Self acceptance

It’s amusing to me at least that to finally get some clarity on what I wanted out of life and what I’m capable of – the world had to go into meltdown. It took this drastic set of events that we are currently living through for me to realise there is nothing wrong with me at all. The problems have all been internalised from the expectations of others and experiences I thought I needed to fit in with the world at large.

It’s also autism acceptance day today April 2nd and for the rest of the month it’s campaigning for autism to be accepted in the wider world.

I am an autistic which means that I’m logical and systematic but it also means I’m incredible childlike as I still have that child like wonder you get on Christmas Day.

This is also responsible for my sense of humour which is literal and linguistic. Additionally it’s where my love of languages comes from. My accident broke my working memory so formulating new speech patterns has so far proved impossible and I haven’t been able to correct this as yet. I know because of neuroplasticity the brain can grow and develop but thus far it hasn’t achieved this goal. I live in hope if I spend more time connecting with people and having conversations that I will learn to communicate just like I did with English but that’s still a goal unrealised. I rely on verbal stimming a lot so I can sound very articulate one moment and descend into baby talk the next making me look incredibly foolish.

It’s taken me a very long time to reconcile the fact that at some points I can be very fact driven and robotic which comes from my autism and people abruptly stop listening and lose interest; but I can also be incredibly genial. I am a loving and caring person full of all the emotions that you would expect, far too many in fact. I can be feminine and girly as well as enjoying laddish pursuits.

I can see how Drag Queens feel the need to perform as well as Freddie Mercury in Queen and Elton John in Rocketman which I watched recently. I feel like this occasionally too despite the fact I can neither sing, dance or play a musical instrument. I’m not sure I can act either. This doesn’t stop me for volunteering for karaoke or dance rituals whenever I go abroad. Just bring earplugs with you 😉

I have a mix of masculine and feminine traits so I’m not ever going to fit into the traditional roles of what it means to be a man or a woman. This makes a lot of people uncomfortable but it’s really there own insecurities that I am revealing and that causes them to become defensive. They act out of fear and survival rather than rational logic. Irrationality and hormones are driving their actions so they make no sense and confusion is the result. This is where mental scarring occurs. This is pernicious as it’s invisible. They leave no trace and only come to the fore when you are triggered. Then you are in no state to act in a sensible manner so the cycle continues. Discovery and healing is what is required so you need to reach into yourself in a quiet time like now to see what skeletons are lurking in your mental wardrobe to clear them out for good!

To continue on with the clothing theme while I love clothes and fashion I can’t sew or iron but I would like to design and make my own clothes. However, on Next in fashion pretty much all the designers are gay. I’m certainly not gay. My favourite designers on the show are Angelo and Charles. So a shy yet flamboyant and hugely talented gay Italian guy and his design partner who calms him down so that he is able to let the brilliance emerge from his mind onto paper and them cloth.

Watching RuPaul’s Drag Race of which a crucial part is the ability to sew/make outfits and Trixie Mattel’s Moving Parts; has shown me that it’s ok to stand out from the crowd. Your different and you always will be so stop hiding and shrinking into the background. Your doing yourself and the world no favours there. Your in fact doing the opposite by denying the world your talent.

If your an introvert privately but an extrovert socially then you are an ambivert really. A bit like Lady Gaga. I’ve always hated the public/private persona that people have had to adopt to cope with the world but now I understand the reasoning and how fragile everyone really is.

Having coped with a near fatal car accident and a force 5 hurricane this Covid 19 isolation is a doddle. It’s the only time in my life when it doesn’t matter that I can’t drive even though I would really like to. I have asked a couple times before but I’ve not been allowed for safety/finance reasons. There is the possibility I will get flashbacks since I don’t remember my accident or that I will get overwhelmed and that is why we haven’t progressed in this area.

I would also like to have a child. My mother was always very against this idea as at times I can barely look after myself. I’ve never had a job in my life and can’t support myself financially so I would be completely dependent on my husband and also his parents. Actually that’s not too far off from the situation right now. It’s also been this way since I stopped living with my parents. I can’t live on my own as my inattention would mean something could happen like today I got bright pink paint on my jumper. Luckily it’s only acrylic and I tried to wash it out almost immediately with hand soap and vanish stain remover but it’s a blue jumper with a design in the knitted fabric so it can’t be hidden if it doesn’t come out.

