Why I don’t take compliments?

I have been struggling lately with my optimism and there has been negative thoughts that have come to play with my mind. This isn’t anything new with me, it’s a bad habit of mine. So when people try and either help or say nice things, I can’t take it in.

I think when people hear the word Autism, they instantly think of the generalized perception of it. I mean, no one ever says ‘congratulations, that’s amazing!’. So from the get go it’s focusing what is seemed as the weaknesses rather then strengths. I don’t think I ever remember a time when I would have been complimented when I was a child. Maybe about how good I was in a general sense, but that’s about it. I don’t think any of us in the environment I was in were any good at giving compliments, having said that we’re not very good liars so that somewhat balances it out! Girls are more likely to learn how to give compliments, because once again, women are taught to be nice for certain attention. I suppose you don’t think about those things when you’re a kid, you don’t quite develop the understanding in how socializing works until it becomes very important when making friendships. I would imagine making the suggestion that saying nice things about people helps. I did try I think, because I did genuinely care about people. But one thing I always noticed is that not alot would ever had been said back to me. I used to think ‘is there something actually wrong with me’. I had such an issue with validation, but never really knew how to confront it. Sometimes if I get sad about myself, Mum would always be the one that tries to not let me think like that. For example, I think I’m ugly, to which she freaks out and says I’m silly to think like that. Growing up, supermodels and particularly glamour models were massive and I hated myself because I didn’t look like them. At some point there was a discussion with myself and someone at the school in regards to the dreaded IEPs. I talked about how under-confident I was feeling and I think they did noticed that I am hard on myself, so it was decided that my daily goal was to take a compliment. It was also encouraged that other students would get a target to say something nice to someone else. Those students figured out that I had that target of receiving compliments and someone will say something nice about me or to me. It felt nice, didn’t want to believe it at first because my paranoia is messed up but I think people did generally care about me. Given the world that we live in right now, it is so vital that we have those reminder just to be nice.

I suppose the real issue is how we actually feel about ourselves. I don’t have a high feeling about myself, as I always say I am my own worst enemy. Sure you can easily blame anybody around you for either not making you feel valid enough or not standing with you. But if you keep blaming people for too long then you will eventually get stuck. I’ve taken the good and bad in every environment I’ve been in. Autism itself is certainly not an easy thing to live with. Once you know your trigs and dings are, you will get by. Life as a whole is not all bad, it’s those experiences that you will learn from. Sure I will forever have my issues with those that I felt disappointed by many, but you learn if there will ever be a next time. The way that I have to see myself now is knowing how much I have done in my life and look fondly at it. I have gone through so much and managed to achieve things that many would think that would never happen. Thinking that I will be a social burden for the rest of my life. Although it wasn’t a life that turned out what I first wanted, what I have got I will forever be grateful for. I still want to evolve so much, it’s rather difficult given circumstances still and how I can do this. I would like to travel more, I have been slowly working towards getting confidence in taking the train again and as much as I have been hating the amount of crowds, I am pleased with myself in my progress. I have to remind myself to give myself a pat on the back, even if it’s for the little things. Accepting compliments will still be something that I still need to learn to do, not to try and brush it off.

Just be you, Sarah x

Is it suffering?!

Sorry for the shocking title. I have some what noticed this tone that is often used in the conversation of ‘suffering’ with Autism. Wherever you stand on that, I think it can be our surroundings that makes feel like we suffer.

