It finally happened….

I have finally “come out of the closet”. A couple of days ago I broke up with the man I was seeing for a few weeks and officially came out to my family.

For years every relationship with a man felt forced, like I was on autopilot, and I felt as though something was missing or not quite right. I came out as bisexual a few years ago and continued seeing men because women terrified me! I was too scared to talk to them in person and every woman I felt a connection with online ended up being a man in disguise. So I stopped trying. However, that terrified feeling didn’t happen when meeting men for dates. I didn’t feel much of anything around them and considered this “normal”. But when I looked back at the fear of women and thought about what it truly meant, maybe I wasn’t scared of women. They actually just made me nervous. That the fear was actually a good sign? It was a relief and a weird thought at the same time. But since then, and after saying the words out loud, I have felt so much lighter!

I’ve expanded my reading material from not just horror and thriller novels but lesbian chick flicks. I take more notice of YouTube videos supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and I’m kinder to myself! I don’t have the chaos of confusion in my head at night (I now have university work instead), I’m more aware of my appearance – not for other peoples benefit but I’m aware of how much of a slump I was in! I used to take baths with bath bombs, put on a little makeup sometimes (I’m autistic and makeup feels like wearing a face mask so if I do wear makeup I like a little mascara and lip-balm) and eat better foods. All of this had changed. I used to run, I was a beginner but I was trying and that had stopped too!

Now I want to take better care of myself, focus on myself, focus on my PhD, and build myself back up to how I used to be. I want to love myself again, and now I feel like I can. All of me!

Xx

Insomnia, and the Great Debate….in my head.

It’s 12am. I’ve been tossing and turning for the last hour, trying to turn off my brain and fall into the dark abyss of sleep. My bones are aching from the cold stirring the throb of my athiritis, my eyes are heavy and yet awake, and my brain is contemplating getting up and getting some work done while my body is internally struggling to keep me in the warmth of my bed.

Out of the window I can see only darkness, all except for a small light coming from a distant window of a neighbours house. A moment passes, and I decide to flop back down amongst my many blankets and pillows and try to turn off my brain from wondering about the relationship statistics of those with autism. Maybe it occurred due to a research paper I read earlier in the day, or perhaps it’s coming from a personal place because of myself and my boyfriend being on the spectrum? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure.

All I know is that my body craves sleep, and yet I am troubled with insomnia as the cogs in my head continue to turn with a chilly, rusty squeak.

Today has been a very sensual day. I did some reading and note-taking, had my mouth invaded by the dentist overeager with the gum examination (it really hurt!), and had to drive there and back which is always a tiring experience. My sensitivity to my environment during my appointment was not helped by the pain in my joints, adding to my anxiety and exhaustion on my return home.

I quickly escape to my room (or the pit as I like to call it), and try to wind down with a book. My current book of choice is The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simison. It’s the second book in the trilogy, and despite my objection to the misrepresentation of autism in some parts, I have been enjoying it immensely. It began as a book to read for research, however, after finishing the first I was compelled to purchase the next one, and I dare say I will probably get the next one too! Don Tillman is an interesting character.

Back to the issue at hand, my insomnia. Do I continue to sit around and pray for the sun to rise, or do I try out a meditation or ASMR on YouTube (even though I just did that 30 minutes ago).

What do you do when you can’t sleep?

A xx

Freelancing…..disclosing my Autism.

Alright. So, I’ve set up an account on Fiverr, applied to opportunities and have been networking on social media networks. However, at the moment, I’ve had no reply to the work enquiries.

In the mean time I’ve been trying to decide what niche to choose. It’s all well and good creating profiles but what is it that I would like to do. I love drawing, writing, and being creative. But work-wise, I need a title. The only other thing I could do is seek work experience or employment in copywriting or graphic design?

Everything is so overwhelming I’m not sure where to start or whether anyone would be willing to hire me, so far they haven’t. Maybe disclosing that I’m autistic on application forms and my CV, proudly and to encourage people to take on someone neuro divergent, wasn’t the best idea? If that’s the case it is clear that stigma is still very much alive. I am capable of doing work. It just has to be a type of work that appeals to me and with an employer who understands and makes accommodations for my needs. That’s why I thought freelancing would be a great idea. But at the moment I’m thinking that all the paperwork, paying taxes and seeking out clients might be anxiety inducing. For example, I have an appointment at the dentist tomorrow. I hate going so much that I become unwell. The lights, having someone poking around my mouth, and having me spend money I need for other (more important) things, really gets to me.

