Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I'm not feeling particularly clever with my writing right now, so I'll just go ahead and jump in. List of ways I am affected by having Asperger's.

*Obsessions. This is the sort-of-positive one, because learning about or pursuing the things that interest me makes me really happy (giddy even). But I get seriously obsessed. It was worse when I was younger, before I learned to make myself stop so the people around me didn't go crazy hearing for the thousandth time that the Titanic was 882.75 feet long (it was). Now I find myself talking excitedly about things like barn owls and having to consciously remind myself that I'm the only one who gives a shit and I need to stop talking. That doesn't stop me from watching live feeds of barn owls on the internet, sleeping with a stuffed barn owl, making crocheted and beaded barn cetera. I've gone through a bunch of different obsessions. Sometimes a few at a time. I've been obsessed with carbon monoxide, Romanian orphanages, the Titanic, the Beatles, and of course owls. Among other things.

*Routine. I love routine. Routines and schedules and predictability. If I don't have something to wake up for, something scheduled, I'm likely to stay in bed all day because I don't know what to do with myself (I also have depression and thyroid problems, which are other reasons I might say fuck it and stay in bed, but whatever). If I'm expecting something to happen, it throws my whole sense of well-being off if it doesn't happen. I realize that this is impractical and irrational, but I can't help that visceral reaction. I also dislike surprises. I like-want-need to know what to expect. I make my parents tell me an itinerary before we go anywhere, if there's a family trip planned. I always peek at Christmas presents.

*I'm better with this now, but when I was younger, I had pretty much zero sense of how social interaction is supposed to work. I had "friends" in the sense that "sometimes I played with kids on the playground," but the only reason I'd ever hang out with them was if Mom prodded me to or if the kid called to set up a play date. And then I'd always want it to be at my house (familiarity, duh). I could not handle sleepovers until I was about 12. I never initiated social contact as a kid; I preferred to play by myself and do art projects or get involved in my own imaginary games. It's less complicated, you know? As a result, of course, I got picked on. Oh God. You know how there's always that one kid, and it's like the cool thing to do to pick on that kid? Yeah. Right here. I was just awkward. And yeah, the other kids were assholes. Even when I started making friends in middle school, I took all kinds of shit from them. God. Even well into high school, I figured it was totally normal and okay for friends to spend hours harassing me on the internet, steal and destroy my stuff, tell me to show up one place when the actual party was somewhere else and then laugh and curse at me when I called to figure out what was up...hell, my friends knew they could get away with absolutely anything, because I would take them back in a heartbeat. It was just a game. Fuck with me for awhile--run my journal through the shredder or tell me I was just saying I was gay to get attention or call me a fucking psycho bitch on my blog--knowing the whole time that all they had to do was call me, act happy and chipper like nothing ever happened, and all would be forgiven. They were right, dammit. You know why? Because I didn't fucking understand that THOSE THINGS ARE NOT OKAY. I figured, okay, that's what friends do, and I just have to wait it out. Like my friends' behavior was the fucking weather or something. I was eighteen years old before I realized that people who respect you don't do shit like that, and probably a couple years older before I stopped expecting to be treated like that. Keep in mind--I'm only 23 now. But yeah, the point is that social interaction was confusing as hell to me. Still is, and I'm still pretty awkward, but I've gotten so much better. Because for real, when I was 13 I thought it was totally normal to stand up in front of my science class and sing in French, you know, just for the hell of it. I was so confused and hurt when people would tell me to stop being so stupid and just act normal. If I knew how to avoid those lectures, seriously, I would.

*Sensory. Oh shit. This one is big. Let's go through a list of the senses. First there's sight. I cannot handle flashing or flickering lights at all. Insta-migraine, if I don't start freaking out and run away first. I love bright/bold colors, and looking at something like a bunch of spools of thread is like fireworks in my brain, it's so stimulating. That's one of my sensory-seeking things, I suppose, looking at bright colors. If I'm feeling overstimulated I sometimes need to keep my eyes closed. So then there's sound. Ah yes. I cannot handle loud noises. Particularly loud sudden noises, or high-pitched noises, or...yeah. I flinch and twitch and cover my ears and rock back and forth...pretty much anything to block it out. And I'm really reactive, hence the twitching and such. On the flip side, music is incredibly pleasurable and listening to grandiose, powerful music is another of my sensory-seeking things. So there's that. Taste, as a sense, isn't one I pay attention to much, other than that I crave really spicy or really sour foods. My sense of taste is probably under-responsive. Same with smell. Touch is different. I dislike any unexpected contact, and I have nightmares about having my movement restricted (yay, claustrophobia!). On really sensitive days, a little tap on the shoulder can literally feel like a knife wound. But then, I crave deep pressure. I love lying down under really heavy pillows and blankets. Big, long, tight hugs are pretty much my favorite feeling in the world--providing the person is someone I trust enough. I don't like light touches. I'm really ticklish. So there's that...oh wait, there are a couple more senses. Vestibular. My vestibular sense is...FUCKED. My sense of balance is awful. I love vestibular-type motions like rocking and swinging and oh my God I love trampolines! I get dizzy sometimes and am basically the least coordinated person ever. I fall down a lot. I'm sort of known for falling down a lot. Which leads me to the other sense, proprioception. The sense of knowing where your body is in space, basically. I'm getting tired and there isn't much detail to go into with this...because my proprioceptive sense is pretty much just deficient. It's awful. I lose track of where my limbs are all the time, hence the tripping over my own feet and accidentally smacking myself in the face and such.

