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.

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Why ‘Bell Let’s Talk’ doesn’t sit well with me.

I want to make it evidently clear that I am all for mental health awareness and supporting related causes. I have always struggled and believe that funding is entirely necessary.

Bell is a Canadian Telecommunications giant. For one day each year, the #BellLetsTalk campaign overtakes social media, with Olympian Clara Hughes as their Spokeswoman.

They make sure you are aware of the campaign through every advertising platform imaginable. I can’t imagine the money they put in to advertising alone.

They utilize the hashtag to get their customers and even non-customers talking about it to which they make a donation to their own fund.

I just don’t think this is the right way to do it. I have most definitely had real-life disagreements on this subject as well.

Here’s why I don’t think it’s okay:

  1. According to Forbes, Bell Canada (BCE) has a market cap of 40.5 Billion Dollars.
  2. Bell’s employees do not get equal or fair treatment in regards to their own mental health. CBC has written about this and there are various other articles online too.
  3. They have various ways you can get involved and they donate 5 cents to different initiatives. As far as I am concerned, they can make a sizeable donation without using the hashtag to, essentially, get very cheap marketing for their brand.
  4. The Bell Community Fund has a financial cap of $25,000 and has all kinds of exclusions including: Anti-stigma projects and event sponsorships etc.

I believe we should get to the point where talking about our mental health is a regular thing we can participate in and completely free of judgment. I don’t believe it is right to capitalize on mental health/wellness/illness for financial gain. I also don’t think it should be segregated to one day of the year that is decided on by a multi-billion dollar telecommunications giant.

Let’s talk about it, I think we need a new hashtag.

#LetsTalkAboutMentalHealth maybe?

Margaux

Disclaimer: This is my own opinion and should not reflect the brands or companies I have graciously partnered with.

My plight as a Millennial

I never decided to be part of the Millennial or Me Generation.

I have heard that nearly half of Millennials rely on their parents for financial help! I think there’s a very common misconception that we all have that “luxury”, Simply put: We don’t.

Being nearly 30 years old, I have always known I do not want to have children. I am perfectly content with my beautiful, spoiled rotten Cats and constantly worry about the economical and environmental state of our fragile planet.

I have had plenty of time to potentially advance my career. I never knew what to pursue. The idea of student debt is a frightening preposition. In hindsight, I could have gone in to some kind of broadcasting or film job but it’s very oversaturated and there is never a guarantee that I could or would be able to make ends meet.

That brings me to my next subject, home ownership.

There is absolutely no way in today’s climate that I would ever be able to own a home. Firstly, I work at a job I enjoy but it’s only minimum wage. (surprise, surprise!) Secondly, with homes starting in the million dollar range, my only hope would be winning the lottery and, to be honest, I would probably skip town if that ever were to happen.

My social life is virtually non-existent. It’s so funny how we are in the age of technology and social media. Yet, we are so incredibly disconnected from each other.

I will say that I’m a content creator. There’s nothing truly unique about that other than my autistic perspective. That, sometimes, can sadly be seen as limited or not equal to the rest of the population. There are lots of us who want to change that often misunderstood perception and believe me: I’m working on it!

If  you happen to have baby boomer parents like me (or the generation that followed), some (not my own) don’t always understand what we go through.  For instance, I have heard of parents who own their home and can’t understand that their offspring will ever have the chance to be able to have the same lifestyle as them. That can really cause some deep family conflict. I often wonder if a common ground or sense of understanding  can happen here because the divide is so deep.

I would love to see affordable housing, an increased hourly wage and more support. I also believe that healthcare needs more funding. We really need to consider how all these things impact our mental health because I truly believe the state of the economy, the planet and our changing and dividing times impact us more then we even know and it’s not always positive.
Photo Credit:Nathan Dumlao

What’s my time worth?

I have been suffering from some of the worst anxiety lately. Sleepless nights accompanied by cold sweats, tossing and turning and waking up repeatedly. I’m irritated during the day and I want to be silent at night.

I’m wholeheartedly frustrated.

I feel like I’m someone who can relate to a fuzzy picture on an old television. Sometimes it’s in focus and sometimes it’s just completely static.

 

When I reach out to corporations and companies I hope my time is valued. I hope that the work I put in to it is either offered with some kind of trade like being provided a service in exchange for a review.

So here I am.

I approached one of the largest computer/tech companies.

They are trying to create a resurgence in the marketplace with products marketed to Millennials in hopes that they will be converted from silver products to colourful cubes. Oh, did I mention their net worth is 200+ BILLION DOLLARS? 

Naturally, I would have expected compensation for my time. Knowing a computer is an expensive and hefty piece of equipment to offer me, I would have been happy with  money that I could use to reinvest in items for my blog (a microphone?!) to better my content.

Apparently this corporation does not have the budget to pay me to essentially borrow their item and spend time analyzing it and reviewing it. I am just entirely blown away and what I’m trying to do is show neurodiverse (and neurotypical) individuals products that would enhance life. I like to interject my own humour and thoughts. I love to interact with all of you and hear your precious feedback.

Brands: Please value our time as bloggers. If you say you’re going to cross promote us, please post our content on your website and channels as well. Please provide us some kind of incentive and show us that we are appreciated. Please WORK with us.

Margaux