I probably need to get some medical help, but will it even matter? Should I even bother?

Run away! Run away!
Run away! Run away!

Trigger Warning: I will seriously question the wisdom of sticking around in this world in the following post. You’ve been warned.

Oh great. Here we go. I’ve been feeling “off” for quite some time, now. Probably close to a year. My job was insanely busy, for about a year running. I was triple- and quadruple-booked in meetings, day after day after endless day, for months and months at a time, with a very rare 30-minute break every now and then.

My schedule was unreal. But that was the job. My boss’es schedule was like that. My coworkers’ schedules were like that. Everybody’s days were like that, on my team. At least we had jobs, right? And I was driving through on pure adrenaline and determination, the whole time. Just plain grit. Just buckling down and doing the job,  because we were so short-staffed and I was committed to holding up my end of things.

In all honesty, I really wasn’t holding up my end of things. I was attending a lot of meetings. Constant meetings. On the phone, mind you, not in person. That was one blessing. At the same time – and all you Autistic folks out there can relate – it was on the phone, and that was about the nearest thing to hell that I could ask for.

It’s bad enough being Autistic and having to be on the phone, but I also have auditory processing issues. I’ve never been diagnosed with any condition. All the tests come back saying my ears can hear just fine. But I’ve rarely been able to hear things clearly, the first time they’re said. Someone says one word, and I hear another. And then I have to ask for clarification. I ask them to repeat themselves. It’s like standard for me. I always have to ask people to repeat themselves. I can’t imagine how annoying it is for other people to have to say shit over and over with me, till I actually get it.

So, in addition to the non-stop work and thinking and processing and dealing with neurotypicals who care only about their own position (it’s never about the job) and being denied what I consider my basic human right to reach a flow state at least once a week (is it so much to ask?), I had to do it all on the phone.

Lovely.

And it was brutal. I was constantly pumping myself up to get going. Constantly staying on point. Constantly being on alert. And at the same time, my partner has been declining, physically and cognitively. So usually while I’ve been on the phone arguing with offshore managers about whether a job their team screwed up was due to a change in requirements or simply a lack of understanding of the basic requirements, I’ve been taking care of my partner, who is essentially bed-ridden (she can still go to the bathroom herself and feed herself, which is a major plus). And she’s often confused, frustrated, and angry. So, I’ve been juggling Hard Conversations at work with making meals and shuttling needed items to and from the upstairs from downstairs. 

Things have loosened up a bit, over the past months, since we got more help on the team, and I was able to offload a ton of meetings and tasks to another (hapless) coworker. But then we started remodeling our house, and the COVID-19 business kicked in. So, that was fun. We relocated to another place for a few months, while the house was worked on, which has been beautiful – such a lovely place to live for the time being. But managing the contractors, having a tree fall near the house (barely missed it – lucky for us), running interference with vendors who weren’t playing nice with our contractor, and making all these decisions about what needs to be put in place — and picking out stuff online and trying to get it shipped, when hardware and appliances that are supposed to show up on Monday so it can all be installed on Wednesday, suddenly won’t be delivered for another 6 weeks… well, that’s been fun.

And yeah. Running on adrenaline. While my partner calls to me from upstairs about how she needs her breakfast now, or she’s having a health crisis. Or she’s having a panic attack. Or she wants to just talk to me (why would anybody need to “just talk”? that’s puzzling). And I’m getting texted by someone about how something needs to be done, but it didn’t get done right. And oh, by the way, did you send out the check in the mail?

Pushing and pushing and just making it happen… that’s what I do. And I’ve been doing it. With surprisingly few meltdowns, I have to say.

But yeah, it wears thin.

And so have I, it seems. I’ve been feeling very lightheaded for weeks and months, now. My heart activity has been … interesting. Palpitations. Tightness. Feeling sick to my stomach and faint. Irregular heartbeat. I seldom go to sleep without my heart racing. I have to consciously slow it all down, which I can do.

And when I check my blood pressure, it’s usually low – the other day, it was 67/46. I know how to bring my BP up, so I’ve been doing my exercises to do that, but having a consistently low blood pressure (88/54 is another reading and I’m often around 95/65) gives me pause. It’s been even lower than usual. I have an enlarged heart, or so I’ve been told, so I wonder if that’s playing a role.

Okay, this is where the “female stuff” gets mentioned, so if you’re uncomfortable with it, you can scroll past the next few paragraphs. It’s not awful, but some people get squeamish, so you’ve been warned.

