We Weren’t That Resilient

Yes. This.

Maureen O'Leary

In response to the bell ringing that kids these days aren’t resilient the way their parents were growing up in the Wild West of the seventies and eighties suburban American neighborhoods and schools: I call bullshit.

We weren’t that resilient.

Those of us growing up in the seventies and eighties were not tilling Victory gardens and whittling useful things out of sticks that we found on the ground. I know. I was there.

I can only speak to my own experience, and trigger warning, I’m not prone to nostalgia.

Yes, we played outside with the neighborhood kids until the streetlights came on.

It’s true we didn’t have iPhones. We weren’t texting or addicted to screens.

We didn’t expect our teachers to give us A’s.

We drank from the garden hose when we were thirsty.

And it got pretty Lord of the Flies out there in the neighborhood and schoolyards before the streetlights came…

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Trapped

Hydrangeas-1

CW: This is not a fat shaming post. This is a Melissa health post, because i am perishing.

I slept all day today, and had nothing but nice travel dreams where i was traveling, by airplane, to the East Coast, and in the latest dream before waking up at 4 PM, i was traveling to Bloomington Indiana, a place i did once visit back in July 1983.

I so wish i still weighed at least 175 lbs again, with no leg problems, and could get another car and drive again—-and even fly places to go see my FB friends. I don’t need to be reed thin, just at least back down to between 175-200 pounds. That would get me back to a better place physically- functionality wise, to where i could do all of those things again. I know it would help the lymphedema in my legs too.

I want to repeat again: I am not fat shaming by saying what i am saying. My body is shutting down. I am shutting down. I can no longer function like i need and want to because i weight about 350 lbs now, and i have bad back, knee, and hip problems, as well as the lymphedema on both legs—-AND the huge lymphedema ROCK on the inside of my left thigh.

The lymhedema was caused by me not being able to sleep laying down anymore, but sleeping for 8 years, from 2004 to 2012, on a badly broken down living room sofa that bore into my left leg and thigh, especially. I would sleep sitting up, with my feet on the floor, which is bad for leg circulation.

In addition, i have always been, and sill am addicted to junk food to help keep me calm because of this hellish street i live on, stuck day in and day out, inside this house, because i never feel well enough to get in the shower so i can get out and about and get my hair colored anymore.

Having so few people actually care about me in real life—-(i do have my mom, one nice sister, Connie, and my Facebook friends, but no in real life local friends or family support other than my mom and one nice sister)—-has worn me, and my body completely down.

In addition—i have to endure day in and out, unbearable loud hot rodding and thunder bass noise right in front of my house on a street where the speed limit is 25 MPH.

I never get to go anywhere anymore because of my physical circumstances. It is even now hard for me to keep doctor’s appointments. It is getting harder and harder for me to even want to get out of my soft comfortable life chair anymore.

I am depressed all the time now, and don’t have the will to live anymore, so i am praying daily that either God lets me win the lottery so i can escape this toxic neighborhood, or for God to please take me—-because i cannot bear the way things are any longer.

I am an Autistic adult and i feel trapped with no way out of these circumstances.

I Am Autistic—Say The Word

Flowers-2

One afternoon in April, i was upset, so i wrote a series of Vaguebook posts, and because i write when i am upset……and i mainly write to educate the general public about what it is like to be a middle aged adult who is Autistic so people will understand, get us, and accept us, i want to compile my vaguebooks all into a blog post.

What is it that helps flowers to blossom and bloom to all their glory? It is not yelling at them to grow already, and standing over them and forcing their peddles to unfold when they aren’t ready to unfold. And to be callous and cold with them. They need patience, actual warmth and affection, to be slowly and lovingly cultivated, and they need water, sunshine, and food.

For me, it is not being harsh and critical of me. And cold and callous. For me, i grow when i know i am truly accepted and when i am okay to be me. When it is okay for me to say “I am Autistic.” When i know my feelings, both happy and sad, and the ones that are painful too, are truly validated.

