It Gets Better

I have a confession to make: When I was seventeen, I was in the midst of formulating a plan to end my life. Somebody told somebody else, and that tragedy was averted. I thought that there would be no end to the pain I was suffering, being different, being strange…I had to wait until my 30s, but life finally got better for me. I must admit, when my former tormenters began asking for my friendship on Facebook, I was quite wary. I should not have been so suspicious of people wanting to be my friend on Facebook. Turns out, they were genuine friend requests. My own experience and bitter memories had clouded my judgment. It turns out, I forgot it had gotten better for me.

I was mainstreamed through my school years. I graduated from Tustin High, in Tustin, California, in 1996. And I suffered through merciless bullying and being made fun of throughout my years. Then, I experienced abuse at the hands of my sisters, who took all my money and made me pay dearly for every single breath of air I breathed. I had to wait until my 30s, but it got better. Really. Life got so much better after school. If you’re planning on ending it all, remember this: IT. GETS. BETTER.

You want to know why it gets better? Here’s one reason: Right now, you might be dealing with kids. Teenagers are generally just large children, with very little thinking in the proper parts of the brain, because the brain is shut down for remodeling. The general consensus right now is that the brain shuts down for remodeling to think like an adult in your teens, and generally finishes about age 25, more or less. So, if you and the majority of people you run around with are not thinking properly, why not just wait until you are to see if you want to end your life?

Another reason is, you have more power over your settings. As you age, you realize that you can cut this person out of your life, or that person out of your life. You can also let this person or that person in to your life. It depends. My sisters have cut my mother and me out of their lives, and they’re happy and at peace with that. I cut out people of my life, too. I’m also happy with that. Once you get out of high school, it’s possible you will never see the people who tormented you unless they request your friendship on Facebook. And you can simply “Ignore” them.

“But I’m too weird,” you say. That’s it. In the rarefied air of high school, everybody wants to be like everybody else. Different is a strange taboo which is exploited, as stated above. Even the theater kids I tried to hang with could not handle my level of weird. When I got out of high school and my abusive situation, something strange happened: people started praising weird and different. Weird and different was okay. But by that time, I discovered something awful: I had lost my edge. My weirdness was my edge. I learned that I was not that weird at all. My crush on the Chase Hampton of the Mickey Mouse Club, or members of New Kids on the Block, or even the Green Ranger were perfectly normal. Even my current Cumberobsession is quite normal, if you ask the internet. Ever since Graham Moore stated “Stay Weird, Stay Different,” I have been fighting to get my weird back. I have discovered that my weirdness was my contribution to society. I currently have nude nail polish with golden ombre glitter on them. I guess that could be dull, but it could also be weird. Sometimes I wonder if my edge can be gotten back…so, I’m begging you: Stay weird. Stay different.

Finally, if that doesn’t work, you can get the f&%#!!! out of that place. Say you live in Orange County, California, where I lived. You can choose Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, London-there are places you can live that suit every taste and culture. I mean, go live in Tokyo, if that’s your thing. I currently live in Kentucky. Quite a different place from Orange County, yet it has its own beauty. There is beauty in every season, no matter where I look. I did not originally go live in Kentucky, but I have had some of my best moments here. Somehow, though, California keeps calling me back.

So, if you are formulating a plan to take your life and end it all, please, I’m begging you, from the other side of it, don’t. Tell somebody your pain. Someone will listen, someone will care. If I ended my life, my mother would have surely ended hers. My family would have never recovered. Finally, coming from the other side of the pain, in the light at the end of the tunnel, please listen to me: It truly and really does get better.


Why I Stalled on a Follow-Up

Seriously, I had a bad case of writer’s block over the past few days. My questions for Benedict Cumberbatch took the blogging life out of me. I guess this is the disclaimer for that: Don’t get me wrong. I am a seriously Ben-addicted girl. If I could get to London to go to the Sherlock convention, I would drag my mother and my dog in order to get there. But seriously, back to the grind: I don’t know what he knows about autism. It seems there are some serious gas, which I would love to help fill. That out of the way, let me get to what is going on: My brain is suffering from serious Cabin Fever. I have been racking my brain looking for things to write about. I have continued crocheting a pink baby blanket for a little baby girl, cleaned the house as deeply as I could, walked and walked the dog again, then tried to read some Oscar Wilde. (When the first poem you read is about a man who murdered his wife, it’s very hard to read-at least for me, anyway.) Of course, this is a strong case of cabin fever. I have finally settled on something I can actually believe: it gets better. I was bullied mercilessly throughout high school, and abused in my 20s. I had to wait until my 30s, but it actually got better. I could not believe it. So, look for “It Gets Better,” coming soon.

Questions for Benedict Cumberbatch

Due to some comments made by Benedict Cumberbatch about people with autism, I must speak personally. It is telling that I am a fan of his, yet these statements he made are harmful to autistic people, such as me.

I have a few questions to ask him:

1) When you say your characters are not on the autism spectrum, and it is lazy to think such a thing, are you deeply insulted that somebody would even infer autism? If so, I feel insulted that you would think that-as if autism is something so horrible that it diminishes the affected ones’ humanity. Does it diminish my humanity that I am autistic? If so, you have deeply devastated me.

2) What exactly is so extraordinary and upsetting about autism? And again, does it make one less of a human being? I worry that I am less human in your mind.

3) What about the while high-functioning/low-functioning notions you speak of? Try and get that out of your head. Many of us have certain skills and passions that we excel at, such as spelling for myself, and possibly passing for neurotypical. Hopefully, the ability to pass as neurotypical (what most people consider high-functioning) does not elevate me in your mind. I would rather stay down with my fellow autistics to advocate for them-or should I say, advocate for us.

