So, every now and then, I’m reminded about how the “autistic community” can be pretty cold and alienating. It can be clique-y. It can push the “uncool kids” to the margins. It can punish those who fail to pass the purity tests. Every now and then, I’m reminded yet again, that the fabled “autistic community” is just that – a fable.
The other day, an autistic individual I follow on Twitter posted something that I found sort of funny, and I responded with an image that seemed to address (in an absurd way) their observation.
Most people I encounter on Twitter are pretty good sports. Even if they don’t find my tweets hilarious (tho’ they often do, and why wouldn’t they? I can be truly hilarious, plus I’m fun and a little offbeat in a refreshing sort of way), at the very least, they click the little “heart thingie” and we all move on.
But with this one autistic individual (and others they are ostensibly good friends with), I got nothing. Crickets. No response. No recognition. Who knows if they even saw it?
Well, whatever. It’s not like I live and die by whether someone likes what I post or tweet or whatever. It’s not like my life revolves around being recognized by this individual – or any other individual, for that matter. I’m autistic. I’m fine on my own.
But we have these little rules about basic online civility that don’t seem to matter much, at times, with some of the people I follow. And I get a distinct “ew! get away from me” vibe from it, like I’m intruding on their timeline or feed or whatever. I’m not invited to the conversation, and they’re not going to encourage me.
It’s not just this one person. It’s others who I know are in their close circle. They’re buddies. And I think they’ve decided they don’t like me. Which is fine. But it’s also surprising, seeing as these are middle-aged adult-like individuals who should really know better about just observing a modicum of civility. Even disingenuous responses help grease the social machinery. And since I know they grew up in “polite company”, I know for a fact, they’re capable of it.
They’ve just decided not to do it with me.
Another autistic researcher whose work I really, really respect, has seen fit to be outright rude to me, when I was actually complementing them on their work. I was literally going out of my way to be supportive, when they were catching all sorts of shit from others about work they’d done which was actually really good.
But no. They didn’t want to hear from me. Smackdown. How rude. I mean, it’s one thing to not understand the bare essentials of politeness, but I’ve seen that person be polite to other people, so I know it can be done. By them.
They just decided not to do it with me.
And then there’s that other really, really prominent autistic activist who attacked me, early one Monday morning, because I’d done something they didn’t agree with at all. Accusations were made. I explained my position and told them no offense was ever intended. But it just seemed to enrage them all the more. Long story short, I lost a halfway decent Monday morning to being unreasonably preoccupied by something I thought I’d done wrong. Logic prevailed, eventually, and I realized that I literally had done nothing untoward, but they were having a bad day and didn’t realize that the thing(s) they were accusing me of…. frankly, I actually didn’t do.
I’m more than happy to take responsibility for stuff I’ve done wrong. I apologize several times a day, minimum, for my screw-ups. But when other people come after me — deliberately, malevolently, with an actual desire to harm me in ways they think I harmed them — yeah, that’s where I draw the line.
I wish I could be the bigger person and cut them some slack, because I do believe they do good work, and they’ve contributed a whole lot to people’s understandings about autistic experience. But no. It’s not gonna happen. I still get shaky, thinking about it. And the last thing I want to do, is be anywhere near that person or their work or hear their name.
Now, I totally get that we autistic folks have a different way of socializing. But sorry (not sorry), being outright rude and obnoxious to others, treating them unkindly, ignoring them, freezing them out, and just being nasty about it… that’s something different. That’s not just a maturity thing. That’s a character thing. And I know for a fact, based on the many autistic people I know, that we are not innately deficient in character, just ’cause we’re on the spectrum.
So, I’m breaking my silence to speak about my own experience… as the Foe in the White House is in the process of being vanquished. Just remember, it’s not over yet, and there are a lot of people who have to process this loss (and some who have to learn how to handle the win with a bit more grace and dignity). So, we’re still in for a ride, over the next couple-three months.
Personally, I’m really, really happy for a whole lot of people who now feel like they can breathe a little easier, again. Especially the Black community and other People of Color. The white supremacy that’s cast a shadow over the land (and cast a pallor over our national complexion) seems like it may abate.
At least it’s not quite as much of a default mode, as it has been for far too long.
That truly is cause for celebration. It’s just amazing! I’m relieved in a way that I haven’t been, in quite some time. Justice! Yay! When others are better off, I am better off. Seeing others in pain is excruciating for me, especially when it’s politically/socially sanctioned, and it’s practically mandated by an elected official.
And yet… I’m not exactly celebrating for myself. I mean, no matter how well they retrain society to stop being so incredibly racist, no matter how much more accepting American society becomes, no matter how much more goodness is allowed to express itself in the American public… people are still people. I’m still queer. I’m still autistic. I’m still dealing with a number of invisible issues that I don’t dare tell anyone about, because, well, people are still people, and not everybody gets it, and the cost of being up-front and transparent might be more than I can afford.