I don’t write to be mean and covert. I write whenever i cannot verbally say how i am feeling.
Post One.
“Trigger warning for the word stupid and the R word—and for also graphic depictions of child abuse
There is a valid reason why i have a chip on my shoulder as an adult.
It comes from growing up being told and made to feel
like i was all wrong all the time, every day, 24/7
that i didn’t have a right to my opinions
or to to say what i felt that how i felt, and i,
was just too weird
everything i ever did or said was
wrong, stupid and not good enough
being called the R word all the fucking time,
not just by the schoolkids but even by my own siblings
being silenced, muzzled, and having my feelings,
and me, always dismissed, invalidated and erased
being treated like my autism was/is a behavior
or that i use my autism as a shield, crutch, etc.
being told wrongly so that i was just a
lazy, spoiled, and selfish rotten brat,
when so many things
were and still are difficult for me to do
being told also wrongly so that
i never appreciated what people did for me,
when i did, but just did not know
how the fuck to show it
knowing my own father actually hated my guts
for the way i was even though i could not help the way i was
because i was BORN Autistic
imagine if you will what it is like
to go to school and have no safe zone there
where you can be you and
you cannot get away from all of the scary sensory stimuli
and you cannot be you or get away from
all of the unwanted scary sensory stimuli at home either
because your you is too wrong, too weird, to matter
you are expected to, forced to act a certain way,
and if you don’t, you are yelled down, scolded, and BELITTLED
all you can do is just go to your room all the time
because that is at least a little bit of a safe zone for you
always being talked over and interrupted
when i try to talk and express myself
yes, they did that too
and then they would interrupt
to finish all of my sentences for me,
not knowing what i was REALLY going to say
close spaces, having to be forced to endure being kissed,
or having to stand too close to others in a line
being beaten on my legs and buttocks growing up
beaten so hard it left welts that would raise up and bleed
having my hair and ears pulled so hard my head hurt
loud men yelling especially when angry
and my music–when i can’t even listen to my rock music
because the family music is country,
so i have to listen to that or i get in trouble for that too
a fear so bad i used to have to always
memorize the station my dad had the car and family radio on,
so he wouldn’t find out i was listening to the rock stations
my dad, brothers and sisters always pissed,
always irritated with me
i have bad flashbacks to all of this all the time
so that today, when anyone can present to me as angry,

even if  they aren’t, i am hypersensitive to it

i still take what people say and do wrong all the time
because of all of the hurts of my childhood
because i think i am being chastised and muzzled yet again
I have Complex PTSD thanks to what i went through
then losing my independence again,
losing my ability to drive and do for myself
after having my independence for 25 years,
where, 22 of them i was able to drive
has brought me back to how i felt as a child,
and that is how i feel now,
like i am that child again who had no rights
and now i feel as if don’t have any rights again anymore…… “
Post Two
“I am not abnormal.
I am Autistic.
There is nothing wrong with me
or the word Autistic.
I say the word.
People need to say the word.
AUTISTIC.
PLEASE ACCEPT ME. “
Post Three
“My special interests are not obsessions or addictions. They are my coping mechanisms and there is nothing wrong with me having these special interests.”
Post Four
“I write and tell my story so that people will understand.”
Post Five
“When i yell because of the noise outside it is because that noise is actually causing me pain. People yell when in pain. People yell and cry when they hurt.”
Post Six
“When i say that i cannot do something it is because i truly do not have the ability or the spoons to be able to do that thing.
It is not that i don’t want to do whatever, it is that some things i lack the ability to do. Sometimes i have the spoons to do some things. Other things i never have the spoons for.
Please understand and accept that.”
In closing, my Autism is not used as a shield, crutch, nor do i mean to use it as a means to throw it in people’s faces. I often do not have the words available to me to be able to articulate what it is that i want to say, especially when i can sense i am not being heard.
So, out comes the word Autistic. And i cannot hide my Autism, or take it on and off like it’s a coat.
I don’t write to bad mouth people.
I do not write about my family to bad mouth them either.
I write because the family abuse happened. Because i want to let others know they aren’t alone, and how to spot the signs of abuse, and i want my family to finally read what i write and say “OMG, i did do those awful things!”
Because i have no family to turn to, and my mom and one nice sister are both financially unable to help me more than they can, i am in a vulnerable situation where if i do not have my caregiver to help me, i am literally left to fend for myself—-and i have been left without caregivers in the past—–and that was so terrifying for me that it has caused me to become even more hypervigilant about making sure the people i love and who matter to me, always understand and get me—-so they won’t throw me away too,like so many, many others have done.
I live in constant fear of this, and when i have any disagreement with my friends, i instantly go into a panic mode so severe, thinking they’re angry, and hate me, and it often makes things even worse.
I wrote this into a blog because sometimes i can put things better into words by talking, but other times, like now, i can do it better by writing it. That has nothing to do with anyone but my own spoon level at the moment. I have not had very many spoons ever since the election, to be honest. Yes, i am extremely scared about the current state of our government now, too.

