On a lighter note: Awkward

Oh, I’m… frustrated?  I think it’s frustrated I want.  Let me explain.

It’s not easy to live on, uh, what I live on, financially.  A thousand dollars a month seems like a TON to me.  Tons.  But as Mom is quick to point out, I don’t really live on that much, because of Mom.  I probably live on, oh, 800-1000/month, but very little of it is mine, and that makes me feel guilty.

I stuffed envelopes for Mom’s work for a few hours and she paid me $30 (well, she gave me two 20s, because that’s all she had, and I would give her 10 of it back).  We then went to the grocery store, which puts me in the weirdest, strangest of… trances, I guess.  I get really out of it.  That said, I don’t remember what happened, but I do know that the money which I meant to transfer from my (unsafe) pocket (the same pocket that lost my cell phone on Wednesday) to my wallet, never made it to said wallet.  Yep, I lost the money.

That money was going to fill up my gas tank, supply me with Diet Mountain Dew (hey, I’m seriously cutting back, but I’m not off it yet!), eggs, and the makings of homemade spaghetti sauce.  I was really, really mad.  Or frustrated.  Or whatever.  Now, don’t get too down, because Mom is (too) nice and bought my foodstuffs and gave me money for gas, so I’m okay, but I feel really, really bad.

So anyhow, in light of that, I thought I’d write a fun post to perk myself (and my readers) up a bit.  Ready?

Those of us on the spectrum are, unfortunately, known for our awkwardness, are we not?  And believe you me, I’m no different.  Now, I really don’t know that I’m awkward until someone tells me, but… I am. 

Oh, now you want stories?

I just got gas for my car.  Gas stations being vaguely reminiscent of grocery stores in their interiors, they put me in that odd zone I was talking about earlier.  So I gave the cashier my money and told him (I was proud of myself for saying it clearly and correctly the first time), “$20 on pump 5, please.”  This is my cue to walk away.  He said “Um.  Ma’am?  Uh… did you want a receipt?”  I said, “No thank you.”  And stood there.  I think it’s so ingrained in me to receieve a physical product when I give someone my money that I don’t think to just… walk away.  Oh hey, self… time to walk away.  So this time, no one needed to tell me, but I know I was awkward!

Did Leigh ever tell you about the first time we met?  Okay, we actually met the semester before this story happened, but I don’t remember her at all.  This is the first time I remember her.  It was at color guard during band camp and we were doing introductions of ourselves and our favorite thing from the summer.  Well, my favorite thing was meeting my very first teeny tiny kitten (just a day old).  So, I explained that and proceeded to pass around a picture.  Who doesn’t like kittens (don’t answer that!)?  Leigh later told me how awkward it was… honestly, I still don’t see it… kittens, people!  But alas, there’s another one for you.

Finally, back in March sometime when I was in partial I uh… well, okay, my stomach rumbles, grumbles, complains and… well… I can be a little gassy sometimes, and without warning, okay?  (I can tell Leigh is cringing right now…).  Anyway, so, I uh, passed gas in group (let it be said that I was NOT the first person to do this, nor will I be the last).  And what did I do?  I said, “Excuse me.”  So what?  Well, someone said, “Lydia!” and someone else said, “You’re not supposed to say excuse me!” and  I was totally confused!  What else does one say?!  Apparently, as they went on to explain, you are supposed to pretend like it wasn’t you and pretend like it never happened.  I think that’s ridiculous.  We ALL pass gas, and it’s just part of life.  You excuse yourself and move on.  And I’m sure it’s awkward that I’m now telling you this story, but I think it’s funny, and maybe you will too, even if it’s at my expense.

I like to see awkwardness as being different from what people expect.  And you know, that might not be such a bad thing.  People expect that others will be jaded.  People expect that people put themselves first.  People expect that others are dishonest.  If being innocent, caring, and honest makes me awkward, then I’ll take awkward.


Points of interest

So much has been write-worthy lately that I’ve left out some new things that have been going on.  It’s not that exciting, but, it might help someone so I will share.

Since going GFCF 2 or 3 weeks ago, I am a different girl.  Instead of running to the toilet 20 or more times a day, I go once or twice.  My chewing and biting has majorly subsided.  I hit my head far less.  My itching is a million times better (I was so itchy, I was crying, on a daily basis).

I wasn’t a believer in GFCF, and honestly, I didn’t expect it to change anything when I went on it, so this is kind of a shock.   I think my physical discomfort was part of the problem with my words, too… because while they’re not fantastic, I can have a conversation if I’m backed into a corner (it’s still very much a Lydia conversation as it’s always been, but still, I’m not silent 24/7). 

