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.

Using meditation to supercharge your mind

While in lockdown I’m trying out Deepak Chopra’s 21 day meditation course. It’s been provided by a friend and it’s like the hen do that we didn’t get to go on due to Covid.

I’m finding it amazing for my clarity of mind and we’re only on day 4. It has simple tasks for you to do but they produce results. The meditation contains a mantra in Sanskrit which helps clear your mind. It’s different every day and a translation is provided. It only lasts about 15 minutes but you do need to be uninterrupted for this time for it to have its full effect.

I definitely felt the loss of it today as I receive them in the evening and I did yesterday’s before I went to sleep. So, by the time it got to siesta time the next day I wasn’t quite sure how to proceed with the rest of my day. The previous day I had experimented with doing it just before siesta time so I haven’t found a good time yet. However those are the easiest times for me to slot in such a routine as phones and technology are not a thing I can do too easily first thing in the morning. It affects my day too much if I do that.

There is also a new phrase to write down and repeat each day to power you up but doing these at night defeats the purpose as you forget by morning. Halfway through the day means your energy is mostly gone so maybe I aught to try breaking it into parts with the audio at night and the rest later on? I could perhaps repeat the audio while doing the task later?

In addition there is also a task (writing, drawing etc) to do that maybe related to previous tasks so you need a notebook to keep all of the work together. It helps in processing things. They bring up surprisingly things which are best written down also lest you forget these important revelations.

There are getting to be questions to be answered too so again a dedicated pad of paper is required to make full use of the techniques you are learning. A sheet for each day is good or one each for the phrases, mantras, tasks and questions. I have a feeling this might get quite lengthy, quite quickly and you will need to refer to previous days to get the full benefit.

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.

Autism – The cultural immune system of human societies

Autism – The cultural immune system of human societies

Autism – The cultural immune system of human societies


— Read on neuroclastic.com/2020/04/30/autism-the-cultural-immune-system-of-human-societies/

There are some brilliant articles being written right now about what it is to be autistic in a neuro typical society.

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.

Lessons learned from Covid 19

Empathy without boundaries leads to self destruction.

So no “helping” or teaching others how to suck eggs. It’s arrogant and egotistical anyway. I’m only doing this as I feel I need to help others to show that I’m useful. This just demonstrates low self worth and self esteem.

I am useful and wanted even if most of the time I feel like a dependent teenager.

I don’t need to shop or drink to meet people. It doesn’t work anyway. Best to save the pounds and the calories for a better life. Exercise is good for the mind and the body.

The end of the world has happened so I no longer need to prepare for it. Anxiety and stress are why I did this initially and it’s good to know that I can overcome these behaviours now I have identified them.

I need to feel a connection with people but desperation is no reason to accept everyone into your life. They will come but it’s excruciating waiting for them.

Boundaries are necessary for safety and mental health. It’s not wrong to distance yourself from people. It’s healthy to say no to things you don’t want to do.

Therapy in the form of conversation is necessary on a regular basis to stop insanity from happening.

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.