Former friends, loyalty and Being Autistic

I seem to utilize my blog at times where I feel really emotional, or post meltdown. Sometimes I feel calm and serene while updating but most of the time I am dealing with inner turmoil.

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Periodically throughout the years, someone who made negative comments about my mother and essentially ghosted me over a decade ago, has constantly reached out to my family members to engage in friendly banter — all while choosing to ignore me with every attempt to find out what I did wrong, apologize and clear the air. This person would press ‘block’ nearly immediately.

I wasn’t trying to recreate a friendship we just had (which is what they thought I was trying to do), I was merely trying to reduce or eliminate the negative feelings they had towards me.

I thought this was the right thing to do.

Seeing the comment they made yesterday (on my family members post) was no different. I sent an apology, said their kindness ‘didn’t go unnoticed’ and attempted to reach out. I had done this periodically throughout the years in the hopes that they would grow as a person, forgive and ‘be okay’ with who I am as a person. I’m not sure why I would be lead to believe any differently when the example of their behaviour that I was presented with was kind, conversational and engaging.

Well, I was wrong. I was very wrong. Once again, I misread the social cues. I reached out and got blocked.

I went to my other (art) account and then asked them to “please do not interact with my family anymore.” I had told my family member how this person had been treating me throughout the years (with visual proof, this time) in the hopes that they would stand by me, support me and no longer associate with someone who had been treating me so disrespectfully.

The response I got was probably one of the cruelest, most judgemental messages I have ever received in my life. There were comments about me being negative, toxic, throwing a temper tantrum, how this person is in their 30’s now and they’ve grown and that’s due in part to the fact that I am no longer in their life, that my attempts to reach out (and in my words, reconcile) were harassment. This was two exceptionally long messages. I then explained that my family member had read the words they told me, and finally they told me to ‘go F myself’ and that I was ‘toxic AF’. This person also chose to misgender me. If they would have taken the time to even learn about my Autism diagnosis, they would have seen how these comments were rooted in ablism. I did not have my diagnosis until 5 years ago. I didn’t even self diagnose at the time we were friends.

Now, let’s not forget that people change a whole lot in 12-14 years. I certainly am not the same person I was in my late teens/early twenties. My main focus is doing what I can for the Autistic community and supporting cat welfare organizations when I am able to. My mindset is “What can I do for others?” —especially in times of distress.

The part that hurt the most is that this lead to a huge argument with my family member who was incredibly defensive and refused to cut this person out. Fortunately, this former friend of mine blocked my family — but in the end, it wasn’t really about the former friend. It was about remaining loyal to family. It was about being supportive of your family member when someone else has chosen to spew words that don’t; harbour any truth; words that were made to hurt.

I cried a significant amount last night. I had a meltdown. I felt like I couldn’t see, like I couldn’t breathe. None of the words I was saying (and the way I was explaining the situation) seemed to have resonated with those around me. I felt wholly exasperated.

I was essentially crying out for much needed emotional support and I was not getting it from those around me. I was not getting the “I care about you. This person treated you poorly. I love you, I have your back. I wouldn’t ever associate with someone who treats you like this. This is showing who they are as a person and it’s not reflective of who you are.” None of that. I got this kind of support from my friends, albeit – online. That doesn’t negate how thankful and gracious I was to each person who was willing to listen.

The moral of the story is: remain loyal to your friends and family. Stand up for them. Don’t allow them to be bullied by others. Don’t sit idly by and be complacent. Not involving yourself is essentially saying “hey, this behaviour is okay.” it’s not saying “i don’t want to be involved in drama.”

Engaging in friendly banter with someone who bullies your relative is a way to continue to re victimize and trigger them — yes, it is even worse if they are Neurodiverse. We need more allies. We need less people to be complacent with ableist behaviour and more people to stand up and say “this isn’t okay how you are treating them (my family). I don’t feel comfortable engaging with you unless you make amends and express kindness towards them.” either that, or swiftly blocking them without allowing pride to get in the way.