*So then there's the sleep thing. Evidently it's common for people with autism spectrum disorders to have sleep issues. I've always had sleep issues but didn't realize it was abnormal to spend an hour trying to fall asleep even when I was exhausted. Someone suggested taking melatonin supplements. I figured, shit, I'll try anything, because this is ridiculous. The first night I was asleep within 10 minutes. The first night I didn't take melatonin, I tossed and turned for an hour before realizing why I wasn't sleeping. It seems that it's common for people with autism spectrum disorders to have a melatonin deficiency. Ta-da! My brain just needs a little extra kick in the ass.

*Emotions. Mine are screwy anyway, because of the aforementioned depression (I'm also being treated for anxiety, which has improved a TON), but my difficulty with noticing intangible things makes it more interesting. I have a really hard time figuring out what I'm feeling. I can narrow it down to happy, sad, angry. Finer gradations are trickier. If I think about it I can usually pick a pretty good word, although if I am actually sad or angry my verbal skills get booted to the back burner anyway so it's even harder to think of a word. For the record, I also have a hard time identifying bodily sensations like tiredness or hunger. I think that's more of a sensory thing.

*Oh, my freakout moments. Ha. See, sometimes (often) I get overstimulated (see above) or just emotionally overwhelmed or overtired or whatever. When that happens, it's like a short-circuit in my brain. I try to refocus myself by rocking back and forth or tapping my finger against my temple or flapping my hands or flicking my fingers together...any sort of repetitive movement. People have told me that sort of thing makes me look "crazy" or "stupid" or "retarded," and while they're probably right, I don't give a shit because I need it as a coping mechanism. So there's that, and then my verbal skills go haywire and I can't find the right words for things and I get started repeating words or phrases, just as another way to calm down. I cover my ears and close my eyes, trying to block out stimulation. It's like a panic attack (I get those too) with less hyperventilation and more repetitive motion.

There's more, probably, I just can't think anymore since it's 5am. Shit, I have to be up in 4 hours. Maybe I'll just crash in the living room tonight...


I was born at 12:40pm on December 10th, 1986. My parents, both in their mid-20s, took me home to their condominium in Indianapolis, where they dressed me in pink and put me to bed in a nursery decorated in pastel colors. Pretty typical stuff.

My dad was an air traffic controller and worked weird hours while my mom stayed home with me. She read to me and talked to me and couldn't leave me with a babysitter because I'd scream and thrash and hyperventilate until she came back. Otherwise, as she tells it, I was a pretty easy baby.

My earliest memory is of listening to the Beatles' song "Yellow Submarine" at 10 months old. I didn't know what a submarine was and I probably didn't know what yellow was, but the song fascinated me! When I was 18 months old, my mom videotaped me sitting in a rocking chair, staring at a wall for concentration and reciting two long poems. One of them I still remember:

Girls and boys, come out to play
The moon doth shine as bright as day
Leave your supper, leave your sleep
And come with your playfellows into the street
Come with a whoop, come with a call
Come with goodwill, or come not at all
Up a ladder and down a wall
A halfpenny loaf will serve us all
You bring milk and I'll bring flour
And we'll have pudding in half an hour.

And that was the short poem. But I'm not bragging. It sounds like it, I know. I'm not, though--I'm still trying to figure out how I did that 22 years ago when I have a hard time remembering to eat lunch on a daily basis now. Whatever. Different kind of memory, I guess.

I was afraid to stand on grass when I was about that age. I suspect part of it has to do with my dad trying to make me walk on grass with bare feet. That's on video. Also on video is me clinging to him and screaming.

When I was 2, my parents and I moved a few miles south to Greenwood, IN. A year later, my brother Brian was born. I was cool with it, because by then I could read and write and draw and generally entertain myself while Mom was busy with the baby. Plus, I got to jump around and say silly things to make Brian giggle!

