Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Nothing About Us, Without Us

One of my favorite groups out there is ASAN (Autistic Self Advocacy Network). The title of this blog post is their slogan, and I think it is a vitally important one, and not just for Autistics.

See, when I was a kid, I was quirky, weird, crazy, and in some ways absolutely out of my mind. Maybe not so much as a little kid, but definitely as a teenager. Hey, those are hard years, multiplied greatly any time you are different than the rest of the kids around you, and have no real explanation as to why you're different.

I didn't relate well to other kids. I had friends almost all the time, but a small group, and in hindsight they were not really good friends. Some actually had the nerve to be my friend, and do terribly torturous things to me at times. I didn't really have a choice.

The most important people when I was a kid was my teachers. In true aspie fashion, I related well with adults, and not so well with kids my age. This makes things complicated, fast, unfortunately.

In my opinion, it's actually pretty sad that a kid and an adult can't be friends without there having to be "more to the story" or something. And because most people think that, they are MORE than willing to put their own spin, judgement, assumptions, and opinions on it. Other kids are just as bad, if not worse. And unfortunately, aspies are typically the kind of people who want to believe you at your word. And, since we tend to be naive, we also will believe what you tell us about certain things, much to our detriment.

We are a society who is squeamish about sex, or romantic relations of any kind. We are greatly uncomfortable with a kid who self pleasures, we balk at curious questions that our tweens might ask as they are growing up and hearing or reading things, and we panic at the thought that our teens might actually be doing things at their age, even though for the most part we do little to nothing to actually stop or properly educate kids to avoid doing these things. We leave them to their own devices (literally, smartphones are the quickest and easiest way to material kids shouldnt be seeing) and we don't think we have to do the work of preventing kids from doing things. We make excuses like "They're going to do it no matter what we say...." instead of even trying.

We make a big deal when a girl and a boy are friends at ages where they aren't even close to knowing or caring what it even means. Saying your 2 year old has a "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" is not exactly the healthiest thing to say, and will set them up for the confusion that they can't be friends with someone without it HAVING to be romantic. We are putting adult content on simple friendships at ages where they haven't even realized that they will even do those things when they get older, at ages where little girls and boys still want to grow up and marry dad or mom! 

So the minute that an adult thinks from their adult perspective that something they see is a romantic or sexual attraction, we panic and we put labels and our own opinionated judgements on it.

I know I've heard people who were called fat over and over say that the hard part is that once you hear that over and over, you actually start to believe it.

I wouldn't say that is any different with romantic relationships, or, as my topic is heading, "assumed" romantic relationships.

I know I've written before about my "crush" on a teacher in high school, and unfortunately for that guy it was 6 years of madness. The longer I think about things, and examine them in my mind, flashbacks come to me. Seriously, the brain is amazing. I remember talking about him in such and such a way, how his class was exciting and fun or something, and a friend telling me "Oooh you loooooooove him!!" and a "light bulb" went on, and I believed her.

I'm not making this stuff up. And for 6 years to follow, thanks to her, I was repeatedly told, tortured, teased and laughed at for being "teachers pet" (but not enough to give me that in senior superlatives) and "loving" this poor guy. To me he took it very well, and even in senior year, he was merciful enough to tell me I wasn't the first girl to go crazy, there were others with other teachers and everything. I felt he was protective of me, he must have realized how naive I really was and I actually hope he didn't take me too seriously. A counselor once told me he wished it would all just go away, but that didn't make sense in the light of the fact that I could ignore him (most often because some other adult made me feel guilty about the whole thing) and he would still treat me the same way.

Now that I'm an adult, became diagnosed, started following Tony Attwood, and ran across this all important video that I have posted about before, that literally, and I'm not kidding you, LITERALLY changed and rocked my world, right to the core. Starting at minute 5:40 or so, I'll try to write up the words here because they are so critically important, not just for me to explain to you, but for myself as well.

"..We've had a lot of discussion on the difference between special interest friends and intimate friends and how from the outside an NT, looking at a relationship between an aspergian and an NT that could look like as if it's intimate is actually nothing more than a special friendship. One example would be a professor and a student, where the student to some degree looks like he or she is idolizing a professor, but it's a very platonic thing."

T.A. "It is, but those with aspergers might idolize intellect, not physique. In other words, they're not necessarily having a crush, in terms of wanting a sexual relationship, they're admiring the intellect of that person. Another component is the tendencies to assume that people are sexually orientated. Many people with aspergers are what I call asexual, they're not interested in a sexual relationship with someone. They're interested in an intellectual relationship and may be very enthusiastic and for that, but people will project onto that person, that their motives are sexual. 'NO! It's the brain I'm interested in, it's the ideas that I'm interested in, not physical.'"

"That frames up her question nicely. She's wondering how to protect these people that are involved in this non romantic special interest relationship. So it is in her best interest to say 'This is my sister the student, she is not looking at him as a sexual object, she is admiring his intellect."

T.A. "Oh, absolutely. And in aspergers intellect can be one of the most important, if not THE most important, personality characteristics that you admire in people. So it's the intellect I'm interested in, not that person in terms of a sexual relationship. And in fact, the person with aspergers is then horrified, that people would, 'But no! I'm interested in his ideas, I'm interested in what he says because it's so fascinating.' But the degree of passion for the ideas is assumed to be a sensual/sexual passion. But it's an intellectual passion. Now, I don't know whether you're allowed to do this, but I would say it creates an intellectual orgasm. Whether you can actually put this on youtube, or whether, I don't know. But that intellectual orgasm is so enjoyable it's better than an interpersonal orgasm."

"Well, okay, is that something that we try to explain to other NTs?"

