Life would be so much easier…

..If I didn’t wear my heart on my sleeve.

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

It’s so hard for me to read people, I know — i’ve written about this in the past, but it’s the truth.

I am vocal about being Autistic because my inability to connect with people is rooted in my neurodiversity. Now, i’m not saying it’s a bad thing (but it definitely can be).

I am still figuring out where my place is in the world and how I can integrate myself more seamlessly in to the environment around me and it’s not going well.

I don’t understand intent from others. I have been taken advantage of or put in situations that I believe will have a favourable outcome, but they don’t. It’s generally the other party who is interested and I go along with what is happening. I meet someone, spend time with them and then afterwards feel incredibly remorseful during my reflection of what just happened.

A lot of the time it can simply be the energy that I sense from others, i’ve been told before I am a “sensitive” and I don’t know the validity of that label, however what I do know is that I tend to repeat scenerios in my head. The more I seem to do this, the worse I feel. It’s the anxiety (once again) propelling me to a very dark place I didn’t want to go.

I have been getting back in to the dating pool and it has been incredibly draining for me. I don’t think i’m going to continue. I put my heart and soul in to everything I do and it tends to make me feel objectified. I am so eager to get to know people and learn their quirks, but I can’t say that it’s been easy trying to find people who understand me. They see me for one thing and that’s it. Also, identifying as non-binary puts a whole other wrench in to that situation because I am viewed as strictly female.

So, I deleted the dating apps and i’m done with that. I am not going to put myself through that hurt anymore. It’s time I focus on myself, my art, my writing, my advocacy work and OBVIOUSLY cats (because, hello, life is incomplete without them!)

Life always throws something my way, I feel like i’m always trying to decipher a code that I can’t crack.

Be kind; for I am fragile.

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Accomplishment & Support

I can’t believe it. I actually BROKE 100 SALES! I made it to 110 sales today. This is beyond the scope of anything I could imagine.

www.etsy.com/shop/retrophiliac is my store and here’s 3 new designs!

I also added some fanny packs, a skirt and a tank top to my store! I am so encouraged by the positive words and new people I meet online through my art. I feel lucky to be able to express myself like this.

Coming to terms with identity.

As you may already know (but you might not?!) I already have a hard enough time calling myself an “Autistic Artist” without a few people getting rather upset with me over that.

Now, I am adding a new term to the mix:

Non Binary

Nonbinary, also known as genderqueer, is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or exclusively feminine‍—‌identities that are outside the gender binary.” –Wikipedia

I have never felt female. I also haven’t felt male. I just feel something else and it’s just a fluidity of sorts. I went through a phase in my life where I would ONLY shop in the boys section at retailers like The Gap, The Bay and Zellers. I practically lived in my carpenter jeans, a “no fear” shirt and a red gap pullover hoodie. I hung out with a few boys on the school yard. We would discuss Pokemon. This was when Red version had just come out — 1996. I guess I was around 8 years old.

I had no desire to wear anything remotely feminine. I didn’t even want to get my ears pierced, learn how to do makeup or anything my sister was doing.

I just felt awkward. I knew I already had struggles fitting in, but I couldn’t figure out why I felt such negativity towards being outwardly female. I still am unsure.

When I got a bit older, I embraced it. I learned how to do my makeup, I got my ears pierced, I wore dresses sometimes, skirts more of the time and styled my hair. I’m not saying these things are necessarily feminine but for me, I equated those experiences with that gender role. I’m not sure I ever felt comfortable dressing that way. I went to a family wedding and dressed up nice and in a dress, but it didn’t feel like me. I may have to invest in a nice pair of dress pants or something different.

Here’s a video that makes the concept easier to digest:

I am still coming to terms with things like pronouns. I know that she/her makes me uncomfortable. I just haven’t decided what I want to replace that with. I’m not sure if they/them would work for me.

I also don’t like terms like “pretty girl”, anything to do with “lady” or “m’am”. There’s just a feeling of not being able to relate that comes off pretty strongly for me. I’m not really sure what about it bugs me so much. I guess when you have something this deep-seeded and it’s been manifesting for so long, there’s a point in which a decision has to be made to live your truth. I’m starting to learn how to LIVE MY TRUTH.

I realize there’s probably a lot of places where I refer to myself with female pronouns and other female identifying words, so please don’t call me out on that. This is a work in progress and i am in a stage of my life where a lot of things are changing and patience is an exceptional virtue.

I definitely needed to get this out and share this with my readers. I know that sometimes there’s quite a bit of time between my posts. I often have to wait for that perfect moment where I can sit down, write and unleash all the thoughts that are building up in my mind. It’s a perfect release.

