Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Aspies and their obessions

So, you might know that a characteristic of people on the Autism Spectrum is that we tend to get awfully obsessive about things, and we are really good at or knowledgable about whatever those things are.

Most Aspies have one or two. But I was raised by my Grammy and my mom to have a curious, open mind.  So my list is…a bit longer.  Here are just some, in no particular order…

My first and earliest obsession that has led to and leads out of all of these below is, simply, reading.

1. LEARNING.  And asking questions, and seeking answers, and understanding.  About everything, all the time.  I'm a born librarian.  This is also why I LOVE my iPhone and iPad.  Instant access to information!
2. Animals, especially cats and lizards.  But any animal.  I want a huge house so I can adopt every animal in every shelter within a 100 miles.  I can't bear to see an animal not taken care of.
3.  Doctor Who--this is new.
4.  Science--especially medical science, biology, anatomy and physiology, neuroscience, paleoanthropology, genetics, and yeah, this sub list is getting too long.  You get the point.
5.  Beer--drinking and brewing
6.  Supernatural.  The TV show.
7.  The Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher.  I like a lot of authors and I am generally obsessive about reading, but I just have this THING for Harry Dresden.
8.  Running.  Especially long distance running.
9.  Having things neat and clean and organized and put away.
10.  Forensic science and criminal justice.
11.  Art and art history, especially 19th century and the Renaissance.
12.  USA history, especially from about 1773 to 1788.
13.  I like history as told through ordinary things--beverages, salt, medicine.  All my favorite non fiction books talk about this--Salt, At Home, History of the World in Six glasses.
14.  Historical reenactment.
15.  Firefly.  Also, duh, the TV show.
16.  Dragons and lizards.

I'm going to stop there as I've just realized what a total geek I am.

:)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Updates

I have not heard from Alaska.

I DID pass round one of the Website/Tech training job, yay!  November 1st is the second round.  This is very exciting.

I've decided to go Noble next year with the Guild.

This is my life. Nothing new to see here.

:)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Crazy

So...

I'm quite literally playing around with Joomla on my computer because it is a qualification for a job that I am going to apply for.  I have no idea what I am doing.  I'm having to dredge WAY back to when I took a basic web design class in college...and that was over 8 years ago.  Things have changed MUCH since then...and I've never been a techie girl except in being a front end user of what others have created.

But what the heck, right?

I also have a phone interview for a job in Alaska on Tuesday.  So we shall see!

EA

Friday, August 9, 2013

Social Exhaustion

You have probably heard by now that social situations are hard for Aspies, that we get tired, that we have to put so much focus and attention on every situation it wears us out.  You probably have heard the analogies--juggling balls, balancing 5 things at once, etc.  You can probably see how having to focus on quite literally every word that comes out of your mouth every second of every day and can never, NEVER speak freely without saying something wrong because you don't have the ability to read people can be tiring.  You can see how having to handle social situations by rote and behavioral training is wearying because NONE of it is natural, you have to pay attention all the time. And you can never, really be yourself.  

But I was thinking about what that exhaustion feels like analogous to things everyone goes through.

Imagine midterms or finals week or the week you have all five papers due and a test.  Imagine the end of that week.

Imagine the first few months of having a newborn.

Imagine the first week of a new job when you are learning the job, learning people, getting trained, etc.

Imagine having spent 24 hours dealing with international travel--layovers, customs, uncomfortable planes.  

Imagine after you've spent the day doing any sort of physical activity--a race, hiking, whatever.  The kind where all you can do at the end is take ibuprofen and lie in bed.  

Now...imagine how all those feel, and realize that the typical person on the autism spectrum experiences that bone deep level of exhaustion with almost all social interactions lasting more than a few minutes.  A party.  A wedding.  Getting together with friends.  A picnic.  A girl's night out.

And that is when things are going smoothly.  When things don't go smoothly (as they so often don't, people being people no matter what their brain chemistry is!), a meltdown cometh.  

Now with the right people who know and understand you you can relax a little, and certainly some places and some situations are more relaxing than others  I have very good friends who understand my brain and their house is one place besides my own I find refuge, home, family.  But even in those sanctuaries I have to be on my guard. 

I would say that at least 90% of my interactions with people leave me this exhausted.  But here is the catch.  I LOVE spending time with my friends.  I love talking with them, tasting beer and wine, sharing stories, praying, laughing, crying, watching movies.  I wouldn't trade my time with any of those people and the friendship and love we have for ANYTHING.