T.A. "Yes, because otherwise they'll misinterpret. The person whos the focus of this usually recognizes its not sexual, it's not sensual, because they just sense that it's the mind that's being explored. And other people think 'Oh with that degree of adulation, there must be a hidden agenda, she's doing this so she can appeal to that person to get higher grades, to use a bit of the sort of strategies that could be used to tempt someone', and that's not their intention."

"Why are we as NTs sometimes so disgusting in the conclusions we draw?"

"Because we're looking at ourselves and what we would do in that situation, and realize there can be completely different motives."


That was a lot of work, but so important.

I can see almost every piece of that fits into the situation in which I found myself. I wish someone had had the knowledge in which to explain that to me, to him, back then. I wish someone had had enough of an ability to diagnose me with aspergers! Give me some answers, give me some reasons, give me some explanation for so many things.

But, even though this was above and beyond one of the greatest times of my life, it was, at the same time, one of the most confusing.
He is absolutely brilliant. He knew what he was teaching, he didn't just read it out of some book. And he loved it and made me love it, which is great because now I love Biblical history too! 

I wasn't horrified at the suggestion that it was romantic because I didn't know any better. I believed what I was told, because that's what happens to naive people in school where you honestly sense you aren't as "street smart" as everyone else, so you believe what they are projecting onto you, your friendships/relationships, and your life. And to hear Tony Attwood say "The person who's the focus of this usually recognizes its not sexual, it's not sensual, because they just sense that it's the mind that's being explored." is amazing, because like I said, he never treated me differently, no matter what I was told by other adults, no matter what it seemed like. It's almost like he knew and understood what it was, but didn't really have the words or explanation for it himself, so it must be what everyone is saying... maybe they even projected onto him what it was, because no one had the words, insight, knowledge or sense to see it any other way. Though, parts of me hesitate to assume he thought anything, I'm just thinking of it from my angle both as the student involved and the adult looking back with more wisdom and just plain knowledge than I had back then.

And the only reason I'm bringing this all back up is because it comes up from time to time. I am doing some different things - counseling/life coaching style things - and a phone group discussion I was faced with "other people's projections" as someone who apparently knows me made the comment of how they were "afraid for me" during that time.

Afraid of what, exactly? That's what I would like to know.

And unfortunately, as I think about it and roll it around in my head (because that's what I do with everything in my life), I realize with a sinking feeling in my stomach that every single person who knew, every single person who was around in my life back then, every single person in the school, they all knew, and they all projected onto me their assumptions of what was going on. And further, they talked about me behind my back, whether to him or not, I may never know. And they haven't forgotten, and they still think of me on those terms. They were worried. I don't know if they were worried I'd get hurt, or if they were worried I would embarrass myself, or if they were worried that I would come on to him, or do something inappropriate, I don't know what they were worried about. I was a rule following, card carrying perfectionist, but I would break ranks to come on to a teacher because, in their eyes, I was in love.

And, even if I were in love with him, even when I believed it was true, I followed the rules. I knew what was right and wrong, and I don't think that I would have ever done anything that I would have viewed as crossing the line. I knew and understood there was a line. Others made no mistake to remind me of the line as well, as if they thought they were telling me something I didn't already know.

The problem, maybe, is that what I did do they viewed as crossing some line.

As an aspie, again, I related better with adults. And that made other adults uncomfortable. They just didn't know what they didn't know.

Which brings me to my title: Nothing About Us Without Us. 

It's just good life principle to not make assumptions about other people's intentions, motives, thoughts, words, actions, without first checking with them, and clarifying if necessary ("I hear you saying ______, is that right?)
How much difference would it have made, in both my life back then, and as a whole, if someone had just asked me what my intentions were, what I liked him for? And maybe I wouldn't have had the words to tell them either. But I still feel there would have been a drastic, clear difference between someone who literally wanted to get him into bed with him, and me who just wanted to pick his brain, have deep conversations about things that mattered, and learn from him! It should have been obvious to any logical adult, but I guess they had already made their minds up what it was, and didn't think it was necessary to ask

I think everyone who reads this needs to be aware of this human tendency to make assumptions instead of asking. We need to not talk about people as if they are unable to be a part of the conversation, whether autistic or NT. I don't care if they are nonverbal, we need to stop putting words into the mouths of others, our thoughts into their brains, our motives into their motives. From kids to adults, disability or not, we need to make no judgements on people, and allow everyone the benefit of the doubt. For the most part, I believe that most humans are just trying to do the best they know how. Obviously there are exceptions to that, and that's too bad. But we shouldn't let those exceptions be the rule for all people, especially not people we know, especially not our friends. And even more critical to teach those things to kids, so they don't have to be adults who have to change.

Nothing about ANYONE, without THEM. Let the subject of the rumor have the voice. Don't be afraid to ask people, using discretion to privacy when possible or necessary. Catch yourself when you are starting to make judgements about someone's intentions (yes, I did catch my own judgements above, I don't really have the ability to go back and ask every single one of those people what they think anymore - I'm talking when you do it in your present life, with your current relationships.) And stop others from doing it. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Give people the other side of the coin. Be the one who says "Well, maybe it's not like you say."

You might just change someone's world that way.





Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Thinking Back To College

It was discovered today that one of the years I was in college they had something I didn't remember them having: a gun room.

It doesn't bother me, I'm not anti gun, and actually it is cool that they have that. People up here are outdoors people, and that includes hunting. I can't remember there EVER being any issues with anyone shooting anyone at that school, or any other school up here for that matter. 

But what I realized most is that there were probably lots of things that were there, happening, or whatever, that I don't remember. I know this not just because of the gun room, but because there are pictures of me being places that I have no memory of being doing things I have no memory of doing. 

