No Excuse for Murder. Autistic children have rights too.

Debating the guilt of a parent who killed their Autistic kid…. There is no need to debate about parents being pushed to the edge by their children. You killed your kid, murder has no excuse.  I don’t care if they were nonverbal or physically violent. You gave birth to your child, and they deserve love and understanding. A parent is never pushed to the edge, that is not a reason to kill. Neither is thinking your child won’t live a full life.  The life they have is good enough, it’s your job to make the best of it. Don’t have a child if you can’t deal with the possibility of Autism.

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Aspie Doubts We’ve All Had.

Sometime, in moments of weakness, I wonder if Autism is really a curse. I mean you hear all this shit from Autism Speaks. What if they’re right. I have no empathy….I have a hard time connecting to others and can only feel it I’ve gone through the same thing. I do feel bad when someone tells me their kid is sick, but shouldn’t I feel it stronger. Am I really not empathetic? It’s true I can’t look people in the eye without panic. Why do I feel so scared right now?

When it comes to relating with people on a social level I always feel that I am holding myself back. I do say thinks that make people uncomfortable and offended.  Failing is even more discouraging.  When I fail I go into myself. I berate myself over what was said or done. I feel an intense need to apologize; the need intensifies if I cannot. This leads to self anger. It bottles up inside till I explode. Then it’s crying for hours and anxiety attacks.
It’s true that I am often  not aware of what goes on around me. I just jump out on the street without looking, and I do it over and over never learning my lesson. I’m afraid that not having fear of of danger will kill me.  I have been in so many accidents and my clumsiness knows no bounds.  We have 4 flights of stairs and I fall at least once a month.  I really want a house without that killer incline.
There are also things that I will never be able to learn. Algebra, chemistry, and physics are my undoing. In high school I had to take algebra twice and still barely passed.  Honestly doing any math at all causes so much anxiety I can’t think.
I mean look at me, I am a loner and prefer to have it that way. I have struggled with intimacy my whole life. It has hindered relationships with others.  I mean it’s nearly impossible to function in a relationship when sex makes you avoidant.  I love my fiancé but sometimes think he’d be better off with someone else.
Then we get to motivation.  It is something that just doesn’t come natural to me.  It’s hard work. I just feel so lazy.  When I think about doing things around the house I feel anxiety. I end up curled up uncomfortably in bed.  So, I feel like a loser and a bad partner. Sometimes I force myself to do work and cooking but those times are few.  I wonder if I rely on people too much.  I’ve always been taken care of.  Is that a bad thing? I’ve tried so hard to be independent.  I’ve worked retail for 10 years, but I burn out so quickly I end up tired and sick. Insurance, copays, medicine, and therapy are really expensive. 
So I have to work really hard to earn.  I tend to keep it inside, eventually it back logs and I’ll start puking twice a day due to unprocessed stimuli. It build up like dirty laundry, holding me down struggling for breath.
Money management is my downfall. I can never seem to budget. This comes with the impulsivity part of Autism. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve taken classes on money management.  It just doesn’t click in my head. Never has.
I have so many questions… Sometimes Am I actually living a full life? I wonder if my parents life would have been better without me?  What if I’m not supposed to have friends?  Is the love I feel real or imagined.  Am I empty, why do I feel emotionally exhausted?  What will happen to me when my loved ones die?  Will I be able to take a stand?  Will I even make it through the grief?  Why did this happen to me?
I guess sometimes I kick myself when I am down.  And I just want a shirt that say, “be patient with me, I’m Autistic.” Like warning so people can give me a wide berth.  To avoid my weirdness. Why should I ruin another persons day?
Some days I just feel like giving in and letting it win.  Today is one of those days….
  

Disability in America, Short.

Being disabled in America makes you a second class citizen or just completely invisible. Most people view us as broken. We are people too and we deserve the same opportunities. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a job when you are Autistic? Society is not designed for people with disabilities. Networking is hard, interviewing usually sucks and my brain functions opposite of typical people. Being Autistic means not being able to understand social hierarchy. The Autistic brain doesn’t sort people be importance, every one is equal unless you’ve do something to set yourself apart, usually academically.

Bullying. Talk Loudly Until You are Heard.

“It has been said that time heals all wounds. I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue, and the pain lessens, but it is never gone.”
                                                                       Rose Kennedy

I’ve asked myself over the years, “What is normal?”  I spent years yearning to be normal. I was so different. I hated myself for most of my life because no matter how hard I tried I would never be what others wanted.

It’s hard to be so desperately self-aware. It had been a curse. Being different left me prone to many harmful circumstances. I was told to stand up for myself, but was never taught the skills to do so. Not knowing how to behave or communicate made life painful. And Autistics don’t come with the manual. Many times I thought death would be better than living.
My first memories of bullying started in the Second grade. I was an easy target as I was developmentally behind other students. I had a teacher that hated me and made sure I knew it. She would call me a liar when I told her how I was being treated. I didn’t even feel human that year. Even though we are Autistic and young we still feel the ugliness.
In Third grade I was much happier because I had a patient teacher who treated me fairly. She was a young woman recently graduated and was open minded about learning styles.  She revised her curriculum to teach the ways students learned.  I have fewer bad memories from that year.
In Fourth grade I had an old witch of a teacher. She had no to time for me. I never was rewarded like the other kids. I never got student of the week. I was never given a chance and she was very unwilling to work with me. It’s difficult feeling helpless to a teacher and the students that follow her example.
Middle school was Hell. At the beginning of the year I had managed to make a few friends. Of course, this didn’t last very long and I was alone again. It was much more entertaining to insult me and put rude signs on my back.  Fifth grade was the year I first became depressed, I was so naive I didn’t know what was happening.
Later on, in years Seven and Eight I was spit on, strangled, and beaten up. I was taught that standing up for myself had consequences. My Mother fought hard and advocated for me but the teachers just ignored my torture. This is why so many children fall through the cracks.
I remember being humiliated on the school bus. None of the other students would let me sit. When the bus driver turned around to yell at me to sit the kids made room for me. I looked like a liar. At my stop the driver took off before I was completely off the bus causing me to fall.
Eighth grade was the year I was hospitalized for suicidal ideation and later homeschooled. I have been in-patient for a total of 3 times spanning 5 weeks.
Things got better when I went to Chartered, Murray High School.  Here the teachers were invested in my wellbeing and I was surrounded by people similar to me. The curriculum was designed around my IEP and my needs were tended to. I graduated with honors and won the award for best artist.
I have learned many people want to appear sensitive to Autism but when confronted want nothing to do with it. Just ignore us and we will go away…  Foster out talents and we will flourish. Learn to accept our opposite thinking style and let us speak for ourselves.
I have a voice. I will talk loudly untillI am heard.  No longer will I suffer in silence.  I will share my experiences with honesty, understanding, and acceptance. I have risen above it. I  am a kinder, softer person.  My life was hard, but it can only get better.