But, BOY, is it exhausting.  And hard.

So often the best things in life are.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Aspie Survival tip--Get a support system, AKA an anonymous thank you.

And that support system, though of course NTs  (Neurotypicals) can be wonderfully supportive and helpful, really needs  to have an Aspie in it.  Because though NTs try and love and care, they can't possibly understand our brain.  No slight on them, or on Aspies, but it is what it is what it is.

I have an Aspie friend who is my age, we have known each other a long while.  He is not open about being an Aspie like I am, a decision I respect and on retrospect wish I had done (for various reasons that are for another post).  I am not going to say his name, betray his confidence or his privacy. But he and I, well, sometimes I doubt we would make it through this world without each other to vent to and talk to and pray for and just GET the craziness no one but someone on the Autism spectrum gets.  I'm honestly, truthfully, not trying to offend or put down anyone who tries to support and help me who isn't an Aspie.  I'm not.  I know you guys try.  But just like I don't FULLY get what it is to be, well, an NT, you will never fully get me.  It doesn't mean you don't love us, and we don't love you.  It doesn't mean you don't emphasize or try to understand.  But there will always be that disconnect.

So if you are on the spectrum, find someone else on the spectrum you can trust and talk to.  It makes all the difference in the world. 

I could give a thousand examples of things my friend has said that have brought me some sense of yes, you get it, you GET it, so at least I am not alone in this.  He GETs that I can't just let things slide off my back, though I absolutely know I should.  He gets when a situation so unnerves and upsets me I am sick (sometimes to the point of losing my appetite then getting ill from hunger, or shivering with cold though I am always running hot)  about it for hours or sometimes days on end when no one else even remembers.

I just wanted to share one thing he has said that truly helped me recently:

"Now is the time I am supposed to give you empty platitudes.  But you and I aren't wired that way.  So I will just promise to pray for you"

Those first two sentences were like balm to my soul.  Or, rather, my Aspie brain.  They allowed me to be calm and at peace.  Not because things are better.  But because someone gets it.  Someone gets that saying it will get better doesn't make it so.  And...well, so much more.

So my NT friends, give me those empty platitudes, because they really aren't empty in that you love me and care for me and want the best for me and would, I know, do just about anything for me.  As I would, unquestionably, do for you.

And to my Aspie friend, this is a public thank you for being an Aspie, for having my brain, for helping me and listening and understanding when only an Aspie can.  THANK YOU.  I can't name you publicly but I know you are one of the keys to my sanity.

I'm a lucky girl to have all these people in my life, aren't I?  Please, guys, stick around.  All of you, Aspies and NTs and all.  I'm not sure I could do this without you.

May God's blessings shower on you and maybe spare just a few for me...

EA

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tough Mudder Part 2: The car woes. And other stuff.

So...

The Erudite clan (mom, sister, and myself) were driving up to Tahoe so I could do the Tough Mudder and they could volunteer when, about 10 minutes from my hotel and on a downgrade on a busy road with cars going 55 MPH....I heard a couple of loud clunks and my car died on the road.  I immediately, and through the grace of God safely, managed to get it to the side of the road.

We then called a tow truck.  First complication was finding a rental car place that was open at 4 PM on a Saturday.  We had to get the car to Reno, which was not the closest or most convenient place.

And then, with AAA overburdened and with their computers down and communication incomplete, we had to wait 45 minutes for a tow truck.  It would have been two hours except for the part about three women with a dead car on the side of a busy road thing.  And I have to tell you, in that 45 minutes the sound of the cars passing about drove me to the edge.  It's odd.  When I was younger, I had no sensory issues.  I liked loud music on all the time, despised silence.  Now, I like it quiet.  I only like something playing in cars, when I am running, or when I am doing solo stuff around the house, and even then I prefer audiobooks now.  You can say well of course you are sensitive to auditory stimulation, that is very indicative of someone on the Autism Spectrum.  That logic fails though because this has been a fairly recent, within the past 5 years, change for me.  Maybe I am just getting old?

Anyway...back to my car.  Our amazing two truck driver arrived with the bad news that he couldn't fit three of us in his car (they were supposed to call to tell us, they didn't, ARG).  I said, I do understand that, what do we do?  And here is what he did, and I truly wish I had gotten his name so I could write a letter to go into her personnel file praising his his above and beyond service.  First, he got my car onto the truck and had the Erudite Sister ride in the car for the ten minute drive to the hotel where he dropped me off (I was a wreck, and I had TM the next day, I HAD to relax, and thank God my family got that).  THEN, he took them to the airport to get the rental car.  THEN he said to them just go to the hotel, give me the information and I will drop off the car at the Ford Dealership for me.

