Truth be told, I am often ( and have been ) a horrible friend and I admit it. I apologize …. and that’s all I can do about it … In fact, one of my former friends made me cry once for days because she told me so. ( we’re trying to rebuild the relationship … it’s not easy ) It’s hard to be a ‘good’ neurotypical friend when you’re Aspie, because there are so many social conventions that we don’t know , understand or care about the importance. I know that it requires effort …. I also wish that it would be easier …. and that people would understand that I do try … It’s just that it often takes a superhuman effort – and it’s not because I don’t ‘WANT to put forth this effort, it’s just too exhausting to do so …. Isolation and seclusion have become easier and cherished – and I’m okay with that.
Here are some bits of information which you may not know about me. It makes really no difference if you acknowledge them – but it’s who I am, in a nutshell …
- I care A LOT …. sometimes too much ( cliché – but don’t care …. ) – about situations or others. When it becomes too intense or uncomfortable I go mute or stand back . Sometimes for years. Don’t think that I don’t care – I do …
- I LOVE having friends – it’s just that it’s physically exhausting to BE WITH them. It’s the social aspect of things …. Too many conversations at once. Restaurants where I can’t eat. Movie theatres I can’t stand.
- I have bizarre and intense interests which I realize can sometimes get on people’s last nerve. I LOVE Paris. I LOVE to write and blog. I talk to dead people. I EXIST for my family and River House . I’ve learned to tame my conversations and to shut up when I notice that I bore people. ( See, I’m learning … )
- I hate being ‘stuck’ somewhere with no ‘out’ … I’ll take my car somewhere and usually be the first to leave. Doesn’t mean I don’t like being somewhere with people – just means that it’s too difficult to tolerate for too long ….
- I don’t do phone calls. I HATE them …. I never know WHEN to talk because I can’t see you. Don’t CALL me – text me.
- Social Media is this Aspie’s best friend. I’ll have a conversation with you for hours on Messenger or via text. I’ll whisper two words to you in person. It’s not personal. It’s sensory. It’s executive function. It’s my way of handling MY autism.
- I seldom invite people over to my home. It’s my personal space. I’m learning to relax that space. We made a visitor bunkie – now I can have people over and still be comfortable in my own home . It’s awesome. Maybe one day, I’ll get used to having someone in my close environment. If I don’t – it’s not personal ….
- Don’t think that I don’t care …. because I do …
- I have cultivated many friendships over the years. Many have dwindled over the years – and as you have, I’ve moved on with the times … such is Life and I’ve accepted that. To those I still count amongst my close friends – know that I love and cherish you – even though you may not feel acknowledged.
There. Chapter closed. Off to take a nice warm shower and to read ….. it’s a good day ….
For months, I chose to not write about the challenges which I faced on a daily basis as an individual living with autism. However, after returning from the International Symposium on Autism – hosted by the Geneva Center – which was held in Toronto this past week, I am revisiting this – and have opted to share more insights. Perhaps I was tired of explaining things. Perhaps I thought that finally I had mastered how to flow through Life without acknowledging that I was a woman on the spectrum and that I could pretend that I understood things. But that becomes exhausting – and I’ve chosen to embrace this difference and to help others like me blossom in their own existence. Of course, I will still examine all the positivity of Life – I can’t do otherwise, because it’s who my essence is as a person. I want to help others – but more importantly, I want to help others understand the challenges and differences which follow our existence on a daily basis because, slice it as you want, we are wired in a very different neurological way. Since I last wrote, many elements have shifted in my Life. I’ve experienced many changes and transitions which are part of our life journeys – some have been pleasant while others have proven to be quite difficult to understand and process. For all new readers, here they are. My mother is now in a home for people who have Alzeihmers. Although she is very close in distance, I cannot handle visiting her too often because I don’t know how to handle the emotions that flow when I do. Neurotpypicals offer help in processing them but so far, no suggestions have been ideal or geared to my way of thinking or understanding. So I go – stay a few minutes – and then face anxiety and depression for a few days. I get over it. I always do. My brother had a stroke in March 2013. I dropped everything for 5 months to stay by his side and help him through it. Having autism has its advantages: I was able to mentally drop everything and focus on him and his new way of living. I learned everything about strokes. Words. Terminology. Lingo. I oversaw his therapy. I made sure services were in place. And when the time came – when he finally asked me to do so: I let go. He’s on his own – living a new life now. It’s different. It’s a new kind of normal. For all of us. My father is now 81 years young. In the past few months, he’s dealt with many emotions and the stress has finally caught up to him. As we speak, he is resting in a hospital room, undergoing medical tests to find out why he is not breathing properly. He’s my hero – my lifeline … I know that some things cannot be changed but in my eyes, although he’s gotten weaker over the past few years – he remains my rock. My hero. My role model of existence. I cried when Liane Holliday Willey spoke about her father at the conference for it echoes my very thoughts about mine. She lost her dad five and a half years ago and she still cries everyday – still raw from having him far from her …. I think that at that very moment, I understood – finally – what the word empathy felt like. Coming back to my own dad – he’s in good hands, and I believe that surrounded by our Guides and Angels, we are truly guided to the bigger plan put forth by the Source. My own family is doing well. My oldest son is in College, working on his early childhood educator diploma. He’s doing incredibly well. As a family, we had to fight a little and educate the College world about autism culture. It’s never easy – just when you think that the community knows about autism, we’re reminded that as an adult, we’re expected to become like every typical adult out there. We’re not. We still need help with routines. Transitions. Social Skills and Hidden Curriculum. But as a team we’re getting things done, and Alex ( his name ) , is doing incredible. My youngest son is now in Grade eleven. Loves school. Hangs around with his ‘nerds’. They speak photography and computers all day. He bought about 15 different cubes this year and