However my mothers trauma of being alone and penniless as she left her husband is not my pain to carry any longer. She made a mistake marrying him but she loved him so it was right for her just then. When it came to later life he wasn’t so she sacrificed her home, job, car basically her whole life to reconnect with my father who she had met earlier on in life but not thought too much of him.

I may find my calling as a mother as I enjoy teaching, writing, reading, history, film, photography, gardening, arts and crafts and cookery. Laundry is therapeutic I find as is loading/unloading the dishwasher and even hoovering gives a pleasant feeling that everything is clean and tidy once more.

Shopping was a way to get out of the house, to see people, have conversations and feel part of the world. I didn’t need anywhere near the amount of things I bought but anxiety made me stockpile. This has come in handy but nobody could have predicted this almost complete collapse of life as we know it.

Tomorrow I’m going to do laundry and change the beds, Hoover and move a bunch of gravel about as I need to exercise. If I’ve got energy left as we certainly have enough food and meals from my mother in law cooking; I will do a dumbbell workout. Perhaps even squeeze in some basketball or a walk/run. Not that running is my thing with inverted hips and knees. More of a duck waddle lol.

Babies on Netflix

This is an in-depth look at the differences in children caused by parenting styles. It also seeks to find out about the social development of a child. It looks to see how responsive they are initially and incrementally.

In the first of 6 episodes they analyse oxytocin (the love hormone involved in bonding) counts in both mothers and fathers to see how it differs across pregnancy, child rearing, culture and whether the child has 2 dads, is a 3 parent family so 2 dads and the surrogate mum or a mum and a dad. Additionally they scan the brains of the adults participating to see the sizes of there hippocampus and whether there activated or not. This area is responsible for learning and is bigger in children with more distant parents leading to the refrigerator theory of the 1960s. This is not what causes autism and has since been disproved.

They also measure the cortisol (stress hormone) levels using the still face test. This is where the mum plays with and talks to the child, then sits back unresponsive to see how the child copes with this. The children notice immediately that something is different and then try to figure out what has caused. Eventually they all start crying and self soothe by putting there fingers in there mouths. When the parent returns to normal behaviour the children may over react initially but they gradually return to their happy selves.

I thought this may be the origins of thumb sucking, pacifiers/dummies, nail biting, over eating and smoking as this is all self soothing behaviour by sticking things in our mouths.

They go on to look at the other major aspects of a child’s life like food, crawling, first words, sleep which I thought they would have covered earlier and first steps.

I think this is going to be a fascinating series to watch regardless of whether you have children or not as we were all once children ourselves.

Today’s lesson

I have learnt today that you can block yourself from achieving what your heart desires via the psychological blockages that are present in your brain. This is responsible for over learning and trying so hard but just not getting there. You become so inventive trying to find the reasons for your failure but because you are not attacking the root cause you will never solve the problem. The fact you haven’t the faintest idea why this happens continually is why you will never find a solution no matter how creative you are. The answers you are looking for are located in your brain but all the signposts are lost. In fact there isn’t even a map so you have to stumble around blindly until you somehow come across what you are looking for. There is a quicker way to locate those lost items but it requires you look deep within yourself to discover those items.

I find zoning out watching Netflix in foreign languages or YouTube videos is very helpful to this process. Watching an in-depth program on tv also helps. Anything visual that captures my attention allows whatever is there to bubble up to the surface.

Last dinner we were having dinner and we just start talking in Greek. My husband, myself and my father in law discuss the prawns were eating, how many potatoes we want, etc. While my father in law talks in sentences about how tasty these prawns are even though they are whole (there not deveined I believe is the technical term), my mother in law doesn’t say a word and barely answers how many prawns, asparagus, potatoes she wants. We don’t even talk about the wine which is unusual for us as it’s usually quite a big deal. I liked the fact that because the context was immediate I didn’t really need to translate because it was obvious what was being said. Practice really does make perfect even with impromptu jokes about a common occurrence (the taste of shell on prawns compared to shelled ones).

Best wishes

Angela

Perception

I’m beginning to think that a lot of the problems that autistics face are based on the perception that others have of us.

Sometimes we are thought of having no drive or ambition when in fact we are perfectly happy with our lives because we have all that we want and value. We are content with a lot less than the average person. We tend not to be materialistic or interested in money. We are almost hippyish or Buddhist in our unattachment to the majority of what the rest of the society thinks we all need to survive. This presents a challenge for relatives of mine every birthday and Christmas. It’s been this way since I was a child and I don’t see it changing. I think it’s a good antidote to today’s capitalist society. It’s also probably why I’m happier in Greece but I’m working on bringing the focus back to the uk even if I don’t have the weather!

