A bolt from the blue

I’ve been reading Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks and the case on the page just suddenly stood out to me. It was describing the severe amnesia of the patient. It said that while he was still able to read and play music on a whim along with talking about subjects that he was previously interested in; he couldn’t form any new memories. This meant that will he could dress, shave or navigate around his house but he was unable to describe what his wife did currently or even what she looked like. His children’s careers were a complete mystery to him.

This state never improved and it got me thinking that because I experienced this after my accident I have been labouring under the assumption that I could get my memories back. Some things have returned but what I really miss is my mathematical ability. However that is again me orientating myself in a career mind. Doing what I felt compelled to do in order to support myself. Since I didn’t learn maths, it was just there; I can’t pick it back up again.

Some things really are lost forever if the brain becomes damaged.

I think perhaps the reason I haven’t found my tribe yet is because I’ve been looking in completely the wrong places. I’ve been trying to mould myself to fit into a workplace, society even my husbands family. This lack of belonging affects your stability since your never quite sure how to behave. You don’t know what is acceptable as the goal posts change depending on which scenario you are in and which group you are in.

Eventually you break down as you can’t cope with all these different personas. The support you need to continue is still lacking but at least you have a much better idea of what you want and need out of life.

I need to follow the strong female role models of my family. The fact that I’m inherently masculine due to my autism means that this is a big problem. It affects the way that I carry out any task. There is always 2 ways of doing anything and neither side can agree on which is best. There is however no right way to do things. They just need to get done. However it’s never satisfying just completely a task for the sake of it. There is no pride or sense of accomplishment. Only another task finished and on to the next.

So therein lies the trouble. A desire from my feminine side to follow a more spiritual, hippyish path and my masculine side saying don’t be so foolish you need to earn money to be able to look after yourself!

There are no shortcuts to success

If you want the best out of anything in life you have to work for it. I will expect you have heard that maxim many times in your life before. I most certainly have. However hearing a phrase and being able to action its content are too completely different things.

Being autistic means that I interpret and therefore process things very differently to others. I don’t have issues with hearing but instead understanding and comprehending the meaning that you are ascribing to that particular set of words that you have just used. Often it’s context specific. This is tricky as there is an infinite amount of scenarios in this situation. It’s tiring to try to figure out which one this is in a split second. The solution is to go for the most common but this frequently is wrong. Hence our inherent dislike of social situations of any kind.

This is a big problem as both work and play are populated by others. This also means that we lose out on so much. We have been given a respite though with Covid 19 as nobody is going anywhere. This is soon to change though as the economy cannot be stalled forever.

I have mostly enjoyed my quarantine time so far as it’s been very productive. First with my artwork, then my reading and writing but mostly my mental growth. This is something I have been trying to achieve for a long time. As this kind of work is often both groundbreaking and revolutionary in what it sets out to accomplish; it’s quite often lengthy and complex in nature and execution.

It’s also never finished even though I think I’m done since there is always something more to learn or discover about. Being a life long learner is a very good thing. Being curious is good in the right environment.

Success also means very different things to people. It’s not always financial. Sometimes it’s more to do with independence or what you have managed to provide for yourself or others. The feeling of empowerment when you have striven to be your very best and your rewarded for it is amazing. These rewards vary in nature but there personal significance doesn’t.

Reading and Autism

I love reading. This much is pretty obvious early on as I read so much. I’m a highly visual person who can recite what they read parrot fashion for some time to come later on. This is a common attribute in autistics. However if you stop to ask why we read so much or why we like to read so much you might not get a cohesive answer if you receive anything other than I don’t know or I just do.

Yes reading is entertaining, diverting and occupies your time in a productive manner but also gives us something to talk about. We need to spend a lot of time recovering from the outside world so we escape into the world of literature. If we got out more we could talk about what we did or who we met like everyone else but we are solitary creatures often. Books are a refuge but they are also a substitute. Since the world is so overwhelming for us we choose to enter one that is much more calm. We can decide how long to stay there and when to leave. It gives a sense of control but also of adventure. We can visit many worlds, meeting all their inhabitants from the safety of an armchair.

Our knowledge is frequently ploughed back into fan fiction, comics, short stories, novels or even creating our own languages like Tolkien. We like words, well I do which is why I have spent so much time and effort concentrating on improving my verbal ability. Talking will never be easy for me so my conversational ability will forever be a struggle. I rely on my reading ability to provide me with something to talk about but it often doesn’t find a warm reception.

There is a lot of reading I have had to learn in addition to the book kind. The “reading between the lines” in social behaviour or documents. The forever unsaid, implied or just briefly referenced in some way by a gesture. There is also a new kind kind of reading as I’m learning.

