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It’s the most depressing time of the year!

It’s almost Christmas. I wish I could fast forward to December 26th. 

The bombardment of ads, trying to get me to buy presents gets increasingly harder to ignore. I’m constantly reminded of how the holidays are apparently not about consumerism and all about family time spent together. I feel as if so much of that is a lie. I have to do so much masking to feel okay. Inside, i’m stressed out, anxious and feeling like seasonal affective disorder includes Christmas.

We celebrated Chanukah. It wasn’t until my Mom met my late Stepdad that life changed and we suddenly had a tree in our house. That was weird for me.

The most festive thing I do is making my own holiday cards for family and friends. I do not buy gifts for various reasons. There’s still a sense of guilt and uneasiness when I receive a gift. I never feel like my card is substantial enough. 

Malls are something I avoid for all the right reasons. I especially wouldn’t step foot in one right now — although, my emails keep reminding me I should GET ON THE CONSUMERISM TRAIN AND SHOP, SHOP SHOP! Old Navy emailed me today and said “( ❗ ) THE ENTIRE STORE IS ON SALE ( ❗ )” Yeah. No. I’m good. 

I’m pleased i’ve been able to separate myself from the corporate/retail world. I think that provides me some relief. There’s a sense of freedom I gain in which I can deal with the holidays because i’m not selling anything to anyone and with that comes not having to succumb to the annoyingly repetitive nature of Christmas music. I’m not surprised that “psychopathology tends to increase around the holidays”.  

Christmas is 15 days away! I know i’ll have to sit through meals that will make me feel like I will want to isolate myself at home and sitting on the couch with my cats. I’m not trying to make excuses for myself because I know it’s good for personal growth to do things that make you uncomfortable, but honestly? Seeing big pieces of animal protein on the table with really odd, pungent smells and being the centre of conversation with nothing for me to eat is frustrating. I usually bring my own food but beyond that I never know what i’m supposed to do. Maybe sitting at the table awkwardly, listening to the sounds of cutlery, chewing and sparse, topical conversation is just what the holidays are and will always be. I try to get distracted and in my own head. Mentally, i’ve already left the table.

Next year can’t come soon enough.

Almost there.

Reliving my (painful) past

I want to preface this post by saying that these are things i’ve experienced and at the time of writing this, I do not have a PTSD diagnosis. I, in no way, want to make those with a proper diagnosis feel less than or devalued in any way.

Often times I find myself in these dizzying spells with negative thoughts running rampant. They flood my mind: terrible, painful memories that I wish would vanish.

Discovering deceased pets, multiple instances of being bullied which included: thumbtacks, sharp side up- They would be left on my chair with an audience that consisted of my entire class, watching and waiting to see if I would notice and sit on it, purposely having dodgeballs thrown at my face, having friends-of-friends find out personal details about me and they would attempt to humiliate and berate me based on it, being excluded from birthday parties, having the whole class turn against me while the teacher was out of the room – that’s just some of the bullying that occurred during my elementary school years. Can’t forget the workplace bullying with all kinds of instances that included customers yelling at me, management making me cry or not believing things I say (I am very honest) and being fired – which was one of the most humiliating things i’ve ever lived through, co-workers being nasty to me for reasons i’ll never know.

I also can’t forget all the things my Father did: the daily verbal abuse, screaming so loud that you could hear him down the block, chasing me to my bedroom and holding the door closed so I couldn’t leave, yelling at me for questioning things he said and having friends witness his emotionally destructive behaviour which was embarrassing and continued to pile the stress on top of me. 

This is just a small portion of the hundreds, maybe thousands of memories that flow through my mind.

Even though I had the support of my Sisters and my Mum, I still felt so alone and depressed. I didn’t think I would survive so I failed to look after myself. I think sadness was one of the first emotions I remember experiencing.

I want these painful memories to subside. Easier said than done. I can’t seem to shake off things that happened as far back as I can remember. 

People often say things like “Forgive and forget”, “don’t dwell on your past”, “move on” and “live in the present”. It’s NOT THAT EASY. Diminishing the valid feelings of those who often have to suffer in silence is not something that sits well with me. It’s hard enough to allow those feelings to come to the surface, let alone feel comfortable enough with anyone to actually allow the words of pain to flow out of ones mouth. It’s a PRIVILEGE to listen to such agony. I don’t think it’s okay to interject comments telling someone to forget, move on and live in the present. It makes things worse.

I have reached out to some people that have caused me pain and forever haunt me in my memories and I was unsuccessful. I also was left feeling as though what happened was my fault. I do my best to cope.

Forgiveness is so much harder than its made out to be and it has stages that are very similar to grief. I would say that one of my biggest faults or personality flaws would be the severity of my anxiety. Many thoughts continue to haunt me, not only during my waking hours but even during my sleep.

I’m talking about those nights where my mind and my heart feel like they are racing in unison.

Trying to fall asleep, I toss and turn. Sometimes, I wake up at 3am and lay there, trying so hard to go back and sleep peacefully when my mind is at war with it’s self. My body becomes warm, clammy and my night sweats are the worst. I try to find something to think about or something to do. If one of my cats happens to be awake I will gravitate towards them; their soft hair, their therapeutic purring – it helps me stay mindful, it’s calming, it puts me at ease.

Every day is a new chapter but my story starts with pain and my book is still being written. There’s still a chance for happiness.


Sippin’ hot drinks!