Too much pressure.

Photo by Caique Silva on Pexels.com

Please don’t mistake me or try to make me

The shadow of anybody else

I ain’t the him or her you think I am

I’m just trying hard to be myself

Oh, society’s goal is to be part of the whole

That may sound good to you, not to me

The Turtles, Let Me Be

All I wanted was the ability to share my art with the world…. and it has turned in to half disaster, half success.

I don’t know how i’m supposed to handle it.

For a bit of a backstory, I posted some of my cat themed art in to some various cat facebook groups. Some were more receptive than others, some banned me for accidentally violating their rules (even though I had made a google docs with the different groups and varying rules), and my facebook exploded. Messages, friends requests, a lot were welcomed with open arms but it was non stop and very anxiety inducing. I already have very, very bad anxiety but this actually made it a lot worse.

I ended up making my own group, Nice Cats for Nice People. We actually welcome those who are Neurodiverse, who want to share their cat-related art and etsy store and try to adhere to less stringent rules.


I then had people writing me, telling me how they thought I was violating (cat facebook group) rules and giving me feedback I didn’t ask for, which made me even more agitated. I can’t tell you how many new people i’ve had to cut ties with. It just hasn’t been healthy for me.

Yesterday, I was in the car, traveling to go to a concert and I cried. I flailed my hands for a short few seconds. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t want to do anything but go back home, miss the concert and weep in bed. This was after a few people decided to tell me that I was oversharing the negative messages I was receiving on my facebook page and some of the private messages sent to me seemed to have a good intention but had a lot of unwanted, “real” or “brutally honest” advice that I didn’t ask for. I was already on the brink of an emotional collapse and that sent me over the edge.

There have been incredibly positive people and really negative people.

There’s also those who don’t understand:

There’s even people who believe it’s okay to tell me that I clearly have issues after i’ve made it incredibly clear that I suffer from mental illness, which is intertwined with being Autistic.

Being Autistic is not an excuse, It’s a NEUROTYPE! It’s part of who I am and why I behave the way I do. I honestly can’t even believe I have to justify myself to anybody but I have to write this because these things keep happening to me over and over again. I also had to reiterate that my artwork and my Autism are very much hand-in-hand and that I utilize my art to talk about Autism and vice versa. I have HUNDREDS of pieces i’ve art that i’ve painted. I’m not new to this at all. I have been making art my entire life.

There was a time where I really only worked intuitively and for myself, as a way to relax and unwind. When people can’t understand why a pet portrait costs 150.00 USD, I don’t really know what to say without sounding really upset and hurt. It’s a lot to take the personality of someone’s cat and turn that in to my own style. If i’m working intuitively, I don’t think. I don’t need to plan the way something looks, copy features and make it look like someone’s best friend. Getting the features right and the art completely perfect puts so much pressure on me to appease my customer. I’m almost at the point where I have to set my price at something that aligns with my thoughts of “how much would it take for me to drag my ass out of bed and paint something for someone else?” Honestly, I don’t even know what that price would be.

I even made an FAQ because I kept getting asked questions over and over again.

My brain is not only wired differently due to the fact that I am Autistic, but my chronic depression, anxiety and poor coping methods are linked to the fact that I spent 15 years or so being verbally and emotionally abused by my father…EVERY SINGLE DAY. Add that to the childhood bullying and ostracization from my peers at school and you have a brain that suffered from a lot of trauma during it’s most vital developmental years. I also hear that if you’re removed from your mother immediately after birth, which I was, that can also lead to developmental issues. I also am learning disabled. I never graduated, I got my GED instead.

I really want those reading this to understand a few things so i’m linking them below.

I hope this provided insight in to just some of the things I am struggling with. Please be kind.

Amazing Response!

If you’ve been with my blog for a while, you’ve known my intense struggles with trying to get my art out there. It’s been hard, complicated and generally a lengthy process.

So, I decided i’d just take a chance and share my pieces of cat art in some of the facebook cat groups and the response has been positively amazing. Quite overwhelming in fact — and not in a bad way.

I sold 8 pieces of art in the last 3 days. I don’t even think i’m able to comprehend that this actually happened. It blows my mind.

I’m still trucking away at making more pieces of art but it’s takes time. So that’s currently what i’m working on.

If you want to support me, you can check out my etsy at:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/retrophiliac

and

http://www.facebook.com/retrophiliac

Thank you so much!!

Sharing my struggles

Yesterday, I was absolutely taken aback by a comment I received on one of my twitter status updates.