For as long time for as long as I can remember, most would describe us with suffering with Autism. Why is that? What does it mean to suffer with this particular disability. What does it mean to suffer in general? I suppose what is suffering is being in pain. But I’m not hurting anywhere. Well, not in any source of pain anyway. My head gets numb sometimes, but never in pain. I mean there are disabilities where pain is constant, but I’m not in that category. Ok, so that’s out of the way. What about emotional wellbeing? I’m a deep thinker and somewhat have a way of expression like no other. Sometimes that comes across to say I’m not doing well mentally. I have good days and bad days, but it’s been a while since I’ve felt my lowest. But is that my Autism or is it my actual personality? The general stereotype that gets said about us is that we have no empathy. In my case, I’m probably too empathetic because for a while it was easy. But then go on too long and people sometimes take advantage, and you can’t tell if someone is being genuine. I have my good days and bad days like most people. I maybe get too annoyed dead quick when I don’t understand something or certainly frustrated. I can also get exhausted very fast after preparation for just as simple as going to the shops. I have food issues but certainly healthier then I have previously been, apart from lockdown weight of course! Apart from those things, I couldn’t see what it is to suffer. Then the retaliation hits, it’s what society assumes.

This isn’t me trying not to acknowledge anyone who feels at war with their own disability. I completely understand that there are people who are not one with it yet or if they will ever be. Because I used to feel that way too, and I mean I really hated myself. I am still in battle with my own head sometimes. I rewatched BoJack Horseman recently and there’s a great episode where you actually hear BoJack’s thoughts and is constantly questioning everything and beats himself up. I absolutely relate to that. With the life that I’ve had, and I know how to go through the anguish for a few days to then say to myself ‘lesson’s learnt’. For alot of people, I come across as normal. Well I guess that depends on what you class as ‘normal’. Part of me thought if I ‘acted’ normal then I would be able to survive. This is where masking comes from. I had actually tried this once when I went into the new year at mainstream in B-tech. I decided not to tell the new people that I was Autistic. When I finally told them, they were shocked, in a good way I think. With masking, overtime, you come across two problems with that. First, it actually hides the person that you really are. Secondly, it becomes exhausting. I recognize that there are many elements of myself, that are still me, yet there differ from one another. Goodness me I hope that makes sense! People will make assumptions that we’re potentially dangerous to ourselves in terms of our own boundaries. Mine was certainly tested. I took a chance of being able to live a normal life and everything around me failed. I know now that it all wasn’t my fault. However, it made me recognize where my limits were. I’m in more stable position of being to live a standard life where I am safe. Although I also understand that this hasn’t been available for everyone. I know I am one of the lucky ones.

From the UK perspective, there are those that are trying to be more open to us as much as possible. But there needs to be much more to be done. As the pandemic has shown, the world has gone backwards. That to me is why it feels like suffering sometimes. I know that’s quite a overdramtic thing to say yet the feels are real. The fact that we still need to explain themselves to those that don’t get it, in order to have a good chance in life. It’s so unfair. I cannot guarantee that your life will the most exceptional, unless you are really lucky. It feels like suffering because you are challenged. Constantly. There will be many that you will tell you, don’t, can’t, won’t. It will be a long journey to get to do, can, will. As I said, I’m one of the lucky ones as not only I lived a life where we know what was ‘wrong’ with me in order to make it right by me.

Just be you, Sarah x

What comes first?!

I had a conversation with someone recently who admitted to me that they believe between a partner and their kids, the partner comes first in terms of priority. That statement shocked me. But then again, I’m from a generation where it’s encouraged to place your kids first in priority regardless of who a person might be with. It did get me thinking about what are my top priorities.

As I’m sure if you are a regular reader of these blogs, I’ve pretty much been having more time to think about my life and really work out what type of person that I am and how I want to see where the rest of my life is going to lead. For as long I can remember I have rarely put myself first. Purely out of desperation to be liked. It’s only been these recent years where I have started to focused on myself. Maybe too much, I don’t know. I know I feel better about myself now then I ever have in my whole life, so that’s a start. What I am struggling with lately is trying to figure out what’s next for me. The idea of going back to voluntary theatre stuff gives me anxiety, yet it’s all I know. I know many will be feeling like that currently as we’re potentially getting back to a source of normality. I do want to explore more, I am desperate to go to Ireland when the time is right and recently I’ve talked about wanting to go to Glasgow because I know many people love it there. I’ve always quite fancied this idea where I can go to places and review them to see if they’re ‘autism friendly’. Oh my goodness, I think I have a series of blogs ahead! Well, whatever my life takes, I certainly want to make the best of it. So I guess the priority is to work out what you want to do and not what people tell you to do. I’ve always had this battle with who I should listen to when being told how I should live life. Really, you need to listen to you. That should always be top on your priority list.