Light, Eye Contact, and Zen.

As I was being driven to the museum the other day I saw a billboard advertising pigment removal for your eyes. It only costs $5,000! ( sarcasm) The nice thing about eyes with higher pigmentation is the ability to deal with the sun. Blue eyes are the least tolerant.

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The sun is a wonderful thing. It gives warmth and life to this planet, but is hell on Autistic eyes. For me it can be blinding, and I often forget my sunglasses. Sunglasses are the only way I can get around in comfort.  When I forget them, and on particularly bad days, I have to be led around outside. The worst days are overcast and the light just has this unappealing sad glare.  Snow makes things even worse.
Subdued lighting is most comforting. I leave the blinds to my windows closed all year. My house must appear deserted. I can read by a lantern and make my way through dark woods on a clear night.  I find that low light are the most comfortable and fluorescents are the harshest. Fluorescent lights cause eye pain that leads to migraines

When I had my own car driving at night was terrifying.  I would have a hard times seeing the lines on the road. When it rained I was mortified. The droplets of water would refract the head and tail lights of other cars and the line would completely disappear. On one of these nights I got into a wreck. I was sideswiped by a large RAM truck on the right side of my car.  I had bruises and popped blood vessels so big they looked like The Blueridge Mountains on my body.  Driving has become far too discomforting.

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Eye contact puts me into a state of distress and I always avert my gaze. Autistic people have to look past a person to be able to understand them. I will miss what you are telling me if I have to look you in the eye.  I remember as a child my parents telling me to look them in the eye when being reprimanded. I would end up being forced to look at them. Facing someone gives me anxiety, so please sit next to me.

 
As a child I was easily transfixed by dust floating in a shaft of light and light playing on water. The reflection shapes in a pool are enchanting. I have always enjoyed the way water plays with light. My favorite is light on a clear stream bed. It’s totally Zen and my problems float away like a leaf into the horizon.

I will leave you with this….Ode to the Rock in the Sky.
               
  My favorite nights are when the sky is clear and the moon full. I love the ethereal light it shines. It’s like moment forever frozen in time. After all, we are made of stars.



PS I am having a hard time wanting to do anything lately.  What used to give me joy now feels dead.  I know that I am suffering from depression and I know I will pull through. It’ll take time but I’ll get there.


To Sail the Shimmering Seas.~~~~

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

                                                                      Mahatma Ghandi


Going on vacation is always a nerve wracking experience. All the new situations that come with travel(food, languages, climates, activities) are all novel to me. I panic in the beginning and then come to a simmering anxiety for the rest of the trip.

 We were on the ship 3 days before we could get off. I puked the first. The boat was moving like a dolphin.  ~~~~~ We went to the front desk and got some Dramamine. This helped with the sickness but didn’t help with my irritability and sensitivity to the rocking.  I was in a pretty rotten mood until the ocean settled.

Our first stop was Haiti.  We only got to see the portion the cruise company owned. I didn’t get to see any of the real Haiti.  So I entertained myself walking along the beach collecting shell fragments.  The ocean was too rocky to swim.  We did get a picture of an octopus.



Our second stop was San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Our excursion was tasting local foods. I find it very difficult to try new foods. Sometimes I gag.  We got to try savory waffles with cheese and ham, which I enjoyed. Sans cheese. Next we tried Mofungo. This is a native dish containing plantains, chicken, butter, garlic, rice, and beans all mixed up together.  I saw this and felt hopeless and sad at the same time. I had promised Van I would try new foods. I was so terrified that plantains tasted like bananas. Banana and chicken…. Luckily plantain is starchy, similar to a potato. Lastly, we had a cheese based flan.  ‘Sirens,’ cheese and sweet together? Luckily, it tasted like the lite version of cheesecake.  On our way back we saw many mango trees.



Our third stop was St. Thomas.  We went snorkeling to see sea turtles and reef. I didn’t last to long because the equipment hurt my face and gave me sores in my mouth. At Christmas Cove I picked up beautiful, bright shell fragments and soft looking sea glass. I searched for more than an hour only to be told I couldn’t take what I collected on the ship. I trashed them and got pretty pissed.

Out last stop was St. Marten.  This island was much more arid than I expected.  It’s mountain were brown unlike tropical St. Thomas.  Van and I went horseback riding it was something I pushed him to do. He has concluded that horses aren’t so scary. We saw cacti and iguanas and sea. My horse was pretty anal and would go out of line to walk around poop of the horse in front. My kind of horse!

 Our trip went well and we learned many things!  I think a road trip is in order.