Saturday, May 14, 2016

Glasses can hold to you...until they're impossible to put down.

I came across a video a friend liked on Facebook...



I have this to say...

For some people it's not that easy. Some people have stress like weights duct-taped to their wrists and ankles, and it drags at them. Day after day, it gets heavier and heavier, and it gets harder and harder to go through life on your own, until you're nearly crippled and need to rely on others just to stay afloat enough to get the odd breath in every so often.
Some people can't put that glass of water down. Not because they forget, or want to hold to their stress, but because the glass won't let go of them.
It's hard to live like that. With chronic insomnia, I was lucky to get a few minutes of sleep here and there in a day, and an hour of sleep a night in little snatches - a few minutes just after midnight, a minute at three, five minutes just after dawn. I lived like that.
Then I didn't. Then I started being able to actually sleep, and it was like...like a whole room opened up, a room of paints and pastels and canvas and rich, soft, white paper and gorgeous flowering plants and a world of music, where before all I had was a few albums, a record player, onionskin paper, and old, broken pencil stubs with a penknife to sharpen them with.
And now it's like that with stress. It was like cooking with long, flared silk sleeves weighted with jewels and metals, a dress of velvet and silk and six layers, rings on every finger. An old, rusty knife, a tin camp-cup, a raggedy plastic board, and old cracked pans and pots.
And now it's like seeing an open door with a modern, fully-stocked kitchen, with an apron hanging in the doorway. I'm still getting rid of the layers, to the simple sundress under it all, but the heavy jeweled overgown is gone, no more silk to catch on fire, or jewels to weigh me down, velvets and brocades to trip over and get in the way.
Or, to put it like the video....the glass is on the table, but my fingers are still attached to it...but they're coming loose, joint by joint...
And when that happens? When I am finally free of the things that, while I love to wear them, they weight my every step and make cooking nearly impossible? When the water I need to live is no longer carried all day, all night, every moment of my life?
That will be the day I no longer need to rely on things.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Cruelty of Small Children



There are so many theories as to what this song is actually about, but according to the creator it's about the cruelty of small children.
And I have no problem believing that at all.

You see, I was a victim of the cruelty of small children while I was a child myself. I was isolated, I was ridiculed, I was emotionally, mentally, and physically hurt. My belongings were public property and routinely destroyed.
And no one who knew cared, save five people: an old friend of mine, my mother, my grandfather, Maureen, and myself.

I had one friend, Owen, who also experienced the cruelty of the same small children, during the school year. I had to wait until summer to have more friends. Sam and Walker, Ari and Cody. During the summer I knew I had friends who would never treat me like dirt just because I didn't know they were popular at a school I had never been to before. They wouldn't treat me like my oldest friend Kelsey.
And they didn't know that it was happening. They didn't know that during the school year and in my own town I had one singular friend.
I didn't want them to.

I had fun during the summer. I had friends, actual friends, and I didn't want the ugliness of the school year to intrude on my time with them.



And then there's the one thing that I lived with my whole life.
I knew someone who was a fairly constant presence in my life. She not only didn't care that I was bullied and pushed around, she said it was my fault.
She said I needed to dress differently, act differently, drop my interests of reading and video games and trading card games, horses and singing and archery.
She said I needed to care about celebrities and boy bands and clothes.
She said I needed to wear clothes that didn't cover enough skin for me to feel comfortable.
She said I needed to stop riding and doing barn chores and instead play softball or soccer or some other sport.
I said no. That was a mistake.
I didn't want to change who I was. I had no concept of pretending to be someone I wasn't in order to fit in with the majority of people. I had no DESIRE to pretend to like the people who hated me. Why would I?
I was told that if I followed her instructions that they WOULD like me.
I asked her that one question: Why would I want to be friends with the same people who isolated me, hurt me, and ridiculed me?

The cruelty of small children broke me.

But I put myself back together and, like the Japanese art of kintsugi, made those parts of me that broke, that were the target of the cruelty, shine out.

I do have to wonder, though, what I would be like had I not experienced so much of the cruelty of small children.
I have to question just why the behavior that is condemned in adults, condemned, intolerable, considered harassment, even assault, is tolerated, ignored, even encouraged in children.

Can anyone tell me that?

Reaction to a Friend's Article

A friend of mine wrote an article that was recently featured here. I replied to it, and it became a bit...long. I will repost it here.

I am on the spectrum, too. I may have started to talk and read and even write earlier than most children...but once I did I had trouble stopping for anything. Even eating was sometimes a fight. To get me to interact socially with any children beyond a very few was a war. I didn't WANT to. I didn't LIKE talking to people. I learned very early that if you look like you're so involved in what you're reading that you literally cannot notice what is going on unless they physically move your book...well, that got most people to leave you alone.
And why wouldn't I want people to leave me alone? People were loud and startling, and they didn't make sense. Books made sense. You read and turned the pages and eventually there were no more pages to turn. Then the book was over, and you started another. Books were linear. They had plots and people in books acted in accordance with the plot - either to move it along or to hinder it. Protagonsits and antagonists.
Eventually I learned that if I didn't talk to people and didn't "make friends" I would be labeled a "problem". What? I wasn't a problem. I didn't make trouble, I did okay in school, I was relatively quiet and well-behanved...but I ignored "real people". I didn't understand them. They didn't follow any set of rules I could follow. Saying hello to one person could get me a hello back, but another person would treat me like something to scrape off their shoes if I said hello to them. I didn't get it.
Later I found video games. RPGs, really. It was like a book, with a story, but YOU made the story happen. There were rules, and the people you didn't control acted in accordance with those rules. You acted within those rules to further the story. It was simple.

