“As We See It,” Episode 1: Thoughts

Well, I was lurking around Amazon Prime Video, wondering if I could find something I could watch and relate to. I picked up on “As We See It,” the pilot. A quick about: Three diverse autistic people struggle and triumph in an apartment in Los Angeles. Also, there is a psychological aide there, and they have various relationships around them.

I have never related so much to a character than I did the girl who wanted to have a relationship with someone and, sadly, “be normal.” Of course, she was twenty-five in the show, while I am in my forties. My experience points to happiness coming from ditching the normalcy strife and just embracing my authentic, autistic self. (Sure, I can mask and put up a neurotypical act just like Sir Anthony Hopkins, but I find that exhausting.) The girl on the show clearly has not found that out yet, so she’s striving for what she calls “normal.”

I must confess, now, that I have been too hard on Sheldon Cooper of “The Big Bang Theory.” Another autistic character acts a lot like him, but it’s apparent that he has little to no control over it. If, maybe, Sheldon himself was revealed to be autistic, I would not have ranted and raved about his stereotypical behavior in previous entries.

In a third character, who has higher support needs, there is a struggle to get to a local coffee shop through a small walk through a chaotic and overwhelming street of Los Angeles. Seriously, the autistic brain is fairly chaotic without the intrusions of loud noises, pop-up dogs, random cyclists and other people jumping out in front of you. SPOILER ALERT: It is conquered one evening. But who knows if the character can handle it another day?

Some of you ought to know that I secretly call autism Chaos Brain. Imagine a messy house. There is stuff laying about everywhere. Nothing is in its place. Clothes, dishes, stuffed animals, records, whatever, but it’s all out and everywhere. This is a proper metaphor for the autistic brain. Now do you see who we are so overwhelmed by outer stimuli coming into our view? It just piles on and on until, in essence, you get something so chaotic, it overwhelms. So, when you come across our autistic selves being hesitant about something, ask us if we can focus on one thing. It helps.

I am just letting the neurotypical brain into my brain space. It’s not easy, is it?

I’m not putting down your particular type of hard. I’m just letting you into my own type of hard.

Distracted Reading and Gun-Toting Powerlessness

Okay. Today I explained to my mom why I don’t read my books while she’s watching tv. Simply put, I get distracted. (It’s an autism thing.) For example, the last time I tried to read my book while she was watching Family Feud, with Steve Harvey as the host. For those not in the know, Steve Harvey is a boisterous man. I was reading Prey by Michael Crichton, and somehow, I was picturing the nanotech facility with Steve Harvey in it. My mom doesn’t laugh much, but she smiles widely when it’s funny to her. I think she got the message. (Those in the know, know.)

Anyway, on to other news: I am just as shocked – but not surprised – that there was yet another mass shooting in an elementary school in Texas. Children and teachers were slaughtered this time. I don’t have to say much more, but what surprises me is that people are much more open to gun reform now. I’m not surprised by the NRA with their obsession with guns, guns, guns. It seems to me that the long-disproven myth of the “Good Guy with a Gun” still rings true in their hearts. It seems more that the gun is treated like the ultimate tool for POWER AND CONTROL. People in the NRA somehow, even with their guns, feel powerless. Powerlessness is behind the most bitter of battles, like the gun battle in the USA. Here’s the thing: powerlessness is the state of man everywhere. I know how it is to feel helpless and powerless. It’s scary. But there’s no need to build up a stockade to keep control. I mean, what will you sacrifice in the name of control?

I’m going to lose a lot of friends here, in a pro-gun state where people concealed carry in church, but I am not entirely sure that the good guy with the gun is the god you want to sacrifice your children to.

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t defend yourself, and maybe an assault rifle might be needed to go grocery shopping someday (Hello Demolition Man), but I don’t think a person with an illness should be allowed to walk into a gun seller, walk out with assault rifles the same day, and be able to shoot up a place where people meet – certainly not a place full of innocent children, like an elementary school. Have we lost our minds? I certainly haven’t. Not yet, anyway.