I do have a lot of memories, but there are other things that are completely gone. Strange.

I think I know what happens tho. 

I think that when you are under new circumstances that are stressful, or overwhelming, your tired brain has to choose what it's going to remember or focus on. I could have walked right into that gun room and not remembered it because it was not relevant information to me. I didn't have a gun, so I had no reason to know where the room was, much less use it. 

Does that make sense? Really, if my brain was overloaded, I had no ability whatsoever to learn anything new, take in anything new, or pay attention to details that had nothing to do with me.

Things aren't much different today. I have three kids, so if it doesn't have much to do with keeping three children alive, I probably wont remember it without prodding. I have to put anything I need to remember into my "brain" - aka phone calendar - in case something unexpected happens and I forget what day it is or that I had something to do. 

I do not have the processing ability to remember anything that isnt urgent or right before me. :P 

Such is life with an overwhelmed brain I guess.

That all being said, I still remember details of things better than most people. I remember things people said and how they said it and I swear sometimes they don't even remember.
But sometimes, there's just no ability.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Checking In, Anxiety Lessened

I just hopped over to my blog to post it somewhere, and I was reminded that the last post I was talking about the horrible anxiety.

THANKFULLY, the anxiety has lessened. I don't know when or how, exactly, but it did seem to go down a bit when I did two things:
1. Gave myself a rule that I wasn't going to look at one certain thing that was giving my anxiety.
2. Signed up for not one, but two, different counseling things.

I've already had a couple of sessions with the one - it's over the phone. This lady is fabulous. I've already discovered a couple of things about myself that I didn't realize, so I'm making progress. Maybe this time we can actually figure out solutions (or replacements) for my worrisome anxieties and help me to get better, not just to get to ground level and just wait around for the next depression to drown me. 

I like that a lot. I still worry, right now. I still wonder. I had a quick doctor's appt, which basically did nothing to help since she didn't actually do any testing. But I have a complete physical the end of the month, so maybe I will feel better then.

But I have work to do. I don't like work. But it's something I'll have to do because I want to be better, not keep falling down all the time.

So that's just a quick catch up.

Word to the wise: Don't try to go it alone. Don't try to tell yourself, like I have, that you will feel better and it's ok. Get help. Don't live like this. You don't deserve to feel this way. You don't have to feel this way for a day longer. Just get help. Don't worry about the money, you're losing money dealing with this depression, or anxiety, or whatever. Just get help. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

I Am SOOOOO Done With Anxiety

I don't know why. I don't know what. All I know is that for several months now I have been hit hard with some awful, terrible, no good, very bad, overwhelming, life altering, drop dead anxiety, and no matter what I do so far, I can't kick it.

I could take a walk (or two) every day.
I could eat better (but I do eat rather okay mostly I think).
I could pray and read the Bible more.
I could listen to better music.
I could watch less TV.
I could use screens less.
I could exercise.

But you know what? I really can't. It's almost as if you know the cure is just a foot away, and you can't take one step to get there. You're paralyzed. 

All the info out there telling people what they should do, how they can cure, recover, heal, whatever. All of it means nothing when you literally feel so overwhelmed you just want to sit on the couch all day watching movies (or letting the kids watch movies) and play nonsense on your phone.

We haven't had insurance either, so I haven't been able to just go see my doctor. Applying for insurance while self employed is no easy thing. They have these nice little "assistants" to help you apply, but when I went to see her, she wouldn't even look at what I had, I had to have calculated some perfect and pretty little number for her before I came. And that's the PROBLEM - I don't know how. I had to have some serious back and forth with our accountant to figure it out and I still honestly do not know if its going to be okay. I submitted it, finally, after two months since having it restarted (not counting the 6 months of not knowing what to do, figuring we could use our tax return, finding out we had to cancel the kids in order to reapply for all of us, finding out we couldn't use last years tax return at all...). That is finally not hanging over my head anymore.

But they will come back and ask for proofs, I'm sure. Then I'll have to send them our handwritten documentation (because that's just how we are doing it at this point) and they will probably not have a clue what they are doing and will make it a huge mess. So, I may have submitted the forms, but I still can't see my doctor because it isn't finalized yet. B lost his insurance too so they won't even send his lady until thats sorted out too. I figured they would just wait for reapplying and back pay, but I guess not. So that's a major bummer as well.

Then it rains this dreary, cold rain for like 2 days and I feel so terrible!

Its just over a week until we leave on our big trip.

It makes me wonder if this big trip is what's causing me so much anxiety! I mean, it is a bit daunting, thinking of traveling so far (for the first time as a family), into the mountains a bit (which can be both scary roads and height sickness - tho I hope the little mountains will be ok), with three kids, one of which is a suspicious toddler.. but I thought I was excited about it! I have it all "under control" - I have started my list writing so I don't forget anything I think I need, but I still feel stressed out about getting it all packed. You can't really pack your clothes and not wear clothes all week. 

And hubby ends up not working, after only 3 days of good hauling again, because they have to move to a new job now. Seriously, I'm not prepared for that. We are still learning what it is like, what it is going to look like, working for ourselves. The money is better but there are other responsibilities too, plus waiting around if its "too wet to work", which is what it's been like pretty much all spring.

I just have so many fears, and as a Christian we are told that we are not to fear, that we are to give them to God.
Why do I find that so much easier said than done?
Why do I just pray and pray in my mind and in the night that God would just take this all from me, that I would be able to wake and live in peace like I had been before this all started, only to find it constantly crippling me?

I've been working on my perfectionism - listening to a great podcast about it. I'm learning quite a lot, and I feel like I can let go of some of that perfectionism, and especially since having #3, I have come a long way.