So, what does a GFCFSF-vegeterian-doesn’t-eat-fruits-or-veg girl eat?!  Ugh.  Well, I went a little nuts at Whole Foods with Mom yesterday (she picked up a good chunk of the tab).  I frequently eat brown rice, pinto beans, Daiya CFSF cheese, and avocado with lime (very plain guac).  Or, I eat brown rice pasta with sauce and Daiya cheese.  Or coconut milk yogurt and GFCFSF granola.  Everything gets brown rice protein powder added if at all possible.  V8 fusion to avoid scurvy (Don’t laugh!  People still get scurvy!).  Coconut milk chocolate ice cream is soooo good (plus peanut butter for protein!), but high in saturated fat so can’t eat that everyday!  Leigh would probably tell you that my food “tastes like fiber” (her words from one time when we were in college and she didn’t like my protein bar), but I think it tastes great.

In other news, they’re increasing my hours again so I have evening/weekend hours.  I’m not sure how I feel about this.  Like many people with ASD (and many without!), I need my quiet, no people, not interacting time.  Staff and I are going to start to take planned breaks where I can zone out and ignore her, which should help.  I think, if this strategy is successful, that I will implement with all staff.

Today is boring, if anyone’s wondering.  A whole day, too hot to talk a walk, stuck inside, just me and Elsie.  No money to go get something to drink and play iPod.  Lame.

Hey, do you guys ever read old posts?  I’ve seen some people on Twitter (yes, I’m on Twitter- @autisticspeaks) resurrect old posts, as in “From the Archives.”  Does anyone want to revisit anything, or is that boring?  You tell me.

Welcome to here, everyone!

So, you’ve found me!

I.  Have.  Had.  It.  With Blogger.  Everyone’s telling me how they can’t comment, and then when you all CAN actually comment, I can’t respond to you!  How annoying!

Here’s hoping that WordPress treats us better.

So you know, in the coming week or so, I’ll be switching over to my own domain name at www.autisticspeaks.com.  That’s right, you all, I’ll have my own little world on the web!  I’m excited.  Some friends (looks like something good came from the Evil Study, eh?) are hosting my blog on their site, but you can find me by going to my link directly. 

I know it’s a lot of changes and moving around; I do believe that I will be able to seamlessly transition from this WordPress site to my own domain name and that the only difference will be that you will type in a different link to get here.  I think.  I don’t know a lot about this and am sort of feeling my way. 

So, forigve me for being cumbersome, will you?  We’ll settle in soon. 

While I have your ear, let me point out some cool new features coming to you via WordPress.  First, there’s a search box; that’s right, you can search all of my blog entries to find the one you want ( Or maybe that’s just helpful to me?  I don’t know.).  Then, you can subscribe by email to see when I post something new.  I guess that’s all for now, but I think those are two very cool features.

Thanks for stopping by!  If you like, leave a comment and introduce yourself.  I’ve acquired quite a few followers that I’ve never actually “met,” and I like to know who I’m talking to.

Until something interesting happens (which I pray to God is not tomorrow, because I’m worn out of interesting),


>Six of one…

>This post is either going to come out as brilliance or total insanity; it could truly go either way. You’ve been warned.

I don’t think in words. And no, I don’t think in pictures. I think in… physical sensations, feelings, visions, shapes. So, when I hear words or read words, I have to translate into my own language, formulate my response in my language, then translate back into yours, then type/speak. You can imagine why I process a bit more slowly than other people. If I don’t have time to process the words and translate them, I frequently respond inappropriately (think, “How are you?” “Thank you.” or “Happy birthday!” “You too.”).

Now, another thing. I don’t actually write these posts. They’re already written in my own language… they write themselves. I just translate and put the words down. If they’re not written and I have to write them, first of all, they’re painstakingly slow, and second of all, they’re choppy. They feel different. I can totally understand the concept of those who wrote the Bible writing God’s words down… the words were already written, and they just put them down. I’m so not saying that God writes my posts! No no no! But, I can understand how it worked.

So, back to this whole language thing. Leigh was curious about how I actually think of different people and things. So, I give you, some of my favorite people and things, in my language. Please keep in mind that trying to put entirely ineffable things into words leaves you with an incomplete, possibly not-entirely-accurate depiction of the thing in question. That frustrates me and makes me hesitant to do this, but I shall try.

Once upon a time, when I first met Leigh and for the next year or more, she was a distant orb, grayish purple, and fuzzy on the outside but solid (think the texture of dryer lint). It floated just above the ground, kind of hovering. It was hard to see, and you couldn’t put a finger on it.

As time went on, Leigh became a solid, smooth wall, right up against my heart. I can’t see it (it’s like trying to see your own nose).