In drag culture to ‘read’ a person is to notice their flaws. If ‘the library is open’ as Ru Paul says in every series of Drag Race; then you reveal what you really think about the person. This is often harsh but truthful yet comedic. It helps to be honest as then you can move on having aired your grievances without resorting to violence. Since they all spend so much time together it’s not wonder that problems crop up. There separation from the outside world creates an environment where everything is focused towards the end goal but not everyone plays ball. Willam is most famous for breaking out of his self imposed prison but nobody else has.

I am looking forward to breaking out of myself imposed prison due to the corona virus lockdown. Only about 6 weeks before I may be able to fly to Greece because they have announced their timetable. Here’s hoping that July really is my independence!

Autism and eye contact

Now everyone knows that autistic people are very bad at looking people in the eyes. There always distracted by looking at other things like moving objects or a particularly vivid picture. If we’re talking me, words are what catch my attention.

I came across an article written by an autistic on WordPress looking for the differences between how Autistics perceive things in relation to everyone else. They were looking for an article which told them where nts focus there gaze but google came up blank. To resolve this conundrum they came up with a couple of pictures which indicated which an autistic was likely to look in comparison to where others usually focus. It was pattern/contrast based areas that mainly drew there attention. As it was a picture you couldn’t see things in motion.

The most interesting aspect however was that Autistics look in the middle of objects/people and others look at faces. This presents a problem. If you spend your whole life being focused on the middle of a person or things that move your more likely to be perceived as being hugely inappropriate. We are not but it does explain a lot of issues we have being naive, vulnerable and lacking in culturally appropriate social skills.

We some how can zone in on someone’s mojo to quote Austin Powers and that’s where our eyes go. The fact that this is just not done unless you want to sleep with the person doesn’t occur. We think that the vital energy can almost be seen and therefore needs our attention.

It’s hugely embarrassing to find out you have been staring at a person’s life force for a couple minutes as your just spacing out. There are so many things to absorb in the world so we try our best to cut out the unnecessary bits.

We know sex sells, it’s universal and for lots of people there most important feature is the size of their attributes. So we try to give them their due but due to our hyper focused nature we get a bit stuck on taking in all the details. We also happen to have the curiosity of a child with all its awe and wonder. Brilliant in teen porn but absolutely wrong in real life.

So our underdeveloped social brains get a hammering from repeating what is lauded in one context but shunned in another. Without many experiences we can’t tell the difference just like many words are wrong in certain areas but completely right in others. Ie a tailor has to pay a lot of attention to the fit of a person’s clothes leading to the always awkward inside leg measurement or take your trousers off now please. This can be doubly difficult as a lot of clothiers are gay and there is still a stigma towards this.

So next time you come across someone who you think is eyeing you up; consider a few alternative perspectives first. They may just be intrigued by your sense of style, hair, makeup or maybe they have never seen anyone like you before. Our emotions and thoughts are usually at the surface and on display to all if we are happy but most have learnt to conceal otherwise and this is painful. Respect what holds our interest and you will find a whole new way of thinking, living and being.

Meditation revelations

Today I have been flooded by a barrage of emotions.It started last night, led to a disturbed night sleep and is still continuing. When you ask the universe for clarity at the start of the year and you start doing a meditation regime to increase the abundance in your life you better be prepared for the floodgates to open.

I watched a video on YouTube recently about dopamine addiction so I once again started to lessen my use of technology which has now lead to me losing my phone. This happens on a regular basis and as my mother frequently said during my childhood, “You would lose your head if it wasn’t on your shoulders”. The other comment of “You would be late to your own funeral” is having a rest right now as were not going anywhere but it’s still equally true due to the fact anxiety is ever present in my life from my highly sensitive nature.

It’s amazing what your parents know about your own abilities and qualities that you don’t realise yourself until many years later. I’m terrible at anything requiring balance hence skiing, using a Segway, skateboard, roller skates etc. I’m also bad at sequencing things hence cooking, chess, poker, etc. This is also why I have no ability to be a self starter, I’m bad at sales as I’m not persuasive enough just irritating and I have no marketing skills as that just social skills dressed up with lots of communication which tires me easily.

I’m good at 2 things, maths as that was an innate talent that my butterfly mind was somehow focused on with the assistance of my dad when I was 6 as before that I was bad. This is no longer the case after my accident which destroyed my natural talent but I still have that systematic mindset. It means I’m still attracted to this area but can’t actually do anything with this interest which is constantly infuriating. I’m also into words, literature and languages through the influence of both of my parents as you might know if you’ve ever come across this blog or me before. However, due to my autism I both learn ridiculous amounts and cannot communicate this to anyone as I get tired so quickly. The unclaimed emotional baggage of others is exhausting.