# Start of Female Stuff 

In addition, I’ve been having some spotting and cramping, despite being post-menopausal for nearly 10 years. The spotting only happened twice over the past month. I noticed a little bit of cramping, but I didn’t think much of it. Then I noticed the spotting. Not a lot, just a little. But still. That’s not supposed to happen. And the cramps are certainly not supposed to happen. But they’ve been there. I was thinking maybe they were constipation or related to my lower back pain, but these are definitely menstrual-like cramps. I had them intensely enough and long enough, that I know what they feel like. And that’s what menstrual cramps feel like.

Now, I started menopause about 10 years “ahead of schedule”, and they love to tell you that you run a greater risk of cancer or early death, if you are menopausal earlier than what’s usual. There’s precedent for early menopause in my family, so I never worried about it that much. But of course, now I’m flashing back on those conversations with “healthcare workers”, and it’s irritating.

Also, I’ve had a cervical polyp in the past, and I believe that caused me some cramping and spotting. It was benign. Sometimes women get these little “tags” of growth on their female plumbing, and it’s a simple thing to just reach up there and snip it out. Not painful at all, and the cramping and spotting stopped, right after I had that done.

So, this could be a polyp. No big deal. Or it could be something else. I’ve just been feeling so off, for months now… I honestly can’t tell what the hell is going on with me.

#End of Female Stuff

When I say off, I mean I’ve been feeling woozy and wiped out and feeling like I’m about to fall over, day after day. Exhaustion? Maybe. I mean, life is exhausting enough for me, without all this extra stuff, and there’s been a lot of extra stuff, lately. I know how to push through. I know how to keep going. I know how to prop myself up, so I don’t fall over. I know how to do a great impression of a highly functional individual who’s got it covered.

No need to worry about me! #IGotThis

That’s how we’re supposed to be, right? In America, you’re supposed to be positive and proactive and confident and bold. You can’t have misgivings. You have to always be ON, always be Convinced That We Will Prevail, No Matter What. It’s a sin, in this country, to have reservations, to doubt, to question, to not have faith. It’s anti-American blasphemy, and you’re sternly punished, anytime you show weakness or misgiving. So, despite having a distinct lack of all of the requisite attitudes, I’ve learned how to simulate all of that. Because it keeps people off my back, and I can just go about my business and do what needs to be done.

But feeling like shit, every waking moment of the day… well, that gets old, after a while. It’s kind of my default state, and I’m used to it. But this level of shitting-feeling has been noticeably higher over the past months. And now I have spotting and cramps on top of it.

So, what do I do?

I’m insatiable, when it comes to information, so I guess I’ll reach out and talk to someone. I’ll get on the phone with a TelaDoc later this week, when I’m away from my partner — we’re moving back to our house in a week, and I’m going back for a few days to get the house ready, before we completely move back in. Then I’ll be able to speak freely without worrying that she’s listening and I’ll then need to assauge an endless, relentless borderline-panic-attack that she can’t manage herself (story of my life). 

Based on that information, I’ll decide what to do from there.

But I have to admit I’m really torn about what I’ll do. The healthcare system and I are not on good terms. I’m a woman over 50, so I fit the profile of their standard-issue concept of a woman who’s just looking for attention. I’ve gotten that, tons of times, over very real concerns I had about health issues I was having – but nobody took very seriously, nobody explained well, and everyone just dismissed. They didn’t get it at all that I am both highly sensitive in some ways and not sensitive in others, so I have to have a professional opinion to help me make sense of what’s going on, so I don’t inadvertently die. I’ve been on the verge of pneumonia, as well as having an eardrum burst, because I couldn’t tell what was going on in my body, so there’s precedent.

In much larger ways, I’ve been so close to losing everything – and I mean everything – because of health issues that needed to be managed, that nobody took seriously. At all. I had to fight, tooth and nail, to find someone to help me, and then insurance wouldn’t cover it, but I didn’t care, so I nearly bankrupted myself getting help. Same story as a lot of people. And yet, here we are in 21st Century America… Why am I surprised? 

But I digress.

Anyway, I’m thinking through my algorithmic process for how I’ll handle things. Of course, without the correct information, I can’t make a firm decision, but I’m doing heuristic analysis at a high level, just considering my options. I have to think it all through carefully, because I’m the sole caregiver for my partner, and she is Extremely High Risk for COVID-19, so I have to add in an extra layer of caution in Everything I Do.

How will I handle getting tests done, if they’re needed? How will I get to the hospital? How will I tell my partner?

How will I deal with the results? If they’re fine, do I just stop thinking about it, and pretend it’s not an issue? If they’re not good, do I go with invasive procedures, or do I just settle into making the most of whatever time I have left?