So what else is a priority for me? Well, I would certainly say that my family and friends are. I always say it’s those people that make me who I am, they always bring out the best in me. I always enjoy the company of those that I do care about, I might not always show it but it’s always true. Believe me, if I’ve spent the day with my mates, and I am spent by the end of it, it’s a good day. I do admit I have a hard time in reaching out, even just for a chat. I have this anxiety thing where I believe that if I send someone a message first, it might not be wanted. It’s somewhat of a trigger I’ve developed from a relationship where I had to be the one to text first. Otherwise if they did, and if I didn’t reply straight away they would freak out. It’s stupid that I think like that. I suppose it’s that fear of being a nuisance. It is something that I do need to get better confidence in. On the rare occasion I do, but it still leaves me with this panicked feeling which makes me uneasy. What this pandemic has shown me is how important face to face contact really means to me. I don’t always like it, yet I do feel so much better when doing so. Zooming has been exhausting where it just because there was nothing to talk about. It did worry me the distance of time I’ve had not seeing people, it has been challenging. I absolutely cannot wait for when I can see more then just one person again.

I’ve also come to the realization that I need and want to study the world of Autism more. 2021 hasn’t exactly been the greatest start for the community, with the controversial Sia film Music being the most prolific example of that. Even though I have lived thirty years on this planet, there’s plenty of things that even I need to learn about the spectrum as a whole. I do admit that in my first few blogs I’ve written in the past, I have previously given a generalized perceptions of what I thought the spectrum was, to which I know now that’s part of the problem. The confidence that I have seen in Gen Z’s autistics is something I really admire so much, something I wished I had when I was growing up. Yeah I know I couldn’t have known any better because even when I was a child, there was limited information about how Autism actually works, unlike in recent years. But now that I am an adult, if I’m going to stick around for a while longer on earth, then I need to take a few lessons or two. I’m no angel, but I want to be better.

What’s on your priority list?

Just be you, Sarah x

My favourite Disney films!

For as long as I can remember, like most children I was very much a Disney child. I mean the first film I saw in cinemas was Toy Story which tells you alot, although I I couldn’t sit still much during that. For some reason I am more drawn to watch them at this time of year. I guess it might be because it helps me get into the ‘jolly’ mood were supposed to be in, which I know will be a struggle this year. So once again I have gone reflective and want to share my favorites.

The Lion King

I know, I know. It seems to be overrated these days but it’s always the one film that I get pumped for. The detail of the animation is what I am drawn to (get it), it certainly looks so much better now that we have advanced in high quality. I love Timon and Pumbaa so much as a duo, so much so that I recently spent most of this lockdown watching their TV series aswell as their own film. Hakuna Matata is one of those songs that I have on my mind when I think about this film, it’s so iconic. But my favourite song is ‘Be Prepared’. It’s such a pure song about evil and destruction. Scar is one of the best Disney baddies that the world has ever had, his famous line ‘I’m surrounded by idiots’ is something that fits today.

Beauty and The Beast

Disney films does seem to have a bad rep when it comes with the couples we grew up with. Certainly nowadays when we learn about the original tale about our fairy tales and how fucked up they were. Whilst whether or not this one is based on Stockholm syndrome, at least this was one of the few where you see a loving relationship develop. A woman who was seen as weird because she likes to read books and wants to be independent, just like life am I right? What makes me giggle is the Beast. Whilst he is a traumatised character, he’s actually pretty funny and such a softie. The way they look at one another when they dance, I know I’m usually a cynic but that always gets me every time.