That’s all I wanted.

I’ve got those self-isolation blues!

A new piece of art – “Bright Skies”

As usual – I have been slacking when it comes to writing and updating this blog. That’s a little unbecoming and not up to the high standards I reluctantly uphold for myself.

It’s been hard and my energy has been fluctuating. There are days where I am apt to clean and tidy up my surroundings and then there are days that are spend entirely in bed, sometimes accompanied by cookies.

I’m on a constant rotation of just a few things. Netflix, napping, eating, art and a minute amount of self care. I’m trying to focus more on that because I know how important it is for my mental health.

Some tasks are more difficult than others, including running Made by Autistics Community on facebook – a task that is emotionally draining at the best of times – it puts me right in the forefront of having to maintain some order and good reading comprehension. I’m not great at the comprehension aspect and I find that keeping objects orderly versus people is already something I obsess over. Throw emotions in to the mix and I sink, real fast. I make mistakes, we all do – but there’s one thing we can choose to NOT do – and that’s call people names. I had enough of this in my past (hurled towards me with a cold blast of anger, no less) and I don’t need to be triggered.

I’m thankful I have people I can speak to who have been supportive of me because I can only take so much criticism in one day. I burn out faster than i’d like. It’s been hard not having any physical affection or the inability to see my friends and hang out in close quarters. I realize that we’re trying to do our best as a whole to stop the spread of a really horrible virus and some of the things we can do are:

  1. Wash Your Hands
  2. Maintain Your Distance
  3. Be Nice

Three rules that could make a big difference. Hope you are staying healthy and happy!

PS. I also started a petition to make it mandatory to have ALL cosmetics be tamper-proof sealed. Could you sign it?

I’m not an easy person to date.

I’m just going to preface this with a disclaimer: These views are my own and do not reflect the Autistic community as a whole. I am a singular person. I also want to make it very clear that I am not a professional and this post should not be viewed as professional advice.

Photo by burak kostak on Pexels.com

I was 23. I had just moved from a small town back to the city where I was born. I was staying on a friends couch. I was bright eyed, super ambitious and ready to make a name for myself with my art. I’ve always been really active online and I took a chance one day and met someone. That changed the course of my life in a drastic and dramatic way.

Eight years. That was the amount of time I spent with this person. You grow a lot in that span of time. I thought I knew what I wanted. Clearly, that wasn’t the case. I had absolutely no idea.

One of the biggest mistakes I made was putting a label on a relationship with someone I had just met. We started dating from the moment we met. We were not even apart from each other. I didn’t even have a chance to get to know him.

Like the title suggests, i’m not an easy person to date. I also didn’t get my Autism diagnosis until a month before I turned 29. This is relevant because some of my behaviour throughout the relationship–where I was made to feel like I was difficult or acting out, ended up being directly attributed to things like meltdowns, shutdowns and sensory overload.

Patience is a true virtue. However, there’s a fine line between dating someone and feeling like you have to babysit them. I wouldn’t want to put someone through that again.

That’s not to say there were situations I was put in that didn’t make me feel uncomfortable and any relationship is a 2-way street.

There were instances where I was left feeling wholly uncomfortable and in massive amounts of distress. I had to deal with things like anti-semitism, being in a car with my partner and not being told where we were going or what we were doing, having my messages online sifted through, being made to feel like the things that were important to me were irrelevant, having my birthday ignored, having to owe money for things like rides from point a to point b, bargaining, having my cultural background ignored– I even overheard a conversation about how I didn’t want children, the list honestly goes on.

No one should have to be subjected to those kind of things. Listening to your partners wants, needs and desires is imperative. Again, this goes both ways.

I am the kind of person who needs structure. I need full disclosure. I need plans. I need to know what’s going on. I should never have to play a guessing game with someone who responds with ‘maybe’ or ‘I don’t know’. I’m not sure how I was able to play along for any length of time. Exhausting, emotionally draining and frustrating are only some of the key words used to describe it.

