More Holiday Tips

 

What else can I say about Holiday décor and bustle? Here are a few tips I have picked up along the way: 

  1. Keep It Simple. You may have to avoid things like putting up a tree until they can handle it better, or ever, but keep the decorations simple. I know that by looking at my house, you may not see this tip in place, but it is there. We have picked a simple color scheme and stuck to it.
  2. Tradition, Please. Now, I’m pretty sure that whatever level you have the decorations and bustle at, be sure that all the traditional elements will be noticed. This one is better kept in my arena. All the decorations I have up are tradition – a fancy word for Christmas Routine. We put up the tree, put out the Nativity (we’re Christian), decorate the main areas of the house, and it’s all now routine to me.
  3. Keep. The. Routine. The Christmas Tradition is all a routine you keep, stretched out over a time span of about a month, depending on your holidays. Now, I’m going to talk about routine a little more, because it’s a comfort for us autistic people. The upset routine is upsetting. To us autistic people, it’s like saying sheep have wool, but it somehow seems to get lost on non-autistic people. It’s like a child who has naps about midday not having his midday nap. We get cranky and upset.
  4. Have a Refuge Ready. A refuge from all the hustle and bustle is necessary, and has been advocated as a must by autistic advocates since the early days of Temple Grandin. I’m sure my mother finds it weird that I barely talk while we’re in the car going somewhere, even without music. The thing is, it’s a refuge that is portable. Perhaps we autistic people, or our caretakers, need to seek out a refuge for the person, just in case they need to, say, relax the senses for a while.
  5. Try to Empathize. Yeah, yeah, I know the stereotype. Autistic people aren’t supposed to be able to empathize – that is dead wrong. It’s been my experience that non-autistic people lack the empathy unless they actively practice it. Think about it – imagine you are at a loud concert, in front of a throbbing speaker, and imagine that all the time – you may begin to be able to empathize as to what we go through. I beg of you, try to think of what we go through. We’re trying to communicate it. Listen.  
Advertisements

The Good Doctor Steps Forward. Now Let’s Take Another Step.

Now, I’ve had time to process the fact that “The Good Doctor” has taken a step forward: in the hiring of an actually autistic actor. To be blunt, he played the patient of the day. It’s really good, guys. I am happy you’ve hired somebody who has true insight into autism. The reason is this: a lot of people outside the autism spectrum get major tenets of autism wrong. For example, we’re still fighting the “No Empathy” stereotype even today and probably tomorrow. But I digress. Bravo, Good Doctor. 

What I am now waiting for is a series recurring or regular autistic actor, a la “Speechless.” Speechless has the Good Doctor beat in the series regular Micah Fowler, who of course plays J.J. DiMeo. Sure, he has trouble delivering his lines, but the character has built-in supports and more than enough nonverbal expression to carry himself around the obstacles the actor and character face. It is sensitive, funny and even has a filled-out set of characters for the siblings, parents and aides. The reason I wax about “Speechless” in a post about The Good Doctor? I know The Good Doctor can make the same jump in some way or another. Perhaps in a consultant or recurring patient? It is quite doable.  

Real Thanksgiving Talk, Part 2 – Planning and Shopping, and the Thankful Part

How is my Thanksgiving prep going? Pretty good. We have planned the menu and we will be shopping for it soon. You kind of have to do the fresh things, like turkey and fresh vegetables, a week before, so you can get it all properly. I must admit, I need help to do the Thanksgiving dinner the way we had it in the past, but I’ve got that too. I have done a Thanksgiving dinner before – several times. I also have the mind behind the Thanksgiving dinner – my mother.  

It’s not all bragging. It’s careful planning and timing, something I still struggle with. We have our traditions for after Thanksgiving, too. It’s called “Staying Home and Putting up Christmas Decorations.” But I digress. There’s not really much to the Thanksgiving thing. To me, it’s mostly being thankful for what you have, and dinner.  

I am thankful I have a mother who accepts me the way I am. I have a warm home with love and good furniture. I am thankful I have clothes to wear. I am thankful I can express myself in the blog I have. I am thankful I can clean the clothes I wear whenever I can, thankful for a washer/dryer combo in my house. I am thankful I have a dog that looks at me like I’m the best thing that ever happened. I am thankful that I can say I have basic needs covered. Many people around the world and near me do not have even this.  

