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.

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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. 

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.

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.