Not to mention exasperating. I’m truly learning about myself, WHO I AM and what my goals are.

Should I have to continue to defend myself for simply being? Should I have to put myself in situations that I made very clear I do not want to be in? No. Never. There’s no excuse for this.

This year has been incredible in terms of the things I accomplished and believe it or not, i’m proud.

I just want to continue on and keep going. I am prideful and I am strong.

P.S: A video WILL happen on this subject but I have lost my voice.

Aut-Ish: Episode 10 – Art (Special Guest – Margaux Wosk)

I was featured on the AUT-ISH PODCAST! Have a listen or read the transcript. Thanks Onikage!

Aut-Ish

Woo! Episode 10 is live on Podbean! Also accessible via Itunes and Spotify!

Click “Continue Reading” to access transcript provided.

View original post 3,631 more words

Multiple things to discuss!

I created a new video on a couple things that I felt needed to be addressed:

My facebook page, facebook.com/madebyautistics was hacked. My one other admin and two mods have been removed. Facebook is being useless so I had to rebrand entirely and create a new page over at facebook.com/madebyautisticsgroup.

I was featured on CITR’s ALL ACCESS PASS. You can listen to me here: https://www.citr.ca/radio/all-access-pass/episode/20191030/ My Kickstart Disability Arts & Culture speech is at the 34:00 mark and my interview from the PosAbilities Inclusion Art Show is at the 16:15 mark.

These have been added to my shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/retrophiliac

In addition to the four plaques that have been happened, there’s also all my holiday cards too. These are just a few examples:

Thanks to my Kickstarter backers who made these cards a reality, I was able to pack up all these cards and they will be getting distributed between 3 cat welfare organizations. They will then be able to sell and/or use the cards and keep the profits. I also am thankful that it will be an opportunity for more cat lovers to see my work.

Welllll that was a lot to cover.

Thanks for reading!

You know what’s more important than selling art?

Being myself and having the freedom to do so without people attacking me for it.

The last couple of days have been rough. The images above continued to spark a firestorm of negativity against me. I have been getting criticized from all angles. I have been told that I shouldn’t be mixing business and politics by a couple of people.

It’s funny, I suppose they’ve never read this blog. I’ve been very honest about how I feel about things. I’ve spoken out against issues plaguing the LGBTQ communities when it came to the former director of AutismBC. Why did I do it? I firmly believe that LGBTQ rights are human rights and that someone who is supposed to be representing Autistic people shouldn’t be speaking out against young children learning about sexual orientation and gender identity. That’s not okay. We’re supposed to be creating safe spaces for youth. I knew for a very long time about myself that I didn’t identify as feeling female (or feeling male) and i’ve recently come out as non binary which has been very freeing but also has opened me up to a whole lot of hate from people.

I guess i’ve been bullied for the majority of my life and i’ve touched on that in previous blog posts.

So i’m DEFINITELY for LGBTQ rights. That’s one thing people gave me hell about.

The second thing is my support for Greta Thunberg who speaks about the fact that she is Autistic (but has been formally diagnosed under the umbrella of Aspergers) and how powerful, inspiring and amazing she is! That alone had climate-change deniers and trump supporters coming after me. I can’t believe how many people are bullying a young person with such a fierce nature to create change in this world. They make comments like “She’s a sick girl” or “She needs to go back to school” which I think is just backwards. They talk about her [neurodiversity] like she’s sick, unwell, needs healing or is severely disabled. It breaks my heart–especially as someone who is passionate about creating change, albeit not at the same level that she’s been able to achieve and i’m focused on different topics.

The third and final thing that people were getting upset with me about is the fact that I am pro-choice. I firmly believe in “my body, my choice”. I am not going to decide what other people do with their bodies! That’s none of my business. I have written two articles about being childfree and how I believe in overpopulation, that we’re destroying our planet (so you can see why I support Greta so much!) and that I never, ever want to have kids. I am sure I have some kind of gender dysphoria and if something were to ever grow inside of me and take over my body, I would be in a much deeper depression than I already am dealing with. I’m still thinking about getting my tubes tied but not everyone has (or wants) that option. I don’t need political figures deciding what is happening in my uterus. That’s just not okay.