That whole question of whether to pursue extreme measures or not is a big concern for me. I’m not sure how worth it, it would be. For others, sure! They love me and depend on me! No shit. I’m a fucking asset to the world – no joke. I’ve turned becoming indispensable into an art and a science, and there are so many people who love me. But what’s in it for me? Everyone asks way more from me than they give back. And I seem to be surrounded by people who are ninja-level Takers, but haven’t the faintest idea how to give unconditionally with an open heart. And anyway, they’re not interested.

Nobody is.

All anybody cares about is themself and their own corner of the world. There are some who think they care about others, and maybe they do on some level, but ultimately, everybody’s just trying to stay alive, while the world burns down around us and we do less than nothing to stop it.

All of our “leaders” are killing us. They just are. The companies that crank out all that trash of “packaging” that is now settling to the bottom of the ocean… the manufacturers who over-produce all kinds of shit we will never need and rarely use, just because they can, and because it will line their pockets… the community and government managers (I won’t say “leaders”) who refuse to put any regulations in place to protect us from those predatory manufacturers and marketers because it might impact the economy… the people in charge of police forces who just carry on as they always have, no surprises there… and the people telling the rest of us that the police forces can or will ever change, which I have no confidence can or will happen.

We have been well and truly betrayed by everyone who holds any form of power, and they show absolutely no sign of acting in the best interests of us or our planet. They are legitimately deficient in logic, reason, compassion, and conscience, and they have no accountability to anything or anyone. We wouldn’t be in this situation, if that weren’t the case. If any of them cared enough to actually act – if they cared more about principles and the survival of others – they’d take action. But they don’t. So they won’t. And here we are.

So, if I get bad news, why would I stick around? Why would I bother making myself even sicker, in hopes of prolonging the agony of being in the world that neurotypical and autistic assholes have created. Whatever your neurodiverse location on the grand spectrum, assholes are assholes, and their numbers are legion.

Why would I subject myself to the violation of the American healthcare system, which has rarely done me much good, anyway, and has ridiculed and dismissed me and my pain and discomfort time after time after time? Why would I fucking bother? If I have to leave, I might as well do it with my dignity intact, you know?

Plus, prolonging the agony of being around all this… I just don’t know. It’s too much. All of it. It’s relentless. It never stops. People are assholes.  Uncompassionate, self-centered, planet-killing assholes. If they really cared at all, and they had any intention of doing what’s really right for the planet, they would walk way from all the plastic-using, manufacturing-produced, poison-infused shit that props up our modern life, and live off the land, off the grid, with zero impact. Quit driving the fucking Priuses and cars in general. Quit buying shit on Amazon that’s so wasteful and exploitive of fucking everything you can think of.

But nobody wants to do that. It wouldn’t be comfortable. It would be inconvenient. And we need our retail therapy. We need our … stuff. Yeah, you can have it all. But you have to do it differently. Very, very differently. And unless you’re 100% not impacting the planet — or other people — negatively, you’re still a problem. You’re a liability and a threat. It’s pretty binary, actually. Either you’re a problem for the planet, or you’re not. I don’t know of anyone who’s NOT. Including me.

Hell, just by typing this on my ancient laptop that’s sucking electricity, I’m a problem. I now sit at a table that was made from artificial materials and wood from some hapless tree… with a lamp that’s also sucking electricity… in a house that’s built out of all kinds of shit that’s either toxic itself or was manufactured with highly toxic processes…  I’m a problem. I know that. And all my online venting is just adding to the burden I’m placing on the planet. Yay, me…

So, why stick around in this failed experiment? If I’m going to go, I might as well do it on my terms. Why deal with the medical establishment that practices medicine (and has yet to master it) and uses us all as test cases? I know, I know… they can deal with extreme cases, sometimes. And their extreme measures can sometimes be successful (I’ve seen the promotional ads with smiling survivors). But I’m feeling a bit like Planet Earth — all used up, abused, neglected, taken advantage of by uncaring and unfeeling narcissists. And since I can’t do the wildfire, earthquake or tsunami thing, all I can really do is determine my own fate. Kind of.

All that being said, I do think there are many other things I can do for myself to help my situation. Really take care of myself and what my body and mind need. Quit worrying about shit. Get more exercise. Eat right. Focus on what’s right in front of me. Mind my own business. Get on with it. And see what other options I have that don’t involve anything that doesn’t have anything to do with what I love and value in the world.

I don’t know exactly what’s going on with my health, and I can’t draw any conclusions till I get some more info – if I ever do.