I’m not sure what to do for the best, but maybe some research will help to guide me.

April 2021

I’m back! I’ve spent the last few months buried in textbooks for my Ph.D. My art has improved, my research skills have improved and I’ve even gathered the confidence to start freelancing. So far I have accounts on Fiverr and UniTaskr (both a platform where you sign up and create services to provide – I’ve chosen logo and book cover design).

For an almost thirty-year-something autistic woman, who lives at home because living alone escalates her mental health issues, I’m not doing too bad at the moment. I’m down to my last two pound in the bank, but I’m trying not to stress about that when I have other things to worry myself to death with.

My style has changed alot lately with all the online courses and practice I’ve been doing. I kind of like it though, it’s perfectly imperfect!

A lot has happened since I last wrote an entry. I’m having blood tests to see if I have inflammatory athiritis – as an artist and student this would truly suck as I need my hands! But I do have athiritis – somedays a worse than others but the pain can be so overwhelming. I haven’t had time to write much either. I started a book on autism and relationships but it’s gradually turning into a memoir. Memoirs are pretty popular though. I’ve been listening to an audiobook in the evenings to help me sleep called: This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay. It’s really comical, honest and eye opening to the chaos that doctors in the NHS have to put up with. It reminds me of the time I became a Care Assistant back in 2012 for 6 months then again in 2017 for another 6 months. I wish I had learned my lesson the first time around. Working in a dementia unit is hard work. I’ve been spat on, hit with zimmers, fists and walking sticks. It really does take a lot to work in that type of environment. Being an autistic woman I found it harder than I thought I would. The sensory overload, the hostile physical contact and the noise was too much in the end and I became depressed again, and soon enough I ended up suffering from psychosis for a year. So, yes, never again.

Art suits me better. I get to be creative, use technology and research and experiment with new software- which are all special interests of mine. For example, I began teaching myself Adobe Illustrator and after a few dozen videos on YouTube and a few courses on SkillsShare I feel a little more confident with it. My first finished piece is below.

What have you been doing over the past few months?

xx

Update: Masters, PhD and Life

So, it’s been a very long time since my last post. I’ve completed my Masters and have just begun my second semester of the first year of my PhD. Lockdown has been a thorn in my side when it comes to love, socialising (what little I do of it) and studying but I’m making it work.

Tomorrow is my COR (confirmation of registration) meeting with my supervisors and a panel of academics which will check my work in progress and let me know whether it is worth taking further, and give me feedback.

I’ve prepared a presentation that outlines everything that I think they may ask, added images and examples, and I’m feeling pretty good about it. At present, I’m looking over my notes ready for the morning and trying to decide (in my head) what the hell to wear for a video call in my bedroom. Not the most professional environments but it’s what I have!

Staring at my notes is making me anxious. They’re messy, look uncoordinated and scribbles is pretty much what my handwriting looks like!

Handwriting

But I’m hopeful that once they see the passion I have and the amount of time and effort I’ve put into the work already, that they will let me continue to do my research.

My boyfriend (of two months now), a fellow aspie, has been a huge, loving support system during this time. Ki is a fun, loving, kind man and I don’t know how I got by without him! He believes in me when I don’t believe in myself. That kind of support from a romantic partner is new to me. My exes all wanted me to leave education and pursue a working life that I would deteriorate in, lose my mind, get bored of and bury my dreams of making a contribution somehow. But, as the feminist I am, I decided to ignore them and do what I wanted without the support of anyone. My advice is: you don’t need a man/woman, they are a wonderful extension of your life. Do what makes you happy.

Now that the soppy stuff is out of the way…..

I hope lockdown is being kind to you. Stay safe and keep yourself busy. I’ve had Covid and it was a terrible experience which I hope will never be repeated. I got lucky. But so many other people haven’t. My prayers go out to the families and friends at this time.

Keep safe and happy writing xx

Girl Up – Laura Bates, you’re my hero!

