The Issues, Part I

OK, I’ve been trying to get a thing to discuss in my head, and all I get are the same issues, over and over. So, this is my final word of certain issues within the community of autism:

1) Autistic or Has Autism?

There are two arguments within this: most people with autism stress “autistic” because they think of autism as a trait, while health communities stress “people first” language to improve the conditions and identities of

It does not matter to me what way you identify yourself. I switch identities depending on my audience. I have always been more than autism. The labeling does not bother me, one way or another. It’s like the pronunciation of the words tomato or potato.

2) Asperger’s or High-functioning Autism?

Again, in my eyes, a “tomato” or “potato” issue. I guess the words “Asperger’s” has been an attempt to separate the various parts of Autism Spectrum Disorder, and I believe this might be more successfully achieved in the future, barring findings suggesting otherwise. The issue arises from this fact, mostly: The latest DSM (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual) has mulled over getting rid of the term “Asperger’s” to describe the higher-functioning end of the Spectrum. However, since a person with Autism can bounce around the spectrum from time to time, I am not in issue with what a person calls themselves this week.

3) Vaccines

Let me put it this way: “I’m sorry you got Measles and Pneumonia, honey, and had to spend time in the hospital. We thought the thing that would prevent this caused your brother’s autism. Now that we know different, since you have it…” Do you really want to give that speech to your child? The refuted, not-duplicated study is the reason, and Jenny McCarthy spread the lie even further. I am with the people that say GET THE VACCINES. Even if there was a link, which there is not, I would rather have a healthy child with autism than a sick child without.

4) People who think they know Autism better than you:

MyChild1

This gives the point exactly to the parents. Now to the kids themselves, aka me: I know you cringe when people describe autism wrong. It’s stupid, so speak up. We’re waiting to hear from you. 

These are the major issues I have for now. I would like to see your input on what I should discuss.

 

Advertisements

Now I’m 37…and It’s Good!

There’s a funny thing I do when a task seems daunting to me: procrastinate. I’m still guilty of it, yet I procrastinate much less these days. I used to put off cleaning, until I realized it would only take about an hour a day. Cooking is not a big chore, either-unless it’s Thanksgiving, and all your food has to be done at a certain time. (It’s still pretty easy, though.) So it was – I procrastinated age 37 until the very day I turned 37. I don’t get it. People have worshipped youth, beauty and status in this culture since its formation, yet there are some real perks nobody talks about being this age. I can’t compete with the young and skinny with men, but who wants a guy that marries way too young anyway? Most wife beaters do that. Age and heft are automatic jabroni detectors. (Yes, I said “jabroni.” I used to like wrestling a lot.) Besides, I’m not even sure there’s a guy out there for me. So who cares? I get ready for myself, exercise for myself, and eat properly for myself. And if I lose a few pounds, so be it. If not, that’s okay too. I have also learned who my real friends are, as well. Getting older does that to a person. People who regularly post on my Facebook, and people who make efforts to keep in touch with me are real treasures. Unfortunately, I am very bad with doing the same…but I’m working on it. And that is one of the benefits of age…a little more wisdom.

 

I Can Cook, Too!

So, I’m doing laundry today, and I decided to make some mole, just to try it. I mean, chocolate for dinner? What could be better? So I mixed up the paste and water, and heated it, and I got some- Oh, did I forget to tell you that I cook? Not just heating up microwave meals. (I mostly use the microwave for making single-serving tea for my mom.) I mean, actual chopping, baking and meals from scratch. I still need help doing major meals, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I do most of the cooking in my house. Somewhere it’s an unwritten law that autistics can’t cook-maybe it’s a part of that no taking care of themselves stereotype. So, what does that do with me? Does that mean I’m not autistic? Of course not. Maybe those unwritten lawmakers need to expand their minds a little. So many of us are learning to take care of themselves, and our caregivers, as we age. It’s not a big deal to me, taking care of myself and cooking. I also do laundry, clean and have a preference for the Shark vacuum, but I digress. There is quite a bit I do. Laundry is mostly waiting for the loads to get done, of course, but I also clean and make sure my dog is well fed and walked. (We have just cut out a bunch of mats. I guess it comes with the territory; he’s a Pomeranian.) I hope others with my condition can get to the point of self-reliance as well.