A Decision (for Science)

TRIGGER WARNING: Talk of Menopause; Periods and Symptoms Included

You know what I read lately? There is literally no research on how autistic women experience menopause. The only evidence of it is reported in blogs. So, in an effort to push for research on such major changes in an autistic woman’s life, I have decided to report my process of menopause on here. Currently, I am apparently in perimenopause right now.

The average age of menopause in my family is fifty years old. I am now approaching forty-five.

My periods are now somewhat irregular. This is a recent development. My mother and I reported this to the doctor.

Hot flashes come after cooking, usually while eating. I remember my first hot flash. It happened on a cold, snowy January day. I was wearing a tank top and flannel shirt on top (it was the fashion then), and suddenly I got so hot and sweaty I had to remove the flannel, drink water and open the doors to the outside. I almost went out into the snowy landscape waiting there for relief. Good thing my mother realized what was happening and talked me out of it. If I work hard enough while cooking, I can get just as hot and sweaty while eating.

I have noticed a shift in my attitudes and moods. This shift has definitely gone towards the grouchy side; God help my mother. I hope it’s not like my mood swings during my monthly cycles.

I will report more things as I age. Thank you for coming on this new journey with me.

A Beef with “Special Needs”

I believe that the term “Special Needs” makes the needs addressed that way sound unreasonable. I prefer “individual needs” myself.

Now, the term “special” has been hijacked by those who like to use euphemisms. As far as I am concerned, my mind goes straight to negativity now if you describe someone as “special.” Thanks a lot. And if the needs are “special,” that sounds like they are unreasonable demands.

Go inside my head a little bit. I can hear the providers now:

“Oh, those needs are SPECIAL! They might be too hard to accommodate, even though that person may be accommodating us at their expense! But her needs are SPECIAL! They’re too difficult to provide!” Now, the providers are less willing to provide those “special,” and therefore, unreasonable and difficult to provide, needs. Even if it’s just building a ramp for people in wheelchairs and scooters to get in the coffee shop.

There is a local coffee shop in my town that I will not visit due to the fact that it’s up some stairs. My mother, who uses a motorized scooter, can’t get in unless she gets out of the scooter, at great pain, and climbs the stairs. And we have to carry the scooter up the stairs, too. So, I am wondering if there’s a wheelchair entrance somewhere in the building. (I’ll ask them later on.) Anyway, that’s just an example of why I don’t like the term “Special Needs.”

Anyway, if we called them “individual needs,” like the needs are supposed to be, people will realize that individual needs are not unreasonable demands, and if we implement them, such as the ramp or the allowance of sensory items at a desk for an autistic worker, we can turn disabled people into productive and contributing citizens, which is what we’ve always wanted them to be.

Of course, your worth and purpose here is already determined by the fact that you’re still breathing, not by your contributions, and remember that!

Talking to a Brick Wall, and the Seven Dwarves of Yuck

I apologize for not posting lately. For a while now, I have felt like I was talking to a brick wall when I talk about autism acceptance to neurotypical people. For those not in the know, visualize talking to a brick wall. It won’t listen, it won’t change its mind. The brick wall is a perfect metaphor for the stubborn mind of the person who will not listen. As is the mule; you can say that most people are as stubborn as mules when it comes to their beliefs. Anyway, I apologize; I was soundly discouraged.

Also, last night, I was taking down the St. Patrick’s Day decorations and putting up the Easter/Spring decorations, and I made a comment about how dirty and sweaty I was; I said I was “the Seven Dwarves of Yuck.” (With all regards to Peter Dinklage and the like, if this is offensive, I apologize for that too. I tend to take a view of dwarves similar to the ones in the recent Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies – similar in limbs and resemblance to elves, but somewhat stockier. Plus, there were very attractive leading men among the actors.) I thought about it, and I guess my hankering towards cleanliness might be an autism thing, and/or a woman thing. Maybe it’s just a human thing. But, there is this tic about me that I feel gross when I have not bathed for a long enough time, or have worked myself into a hard sweat, as I did last night.