My mom says that I had playdates and preschool friends, but I have no memory of any of that. I remember my imaginary friends (which, um, yeah, I might possibly still have one). I played with dolls a lot and pretended to be a special ed teacher. And oh my God, I read. Everything. When I ran out of things to read, I wrote. Up until Brian was born, Mom and I had a routine of one story at naptime and two at bedtime. By the time I was 4, I liked to read the Reader's Digest, backs of cereal boxes (the video of me reading the Cheerios box is hilarious), and of course books. My favorite was a chapter book about a woman who rehabilitated baby owls. Ah, here we go! The beginning of my owl obsession! People think I'm kidding when I say I've "loved owls as long as I can remember." For reals, though, I mean it!

Speaking of reading. When I was 5, I read an article in Parents magazine (my mom kept them around, therefore I read them) about common household toxins. And then I read it again. And again and again and again. The toxins, for the approximately zero of you who are interested, were: carbon monoxide (my favorite--I wrote a song about it when I was 7 and a report on it when I was 8), lead, radon, asbestos, and formaldehyde. I made my dad buy a carbon monoxide detector, I got really excited when they gave us radon detectors at school for a science project, I had just-scary-enough dreams about dying of formaldehyde poisoning.

A theme emerges. It seems that I tend to get really focused and fixated on whatever piques my interest (anyone who knows me would laugh at that because of how much of an understatement it is).

(More laterishly. Tired now.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The WRATH of JAY-ZUS! hrrrblgrrrrblrrrrrr!

Okay, first of all, I'm gonna need to explain the title of this post. One fine evening when I was a mere highschooler, a few friends and I were hanging out and trying to find something worth watching on TV. We happened upon the Jesus channel, also known as Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). A man who looked far too much like Richard Nixon was delivering a fire-and-brimstone sermon directly into the camera, interspersed with clips of Tammy Faye Bakker doing the same except with far worse makeup (let's be honest, Tammy Faye is the only person to date who has momentarily scared away my bladder control). At one point, Nixon (I don't know if it was Jim Bakker or some other dude, but we'll call him Nixon) yelled something about the WRATH of JAY-ZUS, and my friends and I all found it really hilarious. That, coupled with a sound-effect of Nixon shaking his Nixon-esque jowls, leads to the above title.

Now, what on earth made me think of such a random memory? Well, because it was AWESOME, first of all. But also because I seem to have found my way into Jesus Camp for the summer. Also known as my apartment. Okay, don't get me wrong. The 3 girls I'm living with are all really sweet, the apartment is really nice, I'm gradually getting settled in. But it's like...TOO sweet. I'm feeling like I have to assert my more masculine (?), nerdy, offbeat traits in order to balance out the tidal waves of estrogen in this place. And then, it turns out that someone owns the Focus on the Family (focus on your own damn family, you crazy bigots) DVD set "the Truth Project." Um, okay, still trying not to judge. Then one of the girls says quite matter-of-factly that non-Christian boys only care about girls' boobs and butts while Christian boys care about girls' faces/hearts/etc.

Sense. Thou makest none.

On the whole, though, the girls are nice and it's shaping up to be a pleasant summer.

If I can wrangle a job.

Okay, uh, I totally forgot what I was trying to write about. I don't know.

Spring semester is over. So is my tenure as an RA. I don't miss school, but...sigh. At least I have my three words to remember. Three words that I (apparently) am:


Like a mantra.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How do you make cocks MORE hilarious?

According to my instructor (of a class I seem to blog about a lot), the definition of a rooster is "...uh, I guess it's, like, an older bird."

To which I literally responded, before I could shut myself up, "Wait, WHAT?!"

The mind, it boggles. I mean, I know I'm a trivia collector and I know a lot of silly random useless stuff, but I don't know, I'd sort of expect a dude in his late 20s to know what a rooster is.

I guess this is going to be a bird-themed entry, because I'd like to brag/babble (brabble?) about my latest art project. Birds, you say? Oh yes. Large predatory birds. Carnivorous beasts of the sky. Owls, duh.

As it turns out, French beaded flower techniques are not only useful for making beaded flowers. There's a lot you can do with petal-shaped elements. Such as, I don't know, constructing adorable beaded owls. So I'm working out a pattern. And I'm going to eventually list the little bugger on Etsy (my username is, of course, AsymmetricOwl). Obviously, I'll post photos here once I'm done with it.

I'm pretty thrilled that my orange faceted drop beads are finally coming in handy. Beaks!

Huh. Class has devolved into a series of jokes about a nineteenth-century serial axe murderer named Bushy. I think I can live with this.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Bloggin' during S520 again. What? How else am I going to stay awake?

I'm sitting in a graduate-level class with...a teddy bear. Kate and I went to Build-A-Bear last week and I've been taking my adorable bear most places with me. I didn't intend to bring it to class, because I'm not in 4th grade anymore. But I did bring it to the desk, and to my 1:1, and I went straight from there to dinner and straight from dinner to class. Yeah, I'm walking all around campus clutching a teddy bear. Fuck you, I like cuddly things. My choice to wear my hair in pigtails today does not help matters, of course. Especially since my hair is short enough that my pigtails are all teeny and cute and puffy like frizzy brown pompoms.

