A Little Smartphone Frustration

Sometimes, the smartphone can be really dumb. Here is a recent series of actions I did to attempt to get mine to work properly. 

  1. Turn on phone.
  2. Wait for home screen to show up. 
  3. Press ON button because screen went black. 
  4. See Turn OFF screen come up due to previous action. 
  5. Press around said screen to make it disappear.
  6. Enter PIN.
  7. Wait for screen to come up. 
  8. Press ON button because screen went black. 
  9. Open app I want to use. 
  10. Wait for app to come up. 
  11. Press ON button because screen went black. 
  12. Learn app is not responding. 
  13. Turn off app. 
  14. Turn off phone. 
  15. Turn on phone again. 
  16. Learn phone is not responding. 
  17. Turn off phone. 
  18. Take the battery out. 
  19. Place battery back in. 
  20. Turn phone on again. 
  21. Wait for open screen to come up. 
  22. Enter PIN. 
  23. Wait for home screen to come on. 
  24. Press ON button because screen went black. 
  25. Open app I want to use. 
  26. Learn it was a different app. 
  27. Turn to screen where I can close off other app(s).
  28. Close other apps. 
  29. Learn chosen app is not working. 
  30. Slam phone against my hand out of frustration, fearing I’ve broken it. 
  31. Learn app is finally working.  
  32. Use app. 

During all this, I am helping my mother grocery shop for some basic things we need. This involves taking a motorized scooter out a car and assembling it. It also involves going into the store. I could have had a meltdown, but something inside me kept me calm throughout the ordeal. Maybe it was the fact that I was in public and could be photographed by one of those “People of Walmart” photo jerks. But, somehow, it finally worked. If only I could have avoided this frustration.  

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The Autism Costume 

I have been trying to find realistic portrayals of autistic women on television and in movies. Trouble is, I can’t seem to find them. This troubles me. All of the portrayals I have come across have been, to a certain extent, somewhat stereotyped and basically somewhat some neurotypical’s experience of what “autism” is supposed to look like. It’s as if they are putting on the Autism Costume, a stereotypical portrayal of what somebody else thinks autism looks like. 

How do I explain the Autism Costume? Well, basically, the Autism Costume was initially set by Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of autistic individual in “Rain Man.” Ever since, the Autism Costume has been, more or less, dominated by this portrayal. There’s hand-flapping. There’s no eye contact. There’s repetitive behavior. There’s fixations, and they’re always portrayed as near-psychotic. There’s bad fashion, dominated by comfort and sameness. Plus, there’s meltdowns. There’s always meltdowns. And the meltdowns are usually violent or injurious.  

Let’s see how I myself fit into this Autism Costume. Hand-flapping? Nope, I don’t do that. Lack of eye contact? Well, I can look into people’s eyes just fine. I taught myself. Fixations? I call them special interests, and can talk about more than just them. And I have no indications toward psychosis. Repetitive behavior? I do have some repetitive things, like generally the same breakfast, but I can vary my routing when I want or need to. Comfort and sameness-dominated fashion? Nah. I have a larger amount of wardrobe colors than my mother! Meltdowns? Well, I had a minor meltdown during the Charlottesville tragedy, but before that, my last meltdown and shutdown was in 2006. Violent meltdowns? Nope.  

So, as you can see, the Autism Costume can be a very inaccurate thing. I mean, I have a fear that I am “not autistic enough” to be believed, because I do not fit into the Autism Costume. As a matter of fact, our local autistic group has just about nobody who fits into the Autism Costume. 

What can we do to destroy the Autism Costume? First, we can believe people when they tell you they have autism. “But you don’t look autistic” is a common reaction, because the person reporting the diagnosis usually does not fit into the Autism Costume.  

Second, we could learn more about autism, from actual autistics. We could get more nuanced portrayals, of we could get more information about autism from people who actually experience it. Again, if you were a bird and needed to learn flying, would you better learn it from an ornithologist or an actual bird? The same thinking can be applied to autistic people. If autistic people were allowed to live and be autistic, maybe we could get some more realistic portrayals of autism in society doing this or that? I’m just saying.