Zootropolis (Zootopia)

The most modern on my list, and it’s something that I think was the start of multiple important conversations that we have become so aware of. It’s certainly the big versus the small, again something I identify with. It took me back being a young woman living in the Sheffield just like Judy does when she moves to Zootopia and the struggles that come with that. Especially the loneliness, oh my word I cried watching the moment when she called her parents. What I love is that her friendship with Nick is just strictly friendship and that Disney didn’t have to rely on the man and the woman falling in love and getting together in the end. Having said, the fan fiction and drawings are very intriguing, even at times weird.

The Emperor’s New Groove

By far the funniest out of my list. Me and my closest friends are always quoting it. All I have to do is think of one scene and it always makes me smile. The lever joke is by far my favourite gag. I love the friendship between Kuzco and Pacha and Kronk is my favourite character, but then again anything that Patrick Warburton does is just magic to me. This was at a time when I kinda stopped watching Disney films for a while this one I think the last one I watched before I came back and saw Princess & The Frog…another underrated film in my opinion. I kinda understand why, the humour changed at a time when crass humour was the trend. Slightly off-putting concerning Disney films for me because it’s just so unlike them.

Pocahontas

I realise that this is certainly not the real story of the woman that we know from our history books, because her story is actually quite grim. Typical Disney! Always hiding the truth. But this is one that I watched alot as a child. As a character, I was in love with her. She was so beautiful and so carefree, loves animals and nature, some things I think alot of us women can identify. The colours in the films are so inviting, given the fact there is song about the colours of the wind, which I truly think helps it’s cause. I’m pretty sure that most of the toys that I had were Pocahontas related. A tale of two people from different worlds that come together, with some unfortunate consequences of course.

I grew up during the Disney Renaissance era. A time when there films between 1989 to 1999 were shown to be darker then previous films. Whilst there were moments previously, as I kid of that time it was something that I think I was fascinated by. In my opinion, that era of films are certainly my favourites, especially the ones I have mentioned above. I know parents would have taken issue with the fact that the films were going into a darker approach, but in my case, I think it’s what makes a child stronger. They still hid some truths, but the imagery that we were shown are pieces of art that I can never forget. What are your favourite Disney films?

Just be you, Sarah x

Smells I hate!

When it comes to our senses, it’s certainly one of the most powerful things about us. To the point where it overwhelms us. Whilst this is quite a random topic, it does have a massive part in my world.

Many will know that I have an issue with food, certain smells are a big part of that. I sense of smell is pretty good from a afar, but not quite so much up close, I don’t know what that’s about. If something has a very strong taste that comes with a stench, I will not eat it. Just two weeks ago when having a roast dinner, I had some sprouts. Now bearing in mind I like sprouts, to me they’re like mini versions of cabbage to which I also eat. Yes they do have a smell and whilst that doesn’t bother me, on this roast dinner day was different. At first I was quite concerned as the colour on the bottom of each sprout were pink. I always worry when I see pink on anything, especially on meat, so I had that unsettling feeling. I had at least one, but I couldn’t take another bite of the rest of the sprouts that were left on my plate. Of course I feel bad because it is a waste. But honestly, they tasted like sick, and no one should eat a sick sprout. Mum reckons they taste like that because they were organic sprouts, I know organic is better for you but if they have a strong taste and smell it’s a hard pass for me. People always have a right go at kids that are fussy eaters, myself included. I know that I have been judged for it! Now that I’m an adult I do try new things as I do think it’s important to do so, it’s usually a form of entertainment for those that are around me when I try something new. I hate that, it makes me feel so uneasy and I don’t see the humour. I would love to know how it all works from my head sometimes when it comes to this. When I was a child I had the same meal everyday until I was about nine at least. Understandably, getting an Autistic child to try new foods is a hard task. For many, if there’s a simple change in the package that can scare someone. Registering all the senses as your eating or drinking can be very uncomfortable. It’s why I don’t drink alcohol or fizzy drinks. With me, I cannot register the idea of drinking something so strong that goes straight as it’s gone through my head and yet it’s seen as a social thing to do. I know it shouldn’t feel like it, many of my friends seem to cope with drinking those things just fine.