I count my lucky stars that I am a Canadian and I have the rights that I do because I am truly privileged to live here.

So, back to the title of this article:

I’d rather be able to express myself freely than make another CENT off of my artwork. I am not compromising who I am and I shouldn’t have to be subjected to people freaking out at me if they don’t agree with me. I believe in LGBTQ rights, I believe in climate change, I am pro-choice and I am non binary.

“Don’t mix politics with business” someone said.

You know what I say?

Say that to Trump.

Say that to Chic-fil-a.

Don’t say that to me.

(I would like to properly attribute these images to their sources but I am unable to find them through google image search. If you know the creators, please let me know so I can properly credit them. Thanks!)

It’s a mood, for sure.

Trying to see through the thick cloud of anxiety and depression is no easy task. It’s a huge, huge burden to bare. The flashbacks have become more repetitive, they feel deeper. Each time I fail, I feel those traumatic events seeping back in and filling those gaps where hope once was. It is a situation full of despair.

I’m so lucky to have these cute, silly beings in my life though. They make it all worth it.

I should be happy or at the very least feeling fine. I think part of the disappointment is due to the fact that I really thought the article on The Mighty would perform better. I thought it would drive people to my website and to my shop, but the views and interactions have been fairly dismal.

The hits on my Etsy shop have totally decreased too. I heard there’s something going on with an algorithm to do with the people that don’t have free shipping or don’t offer it on all their listings. It’s making them less visible. I know for me that when i sell original pieces, shipping is included. It’s everything that’s made by a 3rd party that has shipping separately.

I also should be pleased with myself about having my speech coming up later this week and being approved to be a consultant about issues surrounding mental health and Autism–and yes, I am looking forward to creating change, but i’m also the poster child for those issues. So, I guess in a roundabout kind of way, i’m going to really be able to reflect on my experiences and create change. That’s the silver lining.

I wanted to share some images that my customers have shared with me, which is pictures of their purchases from my etsy shop. This helps keep me going, but sales in the last while have been so dismal. I’m also upset because the way advertising works on etsy is that I paid 4.80 American to get one person to click on one item that they didn’t even buy. So frustrating. I’ve heard better things about facebook ads but i’m just not even sure how to go about it. Seems when I talk about business, there’s people that genuinely want to help and then there’s people who poach on my lack of experience and try to manipulate me to pay them. I guess that’s another business strategy–but it’s one that I don’t want anything to do with.

If I can bring joy to others, even though i’m suffering, well.. I think that’s a way to turn something negative in to something positive.

I tried creating a new plaque that says “cats make life purrfect” but the cats I drew look terrible. The two wood signs I was happy about completing, haven’t really seen much traffic either. I thought they’d be a bigger hit.

My holiday cards are also still up for pre-ordering at a reduced rate. Hoping to have my hands on those the 3rd week of October, ready for shipping.

Greta Thunberg, a climate change activist and fellow Autistic has been taking quite a beating online. It really upsets me that people say such horrible things about her. I think politics are a main driving factor for people to be so hateful in this world. I tweeted about the honesty of Autistic people and how we’re fact based and it definitely goes for her too. Actually, this quote of mine says it all:

Lots of things happening!

I wanted to start this off with some really good news.

My Kickstarter has met AND exceeded it’s goal! I’m so pleased and so grateful!

I’ve been approved to work on a local, digital collaboration project and I will be speaking later this month about my artwork and being autistic. So many things are happening for me all at once and it’s absolutely insane. I can’t even begin to express how totally thankful I am.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I’ve also made a lot of new friends on facebook and my etsy is seeing wonderful amounts of traffic. The feedback about my artwork is so positive. I am happy that I get to share my story of success and what Autistic people are capable of.