By the way, we believe St. Patrick’s Day is a Christian holiday at its core, simply for the fact that a man named Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland. (Of course, Wales, my namesake nation, has St. David, so….) Anyway, that is how you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and any other Saints’ Days you can think of. But enough rambling on about religion. I decorate to bring some routine into my year.

Speaking of religion, how about other people bring holiday discussion onto the blog? I’m ready to listen.

Valentine’s Day has been Kicked Through the Goal Posts

Okay, let’s take it slow: today is Valentine’s Day. Saint Valentine’s Day, to be exact. But I’m not in a celebratory mood. It’s not for the reason you think, though. You see, yesterday was the Super Bowl, and to be frank, I’m all celebrated out from this football and pop culture phenomenon. I’m in the Eastern US time zone, so maybe it’s the fact that I stayed up pretty late last night having fun. Yes, there are autistic football fans. Need I say we autistic people are practically everywhere again? We are such a widely varied bunch of people that you can find us practically anywhere. I digress, though: Valentine’s Day is kind of falling through the cracks this year because of this, I guess. If I had more money, I would probably get my mom a proper Valentine: in my humble opinion, it would be one of those cards the size of a small child. I love her that much. I would also get her a nice massage. She seemed to enjoy the one she got years ago, and I think it would help her.

As I write, there is something that has come up: I guess there’s not enough spoons for me to handle back-to-back holidays at this time of the year. If I guess correctly, Super Bowl Sunday is kind of an unofficial American holiday, you know?

Just one question for all the Super Bowl people: since this is the first time that hip hop has taken center stage at the halftime show, I’ve got one question: What took you so long?

More Notes on the Vaccine Debate

Why is it a debate, first of all?  

Vaccines prevent and/or fight the disease they were designed to fight. Why is that so hard to understand? What is preventing people from using their heads to think and take the vaccine. 

Is it because you think the disease is a hoax? Well, ask my brother, my sister-in-law, and my ex-boyfriend. They all had COVID-19, and they all believe.  

Is it because you think the vaccine is the Mark of the Beast in the Bible? Considering that the MOTB is inserted in your right hand or head, and the vaccine is put in your shoulder, I doubt it. Besides, I never renounced God in order to receive my COVID-19 vaccine. (It’s required for the MOTB.)  Besides, get this: What if vaccines are God’s tools to prevent getting a disease?

Is it because you think vaccines cause autism? Well, there are numerous studies that disprove that, including studies conducted by anti-vaccine groups. Also, it’s time to get over your autistic fear and hate.  

The truth is, people are afraid of autistic people. I’m autistic. And, it seems, people are afraid of me. They are so afraid of me, I imagine jumping out of that table/box on the Ellen show, wearing puzzle pieces on my body, to scare some random anti-vaxxer celebrity. And until the prejudice and HATE – let’s call it what it is, HATE – against autistic people is dealt with, people will still die of vaccine-preventable diseases, many of them children under these paranoid parents’ wings. Do you want to bury your child? Besides, what is the point of turning everybody autistic? WHY? 

As I said before, there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism. That supposed “no soul” look in your child’s eyes, miss Jenny McCarthy (she described her son that way), is probably dissasociation or the ability to “zone out” to deal with getting a shot! Besides, a better question to ask any parent of an autistic child is this: Do you have any eccentric relatives? Again, autism is genetic. Of course, don’t kick yourself if your child is autistic. It’s not like autism is a Christmas present. “Here, have something that makes people hate you.” Who does that? It’s nobody’s fault. Stop believing lies. Get the vaccines.  

“It Didn’t Happen to Me, so it Never Happens!” The Black Swan Fallacy of Functioning Labels

Lately, I’ve been thinking about functioning labels, again. (High Functioning, Low Functioning, etc.) What I have noticed is that in autism, and very likely other disabilities, these labels are assigned to their holders by the way other people experience their autism. Does anybody see the problem with this? It’s a black swan fallacy in the making!