There are plenty of obvious smells that I hate just as much as the average person. Like this week me and my bestie took her dog for a dog, was doing her business and the smell that came from that, I had to walk away it was so strong to the point where I could throw up! Same goes with manure, cannot stand the smell of that. Here’s an original one, strong perfume/aftershave and weed. I could smell this when I was at college all the time. I don’t have anything against anyone taking weed, I absolutely see the benefits in moderation. It’s funny to me how people try to hide it by using a strong amount of Lynx thinking you wouldn’t notice. The most famous enemy that I have is with eggs. Don’t like the taste and definitely cannot stand it. My mum loves eggs so you can always tell when she’s cooking them. I know I am one for dramatics but I avoid being in the same room when eggs are around. Public toilets, even when they’re clean you can still smells that come from our bodies. Many will say that if you keep to the environments where the smells are around then maybe we’d eventually get used to it. I don’t think I can see myself being put into a position where I am forced to be in a room with cooked eggs. As long as they are in a cake mixture which I love to eat and smell, I wouldn’t never want to smell eggs whole. Just as much as I would never eat them. Understandably, alot of what I have listed are natural smells so obviously can’t be helped. I suppose it’s working out how to make a person comfortable for when this would be a problem when you are in such situations. I’ve found lavender on me helps, silly I know but in my case it’s true.

With all that said, I weirdly try to make effort of enjoying the smells that I do like. Living in a seaside town there are plenty of good smells. Sea water, chips, all those smells that just make me a little bit more grateful to live there. What smells do you hate?

Just be you, Sarah x

Controlling Behaviours.

It is no secret that with people like us, control is often the centre to how we physically and mentally survive. How does this play in the world? Well the reality is, it’s not possible. With that, is what can also bring the worst in us. With this community it is a level of each persons understanding that can be the difference in how we handle things.

I would admit that I certainly have had to deal with my issues when it comes to learning about control. As a child, I know when my mum would have to tell me any source of change that is about to happen, I think I would spend a few hours to a day not feeling good about it but then ultimately come round to accept it. I don’t know what it is because children are more likely to be adaptable in any one at any age after, unless they are taught not so. My mum is a no nonsense kind of woman, whatever is going to happen is going to happen whether I liked it or not. I suppose in a way it was a way to make me understand that is how often that piece of reality comes into the world. But then what is then confusing is when we are told that we have to have our own sense of control if we are to be civilized people. When it comes to my own control, I can manage it better then I have done when I was younger. Part of that is because deep down I still have that need of wanting to be liked. My emotions do get the better of me, certainly more recently, new year, turning thirty, being in countless lockdowns, trying to stay optimistic, not being sure where my life is going to lead now that I have no idea want I want. At the same time I do not want to pass on my negative moods onto others knowing that they are going through the same things. Yeah that’s where my heads at still. When I’m at home, or certainly where I feel safe is the only places where I have the power to deal with what’s going on inside my head. Because even I know that could actually look like if I were in a public place. It’s certainly the way that I deal with my shitty stuff anyway. The one thing that does scare me the most because there is that potential of losing self moral control. It can become very easy for many like to distance ourselves from those that we feel that have caused us harm overtime. Once a trust is gone it’s rare that anyone can get that back. So the idea of doing or saying something, not realizing that I’m not doing it or have said something out of line and and having no sense of the implications is a scary thing. I know I have not always been nice to everyone in my life, so obviously I understand now that I’m an adult I have to think more carefully. Yet I find it hard to forgive and forget those have done me harm.

