Autism Awareness Month

I’ve been thinking about Autism Awareness Month a lot for a while now. This was before the impending apocalypse, of course, so now with things being the way they are it seems to have flown under the radar. I haven’t seen it mentioned much. Not like last year when the awkward blue puzzle pieces were everywhere. In case you didn’t know: autistic people really hate the puzzle piece.

On one hand it feels potentially inappropriate to bring it up now.

On the other hand, it seem fitting that our lockdown has happened during April.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how everything is wrong for all of us right now. And how a sense of wrongness is something that quite aptly characterises the life experience of many an autistic person. The stress of the not quite right. And the even bigger stress of all that wrongness not being accurately acknowledged.

If you ever thought it was strange how an autistic person might meltdown because of a change in their routine, maybe you can understand it a little bit now.

If you ever thought it was “naughty” that an autistic child just refused to conform to something being forced on them, maybe you can understand it a little bit now.

If you ever thought it ridiculous that an autistic person just could not conform to expectation, maybe you can understand it a little bit more now.

Because I think sometimes an autistic life can feel a little bit like a forced quarantine. You can’t be who you are. You can’t be where you want to be. You can’t do what you want. Because the world is saying that’s unacceptable. So you conform. You become acceptable. And in the process your whole life gets lost in someone else’s idea of how and who you should be. And not because the world is an asshole, but because they’re doing what they think to be best for you. Or they are expressing what is best for them.

Sometimes they’re right. Sometimes not.

And all you can do is wait and see what happens.

The Authenticity Project

I got this book from Penguin Random House last month and read it almost immediately. The Authenticity Project. Exactly my kind of book, I must admit. I was quite impressed when the agent I was chatting to recommended it because I had mentioned crime and magic realism as my genres. This is also my genre, but I’ve never quite managed to figure out what it’s called. Contemporary fiction? That surely covers a multitude of possibilities. So was it a fluke that she sent this to me, or do I give myself away in the tone of my correspondence? Who knows…

I actually finished this book weeks ago, and in between the bustle of current events, I’ve been mulling over it in my head. Books make me do that a lot, actually. Sometimes you can say “meh, I see the merit but it’s not for me” or “wow what a fantastic book” or “thanks but no thanks” or whatever. And then you move on. (more…)

How is your work situation going?

After considering the impact this lockdown would have on my business, I initially made peace with it and decided that my business model didn’t need to change too much. This was a relief. A plan. A belief that we can do this. 

Sure, the last week of the month (now) is when probably 90% of my income comes in. This is when I contact everyone, ask them if they’re ready to receive the pile of books that they’ve been adding to over the month, and then settle payment and shipping. It works well.

Except now I can’t send any of the piles of books that are waiting to be claimed by the customers who reserved them. And so I cannot expect to be paid. I also can’t move out old piles and make room for new piles.

But I sort of thought, ok, so March is going to suck but I can still carry on showing and reserving books for people and then send them at the end of next month. I can work around the space thingBook piles take up a LOT of space! But I can work with what I have.

That seems so reasonable.

And yet here I sit feeling very is there even a point about the whole thing. My energy levels are at quite a remarkable low at the moment. The lowest they have been since I sought professional help for what feels like insurmountable apathy six months ago. It’s bad again. Really bad. I got better for a while. Mostly better at least. This is a different kind of stress though, isn’t it? A real stress. This isn’t just a confused body that senses fear when there is nothing to be afraid of.

So I’m struggling to feel like there’s much of a point to working, although my work life brings me SO MUCH MORE than just an income. It gives me focus. It gets me out of the house a bit more than I might do without having to make trips to Pep to send parcels. It puts me in the path of like-minded strangers, allowing me to form relationships with amazing people who daily make my life a little better. It gives me yet another platform from which to banter! And I do so love to banter!!

What I do know, right now in this minute as I try to decide what I should do, is that work is most likely going to look a lot different in the coming while. Trying to keep it the same just doesn’t feel natural. Even though my working environment hasn’t actually changed… Everything has changed.

I don’t know. I’m struggling a little.

How are you doing?

I’ll See You on the Other Side

Last night I couldn’t picture the other side of this. I found myself standing in the kitchen thinking I can’t imagine… 

My son and I share a trait where we need to know what is happening. We need to understand. Where are we going. When will we get there. What will happen there. It’s about angst and the need for control, I suppose. It’s about being able to picture what is ahead and prepare for it emotionally.

I spend so much time fantasising about later…

But I suddenly realised what is later this time? Are we going to beat this? Is it going to take longer than we imagine or will we be done in 21 days?

The other side of this is such a mystery!

For weeks I’ve been saying can’t we just shut the world down for a few weeks and reset.

Now the reset is here and I find myself unsettled by the uncertainty of it. It’s not fear, I don’t think. Not yet anyway. It’s something else. It’s this cloud of questions with no answers. And I suppose because there are no concrete answers the worst and best case scenarios are fighting each other in my head for Top Billing.

In three weeks everything will go back to normal.

In three weeks nothing will ever be the same again.

Which one will it be?

Some Things I Never Told You

 

My Dearest Aunty Shaz…

The news of your death hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I can feel it trying to get into my bloodstream. The reality and finality of it. Stupidly I got up late this morning because my dogs had me pinned down and my cat was asleep on my back and I didn’t want to disturb them. Then again, what does it matter when I finally surfaced? You’re still gone.

There are some things I never told you. And perhaps I am hoping that there is wifi in Heaven because I’ve always believed that you should tell people the things about them that make your own life a little bit more beautiful. I messed up with you. And I didn’t tell you. So I want to tell you now.