Now, I’m not saying autistic people do not have Costume behaviors. But if the Costume behaviors are all you see, how can you see the people who do not fit the costume?  

 

Autism Warrior Moms and My Mom

I do not consider my mother an autism warrior mom. Warrior moms and my mother are very different. Take autism warrior moms. They prescribe restrictive diets. They have “therapists” beat the children, starve the children and hold their children’s favorite things above their heads until they exhibit neurotypical behavior. Of course, I am referring to Applied Behavior Analysis. They don’t give any rewards until the child passes for neurotypical in the therapists’ eyes. They even pump caustic bleach up the child’s rectum in hopes for a “cure” for autism. And when their children finally grow up and rebel, they often murder the child, and society takes their side.  

My mother was not the usual autism warrior mom. Sure, she’s a warrior and a mom, but she knows that things are there to protect me, not her ego. She never did things like restrictive diets, ABA and CD/MMS to Make Cambria Neurotypical Again. Of course, I was never neurotypical in the first place. She also told me that. I exhibited signs of difference as a baby. Sure, she fought for me to have speech therapy and social training, but not really passing for neurotypical. She explained to me that I was learning how to act in public. In private, I could be myself. She taught me basic life skills, like cooking, cleaning and paying bills. (Of course, with pre-cut frozen vegetables and basic sauces, cooking is really quite easy for me.) Eventually, I will learn to drive. I want to drive badly, so my mother can focus on getting better. What I am trying to say is, I can generally take care of myself, which is more than I can say for most “warrior mom” children out there.  

The difference between my mother and “warrior” mothers is, there was a modicum of acceptance concerning my mother. Once she learned about autism for the first time, she prayed and asked God for guidance. (As you all know, we are Christians.) I think she never really knew about ABA, but I don’t think she would have approved of the techniques. When I had to stim, I did – even if it meant running up and down the hall six times. I am not traumatized by her upbringing.

Future Eugenics???

I saw a thing on TV that talked about people aborting those with Down Syndrome in Iceland and other places in Europe. I am scared for autistic people of the future because of this.  

I just know there is a lot of people who find autistic people “genetically defective,” “emotionally defective,” “mentally defective,” and just defective in general. I have been contacted by these people online. I just know that anyone who is “defective” would be in danger of being aborted. Why, people ridding the world of “defective” people is one of the core arguments surrounding the pro-choice debate. It frightens me. I think I might be a rare person because of this. And, what will you miss when you realize good people who contribute to society are gone?  

Let me put the above in a more practical light: The Renaissance artist Michelangelo has been often described with autistic traits. Do we tear down the Sistine Chapel because of this? That is what you’re potentially doing. You’re potentially tearing down the Sistine Chapels’ ceilings of the future. Why not let people with defects live with you? That is more compassionate, and less eugenic.  

Back to eugenics: eugenics is known as a pseudoscience created and supplied by the Nazis to prove that Germans, or Aryans, as they call themselves, are a master race. Eugenics was one of the arguments which eventually led to the Holocaust, the murder of millions of Jews and various other races and their helpers. I know that escalated quickly, but it only took from 1933 to 1941-eight years-to escalate from election to systematic genocide. I’m not stupid.  

Forgive me. I am afraid. I am afraid of being systematically erased from society. Considering the recent events taking place in Charlottesville, Virginia, is that so far-fetched?

Charlottesville, Virginia: August 12, 2017

CONTENT WARNING: Swearing  

It has been a rough day. It has also taken me a LONG time to process it all. And I hate what I see.

I am literally considering banging my head into the wall thanks to the people of the Alt-Right, the Nazis and the White Supremacists of to relieve myself and release all this tension. I’m on the verge of crying. I don’t know if my mother sees this.