Now, Leigh dated a guy named Lee in college, and the way I could tell who we were talking about was not by name or spelling but by how they felt. Lee was a series of staccato-looking… think ski jumps, in the upper right hand corner, floating in the air. They were hard and shiny and small.

Chloe calls up the sound of walking on snow. She is decidedly pink (not sure if she even likes pink!). There is a floating shirt (short sleeved, if you wonder, and I don’t know the color) floating around, too. Chloe? Shirts? Can’t make this stuff up.

Sister, though by no means the least bit boring, simply calls up her second-grade school picture, and that is all.

Mom calls up a shadow that melds into me. This one makes sense, for once, because I consider Mom to be almost a part of me, and me a part of her (come on, she carried me for 9 months, and genetically I AM half Mom). It’s slow and gentle and comforting.

Elsie P (because I know Amanda would ask) is two disembodied little paws poking at me. White paws, of course. This is different from “cat” which calls up disembodied ears.

Now, don’t everyone go asking me what you are and what this is and what that is, because it’s exhausting and taxing to put this goofy stuff into words. I fear that I didn’t do it right, but I tried, and it should be at least a peek into my odd little brain.

>Some things to know about talking to someone who types

>1. Only give me one idea at a time. It boggles me to have to respond to multiple ideas.

2. Please don’t interrupt while I’m typing with new ideas. This confuses me; do you want me to respond to idea 1 or idea 2? I don’t think you know, really, and of course neither do I.

3. Don’t get weirded out if one of us refers to “talking.” I do talk. Sometimes I talk with my voice, and other times I talk with my iPod. It’s all talking.

4. Don’t expect a normal pace of conversation. I type fast, but not as fast as you talk. Patience, grasshopper.

5. Don’t be surprised if I sound somehow different when I’m typing. When I type, I am better able to express my feelings, wants, and needs… I will tell you if you’ve upset me or done something wrong; I will ask you to please stop this or that; I will tell you that something hurt my feelings. This is all normal to discuss, just maybe not what you’re used to from me.

6. Don’t tiptoe. If you bug me or upset me, chances are I’ll tell you (or, more likely, hold my hand up)… point is, you’ll know if I don’t like it.

7. Normal rules of conversation apply. You talk, I talk, you talk, I talk.

8. Also, just talk normally! Most (not all) of the time, my receptive language skills aren’t that bad (not average, but not horrible, either). If you’re going to fast or if it’s too noisy for me to understand… guess what?… I’ll tell you!

9. Silence is OKAY! If you talk and then it’s silent while I type, please don’t keep talking… this will keep me from typing!

10. If you don’t understand the device (because Heather- sorry, my Heather, but that’s her name- can be tough to understand), just say, “Sorry, didn’t catch that” or similar. I prefer not to just let you read because that takes away my voice, but in a pinch, that does.

11. Don’t talk around, over, under, through… you get the idea… me. I’m here, I can’t talk. Don’t direct questions to whomever I’m with, and please don’t engage my mom or staff in extended conversation and just leave me out to dry. If you slow down and give me a sec, I can join in, too.

12. Please don’t grab my iPod for any reason!

13. I do not like to be shown off. I am a perfectly normal 23-year-old girl, and I like to be treated like one and not a spectacle.

14. That whole finishing my sentences thing? So over that. Not okay.

15. Don’t try to tell me that “it’s just me!” or “you don’t have to be anxious around me!” or anything similar. When I talk, I can talk. When I can’t, I type. You don’t need to be worried about why I’m doing what at whatever time. Most of the time, I have no idea why or when I’ll have or lose words. Just go with it; that’s what I do.

>New rule in town

>You’ll excuse me if I continue to melt down while I type, won’t you? 4+ hours and I’m beyond exhausted. Have been up since 5AM, spent half the day waiting (either for the doctor or for my ride) and, sorry to report but you agreed when coming here that you’d get the truth, spent the rest of the day running to the bathroom… because in the process of going GFCF, things are getting worse rather than better.

Anyway, I learned a few things from the neurologist today:
1. I CAN speak just fine.
2. It’s a conversion disorder (“purely psychological,” as she put it)
3. Not related to autism, because I don’t have autism.

I don’t care if they call it conversion, trauma, aphasia, green or purple… I want it to go away. I don’t care how they treat. I don’t care.

That said, I’m trying something new. You see, I type a LOT. I text, I email, I Twitter, and Facebook, and blog, and chat room, and forums, oh and my iPod… I type. Typing is my way of connecting with the world, even moreso now that I don’t talk much.

So I’m going to take a typing break. Maybe if I type less, I’ll be forced to speak more. Maybe I’ll get so tired of my own head that I’ll figure out how to speak again. After all, everyone (psychiatrist, neurologist, therapist, even Mom) say that it’s all in my head… I guess we’ll see.

Now; back to my meltdown.