Eventually I found friends. Eventually I puzzled out this strange thing, human interaction. I learned more and more of the sets of rules that others followed. Sometimes I still stumble on the unknown, another rule to learn, another set of rules to puzzle out.

But it was hard. Everyone was loud and in my face and they moved through a conversation so FAST...it was, to me, like trying to hold a conversation with an auctioneer.
I learned to read emotions. I do it so well now that I will react to the emotions of people I pass on the street. Walking through a city is a mental drain. So many people going by so fast and about a third of them I notice how they hold themselves and how their faces look and the energy they surround themselves with - anger or fear or the frantic panic of the very late...happiness and deep sadness or even preoccupation. It gets to the point that sometimes it overrules what I actually feel, and when that happens, I break down. Sometimes it's a panic attack, sometimes it's complete emotional deadlock - locking everything so far inside that I don't feel any emotion. I'm told that it's anxiety disorder modulated - modified - by being on the spectrum.

I have cats. I can tell you right now that without those cats I would not be functioning as well as I do. I don't do well academically and I can't work a steady, ordinary job. I'm not good at organising things and I have trouble keeping my house straightened out.

What I do do well is horses. Horses are simple. They have social rules and set behaviors. Stables have rules and are laid out in a simple way, everything in its own, very obvious place. Stalls are all mucked out the same way. Mucking out goes into the pile outside, no matter where in the world you are. Tack needs to be cleaned and stored the same way the world over. Horses need to be groomed the same way. Feed is measured the same way. Hay bales have flakes no matter where you are. No matter if you're in America or the UK or Siberia, every horse the world over needs water. Tack is put on the same way no matter what horse you're tacking up. Feet are cleaned, bits de-grassed, and aisles swept the same way. Bathtime always involves water and soap and hoses and sponges. It always ends with some amount of water and stray horse hairs on you.
If you act this way, horses will react this way. Act that way and horses will do that. It's simple.

But to tell this to people who know I am on the spectrum and they, save for family and friends who might as well be, will treat me like a five-year-old who wears glittery Disney princess dresses and wants a pony to keep in her backyard.

Sure, I may wear clothes that most people don't, and have interests most people aren't interested in, but that does not mean that you can treat me like a five-year-old pony-obsessed princess girl.

I may be in a bliaut, but I have a six-foot-tall bow in my hand, arrows at my hip, and know how to use them...be they for target-shooting...or elegant, witty, barbed discourse.

I am on the spectrum...and while that makes me different...
...it also makes me who I am, and I will neither apologise for it nor hide it.

And you, Jason, are one of the people who helped me be that person.
Thank you, my friend.
I am who I am thanks to my friends. With all that I have gone through in my life because I am on the spectrum I feel it is wrong to hide who I am and how I think. I would hesitate very little to go around in a lovely long bliaut and chemise. Work, shopping, a nice walk. I WOULD, however, think twice about wearing just a bathing suit to the beach. I prefer to cover up. I am modest. I like looking pretty, but my idea of pretty - for myself - is much different from how most people my age like to dress to feel pretty. I like my jeans and my t-shirts, my long skirts and shorts that almost reach my knees. Sometimes I wear multiple skirts at a time. I am different. To many people that is enough, in their minds, to make me unsuitable as a friend. To them I say this:
If you feel you cannot be yourself with your friends, then maybe they are not actually your friends. If you cannot be yourself, if you feel you have to be perfectly socially acceptable, then just think: why? Why do you feel you have to hide yourself? You are you and that should be enough.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

 Humanity as a whole is disgusting. I honestly can say humans are the most stench-ridden lot of slime molds in this universe. Of course, that's rather offensive to slime molds. They're decent life-forms really, and some smell quite nice. Mind their own business.
Of course I include myself. I am, after all, human. I really wish I weren't. I encounter some of the most unpleasant people.
I can honestly say that one of the best friends I've ever had is a pony named Comet. Two others are cats. The other few are humans who are really on the decent end of the scale.
I also know one human who should really be non-fungal, non-algaic pond scum. You know, the kind that's all neony yellow and green and colours your skin when you so much as breathe near it and contains not one bit of pollen and never freezes? Yeah.
I think as a whole humanity is a disgusting lot of self-serving traitorous backstabbing warmongers. When a given tech is invented it is invariably used shortly thereafter to improve warfare. It is the nature of humanity to war and it is a disgusting thing. You will find individuals who are kind and honest but it is a rare thing. I tend to carry around lots of books and some headphones so I can ignore the large majority of humanity without seeming more impolite than those trying to interrupt someone reading a book larger than their head. You can count on one hand the number of centuries without warfare since the dawn of our recorded history. It is shameful, wasteful, and thoughtless. Only by seeking to understand can we erase fear and its offspring hatred and bigotry, and the large majority of the human species would rather bash those with differences into burnt cinders. I do not like humanity. I myself am human and so there is a part of me that is as bad as those I dislike. I dislike this part of myself as well, but I suppose I must live with it or live not at all. I prefer life. Life can be spent wisely and widely but death buys you little and almost none of it lasting save a name and a deed, if that.