White Supremacists rallying around a statue. Nazis saluting. Counter Protesters. A car running into counter protesters, killing a woman. What, was she collateral damage?

Why do people think they are better than each other? In the worldview I have adopted, all are equal. No one person is more or less valuable than the next.

8:55 p.m. 

I have hit my head in my hands three times to release my rage. I am shaking. I am on the verge of tears. I want to scream, but I can’t.

Nobody is better than anybody else.

People are the best and the worst rolled into one.

I want to mow down everyone’s ego. I want to shake my fellow white man and say “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!” I want to take my brain out of my head and stomp on it. I want to stomp on my heart. I want to stop feeling. I want to be rational. But no one else is.

People are dying to be equal.

The King-of-the-Mountain routine is destroying America.

 

An Ode to My Fellow Middle Children

Let me bring up the three girls of The Brady Bunch. If they were real, I wonder, which one of them would have been the most likely first female President? No, not Marcia. Statistics actually point to Jan. Jan Brady would have been the most likely first female President. I’m not kidding. Statistics prove that, now that elder sisters are counted equally among siblings these days, 52% of US Presidents are middle children.  

I’m writing from experience. The thing is, I am a middle child. Maybe that’s the reason why I am the one with the blog. Yes, I had to deal with a big sibling and two younger ones. So did the other middle child in my family unit.  

Let me tell you a basic story that explains the predicament of middle children: My family moved into a four-bedroom house when I was in my teens. My oldest sibling had a bedroom, my youngest sibling had a bedroom, and us two middles were forced to share ours until my eldest moved out. I think maybe our other middle had it worse at times, because there were times I dominated the decorating of our bedroom. Here’s the thing: the two of us became so much more than the vacillating and struggling Jan Brady or bad luck magnet Edith Crawley. Truth is, middle children may get the ceiling and floor stolen from them in childhood. The funny thing is, they get it back through blood, sweat and tears. Also, there is hard negotiation and perceived rebellion involved. But how does that affect us in adulthood? Turns out, once we are out from under the shadows of our siblings, we do pretty well. I mean, look back up and see how many of us are US Presidents!

Now, let’s take a look at famous middle children. Here is a partial list: 

Abraham Lincoln 

Kim Kardashian 

Bill Gates 

Britney Spears 

Peyton Manning 

Jennifer Lopez 

Chris Hemsworth (HELLO! He portrays Thor!) 

Pippa Middleton (Best Dressed at Kate’s Wedding, I think) 

Donald Trump (No matter what you think of him, he is one of us.)  

Warren Buffett 

Judd Apatow 

David Letterman 

Anne Hathaway 

Julia Roberts (I’ve just turned on “Pretty Woman.”) 

Katy Perry 

Nelson Mandela 

Martin Luther King Jr. 

So, all of us middles out there, we’re in very good company. And we are valuable people, as the list is very long.  

And one final word about success and who is successful: Define success first, and then see who is most successful.  

Dentist Haze Videos and Meltdown Videos: Yes, They are Related

There is a trend of videos, that, to put it bluntly, just angers me. I heard of gymnast Simone Biles being filmed while still being affected by the anesthesia after the dentist. Sure, it was funny, but it was funny in a way that laughing at an autistic person in meltdown mode is funny. It’s humor for bullies and haters. Why do people do that?  

Trust me; I come from a place of familiarity and some guilt on this one. I used to laugh at drunk people’s foibles on videos. Fortunately, I realized that most people who are drunk are not in their right mind. Yeah, acting not normal is funny, but if laughing at people in distress is your thing, that is sad in itself. And that is the trouble: laughing at people who are drunk, laughing at people who are affected by dentist haze, and laughing at autistic people in meltdown is as cruel as throwing water on a drowning man. 

Speaking of a drowning man, you remember the teens who laughed while filming a drowning man? He died. Due to their laughter and not helping him, his blood is on their hands. You who laugh at people in distress, you are no better.