In the meantime, I’ll just focus on what’s in front of me. I feel like crap, so what else is new?

When have I ever not felt like crap?

Finally. A day to myself. Well, kind of.

It’s been an eventful week. An eventful month, in fact. My partner and I are getting our house remodeled. Not the whole thing. Just the most critical pieces first – most of the kitchen (not the cabinets), all of the 2.5 baths, an exterior paint job, new electrical, a generator for when the power goes out (as it does, in this part of the world), and landscaping.

Finally, we’ll have the house we were supposed to have, 15 years ago. I had it all planned out. I had a boatload of money. I had my trajectory mapped.

Then the health problems hit. For both my partner and me. And everything got put on hold until we got it sorted.

It’s taken nearly 20 years, but we finally got it figured out.

And now it’s time to go “pedal to the metal” and haul ass on getting stuff taken care of.

Oh, and line up alternative lodging for 2 months, while it’s all happening.

It’s been quite the undertaking. And at the same time, I’m working full-time at a job I detest, dealing with utterly mindless people who will tax the sainted patience of any sentient creature…  taking care of my partner who’s becoming more disabled every month, trying to find ways to get her the help she needs, and keep her spirits up… attending school to finish my Bachelors, so I have actual choices in the working world… and of course my own side projects which are the only thing that actually get me into a flow state, these days. My “side projects” are actually some of the most challenging heavy lifts, these days, as I have to learn a lot of new things and push myself to do things like talk to strangers on the phone and do a lot of math.

Sheesh. Yeah. It’s a lot. But it’s how I roll. And if I don’t do any of these things, my life devolves.

And we can’t have that.

So, yesterday, I got a lot done. I was up early, got my partner packed and transported to an all-day event she was helping to facilitate. Doing the roadie thing takes a lot of energy. And there’s always something else to do, until everything is completely settled. Then I went to a nearby university and made myself comfortable in the library, where I studied for a few hours. I met up with a friend for lunch, who just happened to be in the vicinity, and we had a nice chat. It’s always good to actually see people in person, when you interact a lot online. And the thing that makes it good is that I get to experience a real-life encounter – it’s a totally different energy than chatting online. And I’m a somewhat different person in that dynamic, which is always interesting. I also caught up with someone else I’ve been doing some projects with.

After the peopling, I was back to my studies. I made great progress and got a lot done. Around 6 p.m. I left the library and went scouting for food. I found a promising restaurant on Google Maps, but when I got there, it was packed. And all the good options around it seemed to be packed, too, so I ducked into a little soup-sandwich-salad-coffee-tea type of place, and I got myself a sandwich and some hot tea. Everyone around me in the library and in town was coughing and hacking, so I had my tea and picked out a corner to camp out in.

At 7, the food place closed, so I headed out and picked up my partner. I had no idea where in was in the world, so I let Siri tell me where to go… and “she” took me through all kinds of back roads (not all of them paved), where there wasn’t much of a signal. Oh my. That was fun. Well, I had time to spare, in case I got lost… And it was interesting to see how many cars were out on the road in that somewhat removed area. Even on the unpaved roads. Well, it was Saturday night…

I got back to the venue around 7:30, and they weren’t supposed to be done till 8:00, so I camped out in an outer area, studying some more and getting a bit more work done. Very productive, actually. Of course, it was a matter of hurry-up-and-wait, and it took another hour for the event to wrap up. And then another hour, while everybody was networking and connecting and doing their communal thing. We eventually got out of there around 10 p.m., and I was home and in bed by 11:15.

Last night, as I was thinking about today, I was under the impression that I could actually take the day off today. Lie in bed. Read. Relax. Catch up on my very lacking sleep. I made a short lists of things I absolutely need to do today, and I left it at that. But none of it was true. I have a lot I can’t NOT do today. I have to go to Lowe’s to talk to people about countertops. I need to research appliances. I need to schedule junk pickup. I need to schedule my coming week(s), period, and figure out when we’re going to get things done. We leave for our interim lodging in 25 days, and there’s a ton of stuff to do in the interim.

I also need to do some additional investigation for my projects. I need to work on my assignment for school. I need to buy a vacuum cleaner. I need to fulfill some other standing obligations. And I need to put away the outside fake Christmas tree, which has been shining cheerily (it doesn’t look fake at all!) on the back deck for the past three months, but got blown over by the wind on Friday. It’s lying there like a battlefield casualty, and I need to put it up, till I bring it out in another 9 months.

So much for my “day to myself”. Ha!