Um, we are talking about the plot of "The Office" during class. As awesome as that sounds, I'd like to get on with class...

Speaking of getting on with things. I'm really thinking about getting serious with my Etsy shop. I'd want to sell a few different things...crocheted toys, beaded flowers, jewelry...things people have shown an interest in. And as I take up new crafts--because God knows I always do--I can stick those in my shop too. Eventually it could become a legit job, or at least something like it. This year I've sold (not on Etsy) two bouquets of beaded flowers (totaling $220), a set of crocheted cupcakes ($50), and a couple pairs of earrings ($24). That's almost $300, without even really trying.

Oh good Lord. "So...this study is basically telling us that we're all different...we all have different abilities and aptitudes..."

Uh, well, duh. I mean, I know this isn't the School of Library and Rocket Science or anything, but for fuck's sake, can we at least try?

I definitely should've applied to a School of Library and Rocket Science. I'd have the best class schedule ever:
R501: Combustible Reference
R502: Collection Development and Explosion
R503: Rocket-Propelled Card Catalogs

For the record, I would definitely get an A in R502.

Class is over. Praise the Lord.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Kill kill, bang your mom, gouge gouge. Ta-da

Tonight I was watching MTV because I have bad taste and no life. A music video came on (yes, they still play music videos, but only after 3am) that was this sappy "omgz i heart uuuu" quasi-R&B track that had approximately zero redeeming qualities. I don't even know what it was. The video was astoundingly typical: attractive-ish dude of indeterminate ethnicity trying to keep a beat while professing his love for his boo, who is gazing adoringly at him from the passenger seat of his tricked-out car or boat or I don't even remember. Duh. I literally could not have cared less.

But something struck me about the song and unleashed a feeling that I can only describe as premonitory dread. It was EXACTLY the kind of song that, when the DJ puts it on at your eighth-grade dance, all the awkward pubescent couples sway back and forth and if you don't have a date you hang out on the bleachers and cry because your social life is OVER. There is no other appropriate situation for this song, I promise you.

So the reason I'm writing about it is my internal monologue, which I found hilarious, because I'm self-indulgent like that.

"Oh shit, this song is terrible. I can already tell. It's a prom song. It's the song that everybody and their mother dances to at prom. Awkwardly. I guess maybe not their mother. I mean, if you're dancing with your mother at prom, you have bigger issues than your terrible taste in music. Like, between the two problems, your therapist is going to ask more questions about your dating your mom than he is about your peculiar fondness for intentionally shitty music."

When my train of thought veers off-track, it tends to crash and burn fairly quickly. This time the Thought Express took a flaming nosedive off Incest Cliff. Hey, gotta keep life interesting.

Speaking of interesting. I've been watching this owl thing, right? (See previous post.) There's a chat box next to the video feed, which I read but don't participate in. I love the random shit that comes up, though. According to other people who like to watch baby owls eat rats at 6am, tiny Tyrannosaurus Rex arms...are for throwing gang signs. Because, you know, what the hell else are they good for? So now I have an excellent mental image of T-rex, gangsta style.

This might have to be drawn, of course. Hmm.

Monday, April 5, 2010

My IQ? Schfifty-five.

One thing I'm really good at is starting blogs and then neglecting them.

Another thing I'm really good at is procrastinating and/or getting distracted.

So naturally, this leads to one of my greatest talents: blogging about nothing when I'm really supposed to be catching up on a month of overdue research.

Let me just throw this out there: I don't really give a shit about information seeking literature. Frankly, I think most of it, what I've read anyway, is bullshit and has glaring deficiencies. So I'm understandably less than thrilled about piecing a bunch of it together to describe my thought process when I ask a Best Buy dude about computer specs. Especially because I'm only asking because I need to have an example for this damn paper--I'm entirely capable of doing my own damn research on processor speeds and RAM. The fatal flaw in this entire project is that I don't tend to rely on interpersonal sources for information seeking; I find things out on my own. That's what the internet is for (well, that, and porn).

But I have no choice, and the stupid fucking thing was due in February, so I guess April is a good time to start writing it.

Yeah, my standards have plummeted.

In News of the Awesome, I get to see my darling best friend in just a few days!!! Kate is coming to visit me, which is probably the best thing that will have happened to me since, well, since she was here last. There are some things that I'm always going to need in my life, and Kate tops that list.

Kate's impending visit is actually the reason I'm so hell-bent on finishing my stupid paper. She will be mightily displeased if I'm not caught up on schoolwork by the time she gets here. Plus, I'll be a much happier person if I can enjoy the weekend without panicking about overdue papers.

Also, OWLS!