#SayTheWord, Not “Special Needs”

An important read, because being Disabled and / or Autistic is not wrong.

#SayTheWord
#Disabled
#Autistic

Erin Human

The deeper I go into autistic culture and autistic rights activism, the more I find myself pulled to align my goals, my activism, and my identity with the broader disability rights community.

There’s a social media campaign going on right now to #SayTheWord – it was started by Lawrence Carter-Long, the Public Affairs Manager for the National Council on Disability, and is an active Twitter hashtag. The word, of course, is disabled.

The importance of this campaign is driven home to me over and over again as I see people performing ludicrous and painful contortions to avoid saying it. Reminder that when I make a criticism the way well-meaning people interact with disability, I am not attacking the people (parenthetical reminder that I was immersed in ableism myself not long ago), but inviting people to think about things in a different way.

Instead of saying disabled, nice people say things…

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This Is my Situation & Why I Don’t & Cannot Do Any Better Than I Am Doing To Cope With This Life

007

I honestly do not know how much longer i can go on like this….
 +++
I am Autistic and physically disabled, and i am doing my honest best that i can do to cope and get through each day….and it is getting harder and harder to go on like this.
 +++
When Connie goes home each afternoon, the sun is still shining, and i am all alone with no place to go where i can enjoy these long evenings—–i have no pretty views to look at in either my front or back yards—-just the ugly yellow tin buildings all around me—-and i have to listen to painfully awful loud bass and hot rodding all day long—–so, i remain cooped up inside, and i turn up my TV and music and fall asleep, because there is nothing else to do.
 +++
I am also all alone on Sundays, housebound, unable to go anywhere, do anything, and no one comes to visit me…..
 +++
I may have three brothers, three sisters, seven nieces and three nephews….but all of them, with the exception of one sister, and my mother, have nothing to do with me….there are no offers to be Facebook friends with any of them, and i am barred from calling them or emailing them…..i am also actually blocked by one sister and one sister in law.
 +++
Growing up, i was raised to be terrified of my own father, and i was ganged up on all the time by my normal brothers and sisters, always hounding me to be the normal neurotypical i was not.
 +++
I got told time and again—i would never have friends, never date, never hold down a job, and never learn how to drive. Over and over again.
 +++
I lived at home with my parents till Dec. 1987 when i was 27 1/2 years old. At which time, i moved to my own small apartment that was in back of a bigger house that was rented by two kind old ladies, a mother and daughter who took me under their wings and gave me the confidence to really be me for the first time in my whole life.
 +++
I grew up having few to no friends all through school. I grew up bullied and being made fun of. Both at home, and at school. I grew up knowing my father hated me because i was so weird, so different.
 +++
I learned to cope by developing my inside world made up of imaginary friends that i would make out of certain roads, highways, and electronics—-and i still do that today. I also turned to TV and music and pen pals. And eating.
 +++
I made friends with the two speed radar trailers that were here last year. But those got taken from me. I am still waiting and hoping fervently the police will put the nice one back here, the one that had the nice red “SLOW DOWN” sign. Then i would be able to feel safe enough to go outside again, because those speed trailers had that affect on me, of actually making me feel safe to be in my own front yard.
 +++
I have my mom to talk to via phone. Connie comes for several hours six afternoons a week.
+++
But the rest of the time—-i am here, stuck in this house, unable to go anywhere, and no one visits me.
 +++
If Connie is unable to come i sometimes have one sweet local friend who will get me my dinner and sodas—–otherwise—-i am all alone with only my internet and TV and music to keep me company.
 +++
I used to love it when i could drive and escape up to the ocean to sit and watch the waves, and go sit in certain restaurants where i would make friends with some of the wait staff and visit with them.
 +++
I used to love the long evening drives i would take when the days would get longer, where i would actually drive all the way up to Cambria and back.
 +++
I don’t have that outlet anymore.
 +++
I had to move to my current place in 1992, where i have regressed again because of the mostly cruel nature of the people who have lived here and who work here in some of the nearby businesses—-this has had me in a constant state of stress since 1992—-and this has affected me profoundly by me gaining lots of weight—-and then the lymphedema happened, as i was run out of my bedroom by even more cruel next door neighbors my mother rented to one summer who would smoke in the carport and blow it right my way—–
 +++
So i began having to sleep sitting up on my living room sofa, with my legs down on the floor—and my TV turned up loud to drown out the outside noises of the loud bass and hot rods and bullying noises. That caused the lymphedema in both of my legs.
 +++
I eventually stopped driving and became a shut in because it got harder both physically because of my legs, and mentally for me to get out of my house by myself.
 +++
I have been relying on in home caregivers to take care of me now since 2012. Before i found Connie, i suffered, literally, through a string of caregivers who were mentally, emotionally, and financially abusive, with three in particular, Little Jess, Sh, and JuJu being the worst.
 +++
I also suffered at the hands of a man who was supposed to be a friend and ally, but who would get mean with me every other month, and then he finally turned on me for good, which devastated me, and caused me to have horrible nightmares……on top of my Tiffany (another mean neighbor) nightmares, and nightmares i still have to this day about my father and family.
 +++
My caregiver Sh would routinely knock down my dreams and goals and yell and scream at me and belittle me. One day, her yelling and screaming reached epic proportions, as she drove me two whole miles down to my bank, yelling and screaming at me the entire trip down—two days later, she walked out on me, turned my next door neighbor against me, turned my friend from Bakersfield against me who used to come here to take me up to the ocean—-and she called the cops on me to try and have me hauled off to a long term care facility. Actually, a mental facility.
 +++
In the summer of 2015, Connie and i took a one month break, and i suffered with two more abusive caregivers, who also took money from me.
 +++
My reactions to so many things are deeply intense now——- because again, i am mostly all alone here when Connie isn’t here. And the PTSD and fear of being bullied, made fun of, rejected and abandoned have not gone away and are still very much a huge part of me.
 +++
This is why i am often in ultra sensitive moods.
This is why i often take the things people say too personally and too literally.
I still have days when i don’t know whether Connie is being serious or is joking with me.
I still have great doubts about myself and even still have internalized ableism.
I tend to still push people away out of my fear that i will be hurt, bullied, made fun of, and rejected yet again.
It is hard when just getting up puts me straight away into a battlefield—-in my own home—-because of the way this neighborhood is.
So, if i have fucked up days, please forgive me, and please forgive me if i misunderstand and misinterpret the things people do and say. I am very good at putting up walls—-don’t let me do that—-don’t let me push any of you away.
 +++
I am happy and proud that i am Autistic. Because this is me. This is who i am.
 +++
I just wish more people would understand why i act, react, do and say the things hat i do. It is out of fear and fear of being abandoned and left to fend for myself by so many in my past, even family when they all moved out of state and left me here.
 +++
I have a heart. I care. But i am hurting deeply inside 24/7, mainly because my biological family has actually seemed to of discarded and disowned me because of my Autism. And that is what hurts the most of all.
 +++
Hoping this posts with the paragraphs this time……why i put the lines in between paragraphs—because this didn’t post right.

