On the Road to Being a Real Woman 

I’m not going to lecture you on what constitutes a real woman or a real man. What I’m going to do instead is share with you a realization about what being a woman is, as opposed to being a little girl, in a new aspect. Now, I’ve been critical of the general societal perception that thin is in. I’ve even gone so far as to call the skinny girls of the world “broomsticks” out of sheer jealousy. But this morning, something inside of me changed. It’s not my attitude toward thin is in. It’s my attitude toward the girls and women who fit this particular image. I’m not hateful towards them anymore. I have no reason to tear the thin ones down, simply because they are thin. It’s not their fault they’re thin and therefore beautiful by society’s standards. Just because they were born lucky, doesn’t mean they stay that way.

There is no need to tear a person down, because they’re perceived as having more value than you. It must be hard for them, too, because of this perception that you have to compete.

I’ll admit it. I’m fat. I can’t compete. But knowing this frees me to find the inherent value I have inside myself. There is a purpose to my existence. If there was not, I would not be alive. Believe me, those who love me have fought to keep me on this planet, even though I have had a strong desire to leave at times in my life. Yes, I have had to fight my own desire for suicide. But I have won. To paraphrase Alice Walker, I may be poor, I may be fat, I may be ugly, but I am here.

I’ve also learned that I can get a man on my own, without having to compete with anyone. A real man won’t make you compete. Boys want women to feel insecure, to compete and focus on them, as if the woman is his mother. Boys need mothers. Men need women. Which brings me back to the real woman.

A real woman is not that hard to spot. She is the one who builds women up, not tear them down. She can stand on her own without a man. She can want and desire a partner, but she does not need one. A real woman works on her healing. Trust me, the world wants you to be a girl, because girls are controllable. That’s why the world works to break you as a girl, to freeze you – keep you as a girl. Girls wallow in their hurt. You can see this in earlier posts.  Trust me, I have not quite made it to being the real woman. But I have taken a step toward it.

April Post 2: Calming Down 

I must admit, that last post was mostly reactionary. It’s terrifying to know you’re the worst-case scenario for a lot of people. Well, maybe they don’t quite know about me. I don’t want to be all hate and vitriol. It’s really dragging my blog down into a negative space. Perhaps we need a new and more accurate version of autism; not one that’s all doom and gloom. That is just why I have decided to mention the new, for 2017, Blue Power Ranger. Billy does a LOT of good things for autistic people, and I haven’t even seen the movie yet! First of all, Billy is a Power Ranger. He is a member of a superhero team. I hear he even contributes to the team’s success. If we can contribute something to the success of humanity, please, let us know. Oh, and another thing: Billy is the Blue Power Ranger. I must admit, I was a little scared that Autism Speaks might take that as a clue to hijack him, but Billy is too positive an image for Autism Speaks’ anti-autistic rhetoric. I mean, Billy contributes to the Power Rangers’ success! That, according to Autism Speaks, that cannot be. To them, autism is the enemy. So, unless Autism Speaks gets itself together and accepts autistic people as they are, then Billy is taking the color blue back from them. And that is the upside of the blue Power Ranger.

Ways to Get Through April and Other Tough Times

I can promise you that you will have tough times. But what I can also promise you is that you can get through it. As I have said before, April is a tough time for adult autistics, especially around April 2. The trouble is, Autism Speaks hijacked the conversation about autism, and with its generally negative tone, many autistic people are vilified and pitied to a certain extent. As you can see, it is a tough time for us. We have to work extra hard to get ourselves through this month.

I’m not a doctor. I’m just an autistic wanting to help other autistics.

1) Acknowledge your feelings – and FEEL them

I’m sure you might have begun this particular technique if you are here. I’m not going to give you a platitude, I’m just saying that acknowledging what you feel is the beginning of getting through things.

2) Find someone to talk it out with that you trust

“That you trust” is critical. You need a safe space to talk about what you’re going through. For some people, it might be a fellow autistic on the other side of the planet – and that’s okay.

3) Practice Self-Care

You need to take care of yourself to fill up your particular spoons of limited resources. I have said before that self-care is not always luxurious and pretty; sometimes, it is choking down large amounts of pills up to several times a day. Need I say more?

4) Stim, stim, stim

That’s right; I’m going against all Applied Behavior Analysis training and saying that you could need a stim. It’s a comfort, and may even be a form of self-care. The only stims you need to avoid are ones that, obviously, injure you or others. If you need to find a stim idea, Tumblr has a blog called “stimmysuggestion” that has many ideas. My own stim is moving around; I can easily work that into public life. I am no hater of stimming; just find one that suits you.

5) Go crazy so you don’t go crazy

This was the entire point of MASH, a TV comedy in the 1970s-80s that centered around doctors in a medical unit during the Korean War. If you need to act WAY out of turn, go ahead and do it. Comedy and other forms of silliness are welcome in the self-care category of psychology. Go play on something (but make sure it can hold you). See a kid’s movie, even if you need to grab a niece or nephew to go see it. Play with a toy.

6) Try to See Past the Hardship – Consider that it’s only during one month, and drops off greatly after April 2

Also, remember that June 18 is Autistic Pride Day. I’m just saying.

7) Let Go of those Autism Marbleheads

Marble is a dense stone. Dense, hard and continues to be itself. Sounds like the anti-vaccine camp, huh? It often takes a dramatic, usually harmful event to get through to those who stubbornly hold onto false beliefs about autism. You can’t change a mind unless it wants to change.

