then i try to make words out of their mouth noise and then i can't hear the music. i have to go back and forth. listen for music. listen for words. back and forth. once i can make harmony i need words so i know what the puzzle is for the call.

those are my two games to make work... well, work. one is harmonization. this gives my voice "tone" and stuff. you just harmonize to their music and it just happens on its own. i get a lot of compliments on my voice. i'm glad because i work very very hard on my voice. the other is the puzzle game. each customer has a puzzle for you to solve. they put lots of obstacles up to make it harder and you have a time limit and lots of rules and you have to make it all match up in the end. the harder the puzzle the more you don't have time to music because it's all words and then you lose tone but you get a really tricky puzzle solved and that's more fun.

i very much like these games. puzzles are always good.

then i have to put notes in about what i did and then i have to let my ears let go of the voice so that i can hear the next voice. when it is busy, i have to log out for a bit to let my ears empty. if i don't all the sounds pile up and i get very confused. sometimes it is too busy and i stop hearing at all and then i can't remember how to do any part of my job. i usually muddle through by asking for lots of help and then i log out for longer until i can do my job again. so far i haven't gotten in trouble for this. i think i'm not the only one who does it because my job is from home and people who work from home tend to not work OUT of the house for a reason.

sometimes my ears won't clear out (it's a stressful day or i have to go to the bathroom or i'm hungry or i'm tired or there is weather or there are smells or there is noise upstairs or any of the other things that overwhelm the senses) and then i have to figure out if i can fix it or not. usually not and i just get more and more stressed each call until i have tears in my eyes and shaking and confused and then i die and hide and sometimes i ask to take extra breaks but i try not to too often. usually i just push through and don't care if i am dead i just have to do it or i won't eat because you only get paid if you are actively on the phones so there's nothing to be done but to do it!

that always sucks.

today there was a smell. i don't know what it was. but it was very loud. my brain decided it was popcorn. it was very loud smelling popcorn. it was so loud my ears couldn't hear and i couldn't make words quite right. i had to think very very hard to make words happen at all. words are my archnemesis, at the best of times. my whole skin hurt from the loud smell and i was very very upset. then i tend to type inappropriately but i've rarely gotten in trouble because so many of us are inappropriate at work. i think i'm not the only autie on this job!! anyway, after work i went upstairs and i flapped at everyone very loudly and there was no popcorn. they had made rice and pork. but popcorn is the loudest smell in the world and my brain had decided that is what the smell was. after i flapped loudly at the world i retreated back downstairs to my room and my cat and then things were okay.

usually at work my ears hurt and my throat hurts from hearing and talking. my eyes twitch from having to focus on the screen. my skin hurts from the noise and the overstimulation. i start shaking about an hour in and it gets worse all shift until i sometimes sit on my hands to stop them. i rock in my chair a lot. i also dig my nails into my hands. sometimes until they bleed but not too often. i have a headache every day from listening so hard to music and words and making the words make enough sense to use them.

the best part of the shift is lunch when i can go away for half an hour and eat and not listen.

eventually the bad stuff ends and i can log out and be DONE with it. then i have to flap and stomp and i try VERY hard to not have to bang my head into walls but sometimes that is very difficult. i usually mutter and lot and if i bump into people i fall into autistic speak instead of NT speak and sometimes this bothers them but my friends are used to it. then i hide some. sometimes under the covers or in a closet. usually amira demands a tent and i sit on my bed with a cover on my legs so she can take a nap. it's very hard work watching me work all day. she sits in my lap as much as she can and when i get too flappy she helps by sitting on the mouse, blocking the screen of the computer, or trying to remove my headset. she knows those are the problems because i use them and get very stressed. i always appreciate her help but have to ask her to lie down in my lap and let me work. i hate that part.

then i usually tell my friends how mean work is to make me take calls which cracks me up because i get paid to take calls. but that's okay. i'm just glad to HAVE a job since a lot of people don't. i repeat this to myself all day long so i remember to not quit my job just because it hurts.