4) Another point of contention is the concept of arrested development and mental age. I do not believe autism is a mental disorder or intellectual disability, but more of a sensory or communicative one. I did not stop developing at any point in my life because of autism. I may have taken a longer journey than my neurotypical peers, but my development was never arrested.

5) I wish that I would not be viewed as an innocent, or a child. That would be fine for a child, but not for somebody who is just a year younger than yourself. Other than communicatively and socially, I developed normally in most ways. Would it shock you to know that I have had five boyfriends in my life? It would be tragic to not think I have capabilities or the potential, even, to become a self-sufficient adult.

Just so you know, yes, I am still a fan. I like to call myself a Cumbercookie. I think I will always be a Cumbercookie. But if you wish to improve your knowledge of autism, I would be happy to help. I think there is more you need to learn.

Dying on the Vine

Here I am in Nicholasville, Kentucky, getting cabin fever in my snowed-in ground floor apartment. I am getting antsy, wanting to go out. People tend to think this is nuts, since they have to work. But for me, being shut up inside my house is an every day thing. I have an embarrassment of homebody time, and I would like to work, to help people, to contribute to the world.

It’s not like I can’t work or won’t work, for starters. I’m certified to be a Peer Specialist. I mean, I can relate to those of us with autism, depression and PTSD in ways that nobody outside this spectrum of interests can. There is so much I can give to the world. I came into this line of certification so I could get a job-and it’s frustrating to me that I am still on Disability due to my lack of certain skills, or the fact that I can’t drive. If I were in California, I bet I could get around just fine on the buses and rails. This is my trouble-I can’t drive, so I can’t work. Can you say frustration? I bet I would appreciate home and days off more, if I had work to balance all these days off to appreciate. There is only so much I can do in my skill set, but nobody wants to use them. Why do the people in the psychological professions not want to count my experiences? Don’t we, as the people who are actually experiencing these continued illnesses, have something to contribute?

There is so much I try to put in my viewpoint, but it keeps being ignored. My blog keeps growing and growing, but I am throwing my words out into a void which does not answer back. Have I chased all of my readers away due to my preferences? Do I have to be “16 and Pregnant” to get a readership? I give up. This blog seems more like a personal diary to me that secrets go into. But if you do not want to be read, why are you posting online? That’s the thing. I want to be read. I want somebody to acknowledge my existence, because it seems futile at times, like I am not contributing to anything. I certainly won’t kill myself for being ignored, but I will not be ignored any longer. I wish I had more value in this world.

Single and Happy on Valentine’s Day

I have heard the news. Benedict Cumberbatch gained a Mrs. today. And I’m not broken up about it. Honestly, I hope they become the new Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Many happy blessings to them!

That aside, I am single and happy on Valentine’s Day. My mother was not in the mood for a steak dinner, so we had Chinese. I had shrimp with broccoli (I always have seafood when I can), and my mother had Kung Pao Chicken. What we had was not that important, anyway. We had already gone out to get some brunch, where I had a spicy potato casserole and my mom, eggs benedict (and now I’m giggling). So I wonder if I could get my mom to watch something with Ben in it? We’re currently watching “Julie & Julia.” It’s a good movie. I like it. Anyway, I have already seen “The Imitation Game” and was hugely impressed by it. To play a socially inept genius seems to be my favorite actor’s current forte, though I would like to see him in something radically different, like a post-apocalyptic mage or something. Anyway, I digress. I have a Pampering Party planned for later tonight. My mother and I are going to do our feet and hands…and I will paint my nails. Exactly what color, I don’t know, but I’m painting my nails.

Getting back to what I had been talking about before, I decided a long time ago that whoever is ruling this Universe may or may not want to give me a husband, but he certainly will not want to give me somebody else’s husband. I am perfectly happy being alone.

I have more things to do tonight; excuse me while I start the Pampering Party I have planned.

Special Interests: Unusual for Me to Like Fashion, huh?

Let me start by defying convention as noted by Girls With Autism and say that at one time, fashion was a special interest. Trouble is, as I was growing up, fashion was seen as a luxury only given to the skinny and rich. (It says my fashion interest is unusual right on the front page!) I would know designers and looks, even though I could barely afford them, but dressing myself up with style was a special interest. I mean, I would play with Barbie dolls just to dress them up. But weight gain and puberty put the kibosh on it…and only recently, with the help of Stacy London (on TV only, guys; I wish I could meet her in real life and thank her), could I see differently.

As I got older, men took over as a special interest. Whenever I get a crush on a celebrity, I go what I call full tilt. It’s all or nothing with me. It was that way with Jordan Knight, Luke Perry, The Rated R Superstar Edge, and now with Benedict Cumberbatch. For example, just last night I changed my phone home screen to BC’s face…and I change it for nothing.

Also, I love the color purple. I have loved it ever since I was a child. I have it in my living room as a painting, chairs and accessories, in my bedroom as my bedding, my casual dishes, my Christmas…any place I could get it. I have to restrain myself from going full tilt on it, too.

I also love Severus Snape from the Harry Potter books. I think this ties in with my men interest.

I’m also into blogging and social media, but the vitriol of keyboard bullies makes them total shitheads. Sorry, I have no kinder words for keyboard bullies.

I love looking at art.

I love light, bright spaces. I grew up in a church where there were huge windows all the way to the ceilings. It disturbs me that the only window in my living room is a small one.

I love animals, too. Bear, my Pomeranian, is my baby.

I’ll fire off more interests as I think of them.