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I had posted a mini rant about my frustrations with my art and my mental health struggles. It felt liberating to be able to “clear the air” and be transparent.

Nowhere in my rant did I ask a single question. Not. One.

I had a few positive, supportive comments from fellow Autistics and followers of my page, which I was grateful for.

However, there was one person who decided to go off on me and write an entire paragraph about how I need to stop trying to sell my art, that I need to work on my mental health and that I clearly didn’t have it under control. Also, that I shouldn’t be posting these questions and not expect a response. There was no question. I wasn’t asking for advice.

I was pretty upset, shaken and I felt like this person had the clear intent of kicking me while I was down.

I posted a couple tweets which seem to be going viral. I penned them right after this person decided to delete their comments.

stig·ma/ˈstiɡmə/

noun

1.a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.”the stigma of having gone to prison will always be with me”synonyms:shame, disgrace, dishonor;

If you’re looking to end the stigma of mental health, giving someone unwanted feedback and being insensitive is the absolute 100% WORST WAY TO GO ABOUT IT.

if you’re reading this and you’re going through something, don’t ever feel like you deserve condescending comments & unwarranted advice.

New Things This Week!

  1. Article Published
  2. New Video

3. Etsy Listing

Please Share

Work is REALLY slow right now and I definitely could use some extra income..which gives you or someone you may know an opportunity to own some very unique art.

Etsy is here: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/retrophiliac

I was on the radio today!

A dream came true of mine. I was on the radio on my favourite network, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). I met Gloria Macarenko and she was so lovely! I am a HUGE CBC fan and I couldn’t believe I got to go in the part of the building where they broadcast the news, both television and radio.

The radio program was all about a Youth with Autism conference taking place tomorrow and I will be running an Art workshop. This will be the first of it’s kind for me and hopefully not the last.

If you’re interested in hearing me on the radio, the link is here.

If you happen to be outside of Canada, you can always download a free VPN like ProtonVPN and set your location to Canada to be able to listen!

My favourite content on YouTube

I asked on my Facebook page if anyone was interested in having me share some of my favourite content on YouTube and seems like the answer was YES!

I have definitely found myself becoming increasingly bored at the content that Netflix and cable create. YouTube has been a great source of original content. These are in no particular order.

Dan Bell’s Dead Mall Series

Dan Bell is definitely a film maker who has carved out a niche: he finds dead and dying malls and captures it all on video. His narration provides the viewer with lots of information and trivia.

Degrassi Jr. High

Super 80’s, Jr. High School goodness. I am in awe of some of the clothes. It’s a peek in to what Canadian tv was like for teens. It definitely helped establish the franchise.

Rachel and Jun

Rachel and Jun live in Japan. Rachel is originally American and they share all kinds of cool tidbits about living in Japan and the differences in western culture. They also have very cute cats.

Defunctland

Defunctland is all about defunct theme parks and goes through what used to be and what didn’t work. It’s really interesting to me to learn about times gone by.

Alex Meyers

Alex Meyers provides the ultimate narration on shows and movies infused with perfect comedic timing. He breaks down character flaws and plot holes in a really creative, entertaining way.

Bright Sun Films

Bright Sun Films captures my interest in abandoned, bankrupt or cancelled changes to old properties – mainly hotels and amusement parks. It’s done in a way that you can’t help but want to watch more. Perfectly narrated and very interesting.

Barcroft TV

Barcroft TV is a channel with a lot of documentary style programming. They cover all kinds of different topics that deal with different lives and lifestyles at it’s core.

VICE

Vice is pretty much the millennials guide to news and entertainment features. They’re always updating and providing new content. I am really desiring more Oobah Butler content.


Justine Leconte officiell

Justine Leconte is a French fashion designer. She provides all kinds of information about clothing quality and what to look for when you’re shopping. She is a wealth of information and can really educate people who are looking to make informed decisions when they’re shopping. I’ve already learned a lot from her!

Safiya Nygaard

Safiya Nygaard is an ex Buzzfeed video creator. They were moving in a direction that didn’t seem to work for her so she branched out and created her own channel. She has a great sense of humour and makes videos about a number of subjects including beauty, home, fashion and probably more things I can’t think of. Her and her Fiancee Tyler have great chemistry and work really well together.


Bon Appetit

I LOVE this channel so much. My favourite types of videos are ones with Claire and Carla. The majority of videos featuring Claire really showcase her talent for taking items off the shelf and making her own gourmet version of them. I love Carla’s back-to-back baking challenges with celebrities.

What channels and videos on YouTube do you like? Let me know! I’d love some suggestions.