Another factor is our honesty. Yes it’s uncomfortable to be the recipient of one of our remarks but comedians ‘roast’ celebrities on a regular basis and it’s prime time television. We also remark on our children saying things with such fierce truthfulness that we lost long ago. Children are not trying to please anyone or curry favour with their speeches. They just say it as they see it and it’s our reaction this this raw authenticity that catches us off guard as we have become so used to the sugar coating and lies of the adult world.

Authority is another area we struggle with. We are capable of obeying orders just like everyone else but often we don’t see why we should. Just being told to do something often makes us defiant. We need to be told the reasoning for the request for us to understand its importance. We don’t tend to blindly follow orders especially if they seem illogical to us. We are not sheep as we think for ourselves. An explanation is usually enough for us to comply with a task.

So drive and ambition, honesty, authority and the The secrets of Small talk for autistics are all factors that make us different but with a few adjustments mean we can fit into society just like everyone else.

Best wishes

Angela

The secrets of Small talk for autistics

Autistics hate small talk because it’s boring, repetitive and generally full of lies which they will get in trouble for repeating later on . They will be completely unaware of any falsehoods that have been uttered since they themselves are completely honest.

Small talk however does fufill a purpose. It fills in those gaps when you meet new people and it allows you to collect data on people’s lives. It shows you what is important in their lives. It is also a good ice breaker to see whether they are compatible as a potential friend.

Since I tend to find this tiresome I try to avoid it wherever possible. I am however missing a trick as I am stopping pretty much all people from connecting with me. The protocol exists for a reason and since I don’t follow through, I don’t get the result of friendship. This means I isolate myself which isn’t good for my mental health.

Thinking that if I don’t feel a connection with a person immediately then there not interesting is counterproductive. This leads to trouble as if your responding to hormones that’s just drama waiting to happen. You need to respond to traits, behaviour, background, activities, hobbies and intellect. The things which only seem to be available in a captive audience. Finding a place for people with like minds is crucial to ease your battle. It’s difficult enough for autistics as anxiety, panic, depression, low self esteem and many other co morbidities exist. Is it any wonder we resemble hermit crabs?

Thriving Autistic Adult Series

Best wishes

Angela

Personality Dominance

It’s very interesting to see how I interact with people once the initial awkwardness has passed by.

At first I was half asleep since I don’t function well socially in the morning. As they all knew each other as well I didn’t know how to enter the conversation either. When I meet people I’m too busy reading their vibes and absorbing who they are to be able to talk to anyone, about anything, in the first 10-15 minutes. This doesn’t tend to bode well. I think the fact I learn about people through my senses rather than spoken words makes it more authentic for me. However it frightens others as I’m seeing them for who they really are rather than who they are trying to make themselves out to be.

I go through this linguistic awkwardness every Sunday evening in Greece even though I’ve been doing that for years. It hasn’t so far got any better but I need more practice with the conversational aspects of the language and better emotional and impulse control. This may allow me to progress.

Yesterday it worked out well that we all then went to see a movie. Afterwards there was then something to talk about. Icebreakers are what I struggle with. I’ve had to learn to be comfortable in my own skin to get along with others. It’s nice though when I don’t sense any animosity from others. Most people have too much energy swirling around them so it can be quite exhausting for me.

I found this afternoon that since we were in a restaurant and action needed to be taken about what we were having that I tried to take charge like my parents would for me. I can be quite decisive since I’m generally quite opinionated but I don’t want to come across as rude, arrogant and selfish. I also don’t wish to offend others by overtaking things and not letting them have a say in matters like my parents would dictate to me. In the past I couldn’t make a decision quick enough as there was too much to think about as I didn’t get enough practice. This comes out when I’m asked a question and my default answer before I’ve even thought about it is “I don’t know”. It’s at this point that people lose interest in me and I’ve lost my chance to contribute to the conversation on that topic.

Again it’s interesting that I can command others attention when I’m speaking as I’m not used to that. Although it may be that they are straining to hear me since I’m so quiet usually, or that they are struggling to understand my accent and are too polite to mention this. It’s difficult to know with people you have just met.

I’m also glad to have learnt about myself while traveling the world since I now have plenty to talk about but I find that there is truly no place like home as Dorothy says.