It’s really awesome that I will be able to have Christmas cards in 4 different designs to share with people. The fact people want them as much as they do is something I would have never imagined in my wildest dreams!

On another side of the coin, i’m dealing with some pretty severe stress and anguish because I have someone who has made it a point of posting completely untruthful things about me on Reddit. I’m not sure how to handle this. I’ve shared my side of the story and I would hope people would read it and come to their own conclusions. It’s really too bad because this person has insinuated that I don’t do research when it comes to getting my art on different items and also questioned my Autism diagnosis. They purposely misgendered me as well and took multiple different subjects I spoke about in a live stream to craft a gigantic LIE about me. This person is a fellow Autistic Artist too. I had to actually ban them from my Made by Autistics group for coming after me.

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

I’m really doing my very best trying to mentally compartmentalize all of the things I have coming up and what I need to prioritize but it’s incredibly hard and dealing with such unnecessary drama takes a toll on my executive functioning.

Ah, C’est la vie.

Putting a dream in motion!

So many people have been supporting me through my Retrophiliac etsy shop.

I have been so hyper focused on creating new pieces of art, I haven’t had that much time to write (it’s super hard trying to juggle art and writing, seriously. How can I do this? I’d need more hands) but wow. The volume of art I am putting out has been insane!

A lot of people wanted Christmas Cards from me so i’m attempting to crowdfund/kickstart.

This is almost like a pre-order since that’s what I will be selling the sets for — but the Picatso card is a bonus.

Check it out here & please share

Thanks so much!

“…And it’s preying on my mind

…That there’s nothing left in my hands but time
Time don’t really care if I carry on.”

I have a few things on my mind so I figured it would be important to get it all out in the open.

Sometimes people send me an image pertaining to Autism with the best of intentions and yet the imagery is so widespread that the notion of it being offensive fails to cross the mind of the person sharing it. I do my best to write about these things in my blog but not everyone takes the time to read my articles. 

I was sent an image of hands in a handshake position that had one of the hands being disgustingly adorned by a rainbow of interlocking puzzle pieces with words like “awareness” placed over top of the neutral/skin-toned hand. 

Autism Daily Newscast

Immediately, a wave of frustration with a dash of anger washed over me. I thought I had made it very clear how I felt about these words and images used. I had even posted this image a day prior:

I had responded with a numbered list of how generally we (Autistics) don’t like skin to skin contact, that the puzzle piece is offensive and that we do not need awareness. I also linked an article titled “the ableist history of the puzzle piece”. The response I got surprised me. It was not taken well. I had to explain that Autistic people are generally fact based and that my attempt to educate had no malicious intention.

I can not sit idly by and not say anything- that just isn’t in my nature. 

On another note, I am in the process of updating my sales terms on Etsy in as many places as possible.

I am not sure how many people know about print on demand but it is a service that I utilize for the majority of my offerings.

Here’s how it works:

I upload my artwork to their website and I configure it on a number of products. The website creates a very realistic looking digital mock up of said item. I add the price, edit the description and list it on my Etsy store. The item will say “ships out of the United States” or sometimes China, depending on where it is manufactured. 

I would say that 95% of my customers live in the USA. It didn’t occur to me that “ships out of the United States” is not enough information in regards to duty. 

I purchase a lot of things from online American retailers and I also live near the British Columbia / Washington state border. Duty is something I always consider and take in to account. I have even been sent promotional items for review and had duty slapped on.

I will be adding “This item ships out of the USA. I am not responsible for duties, shipping and exchange rate incurred” on each listing. I have nearly gone through two out of five pages of listings so far. My laptop can’t handle it. 

I also need to express that some people have perhaps attempted to reach out to me through various channels and I am not always quick to respond. This is because I am still going through a lot of personal things and I am doing my best to prioritize. However, I am under a significant amount of stress and I am having a very difficult time viewing things accurately because of how clouded my thought process is. Anxiety is not easy to deal with.

I am doing my very best and trying to cope in a way that I am still able to be productive. I just need a bit of room to breathe.