I do wonder whether my absent mindedness, lack of balance, executive dysfunction etc were all present before my accident but due to lack of funding they were not discovered. My mum might might have been ignored as a pushy parent but she was trying as hard as she possibly could for my entire childhood and adolescence to get the help I needed and it just wasn’t there. I have suffered from a lack of purpose in my life so far as I haven’t found anything that I can do since hurdles keep presenting themselves. If you’ve ever seen me running or jumping you will know that inverted hips, knees and a metal plate in your leg lead to some funny consequences. Along with the knowledge you have no clue what your body is doing.

Learning languages with autism

I have long wondered how is it that I have dedicated countless hours over the years to this task yet I’m still unable to speak?

I know it’s possible as I can do it in a pinch and I have written about the methods which have allowed many others to do just that.

It turns out that since I’m reticent to speak in English, it applies to all languages and has nothing to do with my intellectual ability at all. I can learn a language, any language and enjoy it. I just don’t like speaking. Since most conversations are inane repeats of what has been said previously I don’t join in. The point that they are therapy and checking up on people to make sure they are mentally well as well as physically has escaped me until recently. I am entirely capable of talking especially about special interests but my conversational skills right now have descended to word play games with my father in law. Yesterday I was trying to say to my husband in Greek that since he had got a baked bean stuck in his throat (he had baked beans on toast for his lunch) he wouldn’t be ordering them when he got back to Greece. Mia fazoula parakalo (polite and I enunciated it wrong) but then his dad joined in with strawberries fraoula since it’s a similar word and he was waxing lyrical (mountain strawberries like I have in Greece) about them yesterday dinner time. We ended with me saying that a frauoula was a little German housewife thereby mixing German with Greek which might considered a bit of a heresy considering the history involved here.

A short history of the effect of British culture on its people

This is actually a mindset of emotional repression caused by the inherent class system which uses alcohol and a trip to the pub as it’s let off valve. The sports of Football and boxing are also used by men to let off steam, with cricket traditionally being played by gentlemen and rugby being the sport for gentlemen but played by ruffians. Tennis was a much more genteel sport with polo, croquet or bowls definitely for the upper classes as they had time to indulge in leisure activities. Racing whether it be horses or dogs was for lower class gentlemen just like darts is today. Even this delineation smacks of the true division that is still ever present in our society. These are all masculine activities those are women were expected to be barefoot and pregnant as the saying went.

The self deprecating attitude traditionally associated with the English is perplexing to foreigners. We are always putting ourselves down, thinking we are not good enough. We are always complaining amongst ourselves but never to those in authority as we don’t wish to upset the apple cart. We can’t have ideas above our station after all.

We are always queuing waiting for our turn quietly obeying the laws of the land but we are also always gossiping about others who dare to do something different. It is such a scandal when someone does something that doesn’t fit with the status quo. Those that dare to be different though make the most of there lives by breaking out of the stuffy container that we have made for ourselves.

Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, the Bloomsbury group, the Pre Raphealites these were all people who were bohemian that believed the world could be a better place through art and music. They lived a hedonistic lifestyle but they could afford too as they were commonly part of the landed gentry. They could afford to live eccentric lifestyles travelling abroad and living in grand houses attended by many servants. This is harking back to Roman times but more often I think it was a nod to a romantic notion that we all in the UK entertain about life in Ancient Greece. If you think about it we are still ruled over by an Anglo Greek alliance through Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

So in a way you could say we are all striving for something better in our lives while remaining exactly where we are as we have internalised the fact that the class we were born into is the one we will die in. If we achieve a meteoric rise some how then we are frequently brought back down to Earth again abruptly like Anne Boleyn was only not quite so dramatically.

The crab bucket effect is very much part of our lives along with the keeping up with the Jones idea. For those who are not English this is the constant fight to maintain the appearance that you are a heterosexual married couple who are middle class with a good job, car, well maintained house with 2 well behaved children. This idea is a complete fallacy but it’s what we all learn from our environment as what we need to aspire to. If we have not managed to achieve this by age 30 we are somehow incomplete and there is something wrong with us.

With this break from normalcy we should all new values to creep in to replace the old ones which didn’t serve us. You may have noticed that all of the individuals I mentioned earlier were not only artists but engaged in different sexual identities. There gender representation was also different from the norm. This has been so against what society has said was acceptable for so long that we have lost some of our greatest minds like Alan Turing through this ignorance. We need to allow all forms of expression for we are all human at the end of the day. If we are much kinder and welcoming of those that present differently, think how much creativity and intellect will be saved. We will be living in a better world for all concerned.