Well, actually, this day is for myself, because every single thing I’m doing will benefit me in some way – directly or indirectly. But regardless of who it benefits, all of it needs to get done.

What I think about it, has nothing to do with anything. Stuff just has to get done.

And then I can check all that sh*t off my list and declare Victory!!!

That’ll be fun.

Yet another change of blog title – it’s an identity thing ;)

name tags with pen on tableSo, I’ve been ’round the barn (and back) with the name of this blog.

It was “Aspie Under Your Radar” for a while. A long while.

Then it was … something else that I can’t remember.

Then it was “And Now for my Next Trick”.

Now it’s “I CAN Be Autistic” — as a sort of riff on the whole She Can’t Be Autistic thing that was going ’round Twitter, way back when, with all these people coming up with reasons why Autistic women “can’t be autistic”.

Sigh.

I don’t want to get into a shouting/pissing/bitching match with everybody who has their own opinions about how Autism manifests in women / men / enbies / queerz. Everybody can (and will) have their own opinions about how sh*t goes and manifests in people. Everybody has their own experience. I’m not here to convince anyone of anything, just speak my piece and not hold my peace about things that I really am not okay with.

Just so you know, the whole venting thing appeals less and less to me, each day. Maybe I’m just too old for that sh*t. I’ve passed the 50-year mark several years ago, and time has granted me a different perspective than what I’ve had in the past. I have more perspective, in point of fact. And a lot of the stuff that used to infuriate me just kinda amuses me now.

Elvis Costello sings “Well, I used to be disgusted. Now I’m just amused…”

I hate the rest of the song (along with most of his music, sorry if you’re  a fan), but that line has come in handy tons of times, so he gets a pass.

Anyway, what’s in a name? A whole lot, actually. The name of this blog tends to set the stage for what I write about, so we’ll go with this “Yep, I’m Autistic – here’s why” theme for a while. Until I decide I’d rather do something else, of course.

That tends to happen. I’ve been around long enough to realize it’s very likely to happen again. But for the time being, I’ll just talk about my experience, and people can do what they like with it.

There goes my “E” key…

storm trooper stealing keyboard key
Okay, so he’s not messing with the “E” key, but this is what it feels like

Well, this is inconvenient… The “E” key on my old laptop is acting up, and I have to get it fixed. I can’t keep stopping and backing up, while I’m typing — not to mention getting all tense about whether or not the key is going to pop out when my sweaty fingers pass over it. It keeps popping out. How annoying. And I have to do something about it, because I just can’t work like this.

So… I checked out some videos online about how to change a key on my keyboard. I popped off another key and found out that the “E” key is missing two little “feet” that keep it snapped in place. All I need to do is find a replacement key, and I can fix it myself. That’s easy. eBay has plenty of old laptops for parts. Plus, there’s a computer repair place that’s on the way to my massage therapist, where I’m headed this afternoon. I’ll call them later today and see if they have any spare “E” keys for my type of laptop.

If they don’t have any, I’ll just order one from eBay and be done with it. That’s easy. It’s just a matter of which is quicker.

And in the meantime, I’ve rigged up a little piece of tape across the rogue key to keep it in place. I positioned the tape with the key fully depressed, so it doesn’t pull down the adjoining keys. It’s a stop-gap solution I wish I’d figured out weeks ago, when I started having this problem. My old laptop is really old, by laptop standards, and it’s clunky and heavy. But it’s mine, it’s paid for, and it does everything I want it to.

As long as the keys stay where they belong.

Well, that was interesting…

lightbulb with a brain inside itAnd so very validating!

I had my discussion session with some funding people I thought could provide me with some guidance about how to move forward to get one of my Big Projects funded. As in VC-funded. Venture capital. Angel investing. All that good stuff.

I’ve been leery of reaching out to funding people for quite some time. I once worked at a startup that was under constant pressure from investors to do things they didn’t want to do. But they had to, because the investors said so. In the end, nobody actually made much money other than the investors and the two guys who initially founded the place.

I didn’t want to get sucked into that sort of situation all over again. But then I got a chance to talk to these funding folks, just to pick their brains, so to speak.

In the end, what I realized is that they’re really no smarter than I am. And the things they were telling me weren’t really all that different from what I’d been thinking, myself. In fact, if anything, they were telling me a lot of stuff I already knew. So, that was validating.

And frankly, I have a more sophisticated and evolved understanding of the problems I’m trying to solve, and a much simpler way to solve them, than most of what I see out there. So… there it is.

Again, I am convinced that funding is not the way to go for me. I can quit even thinking about that stuff, and focus on just doing. Just building. Just making. That’s all.