8) Ask for help

There is nothing wrong with getting help. Considering the apparent stigma surrounding help, asking for it is a sign of strength. You are not Superman. You do not have to be.

9) Bonding with Other Autistics is Good For You

One of the things about finding your “tribe,” if you will, is that it feels good to know someone who understands you. That’s why so many of the actually autistic forums do so well. Besides, if you’re an eagle, wouldn’t you rather learn how to fly from other eagles?

10) Remember, everyone heals and deals differently

Again, if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. Everyone needs their own specific combination of mindfulness, bonding, and even help to get through this tough time.

11) Think, Then Take Action if You Can

This is probably what this particular post is doing. Sometimes you need to just see what action you can actually take, and go with it. I say see what you can do first, because it could be wrong, like a bad movie. Thinking and then doing something is the best course of action. Perhaps other autistics can guide you.

12) Religion or Spirituality Helps

It helps to be part of something bigger than just yourself. This might help you remember that you’re not alone as well.

*****

This is not an exhaustive list. It’s just a few ways to get through upcoming tough times, using the actually autistic person’s relationship with Autism “Awareness” Month as a background.

Hiding Your True Self

It’s a troubling thing I have come up with: I often wonder if I would have succeeded more, or gotten more in life, if I had not known or revealed my autism? I sometimes think that, but then I remind myself: lots of people have to hide certain “undesirable” traits about themselves, like choosing a “less black” name for a baby to make a resume more “acceptable” to certain hiring staff. (I watched an episode of Blackish a couple nights ago. Bear with me; it was a plotline.) It troubles me that people feel the need to hide their true selves. It’s a form of lying. Somehow, the truth will always out itself. A funny thing about lies: little white ones always grow and get color to them.

About lying about yourself: it’s often necessary to hide your diagnosis, or your race, or your nationality, etc. In order to be accepted to people who would judge you as “less.” So, maybe they’re partly responsible for people hiding themselves. Of course, I’m not placing blame on any system or person. Nobody gets away clean in the bigotry-and-hiding-cycle. The gatekeeper is a bigot; the person trying to get in is a liar. I think we may have to completely reject the whole cycle to get away from it. It is a big mess.

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?

Body Wars

amy-schumerWhen I look at Amy Schumer’s pictures, I see a confident, beautiful woman. She seems absolutely fit and beautiful to me. It seems that it is not apparent to some people, because she is also a clear Endomorph.

There are three major body types: Endomorph, Mesomorph and Ectomorph. An endomorph is the kind of body that Amy Schumer has. It is often pear-shaped and stores more fat than the other two. Marilyn Monroe and Scarlett Johansson are two more examples. A Mesomorph is someone who has a balance between fat and thin, and are more muscular than the other two. Halle Berry is a good example, I have been told.  An ectomorph is usually the thinnest, and apparently the most in fashion. Most fashion models, Keira Knightley, and other very thin celebrities are good examples. Keep in mind, it is not always apparent which body type a person is or is not. Kindness and sensitivity make the world a better place. (Also, I could be wrong about there only being three major body types: We could have hybrid types, and others named.)

Let me get this straight: I am not a hater of any body type. I think there are beautiful people who exist in all body types. What I actually hate is people being shamed for not living up to some preconceived, changing ideal that they cannot live up to anyway. Body shamers often think people have to be one body type or another to be “healthy” or “attractive,” when in reality there are many people who fit other body types. Being an endomorph myself, I often feel the shame of being the “wrong” body type when I hear others being shamed for being endomorphs. For the people who say “Stop promoting obesity!” To us, I would like to see them cough up the exorbitant surgery costs to change our bodies for us if they hate us so much. I am also sure that mesomorphs and ectomorphs get this same kind of shame when they hear stuff like “Eat a sandwich!” Or “Stop lifting weights ya freak!” All I hear from body shamers is “YOU’RE NOT ME! BE LIKE ME!” To the body shamers, all I have to say is: If I am shameful to you, you are shameful to someone else.

What I Want

Everybody wants a healthy child. Everybody wants to fit in. Everybody wants to be accepted. That’s what I keep hearing from the cure purveyors and the people who will not accept their childrens’ autism as a condition they can live with. I also hear a dark side to all these statements:

1) Everybody wants a healthy child: A child must be typical to be healthy.

2) Everybody wants to fit in: If I or my child is not perfectly in sync with society, I will not fit in. If my child is not typical enough, I will not fit in.

3) Everybody wants to be accepted: If my child is not accepted, then I will not be accepted.

No offense, but where do you end and where does your child begin? There needs to be a healthy boundary between you two. Most autism parents bemoan their situation in a way that makes the child responsible for their happiness, You know what most psychologists call that? Codependency.

I have come up with some tenets for what I myself want, because I’m not going to get acceptance unless I fight for it, because those in power are neurotypical, and any deviation from this “neurotypical” neural system is still quickly discouraged and ostracized.

Here’s what I want:

1) I want to fit in the way I am.

2) I want to be accepted the way I am.

3) I want the way I am to be accepted, not feared.

4) I want people to be somewhat relaxed when they hear their children have autism, because it is something with a name.

5) I want people to understand autism is something you can live with, even as a struggle.

6) I want people to know that autism is something you can work with.

7) I want people to know that when something you have has a name, there are people who can help you with it.

8) I want to be listened to. I don’t get that from most “Autism” groups.