New Year’s Eve at Home: A Perfect Scenario

Well, the Christmas decorations are put away, the patio door is unblocked again, the TV is back in its regular spot, and the front lawn (if you can call a small patch of grass that) is bare again. We’re back to normal, and I survived the cleanup. Strange how fast it all comes down.  

Now, on to New Year’s Eve. Honestly, I never knew how well I had it celebrating at home alone. No crowds of people, no loud and obnoxious bar patrons, and if I want a drink, I can get one myself. Also, no dressing up, no worries about how it looks on Instagram, and I can stay home with my dog, Bear. Bear will give me a kiss at midnight, so no worries. And if I don’t feel like staying up that late, I don’t have to – but it’s pretty normal for me.  

Shout out to my fellow New Year’s Eve homebodies! 

Christmas Report: A Merry Little Christmas

Well, it’s after ten at night on Christmas Day. My mother and I had a very relaxing Christmas. We did not go anywhere on Christmas Eve because the brakes in our car are shot. (It will cost roughly $300.) Other than that, we had ourselves a Merry Little Christmas, with no stress.  

I slightly overcooked the prime rib. I held it for too long in the oven. Perhaps it was too long. But the meat was not that dry, though. We just like it medium done around here. It was medium well. That seemed to be the only problem. 

Anyway, the big day was actually kind of relaxing. We got up around eight, opened small gifts from our family, had Eggs Benedict with hash browns, and mostly relaxed. Christmas Dinner was simple enough: Prime rib, rolls and steamed vegetables with bearnaise sauce and au jus. Aside from medium well prime rib, the dinner turned out well.  

As for presents, the sweets we got from my brother were nice. It was a good variety in two sets of beautiful boxes. I also got sea-colored earrings from my aunt Joan – they are beautiful.  

After the dinner, I cleaned up dishes and relaxed the rest of the day. It was pretty nice.  

I would like to give a shout out to all autistic people who have had to hide their true selves around family that refuses to understand. A shout out to autistic people who avoid their stubborn family altogether, too. Shout out to autistic people who deal with unnerving questions. Shout out to people dealing with infertility.

Christmas Prep Part 4: Christmas Dinner Shopping

Well, this is mostly a report for what I did yesterday morning: Christmas dinner shopping. This year, we’re having prime rib. We’re also having rice, vegetables and rolls. (Honestly, I’m tempted to try Yorkshire Pudding if we have everything, and the recipe goes right.) I know for a fact that many of us autistics are not called on to make Christmas Dinner, and that’s okay. I’m putting a no pressure vibe into the day; my mother and me, laid-back and easy. Besides, just about everything in the dinner is easy, even cooking the Prime Rib. (Honestly, it is.)

Maybe that’s not the whole story. I was very nervous about cooking the Prime Rib, especially since I have failed by making it too rare before.
I looked up the recipes long before I even got the rib, looked them up just after I got the roast, and I was looking them up a few minutes before writing. I get very nervous, but I soon realize it’s much easier than my mind is making it. I guess I get anxiety, and need to calm down. 

But back to the big shopping trip. Of course, we got some other things too. We do need to eat between Christmas and New Year’s Day. (We had most of that dinner already bought, too.) Besides, once Christmas Dinner is done, we’ll be alright. There really is little to it.  

I’m not trying to be arrogant. The dinners we make are very simple, including for Christmas. I’ve looked at the cooking instructions for the most complicated things, and they’re entirely doable.

I guess the point of this is, make it as easy as possible. If you’re up to the challenge of making a Charles Dickens style Christmas, by all means, go for it. I think most of us, however, are not up to the task, autistic or neurotypical.

Christmas Prep Part 3: Take Care of Yourself

Some people say I preach to the choir. I say even the choir needs some guidance every once in a while. But truthfully, I am often preaching to myself. The issue at hand? The hectic schedules of Christmas many of us come across. Think about it. In Christian tradition, December is one of the busiest months of the year, if not the very busiest.  

You have parties, caroling, lights, sounds from nowhere, smells, cooking, church services, church potlucks, card send outs, family get-togethers…think about it. It is quite easy to get swept up in the hubbub – and forget to take care of yourself. The meds are a small thing, yet they help keep you stable and able to somewhat enjoy the season. Anyway, self-care is even more essential than ever in this time. I hate to bring it up, but there’s a reason airplane people tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else. How can you help someone if you can’t breathe? Take care of yourself. If you need a break, take a break.  

If you don’t celebrate Christmas in this hectic manner, feel free to apply this advice to the month(s) you are busiest. It’s all good advice, applicable to busy times.

Why Self Diagnosis is Valid to Me


Now, a lot of people in the autistic community are self-diagnosed. In this, they check their symptoms, and realize there is a central theme behind their symptoms.  