But I think the devil knows that I'm trying to break free, and so in response he is trying to drag me down even deeper into his horrible, depressive pit.

I think it seems to work around my cycle too, proving that it's probably related to my hormones again. They could suppliment my hormones, but if they do that my milk would dry up, and I feel like if there is one thing I'm doing well in my life, one thing that's going well, one thing that's making me feel like I'm succeeding at something, anything. 

I just want to be past this portion of life. I want to be over it. I guess no, I don't want to go back to the more superficial life, but I want to not get so overwhelmed. I want to be less tired all the time. I want to feel like going outside and doing things. I want to be happier, and healthier. I want to be able to have the strength, motivation and energy to do the things that will make me happier and healthier.

I don't know. I just know that I don't want to feel this way anymore, but I'm trapped about how to get out of it. Right now, as I said, insurance is keeping me from seeing my doctor and getting physically (and hormonally) checked out. So now I feel tied down to someone else's ability to act on things so I can act on my end. :( 

I'll get through this, I always do. God always brings me healing after depressive episodes. In the meantime though, I'm left to suffer through it minute by minute some days.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Tired and Overwhelmed = Mean

I've taken a little self reflection and it didn't take much to realize that I have a problem: when I get tired and overwhelmed, I lose any and all amounts of patience and I get "mean".

I don't want to do this, so how do I figure this out?

This is a super short post, but it's just something I'm throwing this out there...

Monday, May 22, 2017

Secondary Disturbance

So, I recently heard about this thing called 'secondary disturbance', and it was something I had never considered. How many times, I wonder, have I been anxious about being anxious?

When I was in school, I would regularly get a sick and icky feeling quite often, but even more often when it was winter, or dark and cloudy, or something sad/bad/frustrating was going on. It was a feeling as if the world was all in grey. My stomach would just ache and feel horrible, and all kinds of other random things.

On the rare occassion that I would feel okay, I wonder how many times I psyched myself into being sick again just by worrying about whether or not I was going to feel sick again. 

Anyone else have a similar experience?

I think I'm doing it to myself lately, since I have frequently not been feeling well. I think I may have been a bit anemic, and switching up a vitamin I seem to be feeling mostly better. But I am still occassionally having a stomachache that I think fits this description of 'secondary disturbance' better. I may just be worried that I might feel sick again, and feeling sick makes me feel panicky that something else is wrong, and I'm literally making myself sick worrying about feeling sick and worrying that being sick means something is seriously wrong with me!

Anyway, short post today, but I had to get that off my chest.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Friends & Family and the Confusion Therein

A song came on my spotify today that took me back a few years to when I would listen to a radio show of an acquaintance from college. They was working a radio show at my first year college radio station and the song I requested was "too pop 40" for the station, but they thought I would like that song, and I did. I liked many of the songs from that artist, and several others I became connected with because of that suggestion. He's a really hysterical guy, one of the people I figured were too cool for me almost the entire year, so I kept my distance because I wasn't possibly good enough. I barely got to know people before it was over. But I digress....

And somewhere along the line, that friend disappeared from my fb. My assumptions was they blocked me, and that it were that it was a liberal/conservative sort of thing. I'm getting better at not being rude about beliefs because so many people are so touchy about things. I don't remember having a specific conversation with them where we disagreed, or where I was specifically rude TO them, they just blocked me with no indication as to why.

Again just recently another acquaintance seems to have blocked me, again I can only assume that things I was sharing in jest of something must have pushed them over the edge? It bothers me because, again, there was no conversation, no arguement, just ... gone.

Why oh WHY do people do that? I mean, don't you know there is ANOTHER option, UNFOLLOWING someone? Why is BLOCKING someone the action of choice? Why is it that drastic? Some little thing that I post is that horrible that you just silently run from it by BLOCKING me altogether?

What on earth?! What did I do to you, directly, to make you do that anyway? Did you ever think of asking me, saying something, having a discussion?

It really shouldn't matter, should it. Really, if that is all it takes to want them out of my life completely, they weren't really friends anyway, right?

I'm not the kind of person who forgets people though. There's still a DJ I was friends with once that I wish I could at least hear what he's doing now. Again, it's for the best. But I still wonder, because I care about people. If you're in my life, it's because I WANT you there, not because I'm just adding someone to add them. I want the people I connect with to connect with me. Sadly that's rarely the case, I guess.

I also give people chances. I'm MUCH better at this than I ever used to be, but even years ago I was always too naive to ever think that anyone was doing or saying something specifically to be mean to me. I was the one who was making excuses for them. I still do that. "Maybe they are _____". or "Maybe they arent returning my messages because they haven't been on" or whatever. I try really hard to give people the benefit of the doubt, because if I were to "take a break" from connection, I wouldn't want people to think it was because I was purposely ignoring them.
But then, why does it go on, and on, and on, and weeks go by, and no response? Why does it go beyond my ability to make excuses for someone, until I can have almost no doubt they are ignoring me for a reason. WORSE, they have no conceivable reason to do so. Again and again I'm having to wonder, what did I ever do to you?

I've had family members (who to be honest we don't see very often) both completely ignore me even if I sat down right next to them and talked to them, AND when we see them they act all family to my face, but in normal circumstances they completely don't care one bit about me. My sister is apparently fine, and worth talking to, but me? I'm apparently a horrible person who they don't have time for. Again and again, what did I ever do to you?

I'm smart enough to realize that the problem isn't me, because I haven't done anything deserving to be treated that way. This is their problem. They are missing out by being bitter and mean and shutting people out. But I would still like to sit here and make excuses for their behaviors, justify it or explain it somehow, at least for myself. I want to try to believe anything except that they are actually that rude, mean and hurtful. But as time ticks by, either I get impatient, or they actually are that rude.

