As you all no doubt know by now, I am a child of the British Empire and the Ancient Raj. Being an army child but not having the companionship of any of the army families around me is incredibly isolating.
You start out with all of these morals and ideas from a bygone era that immediately sets you apart from the rest of the civilian world. I had a very structured and disciplined upbringing which was good for me in general but it wasn’t when it came to socialization. This made me rather awkward as to properly socialize you need to both know yourself and be yourself. This requires you to be an individual and as part of the army mindset you are just another cog in the machine. You don’t think for yourself, you just do as your told, blindly and without question as that is the nature of hierarchical authority.
This probably explains all the trouble and problems people like Lord Byron caused. They were born with a different mindset so they had to go on extended tours of the continent to find themselves. When they had and realised they were never going to fit in to the closeted English society – they stayed abroad in the many outposts of the British Empire.
This is possibly why I’m attracted to people like Patrick Leigh Fermor and Lawrence Durrell as they echo the upbringing of my parents. They were both well travelled enjoying the benefits that living in foreign countries brings. This way of living compels you to always travel, think, research, to understand the meaning of things.
There is so much history out there that has been reported in a biased way. It was always to the benefit of the victors neglecting the other side of the conflict for wars are fought by 2 sides but only 1 is recorded. Even then it was only men who recalled their lives for prosperity.
So in order to correct this I have been watching The Rise of Empires – The Ottoman Empire on Netflix and I have been reading feminist retellings of classic books like the Odyssey and the Iliad. I have written about my findings and I hope in the not too distant future to go on holiday to places like Sicily, Rhodes and Cyprus to further explore my background.
This is a curious phenomenon that generally affects women. Folklore has it that if you suddenly start doing it your either pregnant or about to give birth. Now I’m going to set the record straight for what Nesting actually is – hormone related anxiety.
You can nest while not being pregnant as women commonly do this when they are missing their spouses or some other close family relation. My mother has always done it as she has always tided my clothes in the wardrobe to within an inch of their lives. She does this to cope with missing me, my brother and her only grandchild. It’s extraordinarily painful for her and it’s extraordinarily painful for me too. To this end I have tried to avoid this heartache. There is however only so much you can drink, go on holiday, stay at other people’s houses and generally avoid the issue. I nest too and I’ve never been pregnant. I have however started to employ another of her mechanisms which is to cook because that is not a thing I tend to often do.
Nesting is a very real desire to control that which you cannot control by cleaning, tidying, preparing and making sure everything is in order in your life and home.
To this end you can’t fix the problem because you didn’t create it. However, your natural state of being is amplified by your hormones. It makes you seem almost neurotic and paranoid. This is not a good state of mind to be in. Your maternal instincts are strong and there kicking in yet there is no one to protect. It’s another version of the fight or flight response but this one is uniquely feminine. It has its benefits because a babies immune system is immature at best plus your so tired from lack of sleep your grateful for having a stock of necessary items.
This is not useful though if there is no baby involved like with myself. I have been writing a lot recently but when that is done for the day, I obsessively shop to find the best outlets for my prospective house move. There are in fact no supermarkets in walking distance and it’s quite a trek by bus as they expect everyone in that area to drive a car. It’s primarily residential and it’s where the locals live instead of students or immigrants which is the rest of my city. So there is that.
The cooking is due to all the food I have collected trying to get outside exercise and the cleaning is due to several viewings of my house. It has to be showhome clean and tidy at all times. This is a big ask for me as it stops my creativity. Dressing a house constantly and being absent for viewings is no mean feat in the wind, rain and cold of an English winter.
I do not expect this situation to change anytime soon so I will continue to watch my shows and read until this particular storm has abated.
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
Just like my earlier post In praise of wine, it sometimes takes a novice to learn all the necessary requisite skills of an activity, to be able to explain them to others in an easily digestible manner.
She has a 4 part Netflix series which I watched over Christmas as it gave me insights into Mexican cuisines use limes and sour oranges (acid), The Japanese obsession with the sea (salt), The Italian love of dried meats (fat) and her own life as an American immigrant from Iran. (heat).
There is also a Blinkist book which I read this afternoon that gives some scientific explanation for the use of different elements in cooking. She explains why
- Middle Eastern cooks love salt to an unhealthy degree (not just the climate),
- why vegetarian cooking takes some re-education (fat is flavour),
- why white wine or tomatoes are counted as a cooking acid where as lemon juice is a garnishing acid
- and why we love crispy food (heat).
I have just received her cookbook in the post from Amazon and it’s a veritable textbook! It’s at least an inch thick so it’s certainly a distillation of all other knowledge that she has gained while working as a professional chef in America.
I like cookbooks that go into depth about the why things happen rather than just assuming you know all of the kitchen tricks already. When girls left school during my parents era they were given a book that detailed how to do all the different dishes that were commonly eaten them as well as advice about the ingredients. This was to back up the domestic science lessons that they had received. It helped them to run the household a lot smoother. While this was patriarchal, gender equality wasn’t present then. It did however allow women the skills to perform to the best of their ability.
I think we have lost something essential by stopping teaching cooking in schools. I don’t have the innate knowledge that has been passed down from generations or a handy cookbook to assist me to run my own life. I think it would benefit all students if they had such a book. Good mental health comes from good food and the knowledge that you can look after yourself on a budget. With this in mind I have decided to make this a part of a series on things that an autistic adult needs to survive in the world. When there mind is calm then they can contribute there brilliance to the world whatever it may be.
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.