What I have noticed among the self-diagnosed is another central theme: a theme of being women and persons of color. It seems that people in these categories are routinely denied their proper autism diagnosis simply because they are not white and/or male. In other words, if you do not look like this: 


Sheldon Cooper, of course. 

Or this: 

*This “Rain Man” Babbitt in meltdown.*

You are simply not autistic. And that is a crying shame.  

This is boiling down to one thing. Prejudice. And that is the reason self-diagnosis is valid to me.

What Kind of Christmas Movie is This?


WARNING: Spoilers for a movie from 1985 

Well, the big news is that Christmas movies are on, but I’m going to focus on one movie that came out in 1985. It’s a small movie, and not getting a lot of good press on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s called One Magic Christmas. The big thing is, this movie deals with a lot of sadness. The central family has fallen on hard times, and the mother does not see what there is to celebrate.  

The trouble with the movie starts on Christmas Eve. There is a bank robbery, and the dad is murdered. Then the robber gets into the car with the two children inside. There is a chase, and the car falls over a bridge into a river, with no survivors.  

At this point, my mother and I are both wondering, “What kind of Christmas movie is this?” Not realizing, of course, that It’s a Wonderful Life deals with the even more un-Christmassy subject of suicide. I think sad things have their place in the Christmas movie. Fortunately, Christmas magic is on hand to save the family, even the dad. (This is where the spoilers end, people. I’m not giving it away for you.)  

Maybe I’m missing the point. I’ve seen Christmas magic do crazy things, even bring people together. I guess shocking content is nothing new. It’s just not given a real chance on most Christmas movies. One Magic Christmas deals with more real-life situations than most of these movies, which deal with fairly rich people. This one deals with the lower middle class.  

And what does the mother in the movie have to celebrate? Lots of things! Maybe that’s the point of the craziness.  

An Open Letter to the Newly Minted Parent of the Autistic Child


Dear Parent of the Autistic Child, 

I know you are somewhat scared for your son. What will he be able to do in his life? Will he need constant care? Will he be able to take care of himself? Is there hope for him? Autism is a big pill to swallow. But there is hope, and there is hope for your child. 

I need to tell you a few things about myself. I am an autistic adult. Which means, I was one of those autistic kids. It’s not that hard a jump to make. I have held down a job for six years. I currently take care of my mother full time, and maintain a small home. I talk like a non-autistic. I even do the cooking at home, too. It’s a little hard for me to make friends, but I would not judge your son by my yardstick.  

I’m not exactly sure if you have a proper yardstick to measure your son’s abilities by. Nobody really knows the potential a person has, even an autistic one.  

I have a few things for you to consider. 

  1. I believe in vaccines. I believe vaccines did not cause your child’s autism. I don’t know where you stand on this issue. Many people do believe this, though, even many celebrities. This fear has caused many outbreaks of once-eradicated diseases. Be careful who you trust. 
  2. Autistic Adults are not morons. Actually, most autistic adults have a perspective that many parents of autistic children do not consider: the perspective of the autistic person themselves. Who better to help a person with a trait or condition that someone with the same trait or condition who has been down the road a bit? There is a reason certain conditions run in families! 
  3. Be Wary of Applied Behavior Analysis claims. Applied Behavior Analysis – ABA – was formulated to make the autistic child “indistinguishable from their peers,” or to make them seem non-autistic again. The truth is, your child is not a potential non-autistic. They were always autistic. They were born that way. I was born that way. Be careful how ABA is taught to your child. He might be taught how to behave in public, but make the boy non-autistic again? Not going to happen.  
  4. Listen to your child. Every bit of behavior is communication. They may experience the world in a completely different way from you, due to sensory processing issues. Almost all autistics have them. If he starts to stim, then consider the surroundings. Is he uncomfortable?  
  5. Do not be afraid of stimming. Stimming is a comfort behavior. As long as he is not hurting himself or anyone else, self-comfort is a good thing. If his stim is harmful, I would suggest getting a small toy or game to stim with. Any autistic adult can have a suggestion that helps.
  6. Delays in growth are not denials. I was older than five when I finally asked my first question. I was delayed in almost everything social and acceptable throughout my childhood and early adulthood. But keep going. Most of us autistic people are verbal by adulthood. Many of us work jobs.  
  7. When he gets a Special Interest, let him study it. It might be something like buses or trains, or airplanes…it might even drive you and yours crazy. But hang in there. He might be going toward his ultimate career choice in the end, and he’ll possibly outdo others in the field. Is his special interest the airplane? He might be a pilot or mechanic. Is it music? A great musician. You never know.
  8. Be Wary of Autism Speaks and Other Cure Crusaders. The  notion of cure in autistic circles is akin to eradication of autistic people themselves. They see autistic people as a big scourge that must be destroyed. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. My email is: cambriaj1977@hotmail.com.  

With Warmest Regards,

Cambria Jenkins