Shallowness in Hollywood

It’s a strange thing that a man has to wear a fat suit to be a love interest for Chrissy Metz’ characters. OK, a little background: The man who plays Kate Pearson’s love interest has a fat suit. It does not take away from the person’s authenticity, but it reveals an ugly truth about the state of Hollywood and Television execs: Those people believe a man cannot accept a woman with a perceived flaw unless they have that flaw themselves, and in a worse manner. It turns out, men in Hollywood are Shallow Hals. Does anybody remember Shallow Hal? It was a movie done in 2001 in which a man has to overcome his defining trait to find true love. I think all of Hollywood should watch it, as a lesson to themselves. This leads me to a sad conclusion: If a man is so shallow that they have to date somebody skinny, the standard of beauty these days, where does that leave a fat girl like me? Alone.

Here’s the trouble with losing weight: I am not a skinny little broomstick. I never was, even at my skinniest. When I weighed 125 pounds, I still had curves. So, there are two choices when dealing with men’s shallowness: Accept loneliness and hate myself, or find a man who is not so shallow. But where is a man who is not as shallow? How far away from the media must I roam to find this golden man?

No More Self Hate 

Recently, I’ve been going over some of my posts. I’ve noticed a pattern of pity and self-loathing. Will I die alone? Am I pretty enough for love? Am I too fat for love? It has come to me what I have been doing, and what drives these posts. I have been listening to what the haters say, and not what the people who love me say. It’s a vicious cycle. The haters scream and shout, while those who love you are drowned out. It’s vicious what I’ve been listening to. Well, it’s time to make a definite change. I’ve come here to say NO MORE. It’s time I reverse my ears and listen to those who really love me – those who say that love is there, even if it’s not in a partner.

Autistic people find love. I have known a chemist/inventor who has been in Time Magazine, and she has been married for years. Of course, no one has to marry their partner, but isn’t that sweet? I have decided this: If I am bound to find a soul mate, they will come at the right time. If not, oh well. Maybe I can look at the other ways people can be loved – you know, without partners.

I’m going to go off script and talk about this – it’s related: Ashley Graham – yes, the plus-size Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model – says she’s not ashamed of her body. Why should she be ashamed of it? She’s a Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model! Even now, I can hear the cracking and crumbling of the plaster statue of broomstick beauty dictatorship. I’m not a broomstick, but why does that have to shut me out of love and acceptance? It’s sickening.

The worst part of it is this: It recurs almost every now and then. It’s like a pain that flares up with this trigger or that trigger, and I want it to stop. I want to stop feeling like I am inadequate to find and give/receive love. I’m tired of being disqualified because of things I can barely control, let alone things I can NOT control. I can’t control that I’m autistic. I can’t control that I’m short and stocky. I can’t control your attitude, either. So why lament about it?

Blonde Dolls Everywhere 

Now, let’s talk about real systemic racism. The systemic racism that exists in your toy box. I am writing from a position of privilege, so bear with me while I tell you what I see.

When I was a child, the lead character in any given cartoon was always blonde-and she still often is today. Let me give you a few examples from my era: Rainbow Brite, She-Ra, Jem (You KNOW she’s blonde under that pink dye!), Barbie and Skipper, Sailor Moon…need I go on? It was easy for me to find a doll that looked like me. You see, I was a blonde. The trouble is, I don’t think I had a lot of dolls that looked like my friends. That, to me, was troubling.

You see, I grew up in Southern California, among a group of friends that did not look like each other at all – and that was life. People looked different, people acted different, people even spoke different languages! But then and there, it was all acceptable, because it was life. I actually miss that part of Southern California. It’s the part I miss most, the diversity. I like learning about different things, and different people. Fascination and curiosity are great things.

Trouble is, there was not a lot of diversity in the toy box. If you were a brunette or a redhead, for example, you were relegated to sidekick. I had to specifically ask for redhead dolls to include my redhead friend. I even got blowback and freakish looks from my parents for asking for diversity in my doll kingdom. I mean, all my real friends are different, so why not have all my imaginary friends be different too?

What really hit me hard, though, was going into a store with Spanish-speaking owners, in my twenties, and seeing blonde dolls in Spanish-language boxes. At the time, I had just learned about various kinds of Eurocentric beauty standards, including Asian eyelid surgeries made to look more Western-which seems to be an Asian code word for European. Coming from my position, it still baffles me that they want to look like me, and not their beautiful selves. Anyway, back to the dolls. They looked nothing like the dark-haired beauties I normally came across with Hispanics. Blonde Hispanics do exist, even in natural states, but they are literally praised for “passing” as white somehow. I find all of this disturbing, that a person could hate their genetics so much. Of course, I am currently a size 18 in my clothing when the average model is a size…what is it now? Zero? So I can relate somewhat. Don’t even get me started on dolls in wheelchairs. Maybe they ought to exist, too?

Maybe celebrating differences would be better than making a uniform case that the leader is one uniform look, which could possibly be unnatural to the group of people supposedly represented. (I’m looking at you, Sailor Moon.) Perhaps make the brunette the leader, or the dark-skinned girl every once in a while?