Next…

Up early – and rewarded for it

interlocking cubesWell, I have LOTS going on, these days. I’ve got a couple businesses in development (because why have just one?). I have a meeting with some money folks on Thursday to walk them through one of my businesses, and explain to them why it makes sense for others to team up with me on the idea. It’s not a startup, per se, since startups are typified by not knowing exactly where you fit in the grand scheme of things, and spending tons of money, trying to figure that out.

My business idea is very clear, it is targeted to a widespread, expensive problem, and I know exactly how to plug it in all across the board, to fix that pernicious issue. So, where’s the objection to them getting on board? That, we shall see.

Anyway, I was up early this morning, getting to work online a couple of hours before I usually do. I was supposed to do some work over the weekend, but of course I didn’t bother, because, well, it was a bother. Plus, I had to take care of my own stuff — not the overlords’  conceits.

I mean, really, that’s what they are — conceits. The way things are run at work, it’s so inefficient and so fraught with f*ck-ups, there is no way on god’s good earth any of this is actually intended to work. It’s not about getting things done. It’s about some influential individual(s) making up for the fact that their parents didn’t treat them right and/or they got roughed up in grade school.

News flash, I endured all of the above, but I’m not running around making everyone else miserable in the process. Let the record show that it is, in fact, possible to make up for the struggles of your childhood without spreading the pain to every other living human being within your sphere of influence.

There, that’s my public service for the day. Take note. And do better.

Anyway, I got my f*cking slides done this morning – got the monster one put together, and updated the other six presentations I had to update for my weekly “what’s wrong now” status call.

And then I put it down and walked away. And got to work on my own stuff. Optimized my one site (got it up to a 95% on Google Page Speed Insights, which was no small feat for that clunker), cloned it to make another, updated the new site with new logo and colors and all that, and now I’m delving into domain transfers between multiple providers, with the added wrinkle of domain privacy being purchased that now apparently obscures all my contact details, which are required to transfer the domain.

Fun!

Oh, and I just remembered that I need to do something pretty critical in the next hour and 10 minutes. It will only take me 10 minutes to complete it, but I hate having things like this “sneak up on me” on a Monday morning.

Well, anyway, at least I got those slides done. I started around 6 and finished up before 9, so I got my hours in, first thing.  And now I sit around and wait for people to tell me “That’s not right! You did it wrong!” because they never offered any guidance for what they were looking for, in the first place.

Seriously, I have such a hard time “reading” these people, sometimes. The things they want me to do seem so nonsensical, the areas they want me to focus on seem so counter-productive, and the activities they delegate… well, clicking little checkboxes to assign meta data to uploaded files is not the sort of thing you ask someone with 25+ years of heavy-duty tech experience to do. I hate to be a diva about it, but seriously?! We can’t come up with a system that will assign those values for us?!

But I digress.

The most exciting thing about my life, these days, is that my boss has hired someone he really likes who is probably flagged as my replacement. So exciting!!! I have been hanging in there, because there hasn’t been anyone else to pick up the slack for what I’ve been doing, and I’m not going to leave them in a lurch. People who work with me know I’ve been dissatisfied and bent out of shape for years, now, and honestly, how much can you expect one person to take? Especially when they’re (I’m) being systematically erased and made redundant by politically connected people at HQ who keep carving off the things I do, saying “Oh, we’ve got that covered” … when clearly, they don’t, because they screw up everything they touch.

I think my boss has known I was on my way out the door — one foot out, even as we speak. I’ve been less and less intense about my work, from day to day, and I’ve been less and less engaged. I mean, the engagement thing and the intensity thing would be on the wane, even if I were planning to stay forever, because there is SO MUCH WORK, and I burned out at least a year ago (maybe longer back). I have to pace myself, not to mention budget my indignation. I’ve been bent out of shape over these people for far too long.

And I need my energy for other things than outrage. Especially when the outrage produces no results, whatsoever.

Well, anyway, I’ve been contacted by a number of recruiters, over the past weeks. And I’ve got this meeting coming up on Thursday about this potential opportunity. Plus, I’ve got other businesses in the works, I just need to finalize the applications, and then start making calls to get people on board and make some sales. That’s the hardest part, of course, but what I can’t lose sight of is that I build good sh*t, and it can — and will — make people’s lives better in the process.

So, whatever is happening in the background of my life, it’s just there… and I know for a fact that everything changes and it gets better in some ways and worse in others. That’s just how it goes. No situation is 100% perfect, and as much as that galls me, I just need to deal with it. Make the most of my opportunities where they arise, and all that.