Friday, February 6, 2015

You have value just by living?

Lloyd from Tales of Symphonia is amazing.

He believes that no matter what happens, you are yourself. Lloyd has this attitude that to change yourself for others isn't right. That everyone is who they are and that's perfect. That people are who they are, and that to hate them for things they can't change is monstrous. And following that, it's not right to hate people for what they can choose, either.

He thinks that no one should have to sacrifice themselves, their happiness, or change who they are, not for anything. He thinks that every life has value, that everyone is born the same and that it's the people who raise us who pass on prejudice, or not. He truly believes that one day there will come a time when everyone sees the value of life and no one will be sacrificed for anything. That one day every life will have value enough that no one will be seen as expendable.

One day...

But humans are, as a whole, a violent species. War has been part of humanity almost longer than civilisation has. We can dream that one day war will be unthinkable...but unless there's a drastic shift in the way we live our lives, the way we think, the way we ARE...

Lloyd Irving's dream will never live.

No life will be valued just because they are.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Friends

A long time ago, about seven years now, something happened. When this thing happened, not only did I nearly lose myself, but I lost contact with the majority of my friends at the time. A lot of these friends I had had since I was about ten, or even longer. I've been out of contact with many for years and years. There are a few who I remember being particularly awesome friends. Owen, Walker, and Katie…among others. They know who they are.
The thing is, I'm not sure how many of them remember who I am. I'm positive very few of them would recognize me now, and I don't just mean appearance. I've changed, and not for the better. I used to be someone different, more confident, more outgoing. Today I am too scared to set foot outside my door. I hide behind my curtains and my excuses and most days curl up in bed, barely eating, not doing much.
But this is different, this fear. I am scared to go outside my door because the medication keeping two events - well, a two-part event and a long line of emotional abuse - locked where they belong - inside my head - was taken from me. This same medication allows me to order my thoughts and actually take less than a full day to decide if I should cook, let alone what to cook.

But it is those two things that I can no longer banish from my head that keep me locked up in my own apartment. I suffer nightmares of the two-part event anyway, but now I relive two ordeals complete with all the immediate pain I suffered seven years ago during each one. To be honest, even though I've told others, only one outside person knows for sure exactly how bad it was - exactly how lucky I am that I wasn't killed.

The years of emotional abuse already left me with self-image issues. Now, without the medication that let me Not Think About It, I am deathly afraid of the worst offender in that chain, someone I need to deal with regularly, and it's bad - and noticeable - enough that someone else has thought to force me and the person I am afraid of together to "make [me] deal with it and get over it" - a supremely idiotic idea, by most opinions, but a fantastic idea according to two.

I need the support of good friends behind me if I am to ever get enough back to my old self to live in a world I am now rather afraid of. And most of my best friends got left in my past when I nearly had my whole self destroyed by a person I trusted, and was nearly killed during that.

I regret that. I was dealing with the aftermath of seven years ago for five, maybe six years, and lost two of my family during that time. I lost friends because I couldn't keep up with life, let alone MY life and the lives of my friends.

Is it too much to hope that my friends will forgive me? Can I dare to hope that I can reconnect with friends I all but abandoned?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

...And there's ALWAYS a downside. Maybe a ferret?

I've been watching Season 4 of Warehouse 13. I did it originally because I wanted to get my mind off something I've been thinking about lately. Of course, it's MY life, right? NOTHING gets my mind off of what I'm thinking over. One line really hit me. I mean, it disrupted my thoughts like the mental equivalent of dropping into a sinkhole.

"We don't know the downsides of the Metronome yet! When you find out the downside...and there's always a downside...I just hope it doesn't end up killing you...or worse."

...and there's always a downside. Of course there is. To everything. Change one thing, and you can never un-change it. That's what I was thinking about. I have something to say to someone, and potentially after I say it things could be great.
The downside? I could push this person away, and...well...pretty much ruin one of the best things in my life.

Or things could be like the Wishing Kettle. I could get a ferret, and nothing else. That's what the thing does. If you run up against an impossible wish, the Kettle produces...a ferret.

And sometimes I wonder if I wouldn't prefer the ferret. Sometimes I wonder if I wouldn't WANT this to be an impossible wish, if I want what I say to end up as a ferret. Then I realize...I'm scared. I want this change, this thing I say, to end up great. I do! But...I'm scared that this thing I say WON'T be like the Wishing Kettle. I'm scared that the downside won't be a ferret. I'm scared the downside will be like, say, Pandora's Box. That the downside would be my life would be worse off, that my friend will act differently.

Well? What should I do? I don't know. Should I risk everything? Or should I hope that, whatever happens, if the downside happens...that it's just a ferret?