Best wishes

Angela

How to adjust your language learning strategy to make sure your always learning

www.youtube.com/watch

This is a very informative video that I came across on YouTube about how to progress through the different learning levels. Turn the subtitles on because he is Russian but he speaks using the words that are closest to English. He makes more sense than most Russians but that might also be because he is talking about something I’m very interested in.

Best wishes

Angela

Using technology to up your language game

It’s always a good idea to work smarter not harder as then you are rewarded for your efforts without you having to struggle so much. Therefore using the resources that are available and around you means maximum effect from minimum work. To this end I have started using Blinkist and Audible in addition to Amazon to be able to create an immersive environment to further my language learning.

As I’m introverted and autistic I’m not too fond of talking to people. This becomes apparent quite quickly if you have previously come across any of my work. As you may expect this presents certain problems. With the fact that I don’t like to mingle with others; my communication skill development has to take a different path. As I’m good at mimicking I can learn pronunciation from repeating the correct sounds made by others. As an integrative approach is best here, I need to look at a diverse range of options to get a broad spectrum. As accents vary from country, region, age, male/female etc I need to incorporate as much material as possible.

I have previously been using YouTube for music and educational purposes (Tedx) but the gap between the 2 is too vast. A lack of “Comprehensible Material” meaning it’s not currently the right level for me. When watching YouTube videos there is frequently no subtitles to assist me so this cuts down there usefulness. I have tried Sky Arts but there is not enough foreign language material. I have also looked into foreign films (World cinema) but again there is a lack of material or maybe access to the material as I’ve never found any. Netflix also seems to come up short when looking for Greek material.

My new idea is based on the fact that was used by a famous polyglot from the past to progress his linguistic merits. That is, read the same book in many languages since then you can learn grammar, syntax and semantics while enjoying a story that you already know well. This is a style favoured by Hungarian polyglot Kato Lomb and is also mentioned by other noted polyglots such as Canadian Steve Kaufmann and Italian Luca Lampariello.

Since the best way to learn a second language is to repeat the way you learnt your first language that is what I’m attempting to do here. It’s a lot easier for children to gain language skills than it is for adults as we try to intellectualise it too much. Basically we think too much about the underpinnings of a language looking to gain an understanding of the structure before attempting to ‘build a house’. Children just go forth and practice.

However the problem comes when the way I learnt is through my mother reading to me constantly. This meant that I could read by 18 months but was unable to talk for a further 4 months. My mum doesn’t know any foreign languages and is dyslexic just like my husband so that counts that option out. This means I have no practice partner. I have tried recording my voice and uploading to YouTube but I haven’t had any luck with that because I can be quite quiet and indistinct.

My solution to this problem is to get Blinkist and Audible to read to me but Greek books are few and far between. Getting a physical book to look at is very difficult online. As your brain reacts differently to an ebook than to a physical book this means that the real copy is much better for this purpose. An ebook could have a narrative attached to it to make it better as a real book wouldn’t have this capability. Getting a physical, audio and ebook of the same title in Greek is next to impossible. Dual language books are equally as difficult to find.

This 3 tier attack is easier in Italian, Spanish and even Russian but in Greek they just don’t seem to exist. I have done extensive research and monitored this over many years. While the situation has improved slightly, I don’t hold out much hope for a sudden burgeoning in the market.

Below is a link to my published work and to my previous blog posts where I have talked about many of the issues I have mentioned above.

My published books

Series links

Best wishes

Angela

Reflection

I have recently been having a look at my old photographs as part of an exercise for photography club and I came across some which really sum me up as a person.

First of course is Greece. I love this view whether it’s in reality, a photograph or a painting I have done. I also love sunsets in case you hadn’t guessed by now. Sorry but I’m slightly addicted and obsessed with this time of day. Just so you know and we’re clear on this point 😉 I just like the simplicity of Greece and how natural and uncomplicated things are there. It is of course a mirage as I’m always on holiday there but we all need a little fantasy in our lives.

This is who runs the restaurant that we go to every week in Greece. You’ll notice that I’m dressed for dinner and for once I actually wearing a dress and jewellery. I look damn good and there is a sunset as well as there being the obligatory glass of alcohol. I’m not sure what we are celebrating but life is there to be enjoyed so why not have some champagne every now and again?

