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.

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.

Lessons from watching programs on art and it’s saleability

Art is timeless therefore somebody, somewhere at some point in time will like your work. Don’t censor yourself and make whatever is inside you. The best art just like the best stories, songs, sculptures, movies or photographs contains parts of ourselves. It allows us to look back and say “yes I was feeling that way ” or “yes I was thinking that way.” It allows us breathing space and the ability to gain catharsis in our often frequently congested brains. All art is unique in that way for we are all unique.

Art should not be made into a commodity for sale or profit. It should not be designed because a particular movement is popular or sells well. It should be made because you love to do it. It’s a way of expressing your truth. It tells the world this is who I am. It is what I think and what I feel. It makes me feel alive to be a part of the world by connecting into a greater consciousness. Creativity is the path to self actualisation and becoming the best version of who we are meant to be.

Do not create art for arts sake. Art has a higher purpose which is why you achieve a higher state of consciousness by just letting it all go. When the surroundings are blocked out and there is just you and the canvas then you can create a masterpiece. Don’t overthink it as the purpose here is to let those parts of your brain that are usually inactive to awaken. When your accessing the pieces that are usually only available in sleep then you are making something spectacular.

Art and money do not go together. Do not go into art and expect to make money. If you do then you have hit a lucky fluke by meeting the right people at the right time at the right place. It looks like this happens all the time but the percentage is really quite small. If you want to make money do something else. Only go into art if you can do nothing else. The old adage of the poor artist is true.

However, we do have a ray of hope with Covid 19 changing the world beyond recognition. It maybe kinder, more empathetic and family based with more respect for the environment and less motivated by money especially greed. Here’s hoping that when this is over we live in a much nicer world that we are all proud to belong to. Let’s also hope that we look after it much better than we have been doing recently.

Progress?

I recently read an article about an autistic woman writing about how she recognised so many of her traits upon diagnosis that had been gained from her undiagnosed mother. Usually this would trigger quite a reaction in me so I was quite relieved when I read it and I remained quite peaceful. It did make me think later that perhaps I may have some of her problems in that I can’t remember things as well as I used and therefore need photographs to remind me of events. She had a condition that means she can’t formulate things in her minds eye and I think I have this because mostly my mind is just blank nowadays.

Couple this with my short memory loss meaning I forget things very easily and you can see how this would create many issues for myself. The things may come back to me but if it’s something that requires coordination and sequencing then there isn’t much hope to be found there. It’s why my cooking doesn’t always turn out well and my projects get abandoned half finished.

I’ve been trying to do some crochet or macrame to entertain myself when my creative juices for my painting run out but I’m not getting past opening the craft box and reading the instructions. Even remembering the exhibit I went to in Los Angeles that was all about string craft or recalling that the South American’s used knots as a system of recording events isn’t helping me.

I have made friendship bracelets before, done some cross stitch, embroidery, sewing and even tried my hand at knitting but I don’t think this is for me. I have even looked into the special techniques they use on Lefkás and I’ve seen the magnificent lace they make in the Venice lagoon but none of this allows me to actually be any good at this. I think in this respect I am much more like Arya from Game of Thrones.

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.

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

Cleaning

I thought since this is another basic area that we all need to learn I would draw attention to a book I read about this on Blinkist. Mrs Hinch’s Hinch yourself happy. This is an advertising campaign that started appearing all of a sudden when I went shopping for cleaning materials. There was never any explanation that I saw in the form of adverts for who this Mrs Hinch was or why she was so good at cleaning. She certainly wasn’t a celebrity like Kim and Aggie Woodburn became with her own reality tv show. So the conclusion I came to was she was a housewife who had just gone viral through the use of social media. This is what the book, which I came across later, more or less says. Authenticity is the key here I believe. She believed in herself and became a star.

Part of My basics for living well as an adult with autism series

  • Best wishes
  • Angela