And take advantage of those crappy times to make better times out of them. Like me having to get to work 3 hours ahead of schedule, and getting stuff done to clear the way to do my own thing. It’s the exact opposite of what I prefer, but sometimes I can make it work.

As long as I’m not expected to make it work, every single day.

That’s just tiring.

I can almost think again

Stack of papers with bent edges protruding from the pile
There are about 20 of these in my study – at least, there were until a few hours ago

I’m cleaning out my study. At last. It’s been kind of a “null zone” for years, now, as I’ve moved my operations, like writing and blogging and coding, to the dining room, where the wireless signal is stronger.

I work from home a lot, these days. More than I’m in the office. It’s good, but that means I have to set up shop at home. And that means, I’ve taken over the dining room as my “office”. The wireless signal is stronger. And frankly, it’s often easier for me to think in the dining room, where I’m not surrounded by my books.

Being surrounded by books has its advantages, and disadvantages. Biggest disadvantage is the distraction. I have a lot of books. Covering many different topics. Neurology. Survival skills. Occupational rehabilitation. Philosophy (particularly phenomenology). Simone Weil. Autism. Stoicism. Samurais and Zazen. Art. Finance. History. 12th Century Renaissance in the South of France. German dictionaries for all occasions. You know, the usual assortment of deep and varied interests that someone like me would have.

The other thing that my upstairs study is full of is mementos. Like a LOT of mementos. Little figurines. Matchbox cars. Mugs and ornaments and odds and ends that I picked up along the way that have significance for me. Being in my upstairs study can be quite… consuming. So, when I need to block everything else out, I take myself down to the dining room, where I’ve spread out all my papers and notebooks on the table, and I work there. It’s fine. It’s also closer to the kitchen, which comes in handy when I’m hungry or thirsty.

But now I need to get back to my study. Because that’s where I think. The dining room is fine for working-working-working, but when I need to really sink into a line of thought and let it consume me, my study is where that happens.

And it’s been a long time since that took place.

Honestly, I’ve been so slammed, for the past year, working on a number of projects, that I haven’t taken much time out to just settle in and let it all sink in. I’m making huge strides, it’s true. And I’ve come up with some pretty cool stuff. But at some point, I need to stop, take stock, assess, and really dig into who I am, what matters to me, what I actually think about things… versus staying in that the constant current of GO-GO-GO.

There needs to be a balance. That’s for sure.

So, I’ve been cleaning out my study. I won’t post pictures of it, because it’s still a little Muench-scream-inspiring. But it’s getting there. At least now I can sit down on the chair at my desk and actually have room to write on the desktop.

Three hours ago, it wasn’t like that at all.

Progress.

One thing at a time.  One pile at a time.

Progress.

Till I can think again.

Another post… because, Why Not?

Oh, I’m on a roll today. Two posts in the space of 24 hours. So prolific! 😉

I’ve had a pretty good day, sorting through a lot of questions I have about my future, thinking through the job opportunities ahead of me (I’m in the running for two very different positions), and mapping out my future path in ways that actually work for me.

Huh, it’s funny… as much as I hear people talking about Autistic people being under-employed, I’ve had the opposite issue. I can’t seem to get away from being over-employed. I have my day job, my weekly 9-to-5, and then I have all my other activities, which I suppose are kind of like very complex stims that help soothe me by redirecting all the energy (anxiety?) I have in overabundance.

Don’t get me wrong – working in the neurotypical world is really horrible, on a regular basis. I just can’t stand it, half most of the time. And yet, I’ve built up sort of psychic callouses towards it, and all the awfulness just seems like business as usual, which I try to ignore, as I’m putting fuel in my car, food on the table, and money in my bank’s mortgage account.

It’s the price of membership. It stings and it takes a toll, but there it is.

Anyway, fun stuff happening at the same time that all this intensity is going on. Additional projects — fun, fun, fun! — that are helping to re-route the overabundant energy from my system into the ethers around me. I’m collaborating with some members of a little autistic online tribe on a blog we’re just starting. I won’t say more, because I’m not sure how we want to play it or promote it, but keep an eye out for it, ’cause it’s gonna be fun!

Had I mentioned… fun?

🙂

Well, that’s enough for one day. Time for supper. Yes, it’s 9:00 p.m. I’m doing my European thing today.

 

 

Everyday I am up and working

Each and every day, I’m up and working. For others, for myself. Especially on weekends, when I have full days to myself. And my work.

Some people warn against ending up on your deathbed, regretting working too much.