Time and Autism

Autistic people perceive time in a very different way to the rest of the world. It flows much more like a river. Most of the time we are quite happy to let it pass us by absorbed in our own interests. Other people like to have others around them to interact with. These are like stones in the stream. We are objects that slowly but surely get broken down into our constituent parts and distributed across space and time.

I can understand how Einstein came up with the theory of relativity in this way and that it took a couple of years to get the maths to prove his ideas. I can understand how people could think he was autistic too. We do have an unconventional way of thinking that is also systematic. Our ideas do not get respected though until they are profitable as I mentioned in The Current War.

As Autistics brains get stuck thinking about words that were said to them, conversations, events or literally that has happened to them they pick apart everything to find the smallest details possible. In this way they see how to correct mistakes and make things better which others do not but they also miss the bigger picture that everyone else has.

It’s this lack of socialisation and connection that is both an Autistics strength and weakness. It’s a strength because they can work unhindered until the task has been completed but it’s a weakness as it takes a toll on there mental health. They are not aware of developments in the world or simply choose to ignore them thinking them unimportant or too depressing to contemplate.

In a world remade like Greta Thunberg would like as this one has been; let’s all take advantage of the time we have spent with our families and away from society to make our environment a friendlier place based on love, togetherness and peace. Let’s not just hope but work towards making the old world of corruption, deceit, lies, money and exploitation of both environment and people languish in the past as it should.

More Covid realizations

Until Covid I never realised how much I denied my autistic self. I didn’t realize how many ineffective coping mechanisms I had. My buying habits were obsessive as I had no therapy.

Retail therapy is a consumerist, capitalist therapy. Autistics need real connection, friends and conversations just as much as the rest of the world. However we find it much more difficult to get anything meaningful. There should be provision for adult Autistics since they are just as much in need as children are. If you are a late diagnosed autistic like I am; you never had any so there is only so much you can cope with before you break down.

I’m feeling like I did when I first experienced death and I can see what I started repressing my emotions. When that got too much I can see why I started drinking. I’m highly sensitive and aware of what’s going on as I’m very perceptive. I also know by writing this that those reading it will possibly use it to their advantage by hiding their true selves while I cannot. It’s like when you discover a tell in poker you never reveal it as then they would be aware and mask it. I’m no longer willing to do that as it’s just too taxing.

The sadness I’m feeling right now is incredibly intense as my nan has just died. I can’t go and say goodbye to her and in fact she was ill to the point that she couldn’t see or hear properly for the last 4 years of her life. Living in a home separated from your relatives is a horrible thing to do.

My nan needed help but she couldn’t get any as without a diagnosis there is nowhere to start from. I’m sure she was a lifelong autism sufferer. If you have undiagnosed autism or if you have it without any help then it is the same. You are different but you don’t get any recognition from anyone. There is no awareness or respect. A different neurology affects your entire life. Just like a dog is not only for Christmas but for life; so is autism.

Infinite Monkey podcast, Primates and Pokemon

Today I was listening to Brian Cox on the BBC Sounds App and the title of the episode was called Fire. There was a lot of interesting information like the practical information about fire in this universe and whether it could exist elsewhere but the thing that was most interesting was the “Did fire or life come first debate?” Life came first as it created the oxygen required for fire. This lead onto the fact that creatures other than humans (birds) can deliberately create and use fire as a tool just like some primates do. I think it’s amazing that the Aboriginal Australians knew that the fire bird was capable of doing this thousands of years ago as it’s in there traditional dream festivities. It’s also possibly the origin of the Phoenix and almost certainly connected to the legendary fire bird Pokemon Moltres. It does however mean that the story from Greek Mythology about Prometheus stealing fire from the Gods is almost certainly wrong. It’s an eye opening discussion to have with a Buddhist which I did a while ago now. Sometimes things are so strange that they have to be true or at least based on an established fact that has now been forgotten to have lasted for so long. My memory is a strange thing with what it forget and then later on pulls out of its memory bank.

Later on I was watching Primates on BBC narrated by Chris Packham who is a famous autistic naturalist and it showed that in 2017 they discovered a new type of Orangutan. It’s simply stunning that we are still finding new animals in our world but also extremely worrying that they immediately go to the top of the endangered animals list since there are so few. Yes there is also a Pokemon – Orangu and the librarian in the Discworld is a wizard who refused to become human again as life was much simpler as an Orangutan. These are some of the strange thoughts that flit across my brain while watching tv or painting but wait in a holding bay until I decide to write them out on here later on. If I don’t let them out to play they cause trouble by withering in potency after they have prevented other thoughts from emerging. Then I become blank and boring to be around since I’m lifeless having nothing to comment on or communicate to others. This is a state to be avoided at all costs.