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
I like to collect things I always have. This is an autistic thing for reasons yet unknown but I think its more to do with the introverted mindset. We are happier indoors, away from others and left to our own things. Our thoughts are strong to the point of being overwhelming. They control us so having familiar items around us calms us. However these same objects reinforce a negative mindset inside of us and in order to be truly free we need to be rid of reminders of past episodes in our life.
Like everyone else I have heard of Marie Kondo. I have even written a little bit about my opinion on her and her methods. Streamlining your home is a good idea at any time but it seems to take on new significance in the new year. Most people are open to the perspective of change at this time of year where as at other moments it takes something drastic like a relationship, environment or health change to inspire you to take a long hard look at yourself.
I was looking at the back history of my posts recently and this always serves to remind me just have far I have come from those early days when I mainly just posted other peoples posts that interested me. I forget how I used to be and need reminding that change is continual. When I hit some negative points like I did yesterday its comforting to know that I have been there before and I have gotten out of it. Each time I learn something new.
Expectations whether generated by society, your upbringing or yourself can be devastating to your self esteem and your morale. Know yourself as written on the temple at Delphi it one of the most crucial things to remember. You have to remember your core values as demonstrated in Inside Out for they are what motivate you. Sometimes they are warped out of all comprehension, sometimes you forget what they are but they are always inside of you.
Getting back to your basics is one of the important things that can be done easiest after Christmas because there is a natural lull in nature. Its a time for taking stock, reflecting, seeing what worked, what needs to still be worked on and possible strategies for the year. Planning is an activity that has to be completed otherwise you don’t have anything to work from. When things get hectic later on, if you can refer to your schedule then its easier to progress. Trying to make a schedule when you are burdened with too many responsibilities means that its going to be a poorly thought out plan.
All plans need wiggle room though as the unexpected does happen. I see in lots of couples that are successful the things that changes their lives the most is when they get pregnant. They can’t function like they used to. Children remind us that we are human and not the machines we have come to think of ourselves as. Take the time out to enjoy them as you don’t get that time again.
On the other side of the coin is when you have planned your life around having a child and your continually disappointed when that doesn’t happen. There is no end to the thoughts that circulate in your head. As the years go by and you attend more weddings and hear about the subsequent pregnancies and birth you wonder what is wrong with me? Why isn’t it happening for me? Maybe I not meant to have a child?
All I can say in response to this is that the most painful feeling is to not have a child when you want one but even that is topped by having a child with the wrong person as i have seen in some of my friends. They may have been the right person then but it just goes to show that nature isn’t fair, its brutal.
Greta Thunberg is fond of saying that her autism is her superpower and in a way that is true. It allows her to have the single mindedness that is needed to get the government to pay attention to climate change. It also allows her to continue on with her task regardless of the obstacles that are present or that are put into her path deliberately.
However this also blinds her to the fact that she was rather cruel to her mother making her stop singing opera because flights are bad for the planet. She is a bit like those hard core vegans that say cows are releasing methane into the atmosphere therefore we are no longer allowed to eat them since it’s too dangerous. South Park had an episode on this recently and I was stunned to find watching UFC that the impossible burger actually exists. I thought they made it up as a joke.
Autism can be regarded as your superpower but it’s extraordinarily fickle in its operation. You have to learn how to control it much like all the characters in Heroes or any other super hero oriented show has to. Before this is done it has more downsides than upsides. This is our eternal struggle. Autism is a gift but more often it’s treated as if you have an infectious disease that makes you incapable of anything.
We need not only autism awareness but autism acceptance. We didn’t make ourselves this way and we didn’t ask to be this way so we should not be penalised for something that we were born with. As Lady Gaga says “I was born this way!”
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.
Don’t be afraid to spend money on items that will benefit your life.
As a child I never really wanted anything but I was heavily controlled on what I could spend my money on. I usually bought collectibles when I got the chance which was the reasoning behind the lack of access to money. There is always more things to get as part of a set so the temptation never ended. I know this sounds contradictory but having money meant you could spend it yet with so many options what do you spend it on? Do you save it to get something more expensive in the future? If you were like me it just stayed were it was as you were not interested in anything. This doesn’t teach you the value of money as you need to make mistakes by getting the wrong things which I did much later. All you know with the method I employed is that your totally uninterested in the material world.
This in itself is a much better mindset than any you could cultivate as an adult. However I’m now so adverse to spending money that I will go to extraordinary lengths to get something for free. Even if I know it’s really good and something that I really want. Hence I looked for and read The Power of Now online for free. I have also listened to the Little Prince for free on YouTube. Another book that has been very useful is Ultra Learning that I listened to on Audible and read as part of my mailing list. These are titles that have benefited me greatly so far but because I tend to only read books once I’m reluctant to purchase more dead weight as it could be termed.
Nowadays I have more money than when I was a child but not enough to cover the needs and wants of an adult. Since I’m hopeless at earning money I have had to cut back severely on what I do spend my money on. I have always enjoyed spending time on my own and entertaining myself with various Introvert activities yet this doesn’t complete a person. Needing to socialise on a regular basis is expensive so this further increases the time I have to spend indoors to account for this. Being an adult is demanding in many ways yet I’m still stuck one foot in childhood as that’s what Autism is. The gap between your chronological self and autistic self ever increasing as you age.
As an effort to assuage this problem I am offering my first fictional book A life of Halcyon Days for free for the weekend as well my first language learning book How I learnt Greek. Please write a review if you enjoyed reading them.