To continue on with the imaginative theme this is my husband on our wedding day. I am Cinderella who has finally been allowed to go to the ball and he is Robin Hood. He is my saviour and in the tradition started by Shrek everyone else who came to the wedding was dressed up in historical or fairytale attire. It was a wonderful day that hasn’t yet been bested in any of the subsequent weddings I have been to.

This is me relaxing outside in Greece at my in laws house. I like to read quite widely on a range of topics to kind my mind active. Also I do like to try new things “the curious kitty aspect as it’s been named” hence I’m reading a book about how to make cocktails because I’m partial to them.

This is also me having a drink surprise, surprise while watching the World Cup. I love watching football or soccer to Americans. I’m neither masculine or feminine really. A combination of both but some days I’m definitely more of one than the other like here I’m indulging my laddie side. This is is also in Greece but you can tell this is only a British thing on this occasion by the people in the background.

This is also me again quite laddie, interested in culture (Pirates week celebration in the Cayman Islands where I used to live), history as it’s a replica ship, being part of a hive of activity but also quite distant. I keep myself to myself while the world carries on with its business. It’s almost like I’m in a separate time zone as I’m able to observe the world around me but unable to fully interact or integrate into it. My husband who I met here helps me enormously with this. I think it’s also sunset here too.

This is my latest sunset picture which shows even in the UK we can have some pretty stunning scenery. It’s good to appreciate the places that you spend time in as that allows you to become settled. Sunsets allow you to notice that everything no matter how beautiful has its time but it can be reborn the next day into a new shape with new possibilities.

This image shows how much I like reflections, symmetry, rivers, parks, nature and while we all have flaws this doesn’t totally obscure who we are. It shows that we all were learners once with room for improvement. It’s up to us whether we actually continue to do that or not. It is also another place I have lived in for a short time. These are however not in chronological order. also my brain doesn’t like to always put everything into the correct order so this is a good representation of what happens in my mind on a regular basis.

This combines my love for travel, history, art and architecture. I like the clean lines that are present in Art Deco but also the idea of form and function as espoused by the Bauhaus movement in Germany of about the same time. There are also sculptures and nature present which is 2 more boxes ticked for me. Lastly this was taken when I went on my best friends hen do when we went to a gay bar as we like to do things slightly differently to usual. See below for more explanation.

This photo shows how absolutely bonkers I can be at times because this was my hen do. I went to the zoo wearing this, got my face painted to match and then came home to drinks while watching Eurovision. This was my maid of honour whose wedding I’m shortly going to and for which I am also maid of honour. I like the reciprocity here.

Sometimes pictures can explain much better than words ever can the things that mean the most to you in your life. Here I am with the people I spend the most time with on a trip to Northern Greece. We were on a wine tasting tour because we wanted to see more of the country to better appreciate the terroir as well as the history and culture. It’s useful for language purposes too. Finally I like to travel to see more of the world so that I can get an understanding of the way others live.

Finally these are people who I thought would be my forever friends as I spent a lot of time with them but due to circumstances in their own lives it wasn’t meant to be. This is good for me to remember that there are many paths in life that we can can take and while some seem very good initially, they don’t all turn out the way we expect them too. Change is an essential part of life and we need to accept the good while also making room for the removal of those things that were not so good in the end.

You might notice a distinct lack of people my own age but I’ve never been very good at socialising due to my Autism; plus when your self employed there is a lack of people to associate with in the first place. You need like minded people and there not generally found in pubs no matter how many you go to or how frequently you visit them. I’m in no way an alcoholic but alcohol allows you to release your inhibitions so it’s easier to try to connect.However, due to not being particularly social due to the anxiety and panic it can cause and not having the usual prerequisites like having a job to talk about; this makes things very difficult for me. There is only so many times you can talk about the weather, what was on TV recently and the drinks in your current establishment.

So the social isolation is quite crushing at times no matter where I am. This is why I’m trying to better myself with languages, art, photography, journaling, philosophy and learning about who I am as well as my place in the world. Neuroscience and psychology are helpful here as well as biochemistry.

I hope you like this insight into my life

Angela

How to Create an Abundance Mindset (Lose Your Scarcity Mindset)

Lose your scarcity mindset and adopt and abundance mentality in your language learning. You’ll learn more, and you’ll stay motivated.
— Read on www.fluentin3months.com/abundance-mindset/

This article details the attitude that is best in order for you to make the most progress in the quickest way which is what we all want – efficiency.