i always have to remember that most things hurt and if i want to eat i have to hurt. that's just life. it's not like if i was a wolf in the wild food would just walk into my mouth! you have to work for a meal or you haven't done your part in the natural balance of things. this helps a lot. it's a rightness even if it is not enjoyable.

i like a lot of people i chat with at work, though. that part is fun. if i didn't take calls and i just looked up answers for the people i work with i'd really enjoy my job. i am very personable. i'm also very good at problem solving. really the only hard part is voice translation. it's just that that is MOST of my job right now. i'm hoping to get promoted to being a helper instead of a voice translator. then i won't answer calls, i'll just help people i work with answer questions on THEIR calls. this seems a much better division of labour. i'd have all my favorite parts and they could do the parts i hate!

eventually i flap enough to feel calm. it takes about four hours. then i can start thinking seriously about sleep. i refill my new humidifier that makes the smells last longer so that i'm more overstimmed and don't always sleep because i'm too busy identifying smells. i hope i get used to it soon. lack of sleep doesn't help my stress level.

then i make sure the covers on the bed are good. i let my bed air out when i get up but i usually make it during the day and then just make sure it is right before i get into bed. i have to have the pillows stacked right and the covers turned down right to sleep in it. i also have to make sure the clock is at the right angle (or it's too bright) and the time is right. i go and make sure all the lights are off and my water filter is full so i have water to drink, and that amira has food and water, and then i get myself food and water. and then i go to the bathroom and get my teeth brushed.

then i think about sleeping and usually get very stressed because stage four sleep is a scary thing. you are in a coma. i read about this. you don't just poof wake up when you hear a sound. but i comfort myself that amira would make a VERY loud fuss if anything came to get me and it would wake me out of even stage four sleep and then i lie down and toss and turn for a while. then i try to shut my senses off but really i am very awake listening to every sound and smelling all the smells. i make it very dark but i still see everything. there are lights outside the windows. if it does get all dark i see images from my eyes in the dark all night long.

since it takes me a few hours to fall asleep, i usually just play a movie or a book in my head. or i tell a story. i let myself fall all the way into it because i figure that is just like dreaming so it's nearly as good as sleep. then i get up and go to the bathroom and then i get more water and then i lie back down and try to get comfortable again. i usually repeat this for a few hours.

sometimes i wake up and hours have passed. sometimes i am pretty sure i am asleep but i'm fully aware of everything and i know exactly how much time has passed. i'm not sure that is really sleeping. sometimes i spend all night with a story in my head and discuss the day with all the people and i'm not sure if i'm awake or asleep. when i dream they are usually epic or weird. not scary too often anymore, at least. but i wake up a lot. there are sounds and smells and lights (cars pass the window) and dreams and thirst and having to pee.

i don't often wake up rested.

eventually the alarm goes off again and i chitter at the alarm.

soon i'll add school into the mix and then things will get easier (because i'm so worn out) or harder (because i'm already too busy just having a job) but either way it'll be interesting to see what happens, i suppose.

mostly i think that life is about teetering on the cliff edge and throwing yourself off to see if you fly or die. if you don't push yourself to the breaking point all the time, you probably aren't growing. and if you are constantly breaking, somewhere in there you must be put back together or what is there to break? and that probably indicates you are learning to cope somehow.

i spend a lot of time broken. it doesn't bother me anymore. i just keep going. i don't think autism is a limit in any way. i don't believe in limits. there are challenges and most you get past (proving it's not a limit) or you don't (because you haven't figured out how yet).

it keeps my stress level very high. and i burn through a LOT of calories. i keep my diet really strict and make sure i have fatty snacks so i don't burn out. i think i also produce a lot of adrenaline. it's pretty hard pushing yourself over an edge so often. but if you don't, you don't eat. so i guess i'd rather keep myself going over than be hungry!

so that is my view of autism. you either cope or you don't. if you don't, you are going to really go hungry. it's also okay to hurt a lot. people get scared and don't do things just because they hurt. but if you really are scared all the time, eventually the fear loses power because it's just always there. so i'm scared now. and if i go to work i'm scared then...

so no loss to go ahead and throw myself over the cliff again and go to work and be scared. i mean, how is it different than not working and still being scared? well, i make money and am pretty much independent. so that's a difference. so if you are going to be scared anyway, be scared usefully!