I keep trying to figure out why this happens to me. I keep trying, as I said, to justify their behavior toward me as something having nothing to do with me.

Every time I'm just as mystified as the last time. It doesn't make any sense, we didn't have any argument, or anything. Just, they were gone. I don't get that. I really don't. 

It's life, I guess. Will never have the explanations for it. It will drive me crazy until the day I die and probably longer.

In the end, I don't understand it because I am an honest person. And when I'm your friend, I'm really a friend. I'll support your stuff and share your talents and try to connect you with people I know you would like or something. I'm true blue. And I think that it's a real rejection when people drop me like trash, because I don't know how I could have gone wrong. I still have a lot to learn, but dropping me like trash won't teach me anything. At least fill me in so I can be more aware. I am still just a person and aspergers might make me less aware than I aught to be. Just tell me. Don't tell me and block me, tell me and let me figure out what you're saying. Have a conversation you pansy! Don't be afraid to tell me what's the matter and help me understand it and let me explain things. Because OFTEN I have been misjudged and misunderstood. Sometimes I say or do things and it comes across completely wrong. That's a weakness I have, but I can't learn anything from just being dropped. You have to get a backbone and tell me sometimes. It would be at least respectful to the fact that I let you in my life at all.

So. That.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

We Survived The Twin Cities!

I'm most definitely an introvert.
I'm also a country girl. I'm so glad that the one time we thought about moving to a city, we weren't able to. I am seriously grateful. At the time it was disappointing but really I didn't have a lot of disappointment about it because deep down, I know I wouldn't be happy there. But seriously, I'm so grateful to still be living our simple, quiet, peaceful country life!

This past weekend, we spent three nights - THREE - in the Twin Cities. W.O.W.
I've been down there before, and actually was alone and had to do my own driving, so it's not that bad. I go to the MACHE conference for homeschooling. This was my 4th year, though 2 of those were only in Duluth. You are allowed to take babies under 18 months so baby came with me when I was there on Friday. It wasn't so bad, but the carrying of bags is always a problem for me! But still, I thought he wouldn't be too bad in a class or two. NOPE. That was not going to happen. I tried one for about 5 minutes. They record the classes or it might not be so big a deal. Though, apparently, they haven't discovered the beauty in high technology. See, my husband has a headset that he can use to make phone calls, and he can literally be using a chainsaw and I won't hear it. So why can't these people/places figure out how to get a sound system/mic system that doesn't pick up baby noises in the BACK of the room? I mean, it's not like I'm the kind of person who always sits in the front row or something! 

Anyway. So I will have to be ordering recordings of the seminars I wanted to hear because they were GOOD ones. "What do I do with a Resistant Learner", "What about THAT Child" and especially "Attention Obsessive Compulsive Perfectionist Control Freaks". :P 

Anyway, Friday evening we had to get to the MOA because the Sea Life had a homeschool week special rate! SUPER low. So we went. And we survived! We also had long promised our son a trip to the Lego store to pick bricks from the wall. Bonnie even got her own cup full with pink and purple legos! She was pretty happy about that! And they got their own hand made minifigure. We made it to the MOA, and out, and didn't have too much trouble - except the afraid of heights husband who was freaking out the whole time especially at diner when we had to eat on the third floor, right above the Lego store. I got chipotle! Yay! 

Saturday we had some time before the one seminar I really wanted to go to, so we went to Como Zoo! That zoo is always fun and they had Earth Day things there too so we got some free seeds and stuff too! I always end up feeling bad for the giraffes who have such a small enclosure, especially when they are inside all winter! I hope someday they change that and allow them to have more room!

Then we tried to go to the conference again. I really only wanted to go to one seminar (the Obsessive Compulsive one), so Hubby was going to just somehow man all three kids somewhere - probably the car. HAHA.
We get down in that area, and there's thousands of people, and a bunch of loud music and stuff. Some hockey event. No parking. Nowhere to even drop me off, and hubby didn't want to do it anyway. So we gave up, we were all hungry, it was lunch time anyway. So we headed out, found the nearest Perkins and had lunch, then headed to Apple Valley where we had gotten another (better) hotel for the last night of the weekend. 

That was a really good day/night. We just relaxed in the hotel, took a walk and then went to Panera Bread for dinner - someplace we'd never been. WOW is that place amazing. Went to the pool and relaxed. Well, that evening littlest baby fell into the sink counter thing and chipped his front tooth! :( Poor baby. it didnt look too bad, so it's not like I tried calling around at 9 pm for someone to check him out (though now trying to find someplace to check him out I kinda wish I had had the energy to find someone on emergency basis or something). It has to be filed down so I'm hoping I'm going to find someplace to look at it and file it down since its a bit of a scratch when he nurses.

Anyway, next day, we have a normal morning and check out, planning on heading to the MOA again because we also got special homeschool rate tickets to the Crayola Adventure! It was 9:30, and the mall apparently doesn't open until 11. So, since it was literally right there, we made a last minute stop at the MN Zoo! Left there right after lunch, and went to the MOA. Crayola was wild, although I could have sworn somewhere it said "make your own crayon" when they really mean "make your own label for a crayon we already have". But the kids had a lot of fun doing all of that stuff there, and we got three tins of markers and crayons of our choice (coolest part was you can indeed fit one of every color they had there into the smallest tin). 