My regrets will be more about not having worked enough. All the hours I frittered away, “playing” or “relaxing”, when I could have been working towards making substantive changes in my life. Those are hours and days and weeks and months I’ll never get back.

Everybody has their ways. My way is work. And I love it. It changes the world around me and it changes the world within me.

And how I do love that kind of change.

Peopling – It’s (all) a learned thing

turkeysThere’s a lot going on with me, these days.

I’m in the process of looking for another job. Ideally, I’ll find a recurring contract situation that pays really good money and is low-commitment, which lets me bail on the 9-5 every 3-6 months or so, then get back in the swing of things (if I need to).

I’m also working on a couple of other businesses at the same time. They’re mine. One of them has been many years in the making. The other is about a year old. The other (which actually has the most $$$ potential for each individual transaction), I just started a few months ago, and it’s going pretty well.

Meanwhile, my partner is not doing well, cognitively, emotionally, and physically. No matter how supportive I am, she continuously makes decisions that erode her well-being. It’s complicated. Long story short, it’s not fun watching the love of your life decline before your very eyes.

Anyway, one area where I need to make some real progress is in how I deal with people. I notice, more and more, that I’m really getting more autistic as time passes. I think it has to do with how much more sensitive I keep getting. It’s like, every year I get more “cued-in” to what’s going on around me, and my sensory issues keep getting more heightened, as well as more intrusive.

So I need to acquire some new skills – particularly with negotiation.

Here’s the thing: I can be terrible with figuring people out. I mean, seriously. Some days, I can’t tell whether they love me or hate me, I can’t tell if they’re listening to me or ignoring me. I can’t tell whether I’m doing a great job in the interaction, or they’re just trying to get away from me.

Here’s the other thing:  Some days I can be 100% ON, when it comes to interacting with people. They respond to me, they love me, they feel a kinship with me.

But even when I’m ON, I have a really hard time reading the situation and knowing where to go next.

My Solution? To train myself in the appropriate process to interact with people and negotiate any human interaction.

If you think about it, pretty much every human interaction is a negotiation. People want things. They want things from me, they want things from you, they want things for themselves. And their interactions are geared to get those needs met.

My partner is a classic case of that. One of the reasons she’s so difficult to support, is that she gets very histrionic about her challenges and she “amps them up” for effect, to prompt pity and help from people around her… so they’ll help her do things that she really needs to do for herself.

In front of other people, she makes a big show of how hard it is for her to do things. There’s much groaning and moaning and displays of difficulty. And everyone runs to her assistance to help her do things she needs to keep doing for herself, in order to stay strong and healthy.

But when nobody is watching, she does those same things for herself. She gets herself out of bed. She makes her coffee and toast. She moves around the house. She takes care of things. It’s completely different from when someone is nearby. Then, she appears to be almost completely disabled.

That’s an extreme example, of course. Not everyone is as histrionic as she is, nor do they manipulate others to that extent (and to their own detriment). But you know what I mean. Probably. Everybody wants something from interactions. Especially neurotypicals.

So, I need to get educated about how to manage that. Because my life isn’t getting any easier, and I need extra skills to A) negotiate a job change, B) expand my existing businesses, and C) really work out how to just deal with people effectively.

I need a script. I need a road map. And I’ve been watching YouTube videos about how to put together that road map. As artificial as it sounds, I keep hearing that you can script out your interactions and follow a process to lead people down a certain path of interaction. It sounds a little “Pied Piper”-ish, but apparently, people like to follow others’ leads, so I need to put myself in a leadership position when I deal with others.

It sounds a little tiring. But I’ve actually gotten in the habit of doing that, since just “winging it” with other people is so fraught for me, and it’s way too anxiety-producing. What I do is immediately take the lead in pretty much all my interactions – I talk to people first, I comment on things, I put ideas out there, I step into the void of silence and uncertainty between us, and I give them something to react to. And then I keep leading them into that void, giving them the chance to respond safely. They don’t have to come up with anything novel, themselves. They just have to react to what I’ve put out there.

And it works. For us all.

My technique is a little clunky, however, so I need to fine-tune it. That’s what I’m doing, watching videos about establishing rapport, negotiation, sales and prospecting processes… basically learning what I need, to be more comfortable in my own skin. I’m actually finding sales training videos to be very helpful, because they are about establishing rapport and bringing people over to your side.

So, that’s what I’m doing. Training myself to do the people thing. I’ve learned to do so many other things in my life, that are extremely challenging and daunting for most people. With the proper training, I should be able to learn this peopleing stuff, too.