Forgive me if this seems a little self-involved. I know I come across that way sometimes. I tend to understand the world better when I tie it to myself, and I can see how that can be interpreted as making it about me. It’s how I process though. I start with myself and then follow the ripples, watching them collide and intersect. And make sense… (more…)

21 Days of Lockdown Reading

If I take out the part where I actually make money, my business can still kind of carry on as usual during our lockdown, so my plan is to simply work really hard in the hopes that by the end of all of this I might be able to make up the shortfall. Only time will tell that, I suppose.

For now though, on day one, I think I’m going to give myself a long weekend. A long weekend in which to read my heart out and hang with my kid and my doggles and kittles. I’m going to skip any further attempts at a “theme” and just dive in wherever my fancies take me.

Because I can and I should.

How are you planning to spend your first couple of quarantine days?

Take This Time

I’m a champion at isolation. A combination of introversion and struggling with regular bouts of depression will do that to you, I guess. Add in some sensory processing challenges and home becomes more than a sanctuary. It becomes a necessity of survival.

But even I am feeling challenged as I sit here, content to isolate, but knowing that the frustration is on the horizon. It’s about consent, I suppose. The removal of choice has a powerful impact on emotional wellbeing.

We are in this alone together though. And it is so essential that we do it.

So yes, I know that it’s hard, but let’s do that thing where we turn lemons into lemonade if we can…

I am technically able to continue working for the time being, and my life doesn’t look too different to what it was before. But there are going to be income issues. There are already income issues. So even though I’m “working” it might be said that I can step back and make no impact to the already dwindling cash flow.

So I think maybe I should take the time…

  • Take the time to work on my blog
  • Take the time to properly organize this house
  • Take the time to watch a movie or two or three with my kid
  • Take the time to colour in the beautiful colouring books that I have
  • Take the time to read more of the books that are so patiently waiting for me
  • Take the time to go through my craft cupboard and create something

I want to take the time…

What would you like to do?

Must Love Music

Ok don’t laugh at me for being a bit of a ridiculous person, but this month I’m reading books about music because I’ve had to admit to myself that music has turned into one of those lost love sort of things for me. Actually, go ahead and laugh. It’s ridiculous. Thing is, somewhere along the line, this thing I loved completely just became this thing that I’m somewhat sadly indifferent about. So indifferent, in fact, that the only music I ever really listen to is the church band that plays on Sundays.

So I had this daft idea that after reading all about books in January, maybe I should read about music in March (Feb was dedicated to Mary Higgins Clark) because the reading about books thing made me all oh my gosh I really love books-y and I thought maybe that would work for music?

So far, no not really. But I did read two awesome books because of it so far though. And I’m enjoying a third. So there’s that, right?

Do you have any fall back in love with music books on your bookshelves?

That Time I Got Married

So yesterday was our 8th wedding anniversary. The husband and I are a bit crap about our wedding anniversary though. We actually tend to forget it quite regularly, which we both find amusing rather than deem it evidence of a lack of love. It took us so long to actually get married that we don’t count our wedding day anniversary as much. Instead we are more likely to celebrate our “let’s be exclusive” anniversary. Because the thing is: we’ve been pretty much all in since the beginning.

We did go out and have breakfast yesterday though. There’s a little coffee shop in town called Buttercup and it’s as cute as it sounds. The lady who cooks the food is so adorable. I’m kicking myself for not asking for her name! The point is we made a small effort to celebrate, and it was pleasant.

It’s a cliche to say, but in our years together we have been through quite a lot. Blending two families, for one, is not for the weak. Marrying anyone who went to an all boys boarding school is also not for the weak! (I stand fully by this observation) And being married to a woman who is ill (and is me) is certainly not for the weak either. And yet here we both still are.

Last night we sat in bed watching The Laundromat which is a very serious movie (this after discounting so many other movies for being too serious – oops) and I was crocheting a blanket and Ty was scrolling on his phone and I realised not for the first time that here just quietly sitting with this man is truly my favourite place to be. Sometimes we do it in other places, even other countries, this sitting quietly thing, and it’s exactly the same no matter where we are.

So I think he’s home. Wherever he is, that’s where home is.

Sometimes I look at us and I think yes, this is what marriage is supposed to be. And I’m not sure how we accidentally got it right. I’m just glad we did…

New Month, Old Life, Laughing Anyway

 

Bloody hell, you know! I was looking forward to today! New week. New month. Head down. Work hard. Pay debts. All that good stuff…

Dammit I’ve just remembered I forgot to pay the school fees!!

Ok they’re paid…

Where was I? Oh yes. In Scatterland. I really shouldn’t be a blogger at all…

This morning I was having a laugh about how I tend to push myself a little too far and then burnout hits and I’m screwed. Oh silly silly woman, why you do that? Huh? Why?!

Because you know what happened? CRASH!!!

And now I’m in this space that doesn’t feel real. Like moving and existing and even typing all this nonsense is such a monumental chore that I am faced with the reality that I just can’t do it anymore followed by screaming body aches and my head yelling over and over just get up dammit you need to work but the disconnect gap is so damn wide I just can’t find myself anymore.

It’s not fair! I rested on Saturday. And I rested on Sunday afternoon. And I woke up slowly this morning and I let myself read a bit and ease into the day.

Would I allow anyone else to do this? No! I’d be all “hey sweet baby girl you need to take time out and rest before you burn out go and do something peaceful and get out of your head a bit” and then gently nudge them off to take a nap. But myself? Nah fam, it’s 14 hour work days and 22 hour stress-a-thons for this daft cow.

But anyway. I told myself I was going to blog more because otherwise WHY am I paying to host this little sideshow?

So I blogged. And I keep telling myself that I should speak about this stuff because it helps. So I blogged.

Happy new month, folks!