We had dinner (Yay for discovering Panera Bread, although I sure could have used another stop at Chipotle) and got out of there around 6 or something. We go out to the car, and we knew when we left the car that the planes were going right over the parking garage, so we looked and sure enough you can see right up the runway from there, so we took some time there and watched planes take off. It's like a bus station, one every 2 minutes or something! Like a well oiled machine, planes coming in from the left, and taking off right toward us, crossing paths, so it seems, but never with any trouble whatsoever. It was kinda cool! With just a few potty stops we got home around 11. 

Now recovery mode! I'm completely worn out. My head hurts. Muscles are sore from constant baby carrying and walking! Crazy how that happens, and I guess I must be getting old and lazy because I don't remember that happening so badly before, though I've never spent three days carrying babies either. That, and pillows in hotels are never good it seems like! I must remember to bring my own pillow from now on. 

But we survived the MOA! TWICE! We have literally never gone, I don't think. (I've been when I was a kid a few times. Camp Snoopy was better.) And this weekend we went TWICE. That's crazy! Got all unpacked (I think) and supposed to start back at the school work this afternoon. whew. Lots of emails to sort, and phone call to make (waiting to hear back from a place to see little baby chipped tooth). Checkbook work to do.

And I hope that we don't have to go anywhere for a month. Except the tooth filing I hope to have done for the baby, the MNsure application meeting we have tomorrow... blegh.

Now, we have to pray like crazy that we did not run into any germs, because I do NOT want to deal with sicknesses.

One more thing!
As we were going home, we opened the windows and hubby noticed at some point it felt like it was getting a bit cooler, and sure enough it was - it had dropped some 20 degrees! See, in the Twin Cities, it had been in the 70s all weekend. We knew that it had snowed a bit at home, but we didn't really realize that when we got north of White Bear Lake, it would be so cold! Here's a map or 2:



Seriously wild! There are even a couple of rogue temperatures in there, I can assure you at no point was that one spot in the 60s. Which means that other spot was for sure not in the 70s either. I even have my doubts over that one 40 degree mark up there too.
This post is taking me 2 days to write, so I'll update one little thing: we went to the person to help us with our MNsure and the kids and adults in our case are screwed up. The adults are closed because we didn't send in the renewal. The kids are open, they are through MA instead of MNcare, so I have to call MNcare, see if we can renew, and if not, I have to call the county to cancel the kids before we can reapply. What a mess they have made of this system! That is absolutely rediculous. :( 

But anyway. We are mostly recovered, though it has been quite a battle trying to get some school work done again. Fighting it, and today we had to leave for that meeting, so its extra bad. I hope we get back on track tomorrow. We are already behind this week.

Just keep swimming...

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Haircut


So, we've been kinda celebrating.
Celebrating my husband's hard working paying off, how hard he works for us and how he's finally achieved a dream of working for himself, with his own truck. He's done so well! Now that he's on spring break (when road restrictions go on so you can't haul as much, around here called 'breakup') we have been doing some things to celebrate.

We bought a new fridge. Ours is as old as the house (1997 or something like that), and it has started to just run and run and run and the temperature didnt seem quite right. The water in the door had stopped working well, a seal or something would leak if we used the water, tho we were still using ice. And we knew it was time. We also wanted something bigger. We got a new dishwasher. We knew that was on the list next too, but what spurred it right now was the price. There was one there that was on discount because it had a ding in it, and we were even offered a bigger deal on it over the marked price, so SOLD!

We also spent a weekend away, which we often do this time of year whether we should or not, because after a long winter it is just time to do that. On our way, my hubby wanted a haircut, something I usually do but hadn't had the time to do lately. So all of us (except baby) got a haircut. #2 B and I had gotten one not that long ago, I think January, but I thought we would go for at least a little trim. I thought #2 B wanted to go for a summer bob, but I think she was too worried about it? I don't know. She got a shoulder length.

Me, I was going for a certain look:


What I got was:


The back is super short. Like, my son's haircut. That freaked me out the most. I've had bobs like this in the past, a couple times. But never have I ever had it this short anywhere on my head, nor had I wanted it this short.
I did ask for VB's haircut, but I was thinking of the more grown out version. I guess it wasn't even on my radar that she had started it out this short. :P I was still thinking I'd come out with shoulder length in the front, but it's cheek to chin length now.

Well, I followed myself through stages of greif. What I learned is that you don't always go through them and get over it. You go through them, then you go through them again. Sometimes you don't go through them in the same order, sometimes you get depression first. 

Anyway. I'm glad to say that I think I am finally through it. What got me through it was yesterday I ended up finally looking for pictures of what I wanted, and I had an easier time finding the short short version, instead of the longer version. So at least I know when I said "like Victoria Beckham had a while back..." I know what she saw in her mind. And, that the cut I wanted is only a couple inches off, and I will still get it! 

If nothing else, it taught me I need to be more merciful to my husband. You know how you tell people things to make them feel better about something they don't like? My hubby doesn't like his gray hair. I'm a bit younger, so I don't share his problem (yet, they are starting to show up tho...), so I guess I can't really understand. But I don't care, I like him as he is. I'd like him as a dyed blonde too, which is what he always used to do. I married an older man, and I prefer that. :P But he really doesn't. He just doesn't like it. I just didn't like this cut either. And telling me it was fine didn't help at the time either.

Mostly, this haircut was unexpected and a huge irreversible change. Aspies don't like that. Especially, I would say, with their appearance. It's hard enough when something changes outside of yourself. I think that's much worse when it's a part of you, especially when it was a change you didn't ask for and didn't expect.

But given time, space, safety to cry, we get through it. The comments of how good it looks didn't help me feel better, but it helps now. At least I don't look weird. Well, at least no one tells me I do. 



Monday, March 13, 2017

Go All Out!