It’s always the “might” that gets me, if you want to know (I’m not saying you do, I’m just putting it out there). It’s always the uncertainty about whether someone will be OK with me, or they’ll have issues… whether they’ll be mature enough and experienced enough to not get all triggered ‘n’ whatnot about the issues I make them painfully aware of… or whether I’ll step on a proverbial mine in that explosive-strewn expanse known as social interactions.
Only autistic people can imagine just how stressful it is to walk into one social situation after another literally not knowing if I’ll blow it all up accidentally, and how carefully I tread… conceal… mask… pivot… accommodate… just to not have someone look at me that way with that same old look that says loud and clear, “Tell me you didn’t just _____”.
Anyway, as happy as I am for everyone who stands to gain from this, I don’t actually feel like it has much to do with me or my situation. The hazards are still there. The threats. I’m still persona non grata with a lot of folks, and a different guy in the White House isn’t going to change that. The undercurrent of uncertainty that makes staying inside (quarantine! hooray!!!) seem really, really attractive. Relaxing. A relief. I’m good with not going out, except at 7:30 on a Sunday morning to grocery shop.
And in some ways, the world actually feels more precarious to me, now. Because now I have to figure out which people around me are really nice people, and which are racists and bigots and people who want to kick the shit out of me, but are just being polite on the face of it all. With Trump in office, it’s been easy to spot them, because it’s been a-okay for them to just flex that part of themselves. But now it’s going to become a big secret, again. The world is supposed to become more genteel, more gentle, more civilized, now that Trump’s on the way out. But from what I’ve seen over the past 55 years, people more often learn to hide their bigotry (and then act it out in clandestine ways), rather than evolve into something less hazardous to people like me.
Meh, whatever. I’m probably raining on somebody’s parade, so sorry if I dulled your buzz. But let’s be honest. Especially those of us who grew up in the 60s and 70s. People can be real shits. And a change of leadership in a country, while it helps with setting an example that others may follow, isn’t going to morph the hearts of darkness into beacons of light.
The hearts of darkness are still there.
It’s just going to get harder to see — and avoid them — from here on out.
I think this has gone on long enough. Time for a hiatus.
I started this blog back in 2008, when I was really grappling with my autistic identity. There was so much that seemed like it needed to change, and I wanted to call that out. I wanted to shed light on what is very confusing for a lot of folks who don’t understand Autism, but want to.
So, I did that. I shared. I posted. I posited. I conjected.
And then people were mean to me. They didn’t even bother trying to understand what I was saying and where I was coming from. They were just mean-spirited bastards.
That’s not what I signed up for.
So I went underground.
And resurfaced 8 years later… early 2016, just in time for “Autism Awareness Month”. Ugh.
And I blogged some more. A lot, actually. Hundreds and hundreds of posts. It was cathartic. I thought I was “having an impact”, as they say. And it was fine.
Once again, people showed up with the intention of being mean to me. Only this time, it was people I considered friends, in that online “community” way. People I’d interacted with. Who suddenly decided I didn’t pass their purity test. And they attacked me. One of them came after me, first thing on a Monday morning. That person is a respected “thought leader” in the Autism community who’s been writing a lot and getting positive press. Some of what they say is spot-on. But still, I can’t even tell you how nasty they were to me, over something that wasn’t intentional.
And over the following months after that, even the following years, the tone and flavor of discussion about Autism has continued to be as upsetting to me now, as it was before. I really don’t see much changing outside of myself, although I’m sure there’s been progress. People with more stamina and a more pronounced sense of mission have been Very Very Busy doing Big Things. And I’m sure it’s making an impact.
But I just don’t have the energy for it, anymore. And frankly, I’d rather just be Autistic in my little corner of the world, which means I center my attention and focus on the things that matter to me most, never mind what the rest of the world wants.
I have other projects happening. I have Fascinations that light up my life. I’ve spent far too little time on my Fascinations, over the past years, as I was outwardly focused on Making The World A Better Place, by trying to foster understanding. It’s worn me out, and I’m tired of it.
I’ll leave the fighting (and in-fighting) to the people who are totally into that.
And I’ll leave this blog where it is. I won’t take it down, because I think there’s a lot of good stuff here. But the return on investment is just not great. And I need things to feed me, in return for all the passion I put into them.
Nobody can run forever on proverbial fumes. Not even someone as ideal-driven as me.
I may come back to it, in another 8 years. But don’t hold your breath. Who knows what the world will be like then, anyway?
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.
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.
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 practicesmedicine (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?
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 NOTdo 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!!!
So, 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”.
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.
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.
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.
Well, 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.
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.
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.