37 – Midlife crisis?

There’s a certain terror to approaching this age with me. I don’t know exactly why. I mean, it’s not like it’s 40, or 35, or I’m comparing my success (or total lack thereof) with anybody else’s. I guess it’s kind of like waiting. Waiting for the next part of my life to start. I mean, my youth is flying away faster and faster, and what have I accomplished? I still live with my mother, no relationship, no children…but I do have a dog and independence. I guess that’s good. I guess maybe I thought I would accomplish more by this time, such as a job, kids or some way to be remembered by. I mean, life is short and nearly meaningless enough. Is there no way to be remembered by? No way to put down a record saying, “I was here”? That is the scary part for me. My life is fast slipping out of my hands, and there is no record of it. I mean, I exist. But there is no record or proof that I exist. Maybe that is the scariest thing of all.

“I’m so ugly, I can’t get a man if I was the last woman on Earth.”

I’m so ugly, I can’t get a man if I was the last woman on Earth.” Is this what men want their women to think? For a long time, this is what I thought of myself. So I never went out, never gave a care about my weight and my hygiene, and never really smiled at men. I did not even follow my own standards and values, because…”I’m so ugly, I can’t get a man if I was the last woman on Earth.” I am just now, almost 37, coming out of this self-hating fog. Why do I have a bunch of short-term boyfriends? This is an epidemic problem among women today, especially in the age of Photoshop.

Now we have completely unrealistic beauty standards, so unrealistic that most people would not recognize the model/actor in the photos when they walk on the street. I can hear now the statements like: “Nah, that’s not Christy Turlington (or whatever model is on the street). She’s skinnier.” I am four feet, eleven inches tall. I am a size 24. I am working on losing weight…and now here come the “credentials” and “qualifiers” for existing. Honestly, I did not even know that a woman could be my body type and be successful in the film industry until Melissa McCarthy came along. I did not realize this…even with Kathy Kinney, Delta Burke, Valerie Harper, Sophia Loren, and Marilyn Monroe existing. Do you think any of these bodies would get an acting job today? Google Tracey Gold while you’re at it. See what all that pressure did to her. But enough about Hollywood. This self-hating, “I’m so ugly, I can’t get a man if I was the last woman on Earth” mentality permeates the regular woman, too.

Let me tell you about my dating life, in reverse. It will make sense to you that way. Currently, I live with my mother, whom I help take care of. I have only had one “relationship” in this time, but it was purely a series of booty calls. Here’s how it went: talks about marriage on Friday, the booty call on Saturday, then the breakup on Monday…and waiting for three weeks to do it all over again. Why did I do this? “I’m so ugly, I can’t get a man if I was the last woman on Earth.””I’m so ugly, I can’t get a man if I was the last woman on Earth.” Before that, I was fairly promiscuous, not daring to really go into a real relationship for several years. Why? “I’m so ugly, I can’t get a man if I was the last woman on Earth.” Then, I was in a relationship on and off for a year. Before that, another one for several years, then one for about a month. Maybe I was too young, but I never felt like I was a truly valuable individual. I was not going to keep him for long without being cheated on. And again…“I’m so ugly, I can’t get a man if I was the last woman on Earth.” The last time I had a bikini on my body, I was six years old. I was constantly told I was too fat to have one from age seven on. I mean, in this day and age, fat=ugly. Strike one. So…“I’m so ugly, I can’t get a man if I was the last woman on Earth.” I am now turning 37 years old soon…which is apparently an age too old to be thinking about dating, unless you want a cheater or a beater. Besides, old=ugly, too, in this day and culture. Also, I have smarts. I speak my mind. That gives most women an air of being a “bitch.” And, so you all know, “bitch” is also a term for a female dog. “Dog” is also a term for an ugly woman. So, strong=ugly in our culture, too, though that is changing, gladly. Acting dumb or like a princess is now turning guys off these days, at least the younger ones. Hopefully, this will change too.