and that's pretty much what being an adult high functioning autistic is about. being scared in a more useful manner than we did as children.

the loneliness and all that fussy stuff is there too all the time. and all the questions and weirdnesses. but that's for a different post. this is just about making it to a job every day and not caring about how bad it feels. there are a lot of very good parts of the job. so it's not even all bad no matter how wearying it is. that's another plus. things are always good if you think about them right. sometimes you have to squint and flip upside down and then jump up real quick so it's covered in colors and spots and spins. but you can always find a good if you try!

i like working MUCH better than i like not working. i eat a lot. i need money. i also like a safe place to sleep. and amira needs a safe warm place too.

so, after balancing all the factors that come of me working.... job = good.

Dasha's Journal: a review

I read Dasha's Journal. It was very exciting. I went to my library and they did not have it. It wasn't in my whole county. So I filled out a form (I haven't yet filled out a job form correctly ever, but if I get books apparently I can magically do them) and they gave me the book. Well, for three weeks. I feel very important. I filled it out and they went and got it and I was allowed to read it first.

It is a good book. It is a cat's view on autism. It is one of the very few books I've read where I get the impression the parent really cares about the child for the child's sake and is not angry at the child or the world for stealing the human and leaving an autistic.

We changelings are often quite sensitive to people wanting to destroy us for being a wrongness in the world when we do not feel that we are the wrong ones.

The book explains autistics, not autism, and that is the important factor. While we all want to know what autism is and where it comes from, Dasha is more interested in what autistics are and how they relate. She points out that if an NT is incapable of communicating outside their narrow language, how is it right to be upset that other animals and autistics as well do not easily communicate out of their narrow language?

It was fun to read because I am having very autistic episodes lately and not so stable or controlled and it was nice to see someone who would understand my actions all month instead of being all weird at me because of their lack of empathy.

I shall write a post some day soon fully in autistic speak instead of trying to translate to NT talk and it will be more fun. It is always somewhat painful to force words into fitting for those who read this.

Anyway, good book. Go read it!! If your library doesn't have it yet, they'll get it for you!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cannon Fodder

if an autistic cannot see outside of himself to understand others, because we see only ourselves and others in relation to ourselves, perhaps we need to step entirely outside of the question and learn how NTs see NTs and how NTs see autistics and compare this to how we autistics see ourselves and how we see NTs. (NTs being Neurotypicals, or non-autistics.)

but without understanding who the autistics are versus NTs, is there a way to determine which answers go in which category? or do the answers themselves help one decide who goes in which category?

and what kind of questions would really illuminate anything? any question that sheds light on the question would have to be cultural and you would end up misclassifying those not raised in this culture. or are there social questions that would be answered cross culture while still highlighting the differences of one without much socialization?

does how one is raised reflect more in those answers than how one thinks? an autistic raised in a fundamental household will answer far differently than one raised atheist, just as NT children would. would a strictly raised autistic, who therefore has enough structure to function, answer more or less normally than an NT raised without rules and has no structure from the outside?

what's the difference between someone with no structure within but gets structure from without, and someone with internal structure but none from without?

isn't how a child is raised, NT or autistic, a huge indication of how they can and will think later in life? is the child raised to think rationally and critically? is the child taught to blindly obey rules? is the child taught to question or to blend in? and how different are each of these in comparing an autistic and an NT?

truly, most people have children to make someone who will love them and validate them. when they realize the child is a person who has obligations to a family, perhaps, but is certainly more interested in being loved and validated themselves, things fall apart. in a non autistic this apparently happens around teenagehood, hence all the drama therein. for autistics, it happens in toddlerhood, if not sooner, hence the fatigue and desperation of the parents.

how would a parent who simply loved the child react? if one had less to lose would one have more patience? if one loved and validated themselves would one have less anger at the child for not providing these things for them?

i've often read that the reason parents put up with the sleepless nights and the crying and all the bullshit an infant puts a parent through is for things like the first smile, and the child connecting and learning to talk. in essence, the kid giving back a bit, dammit. so what happens if the child has nothing of the sort to give? the things an autistic has to give cannot be understood until a lot more barriers are breached by both parties.