I have been enjoying a lot of hot chocolate and teas while frantically entering Christmas contests. It’s that time of year again and it happens to be one of my most enjoyable hobbies. Seriously. I do this…!

I did some more background work on film where I was dressed up all 80s and it was WILD. I didn’t realize my hair could get that big.

I also was featured on GEEK CLUB BOOKS and they’ve been so kind to post me on their social channels. I would love if you could read the article here: https://geekclubbooks.com/2018/11/impactful-blogs-navigating-life/

Lastly, I actually drew something that conveys my hyper-awareness & anxiety all at the very same time: 

I have been thinking of some articles i would like to write so i’m just kind of waiting for that BURST of creativity to hit me so I can get it done. I haven’t neglected my blog. I always fear people are going to think i’ve abandoned it. That’s just not the case.

New ABOUT ME video!

I’m honestly not sure if my microphone even worked, it was plugged in.. Hopefully the sound is okay for my viewers!

 

Constantly Changing

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I’m still heeeeeerreee guys!

Yes, I coloured my hair. Originally I wanted to try to match my dark brown roots but nope, the box colour was actually black. That’s okay though! I think it suits me. I also chopped my bangs. I have a few stray hairs and my fringe isn’t totally straight. I’m always doing something new and I get bored of how I look quite often.

We saw Bohemian Rhapsody and it was such an enjoyable film. I loved the story, the music and also all the cats. I’m almost certain Rami Malek is going to get some nominations – he was incredible.

I was interviewed by the sensory matters podcast and it should go live at the very end of the year/beginning of next year. I will post a reminder.

BONUS – Cute pictures of my cats!

It’s not easy – but it’s worth it!

I LOVE working on my blog!

affection appreciation decoration design

Photo by Carl Attard on Pexels.com

I will admit that it’s incredibly hard work and I face a fair bit of negativity and rejection. There has been a lot of positivity, as well! I can’t believe all the opportunities I have had and continue to have. It’s amazing!

With that being said, I also do NOT make a single dollar off it. Not one.


In order to do so, I would have to:

  • Host my own blog, which is expensive! I would then be able to initiate google analytics.
  • Affiliate links and Ads
  • Charge brands to work with me in exchange for content creation. I can’t do this because my traffic is not significant enough.
  • Sell some Art. That means REALLY sell Art. Not just false leads aka. interested customers but no transactions.

There’s various ways you can help me:

  • Share my content
  • Sign up through my Ebates / Swagbucks links on the right hand side of my blog
  • “Buy me a Coffee” – Monetary Donation
  • Buy some of my art

Believe me, I have been brainstorming! I do whatever I can to make a good go-of-things but I currently work VERY infrequently and I am always wanting to create more and more content.

Thanks to all my amazing viewers, friends, family, #actuallyautistic community and brands/venues that have been kind enough to collaborate with me.

Why “Sensory Friendly” Isn’t always what it seems.

man wearing black headphones beside train rail

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

I posed this question on twitter:

The response was overwhelming. It seems a lot of people tend to agree with me.

A number of venues will offer, what they consider to be “sensory friendly” events which they believe caters to those who are Autistic and yes -it does cater to some, but certainly not all.

According to AMC (who works with Autism Speaks) this is how they define their sensory friendly film program:

AMC Theatres in 2007 started the AMC Sensory Friendly Films program in partnership with the Autism Society to bring a unique movie experience to our community! As part of the program the film showings have their lights turned up and the sound turned down.

 

multi colored chairs in row

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My thoughts on something where the lights are on and the sound is down: Terrible. Just awful. For me, not being able to hear dialogue and having bright lights in my face would not be sensory friendly. I function best when the lights are off or there is natural lighting.  Each and every person on the spectrum is different and their ways of mentally processing incoming sensations are all unique to each person. You can’t simply say something is Sensory Friendly and use it as a blanket statement. I believe a better term would be Sensory Aware and a disclaimer that would say something like “this isn’t sensory friendly for every autistic person or person with sensory processing difficulties” would be highly beneficial. It’s just another step towards inclusion or at least a better understanding of what Neurodiversity is.

photo of head bust print artwork

Photo by meo on Pexels.com

Passing Judgment

Throughout my life, people have passed judgment on me based on the way I look, act or quite frankly who I am.

I think the way I present myself has a lot to do with my sensory sensitivities. For instance: I don’t “dress my age” and I prefer wearing comfortable clothing such as shirts that are a men’s size small, jeans, and slip on shoes. I rarely wear makeup and I usually just brush my hair and head out the door. It’s already so mentally trying to go out in to the world that the energy I would use to make myself presentable gets used up so fast. By that time, i’m already beyond drained and I start feeling physically ill.

 

Sometimes I dress very casually and sometimes I look fancy.


My intellectual capacity is clearly questioned because some people, whether it’s conscious or not, believe that the way someone looks has to do with the way they think.

I was treated very poorly at a restaurant and I can’t say for certain that it had anything to do with the way I looked, but I wouldn’t be surprised. It seemed like I was stereotyped as dumb and trashy because of my use of coupons and was spoken down to – which i’m still feeling anxious and upset about.

The English idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover” is a metaphorical phrase which means “you shouldn’t prejudge the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone”. For example “That man may look very small and insignificant, but don’t judge a book by its cover – he’s a very powerful man in his circle”. —Wikipedia

We all deserve a little kindness and compassion, no matter what we look like.

sunset hands love woman

Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

 

Links of interest:

 

Too Bothered…

…By what happened at a local restaurant on Friday.