solved them all. In a very speedy way. Now, he’s moved on to other things. I smile and mentally check off his traits. No diagnosis …. but my oh my …. :) To this day, my husband remains my rock and has been the key person in my Life . Without him, I’d be lost. Suffice to say that a greater Love could not exist between two individuals. He understands me. ( or pretends to ). Honours my differences. And pushes me to test my personal limits. We’ve moved to the River House. ( I lived in the same house for 34 years …. bought my parents’ house ) …. and we’re so happy here. Unlike many individuals would, I never once have missed that house. It was beautiful. It held many memories. But it was time. So I boxed that up in my mind and moved on. Life is incredible here. I’m alone in Nature, yet surrounded by neighbours whom I respect. It could not get better than this. On a professional note, I now work with adolescents on the spectrum and have been doing for two years. I have a ‘drop-in’ center where I teach social skills and encourage them to use strategies. It the best challenge that I’ve ever had as a teacher. I am so blessed to be working with these individuals who teach me as much about Life as I do. What is more fascinating to me is how many girls are now emerging on the spectrum who had fallen in the ‘cracks’ , if you may. It’s a great thing that we’re finally focussing on the diagnostic differences for them – because they may have a better chance to understand their strengths and challenges at a younger age – and not have to struggle as much in an adult world, such as I did – being diagnosed when I was in my forties. I’m also working on my Masters in Metaphysical Studies. I am LOVING this. Very tuned in the energies and insights I remain. I still am very active in this part of my life and know that I help many on their paths as I fine tune my abilities. I also write a weekly column in the West Nipissing Tribune : Simply Rouge – where I share thoughts and offer advice about the daily grind. People seem to appreciate it – and I love writing in this forum. And my final aha moment is the following: for months, I’ve been thinking about publishing the book which I finally finished writing. It’s ready…. but I think that instead, I’ll change my ways – and release my music album. It’s ready – all the songs are in my piano – waiting for the world to hear. I just need to figure out who can help – and then it’s a done deal. It’s going launch later on this year, with my website: annegingras.com. So there you have it. Updates of my Life . I’m back on the Autism Track ! Join me in experiencing life through my eyes – and together – we’ll make fascinating discoveries ! LIFE IS GOOD !
I also write another blog …. here is what I posted there this morning ….
I haven’t been feeling too good lately – and I think it’s because my physical body is reacting to all the energies in the World – the bad ones that is. There is war – hurt – pain – tears – destruction – desperation – and truth be told , I feel like it’s affecting all of us in different ways. I myself, usually a calming person , have been easily irritated. Have felt like crying . And have almost , at times, because also defiant towards the simplest of situations – and towards those whom I love the most.
Enough. Time to change this energy around us. I’ve called in ‘my team’. I have my two guides – Adam and Nathaniel. I’ve called in the ‘Source’ – and asked that I receive help in dissipating the negativity – and in restoring hope and faith in humanity – if only in my immediate circles and community.
Since I have done so – a few hours ago, things are literally brighter. I feel better. Not alone. And the physical manifestations of pain are also disappearing.
Enough of sadness and fear for today. Let’s send in Light. Lots of it. Everywhere. I’m reminding everybody about my unity bowl. More than a thousand names are in it now – and I hope that this week, Universe will send me a thousand more. For if we are able to raise the vibrations of a few individuals at a time – we can change the world. Transform it into a more peaceful environment to live in. One person and one heart at a time.
I’m not giving up today. I’m never giving up – ever.
Join me – spread the Light – spread the energy – spread the Love.
firstname.lastname@example.org – to send in names of individuals ( including yours ) who may benefit from positive and healing energy. Sent out every night … no need to resubmit names every day – once in the unity bowl – they remain in for as long as you wish …..
This Aspie is loving Twitter ….
Saw this and it says it all ! you have a question about autism ????? ASK ME ! I can tell you a lot about it …. :)
Always try to start the day with a deep breath and a positive thought. No matter how bad yesterday was, it’s in the past – and tomorrow is a brand new day to change the course of your journey. You may meet someone, realize something or simply feel a little better, if only for a few seconds more than yesterday. Breathe. Exhale. Breathe in again. Listen to your intuition – what is it telling you? Mine this morning whispered that it was going to be a great day. Some ME time. Some let’s re-evaluate things time. Some reading-for-people time. Perhaps a few visitors at my home – and later – a few visitors from Spirit.
It’s Saturday and the pace is slower. I’m going to have one great day : a positive thought at a time …
It’s arrived. One of my most dreaded times of year : the time change happens Sunday morning at 2 Am. Tomorrow, people around me will smile and think how great it was to have that extra hour to sleep in. I will still be up at the ‘regular’ time – and have to function through my day. I’ll still have to deal with the fact that my biological functions are set for certain times – and have all been moved backwards. I’ll have to deal with the fact that I will likely be driving home in the dark now – with blaring lights hurting my eyes. ( I have sensory difficulties and lights are my biggest obstacles ). It will take me at least 2 weeks to adjust. My patience will be greatly reduced. My production will be almost non-existent. My anxiety will be up. I likely will be close to tears every day…. I will have migraines. And people will tell me how the time change affects everybody and how I should really ‘suck’ it up. It’s part of Life. Yet it’s going to be harder than that. When one lives on the Autism Spectrum – regular Life is difficult enough …. Adding this extreme change to the mix is really painful.
So please : if you are the parent, the friend or the colleague of an individual on the spectrum this weekend : please please please try to understand. Limit your expectations of us . Do not ask us to participate in activities if we are not inclined to do so. Hold our hand if we ask you to do so – and respect our bigger-than-usual personal space requirements. Changes and transitions are never easy – at least not for me – this 43 year old Aspie woman … but I’ll get it … I’ll get used to it : I just need time to do so …