Because I have previously had this mindset of trying to be normal, I’ve had be level headed about my surroundings. Whilst most of the time it worked in my favor, overtime it meant that my feelings and my needs weren’t being met by anyone. I didn’t want be selfish and I definitely didn’t want to be overbearing as there were people that needed more help then I did. But then it got to the point where it was like other people were chosen over me to be protected. I briefly mentioned a few blogs back about being targeted by another classmate for about three years, this is where I feel is the biggest example of where I felt I wasn’t protected. This person had no sense of control when it comes to handling things that they found difficult to understand and more certainly when they didn’t go their way. This person was rarely punished, this person was chosen over me, and I had to be the one of be understanding and forgiving, when my hair was being pulled by this person. This is the major thing that I can never forgive and forget the school for. It’s taken me a long time to come to this realization, and whilst I accept that overtime I think they realised this and had then had my interest at heart eventually, it’s the fact they let this happen for so long to the point where it was happening everyday until they decided to separate us in different classes. Now, what this experience during that time has given me, is recognizing the worst elements of control that can come out in a person. Plus because it seemed to be easier to forgive, I became empathetic to many others. It wasn’t until when I was Sheffield, having a conversation with a staff member, I wish I could remember his name, he had told me that this person’s behaviour that I dealt with was not ok and will never be ok, I don’t think I have ever felt so elated hearing that from someone else, especially from a man. I’ve had to pick very carefully these days who I want in my life. I’ve seen control alot in my life and I absolutely hate it. I can never be controlled now, I won’t tolerate it. I know I have been since that time as a child, in those specialist environments and at one point at home too. Is it fixable? I don’t really know. It would be easy for me to say, if this had have been confronted early on in life then perhaps. But in regards to those with challenging needs and behaviour, I don’t think I can give you an answer. I think you have to be so aware of yourself in order to get out of it, it’s certainly something I have managed to get out of that. I can’t say that about that about anyone that isn’t aware that it might be a problem for them. That’s what scares me.

You yourself cannot control what another person is feeling or how they behave. That was something that took me a long time to at least come to terms with that. But you don’t have to tolerate it either. I admit I am very sympathetic, but even I have my limits now.

Just be you, Sarah x

TV shows I’m into that my friends aren’t.

I have been in and out watching Game Of Thrones, I know I’m late to the party! It’s so funny the excitement that my oldest friends had as I’m talking my perspective on it. Yet I have so many shows that I love that I have been unable to talk about because they don’t watch it! Here’s my list;

WWE

Ever since I was a child, I have loved wrestling so much that at one point that did want to become a commentator. I wouldn’t now because the industry is so complex. Yet I was massively entertained by it all the same. Pretty much everyone in my life didn’t get why I was into it. ‘Girls shouldn’t like wrestling’ they said. I can guarantee that if I took you to one of those shows, you would get entertained somehow. It’s certainly gotten better for women wrestling to which is why I still stick around. But I am in and out of it in recent years. I have ended up with a few friends to talk about now which is great. I admit we’re often cynical about how it is now but we cannot deny that it’s still entertaining. I love the women’s division especially, because believe me, they can wrestle! Yes there were great women I loved growing up, but the Women’s Revolution has created so much impact for the next generation of wrestling fans. I have been watching WrestleMania this weekend and so far I have been surprised how good some of the matches were, even if it’s presentation was off at times.

Line of Duty

Like the rest of the nation I have been on the edge of my seat watching the latest installment of AC-12’s recent case. I don’t normally like cop drama shows, I usually find them really slow. I do love Luther, another one that I’ve only seen and no else has! Anyway, I was late to the party coming into this one but they’re pretty easy to binge on when you have the time to sit through. I re watched them all before Series 5 started just to have everything in my mind ready in case I might miss something. It’s one of those shows where you can easily become detective, not that I think the metropolitan police would take just anyone on. The amount of times you question yourself and the characters every time there is a new twist and turn is just outstanding. What’s so annoying for me is that I want somebody other then my mum to talk about it with and get their opinions on it. I love the relationship between Ted, Steve and Kate aswell, it’s legit like a father and his two kids. I am so desperate to know who or what is H! Got you interested have I?