I'm not really a risk taker. I don't have any desire to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, IF you could get me ON the airplane in the first place! I won't ever feel the need to bungee jump just to prove something, it's not on my bucket list or something. I don't want to do things that make me scared because I have enough stress, anxieties and fears, I don't need to purposely do more things...

But I have noticed that there have been a few times when I did things that were pretty risky!

I don't consider getting married young "risky". In fact, I encourage it. Don't make a life and try to fit someone else in it, get married and then make a life together. That's kinda the point. When you make your own life, you end up kinda stubborn and unwilling to accept someone else's mess. Anyway, I digress.

However, when I got married, I took a risk. It wasn't the spouse, the dress, the age, the timing. It was the location.
We got married outside, at the lake near where we grew up. 

Did I have a back up location? Nope. I just prayed it wouldn't rain. It didn't. Not even close. But if it had? I had NO backup. I have no idea what we would have done. Maybe we would have gotten married in the rain? I don't know. I guess we would have had some friends pull some strings at the Lutheran Church, which would have been the biggest in town. But I had no plan. 

I did something else too like that.

I had a homebirth without backup.
I mean, I know where we would have gone, just for simplicities sake, but I probably would have wanted to go to my "normal doctor" in the other town. But still, I had no backup. I didn't talk to them and ask if they would be there if we transferred. Though I think this is probably normal for homebirths, I was thinking about it the other day and made the connection between this risk and the wedding location risk. I had NO backup. I went ALL IN on my plans, and just prayed it wouldn't rain, and that nothing would go wrong.

I am so lucky. Everything went just fine, and beautiful, and I have these two incredible experiences. 

Maybe someday I will jump out of a perfectly good airplane.

As long as its a foot from the ground.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Anxiety, My Old Friend, Nice To See You

It has been tough lately again. Mostly, inside. However, as you might expect, what is inside comes outside. Tho, I honestly don't feel as if things on the outside are much different. So I don't know.

I've been plagued with non stop anxiety about this thing or that thing, this means that and that means this. OH NO I'M DYING. Know what I mean? If you don't suffer from anxiety, then you probably don't. 

It has been a little out of control lately and it has to stop.

I just don't know exactly how.

I have gotten over a couple of little things I was freaking out about - thanks to prayer and logic. However, once one thing eases up, another thing pops up.

So now I've got a crazy numb tingle down a leg, and I'm sure it means my bad posture has caught up with me and I'm giving myself back problems. I probably should be seeking out some help with massage or chiropractic. Somehow the thought of setting that up, finding somewhere for the kids to be, leaving them for an hour (the little one mostly), and actually going to things makes me stressed out.

It is actually that I have to do some kind of muscle therapy, strengthening, physical therapy. Only our insurance is in flux right now - we didn't renew because we didn't have enough information to give them for income. Of course.

So many balls in the air and none of them are going to be caught it seems like. I don't know.

I don't really like this. I don't really think it's fun. Go ahead, say all the cliche things. However don't forget that if I could just make it go away, I wouldn't have invited it to come and stay in the first place!
So have patience with me. Give me your tips. Send me your prayers. Thanks.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Overwhelm In Florida

Part of the fun of being an adult diagnosed aspie is looking back at my life, and even remembering specific moments, and being able to explain to myself, or others, why things were a certain way for me, or why I behaved a certain way.

I thought of just one of those times recently, and I couldn't get it out of my head. So I get to put that to words now!

When I was in school, we got to take a band trip to Florida for an All American Music Festival! It was literally a once in a lifetime opportunity. They didn't return to Florida for that again until last year, 15-16 years after we went (or so). We had the band, choir and a smaller group of us in show choir! Basically, for a few years, or one year, they had a required class up against choir in the schedule. So many of us couldn't take choir, so we made up our own choir group that met in the morning before school, and we did show tunes and stuff like that. We sang and did choreography. It was pretty genius, looking back.

Well, when we went, of course it included things like Disneyworld, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom (if I remember right).

I think the moment I am thinking of was after a long day at Disneyworld. Now, it's March, but in Florida. We left Minnesota in snow, and came back to more sticky wet snow (which felt great on sunburns). So it was warm. And you've just stuck an undiagnosed aspie into a VERY busy place. I had a pretty good time, despite being hung out to dry by a friend. She teased me about calling my favorite teacher, really strung me along quite a while, then flipped the switch and started calling me a freak and really spazzing out on me. I ended up in my mom's room (she was a chaperone, luckily) and ended up wandering around with her. But still, as fun as it might have been, and as beautiful and exciting, after a long day doing that, I was pretty much exhausted. I wasn't just tired physically either, I was emotionally exhausted. Top that off with some overstimulation (which none of us would have realized was happening) and you have a pretty unhappy picture!

So, we get to the parking lot and something had happened with the buses, like ours wasn't there or the one there had broke down or something. I don't remember. But I know there was a long long wait for our bus. And because they were bored, they decided we would do some of our songs or something. Which doesn't bother me, until they wanted to do show choir songs and choreography. I DID NOT WANT TO. I don't know how long it went on, but I did NOT want to do it. I tried to tell them I was tired, I didn't feel like it, just do it without me, just leave my place open or whatever in the lines and just do it themselves. But they would NOT leave me alone and finally forced me to do it. I hated the fact that I was ignored and disrespected and it marred my experience. A lot of that came from the fact that no one understood my needs or why I felt that way. 

Looking back now, I know I was just overwhelmed, and forcing someone to cooperate or socialize, who's spent all day in a loud, noisy, sunny, hot walkabout isn't really a good idea.

I still to this day do not know what their problem was with just doing it without me. There is no reason that they had to force me to do it. I really don't. They could have done it without me while I continued to recover from the day. Then oddly so many people called it a highlight. Really? A highlight, but at my expense. Thanks.