When my little meltdown occurred the other day I decided to shake myself off, get up and pick an empowering book to read to snap me out of my funk. This book was Girl Up by Laura Bates.

Laura Bates is a successful feminist who became well known for her website called The Everyday Sexism Project. This website holds a vast amount of comments and posts from women all over the world sharing their experiences of sexism in their everyday lives. Bates went on to write a book after her project and then wrote another: Girl Up.

I must admit: I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. Not having read her first book, yet, I wans’t sure whether her writing style and voice would appeal to me as I struggle to keep focused on writing which is over complicated and droned on. However, her style was the complete opposite. It’s passionate, informative and fun without the jibber jabber which a lot of books possess in the genre. Bates’s writing is casual and easy to read, making her book a delight for my autistic brain to work through and absorb. It’s also illustrated. Breaking up large amounts of text with a humourous image or a small comic strip.

The content is informative and filled with ideas to help anyone start their feminist journey! From campaigning to online activism. All done in a fun and creative way. It’s a book I would recommend to anyone who wants to have an insight into the world of feminism and have fun while doing it!

Laura Bates – Girl Up

Second Semester….A Rant…..

Hi, I’m back and ready to share my experience of my Masters, so far….I apologise in advance for the emotional rant. I’m going through a lot at the moment.

Well, I’m sat in stats class thinking about everything but stats. I’ve had a rocky few weeks and lately everything seems to be becoming overwhelming. I’m struggling with my exams (apparently, I’m not doing as well as I thought in certain areas) and I’m struggling to be motivated after a family incident which has affected me more than I thought. 

It’s unfortunate because I was enjoying the course at first. However, with the lack of communication from tutors who are supposed to be there to help me I’ve found it quite isolating, and as though no one really cares. Like I’m a number. 

Despite this I still want to do well, and I refuse to not finish this with at least a pass. I haven’t gone through all this struggle to come out of it with nought. I am hoping my dissertation will improve my overall grade so that I can finish with some pride, some dignity. 

I’ve found I don’t concentrate well in modules that don’t interest me. Right this second, I am in a statistics class and I should be listening and writing notes, instead I am writing a blog post. Numbers are my enemy. I am better with words, not numbers. As well as all this stress I am facing, I am struggling with what to do after my Masters. Whether I pass or not. With my autism being more of an issue than I originally thought, I am worried that I am not capable of working at anything. Every job I have ever had has either sent me crazy into a pit of depression or bored the living daylights out of me and upset my senses and wellbeing. Choosing a path will be hard and I’m not sure I am able to do anything right now. My failures are piling up and I’m hating that I haven’t progressed in these classes even though I have tried my best! I have done everything that has been asked of me, but to no avail and it’s beginning to damage my confidence. 

I guess I will continue to try my best, and hope I can get through it without losing my mind in the process….  

First week of University….

I have been so busy it’s unreal. I’ve had reading to do in my spare time and any free time I do have I’m busy doing something to relax my brain. So being able to sit down and write something, anything, is amazing to me.

So, this week has been a mix of excitement and complete anxiety. Not at the work but at the environment. Being autistic I find it hard to be in an unfamiliar environment with people I don’t know. It makes me feel a little paranoid, anxious and I end up biting my nails to the wick or, if I have no nails because I’ve bitten them all already, I pick the skin around them until they bleed. Even though I’ve had my sensory toys with me everywhere I still find I am picking my fingers til they are sore.

A couple of the group have spoken to me. Me being me, I only speak when spoken to and I try to be as ‘neurotypical’ as possible. Mimicking I seem to do without thinking about it: eye contact, smiling and rambling is just a few of the traits I show when one to one with someone. Within a group I go mute, which I’ve done repeatedly this week during group work. I hate group work.

The classes themselves are actually really interesting, especially the Neuroscience and Applying Psychology classes (I’m looking forward to performing experiments in the labs later on in the semester).

I’ve been having thoughts about what to do for my dissertation which we start in January. I’m thinking about doing it on Autism (duh) but from what angle yet I’m not sure. So far I’ve been thinking about writing from a Neuroscience point of view. But that’s as far as I’ve got.

Hopefully, when the occasion arises when I have to start writing it I will be ready.

Xoxo