Drag Race

Again, another late to the party sitch for me but one thing I am so grateful for during this pandemic is the amount of Drag Race we’ve had overtime. Season 12, All Stars, Canada, UK and Season 13, I feel spoiled. I don’t know alot about drag and I haven’t been to any drag show but I can totally see how much impact it has. I honestly watch the lip syncs as if I were watching a football match, and I hate football! I have managed to get my bestie into the UK version of the show which is a start. It does give me some excitement that I can to talk to her about it now. Although it is annoying that she kinda cheat by only watching clips on YouTube…jokes obviously! It’s one of those shows where you think they can’t top from what they did the previous season. Season 12 has been my favourite out of them all, but I have been pleasantly surprised with this current one. It also gives you an opportunity to learn about the daily struggles of the members of the LGBTQ+ community aswell as many that have come from all sorts off backgrounds. We managed to get tickets for the UK Season Two tour for next year so I supposed that could be my first drag show I’ll ever watch? I personally wanted Bimini to win from our season but I am happy for Lawrence too. And by the way, my money is on Gotmik for the US season!

Bojack Horseman

There’s always that one show that’s one our lists that’s so out there that if they made into real life it wouldn’t get made. I’ve talked about this show before and honestly it’s by far my favourite what I think would be considered the modern day South Park? Expect with this one it explains mental health so well and how a person’s addictions can come back right at them. Bojack’s life as a whole is so complex and even though he wants off the booze and the pain meds, it’s those things that make him work. Plus his behaviors are what causes so much difficultly in his relationships. It’s certainly something I saw so clearly. You love him but you hate him too. That is such a rare case for me. I also find myself alot in Todd, he’s my favourite character on the show. It did come to a natural conclusion depending on how you saw the last episode. It’s that deep. I think I might give it all a re watch at some point because I do miss it.

I’m not saying that all the shows I like my friends aren’t, in fact there’s plenty of shows and films that we absolutely adore. Simpsons being the most popular choice. It does kinda make you feel alienated sometimes, in conversation. It’s kinda awkward when you ask ‘have you been watching such and such?’ they say no, but you talk about it anyway because there’s nothing else to talk about. These entertainment shows have made me feel things that I don’t you realise how they would make you feel. I have a nature of going into things very deep, people either get it or they don’t. But I don’t care to be honest, because these shows have created so much impact for me, and many other shows too.

What TV shows do you like that you’re friends haven’t seen?

Just be you, Sarah x

Acceptance…that’s all we want.

So here we are again, another year and another discussion of where do we go from here? Let’s face it, everyone is ‘aware’ of Autism. There is someone in your life that you know that has it. As we keep talking about it, the more common that I personally believe it is. Has there been much change in recent years?

I have a key worker who has an adult child that’s looking at getting a diagnosis, specifically for Asperger’s. The way that they’ve started their journey, already have been given has been really fascinating to me. So far, after making an appointment with the doctor, they had to do a questionnaire about day to day life and how it affects them. Since then, my key worker says that their kid was expecting a call from their doctor for further discussion. I don’t know if the system has changed in getting a diagnosis because this seems not only new but certainly different then what was previously done. Most have to get a referral for a specialist. I know we were given a referral to a formal diagnosis session in Alder Hay, a pretty scary process for a child. So it seems rather strange to me that this is the route that they have been set upon. Unless this what has happened to some people and I’ve only known about it recently. I personally would like to know how this will end up for their sake, because by doing a questionnaire does seem odd. For all anyone could know, it’s will end up on in a pile somewhere and won’t be picked up until years later. It’s clear that getting a diagnosis early in life works it’s wonders then it is when you are an adult. I know I’m one of the lucky ones, only because I was mis-diagnosed beforehand. The likely hood of getting an official diagnosis after getting an appointment and referral is three years which we can all agree that is a long time to wait. I would like to see where a package kind of thing could be set in as one goes through this journey. Kind of like how the government has planned to introduce mental health packages to be put into schools. It’s such a mental anguish that they need something to hold on to in the meantime. In the UK alone right now, opportunity will be limited because everyone will be fighting to get back to where we want to be. But in my eyes, we cannot forget about those that will struggle more. There’s also a battle in how we should promote this week alone. What colours, symbols and which organisations to support. You certainly have a choice in how you want to share some love. What I would suggest is that rather then support organisations, because the majority don’t really support us. Research into a variety of individuals with their own experiences. Kinda like what I have been doing for so many years now. I certainly don’t speak for everyone, but there are so many people out there that are worth alot more to support and to have so much respect for.