I see my son all the time becoming uncooperative and overwhelmed and not wanting to participate. There are many times when it is unavoidable and he has to continue the course. But when there are situations when we can avoid it, we put him somewhere where he can be alone and get over it himself. That is very effective, actually.
Had they just left me alone, they wouldn't have aggravated me more than I already was, and I might have joined in when I was ready all on my own without their forceful coercion. That would have made the experience much happier, and comfortable, and memorable.

Which leads into just a general comment on respect. 

We as humans need to start paying attention to our own actions. We need to accept that people can only give what they give, do what they do, offer what they offer, whatever. We often have expectations of people that are not always fair. We can't expect everyone to be the same. Worse is when you have to realize that you can't expect everyone to be the same kind of person you are. I've lost friends over this. When you expect people will drive the same mile for you that you do for them, you will eventually be disappointed. And with some people, you will be disappointed OFTEN. 

We need to give people their autonomy. We need to be able to ask them to participate, and not force them. We need to accept a "no" for an answer, and let them join in when they are ready. Having an argument and forcing them will only lead to scars. I know it did for me. I don't lose sleep at night, but I can still hear their critical voices basically telling me I was stupid for trying to stand up for my own needs to recover. Their voices still ring in my head as clear as if it were yesterday.

Some people will remember things like that too. They will remember the scars you left behind, but not so much any good you did.

And again, teenagers have brain damage, and don't act rationally. :P 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Drowning In Illness:: Holiday Recap

I forgot to check the last time I made a post. But I can be almost certain it was before October 2016, right?
We have had almost non stop illness since October/November. Thanksgiving thru now has found someone sick on every single day it seems. Although, it takes me longer to recover from the stress and overwhelm of having sick kids, so I always feel like they are sicker longer than they are because I'm still forced to try to recover.

Top that off with an extra dose of naughtiness (maybe due to the sickness?) and it has made for one heck of a fall/winter so far. We don't normally get sick very often, so this has been very unusual and taxing. And we don't seem to be alone, so many people are sick, even up to the Queen.

I managed to get most of normal Christmas stuff done. However it took me much much longer than normal. One kid won't stay in bed in the morning, one kid won't stay in bed at night, and yet another won't even go to sleep or stop crying long enough for me to wrap presents. It was interesting, having to spread it all out over several days and weeks. I don't like it. 

I still have a few presents to wrap. Luckily, my siblings didn't come for Christmas, so all their presents are still here, even if some are unwrapped. I hope to get to them, but it's really hard. I even had to finish a present for my dad and was kinda glad I didn't see them on Christmas because I couldn't finish in time. 

It was hectic.
I was stressed.
I've been and continue to be overwhelmed.
I don't like it.

My husband is being patient with me about the tree being up. I don't want to take it down before my siblings have been here and done presents. It is fine to maintain it being up. But with undetermined plans for my siblings whether they will come up or not, I don't know how long we will have to wait.

Part of the problem too has been the weather. With a huge Christmas day storm, and then a storm New Years night - 2nd as well, it left pretty much little to no travel safety for them to come here. My brother was off all week but his girlfriend wasn't, so they couldnt come up either when the weather was good.

It's hard to not feel as if I'm just not a priority to some people. This isn't just about Christmas or New Years, I feel like this often. If someone hasn't talked to me in a while, or something like that, I get all confused as to what the "rules" are of our friendship. I mean, to me, a friend should talk to you, think about you, post silly things to you (see the online friendship rule there?), and send you pictures or something. They should be interested in what you are interested in.

When they aren't, I just automatically assume our friendship isn't close, or worthy of paying attention to, or something. Like, distance (which is true of 99.9% of all my friendships) keeps them from being an actual part of my life, but online should help, shouldn't it?

I hate when things are always one sided too. Many a friendship ends because it's only one sided. If you are doing all the driving, all the present buying or card sending, all the talking.... and they are never responding, it's not worth it. At least, not to me. I mean, if people are on social media, and you comment on their stuff, shouldn't they at least 'like' your comments or your own posts or something? Something so that you know they are communicating? 

I'm kinda getting away from my talking of the holiday overwhelm,  and illness overwhelm, but alas.

I think we had a really good Christmas season anyway. We got great presents for the kids. Hubby's working for himself really afforded us the ability to do things we wouldn't have been able to before. My favorite part of Christmas isn't what I get anymore, but seeing people we know get things from us, things we bought and chose for them. Hubby's parents are so great lately, and I've taken a new appreciation of them or something, and we really got them quite a few things this year. The typical ornaments and pictures we would get usually, but MIL likes tablecloths, and usually only has the ones that hang down. They slide all over, and it's pretty difficult to use them with our kids around. So we bought them some with elastic in them, even a clear one so they can use it over their old tablecloths, as well as over their pretty table if they wanted. And puzzles. They love puzzles, and usually get quite a few of those going over the winter. One I had given to my grandma before she died, I gave to them. We actually put it together here at the house Christmas day. That was fun. :) We don't do puzzles much anymore because children, fingers, and pieces finding the floor. :P

Anyway, I keep trying to refocus on the joy people have had with the things we (I - since I do the shopping) got them. I just LOVE getting things for people and really the only excuse I ever get to do it is Christmas.

It's sad that it didn't turn out with as much family as normal, and that we still are waiting for my siblings. Still, it was happy, and full of those blessings we often take advantage of. Food, Warmth, Strength, Good Health (despite slight illnesses which in perspective are really no big deal), Having Enough and THEN SOME. 

We are truly lucky. Some days I realize that we are really lucky.