So, what is your _______=ugly trouble? Height? Weight? Breast size? Age? Being too smart, or being to masculine (getting called a bitch?) I’m not trying to start an ugly-off, just wanting you to think. What do you let keep holding you back from living and loving yourself? It’s perfectly okay to love yourself. It’s even necessary. Who is going to care for you if you’re not going to do it? 

Fat Shaming (Does Not Work)

Why in the world do people still discriminate against the fat? Did they not get the message that “fat shaming” (read: discrimination) does not work? That fat discrimination makes people fatter? It’s not a cool thing. i was fat shamed for years by my sisters, and I only gained 100 pounds once I got out from under their thumb. Now, I’m eating right and dragging out the old Sweatin’ to the Oldies tape for my own health, but I had to work out in my mind that I was worth taking care of myself…that I could be a little selfish and it would be okay. That does not mean that I don’t love myself now. It took years to come to this decision..36 years, 7 months to be exact. Yeah, I had to learn it was OK to love myself in the cold of February 2014. And I was born in 1977! Why did it take me so long to learn I could be lovable? Oh yeah, I’m fat. In Hollywood and fashion model culture, fat = unlovable. Well, I rejected Hollywood and fashion model culture a long time ago. I went to an article on Wikipedia to look up a model who died of anorexia, and found quite a few. What I also found on the list of causes shook me to the core: I found a lot of suicide – was not expecting that. How much pressure are these models and actors under in order to look unnaturally skinny? It pains me to see that there is so much death going into the industry. Is the unnatural “thigh gap” and “bikini bridge” not enough for you people? I guess people in the industry think skinny means young, but to me, skinny means sick. Even at my thinnest, I was never a gangly waif. That seems to be the trouble. I’ve decided to lose weight for my health, but not for Hollywood. I hope to be healthier to feel better. It took me this long to see I was worth it, thanks to Hollywood, but I’m not going to lose this love because I am fat right now. I’ve decided to take care of myself.

Gains from Autism

The deaf community and the autism community have quite a few things in common, which I like to highlight. People talk about all the losses from autism or deafness that occur: loss of speech, loss of friendship, loss of a normal life. Well, it always makes me mad that people talk about both autism and deafness as loss, tragedy, and nothing to be gained. That is wrong. There is so much to be gained from both of these conditions. Obviously, I’m going to skew towards autism, but the basic values gained from one condition is a lot like the others. Let’s start with the ones discussed above, and continue from there.

1) Community – It is true that, yes, autistic individuals have it harder to make and keep friends. And, yes, I said hardER. It is not impossible, though, especially when you can find people online now. True, I have it hard keeping up with everyone. I found it easier, though, to find people and connect online. There are so many people I know from Facebook, for instance. 

2) Perspective – People have said Albert Einstein had Asperger’s or autism. I don’t need to wax descriptive on him in the age of Google, or Time Magazine. His perspective on equations changed how we see time and space. We also have the Pokemon Series of games entertaining children through recent years, also attributed to someone with the same condition. You see, a whole new way of looking at things, new sensitivities, and other sensory “difficulties” can lead to new discoveries. 

3) Identity – When you have a difference, you have an identity. You know who you are. You know what struggles and fights you need to overcome. When Dr. Ritvoe said about me, “She’s one of ours!” she was relieved to know my difference had a name. I, however, have only recently learned what being part of a select group really gives a person. 

I will have more valuable tidbits about what I have gained in autism in the future. For now, this is a good start. Does anyone have a gain from autism they would like to add to the list?