so is there perhaps no reason for the parent of an autistic to give to the child? the child is not fulfilling their end of the bargain, if you think about it. what right does the child have to not unconditionally love their parents and to not bond and to not smile or do those endearing little things that real children do?

is it not, then, more of a wonder that any parent of an autistic takes the time to find ways to reach the child, than that a parent of an autistic gives up and just tries to get through the day without sending the kid to an institution?

anyone who doesn't pull their own weight has no purpose in a society. they only drag everyone else down. there are noble things, i have heard, like taking care of the useless shows some human spirit of those who help, but let's be realistic. dead weight is dead weight and a child who does not do their share in adding to the family dynamic is, indeed, a dead weight.

so i have to wonder if this big drive to understand autism isn't some noble let's reach them pie in the sky bullshit, but rather a way to force the kids to be members of society who give back instead of only taking. autism awareness is, when done by NTs, a way to get rid of dead weight and, when done by autistics, a way to convince others we aren't dead weight. perhaps we should recognize that we all have the same goal and find a way to make autistics useful.

instead of changing autistics, why not find ways that we can be useful as we are.

medical experimentation is out since autistics do not respond physically the way most people do. however studying the results of medical experiments might yield good results as autistics get stuck in very different thought ruts than NTs do.

we are good at throwing fits and being overwhelmed by noise which could very well make the most effective front line cannon fodder ever in a war. here comes a group marching toward you and you startle them, and suddenly the noise and wailing and shouting and screaming is more terrifying than a bunch of blue painted celts mooning romans.

we are great at sorting things. perhaps you can hire autistics to sort out trash for recycling. or to find the wrong one in a bunch of anything for manufacturing quality control. we can sort and file for medical records and other paperwork deluged office.

or perhaps they will find that we do best in outdoor jobs, growing things and weeding and helping animals. maybe we all need shipped out to farms where we will get fresh air and sunshine and safe food to eat. actually, i like this plan best. slave labor meets goodwill. the farms get much needed help to do things organically and autistics get structure and a healthier environment. everyone benefits.

perhaps a peta-like anti packaged food group needs to cage autistics and spray paint NTs and show everyone what happens when the world is full of chemicals and diets full of carbohydrates. use us as the poster children for atkins or the vitamin d council. "if you want to give birth to one of these, keep eating HFCS".

if we all work together, we can keep autistics from being dead weights without having to "cure" them (salt cured or sugar cured? and why not just sun dry us?). we can find ways to be useful without having to diagnose half of america to get enough funding to stop us from existing. no one is sure what the difference is between us and NTs anyway. i'm all for the amygdala theory, myself. but if we are just going by behaviors, i think every human shows various qualities of autism. we aren't all that different, just exagerated here and there.

in our struggle to become human, we are going to have to understand what humans are, and i don't think most humans are going to be very pleased with us as we do so. we are going to see far more differences between us before we are able to accept those terrible things that being human entails. and perhaps we can help humans change to be something that doesn't shame us all.

after all, the thing that makes autistics most intolerable, next to our intensity and fit throwing, is our honesty.

i do find it a sign of the rising self esteem of autistics, as a group mind, that we claim anyone genius, prodigy, extraordinary as autistic. einstein, mozart, tesla... where once we saw ourselves as idiot savants and children banging out head on walls, we have come to see ourselves as the geniuses and gifted. perhaps we will even learn, as a group, to push ourselves harder and further than others because of that potential, instead of cowarding and inhibiting ourselves with the knowledge that we are "disabled" and somehow less.

one and all, autistics seem to be questioners. why? how? what does that do? how does that work? when will this happen? why can't i? and we are inherently narcissistic since we don't recognize outsiders. logically, this means we question ourselves, our lives, our interactions, our realities, our questions. it is, perhaps, the answers that help keep autistics locked up within their worlds.

and once we do that and race past the humans being merely NT, will they push themselves to follow us? catch us if you can, because our diversity is going to force us to do more in order to be you until we realize we aren't you, we have pushed ourselves beyond that.