Anthem For April by Amaranthe Rae Lovisi

thereluctantelfqueen

Don’t reduce me to the puzzle piece
you find ugly and malign
And the part of me your narrow
typical mind can condone.
The puzzle piece I find ugly is the
ubiquitous blue design,
Alex Spourdalakis’ and Katie
McCarron’s mass produced
tombstone.

From its azure knobs and corners
drips blood only we can see
And I am not a mysterious
conundrum or tragic riddle to be
solved.
Set fire to the bigoted texts written
about children like me
And know we grow into adults with
internalized bigotry unresolved.

I am dismissed as if eye contact with
danger didn’t fill me with dread.
You think your degree gives you the
right to decide my identity?
Not that nor a family member nor a
psych class puts you inside my head.
How many letters must follow my
name before you will listen to me?

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We Don’t Need Autism Awareness

FAAST, Inc. Blog

Amy

I say this with strong conviction, as an Autistic who has been hurt by the “awareness” campaign.

The Autism Awareness message does not reach the larger public in a way that helps us and our families. In fact, it hurts us in many different ways, sometimes leaving deep scars.

Awareness brings pity. We are seen as unhappy, suffering, tragic people who cause pain and despair to our families. Our most vulnerable moments are constantly on display, as if only Autistics have bad moments, as if we never experience and share joy. Those are wrong assumptions.

Awareness brings the grading of Autistics. That absurd notion of “low” and “high” functioning is spread around to silence Autistics whose disabilities are not so visible, and to make Autistics whose abilities might be still hidden look like a big bag of deficits in need of fixing.

Awareness brings dangerous practices. The use of questionable…

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