Okay, let’s back things up. The Black Swan Fallacy is a tendency to deliberately ignore things that contradict our views. It goes like this: In Europe, at least until Australia was “discovered” by Europeans, swans were generally seen as white, that is, with white feathers. But when explorers went into Australia, there were black swans, that is, swans with black feathers. This threw the “all swans are white” notion into a giant tailspin. Black swans were seen as rare, since they were barely seen at all. Here’s my personal beef with that particular notion: I’ve been to Lakeland, Florida. Lakeland, Florida is known for its swans. And there, roughly a third of the swans are black. I counted the black and white swans out of curiosity to figure this out. (Now, don’t get me wrong; all swans are beautiful. I’m not arguing about their beauty.)

Now, let’s apply this to functioning labels. If a mother says about her autistic daughter, “She is high functioning. See, she greets people extremely well,” the mother is more likely experiencing the girl’s autism mildly, and judging so because she greets people “extremely well.” But what if the autistic daughter constantly, and with pain, rehearsed this greeting to death in order to do it extremely well? The mother probably doesn’t know that. She might actually be wrong about her daughter due to lack of information! That is how the Black Swan Fallacy works. So, if an autistic person tells you they are struggling, they most likely are. They may not be as high functioning or low functioning as they present in that moment.

Besides, functioning labels are often used to dismiss the experience and views of the disabled person anyway, as if to say, “Well, it doesn’t happen to me, so it never happens.” So, what the abled need to do is sit down, shut up , listen and accept that things may be different. There are lots of black swans.

Do You Understand We Are Also Human?

I’m sorry for not pushing autism acceptance more this month. To be honest, I lost the writing prompts and it was too late to get back on board. Of course, there was a lot of news going on. But enough excuses. I’ll make my own prompt:

What is the one question you want to ask neurotypical people about the autistic?

I’ve given this a lot of thought. The question is:

Do you understand we are also human?

Because I barely think any neurotypical does.

We are human. We are as varied in our names, ages, faces, and colors as any other group who share a neurotype. We are even varied in our levels of function. Yes, they are multiple – even in the same person! One person who can run a house cannot hold down a job, and another person who can hold down a job might need help taking care of themselves, among other things.

And here, in this push to recognize our humanity….we need to accept that we make mistakes, and we do wrong, even when we don’t mean to. You want that mercy for yourself, so why not give it to others, so you can get that mercy for yourself from them? I mean, that’s the Golden Rule.

“Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.”

That is so true. People are instinctively reactive. They often give what they receive. So, would it not make sense, given the above, to give kindness? Eventually, you’ll get it back.

So be kind and merciful. We autistic are also human.

The Real Cause of Autism – In My Words

Now, a recent study proved that giving a mother and epidural does NOT increase the risk of autism. That’s a relief to guilt-ridden mothers everywhere, I hope. That’s not the cause of autism.

Want to know the real cause of autism?

It’s genetic.

How do I know that?

We’ve ruled out vaccines, we’ve ruled out epidurals, we’ve ruled out gluten, we’ve ruled out everything else on the face of the earth, and yet autistic children keep coming into this world. But what often happens when a child is given an autism paper diagnosis? The mother or father often gets one, too.

And that proves autism is genetic.

Autism is passed down from generation to generation. It was probably a genetic mutation in ages past. The evidence for my claim? The behavior of the “fairy changeling child switch out” mirrors that of autism. Also, just because a condition has been only recently discovered and named, does not mean it has not been around.

Want evidence of that?

Look at Covid-19. The accepted theory is, it came from local bats in its place of origin. Look up the rest.

So, how do we “cure” autism?

I think the answer Autism Speaks is looking for is genocide.

Since the “cure” is to literally murder me personally, I will not take it. I already gave up children to those monsters. I’m not going to give up my life.

Autism Acceptance is the way to go. Not Hitler.