Above and beyond.  WAY above.  We were more grateful than I can express.

So on Sunday I did the Tough Mudder and the whole day was fantastic--I wrote a blog post on part of it and will write another one in the near future.  I knew I could do nothing about my car until Monday so I just put it out of my head and did Tough Mudder.  Which worked great.  Until Monday.

I get the call---it's the clutch, and it isn't under warranty.  I go through a series of phone calls and being insulted and back and forth and arguing (a 23 minute phone call.  Shudder. And I didn't give an inch) that a clutch that goes out under 100K isn't wear and tear but in fact defective and back and forth and back and forth....until I realize that my warranty isn't going to cover my clutch and no matter how unfair it was I wasn't going to win (never buy a used car or a warranty, everyone.  Lesson learned).  So how to get my car home?  Thanks to a suggestion from my cousin, I upgraded my AAA so I had 200 towing miles.  I then call today to arrange the tow, only to find out I have to be there.  So tomorrow, I head to Reno, thanks to a dear friend who is willing to go with me and provide a car as we don't trust any of the cars in our house over the mountains, just to call AAA and have them come and tow my car home.  This is after we drove to Reno yesterday JUST to return the rental car, a job we could have put off one more day if we had realized I would have to be there to sign off on the tow.  And this is after endless phone calls--and you all know I HATE the phone--and being treated like crap, and arguing, and...UGH.  It's been a heck of a week.

Though Antonio at Jones West Ford in Reno, NV? Made it easy for me as possible, and totally waived a lot of things he could have charged me for.  He has been sympathetic and helpful.  THANK YOU Antonio.  You are getting some cookies and brownies tomorrow.

And all this has just been to figure out how to get my car home.  Fixing it?  That's just going to have to be a problem for another day.

And in all of this, another problem is present. I can't talk about it, but let us just say that a person is treating is absolutely unfairly, illegally, cruelly, and hurtfully in such a way to totally screw us over and cause an enormous amount of emotional upheaval and financial distress.  It is in the hands of someone who knows more about this stuff than we do.  But still, I don't think it is going to end easily or well.

UGH.

Here but for the grace of God we crawl along barely clinging on by our fingernails,

EA

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tough Mudder Part One: The Patriotic, pro Military, AWESOME start

So, as all of you know as I have talked about it without ceasing on FB...I did the Tough Mudder last weekend.  I will probably tell you more about the terrain, the obstacles, later, but I wanted to take this post to talk about what meant the most to me, what I truly think I will remember even more deeply than getting my first (but not only) orange Tough Mudder Headband.

And that was what happened before the race started, when we were all gathered at the start line.

First, I was there as an individual. Now, you don't do TM alone.  The whole purpose, and why I love it and why I did it, is that this is not a race, you are supposed to help and support your fellow mudders on the course.  You aren't even timed.  But still, I wasn't with a team.  Until a team I was standing by found out I was a solo, was impressed, and invited me to join their team.  I was with them at the end.  It meant...a lot.  THAT is the Tough Mudder spirit, right there.

Second, the normal stuff of cheering, getting you pumped, etc.  Fun! We chanted the Tough Mudder philosophy, which speaks of teamwork and not leaving anyone behind, and has the wonderful line "I do not whine.  Kids whine".

Then they had everyone take a knee and asked all who were serving or had served in the Military to stand up.  Oh, the cheers for our troops was deafening.  DEAFENING.  I was so proud to be amongst our brave soldiers, and with people who clearly loved them as much as I did.

As some of you might know, Tough Mudder's charity is Wounded Warriors.  So they had everyone take 10 seconds of silence in honor and respect for all those that had lost their lives for our freedoms.  In that absolute silence, my eyes started filling.

And then the guy leading us all said that in the Tough Mudder first wave we have a tradition.  We don't  play the National Anthem.  We all look at the flag and sing it.  I was one among hundreds that turned to the flag, put my hand over my heart, and our voices raised to the skies singing the National Anthem.  Now, the National Anthem always makes me teary eyed, for I love my Country. But this time, in this circumstance, with everyone singing next to me...

Tears flowed down my face and I was so choked up I almost had to hit my inhalor.

And that was even before we started, which is for another post.  But...

God Bless the Tough Mudder, God bless our troops, and God bless the USA.