What this pandemic has done for me it’s reflect my life in more detail then I could have imagined. It’s made me think about everything about me and my life as a whole. I know that I’ve had an extraordinary, along with the costs of that. I’ve been reading alot of posts by people who hated/hates their disability. I related to this so much, but I’ve never admitted that to anyone because I knew that’s not helpful for those surrounding me. It makes sense as to why many feel like this, and how I have felted previously. The world hasn’t been built for us Autistics, so we’re trying to work with aiding the world to adapt. Although it’s felt like we’ve been the ones that have had to adapt. It’s so tiring. I am happy that we become more knowledgeable of what is considered to be a disability and will certainly learn alot more as the years will go by. In my life I haven’t had much prejudices being presented toward me, I do feel them more as an adult because it’s like people are shocked that adults are still Autistic. I’ve had the odd ‘you don’t look Autistic’ comment, to which I hate of course. I can think of many people in my life that I believe would rather wish that I wasn’t, all I have to remind them that I’m here and it’s always going to be there whether they like it or not. I have improved in how I deal with things and patterns will occasionally change, but it never goes away. That’s the biggest misconception about Autism. It’s like we’re instantly a lost cause once we’re given that piece of paper, but if you meet my mum or even my sister, they made sure otherwise. I certainly like how my Autism works now then I have done in the past and I do like myself as a person alot more then I ever have.

Here’s one thing that I do want to make a point about, I want to be honest as much as possible. As the Covid vaccines have been rolling out, the whole ‘Vaccines cause Autism’ argument has been raised once again. Can I ask you this, do those that believe this have any idea how this actually harms us as people? Do you not realise how damaging that mindset makes us feel? Here’s the thing, you have the right in how to own your body as I believe in that too. But I personally want people to understand how harmful that statement actually is. It’s pretty much suggesting that it’s a bad thing to be Autistic. The amount of times that I have questioned and hated myself because of this statement alone, well I’ve lost count. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground where we can be seen as people. Most either feel sorry for us or hates us with a passion. Is it actually too much to ask for accept our existence? Because here we are, and we want to make the most of our lives just as much as you do yours. That’s all we want, please.

Just be you, Sarah x

Sexuality & Me

So the stereotypes say that everyone that is on the Autism spectrum are not interested in sex. Alot of people are scared of the idea of a Autistic person having sex, or even the idea of having a sexual identity. That is not entirely true.

Because of how our senses work, sex is one of those things that can be really thrilling or really off putting. Generally, the dating hard for a Autistic person. Being in a loving relationship is also very difficult. Not that it’s never difficult for anyone, especially in this day and age when the majority of the world has relied on an app on a phone to do the introductions. Growing up I have seen people that are not only coming to terms with their disability, they’re also trying to work out what their own sexual identity is. I can’t imagine how difficult that must be. Especially when it’s something where there is always a chance of being neglected because of it. In the school environment, even then it was all hushed. I don’t know whether this was simply because you had students that could never fully understand the concept and therefore it shall not be spoken about. Not that it really stopped anyone for being who they are, but were often told to ‘calm down’. I hate that. Even sex education that I got was pretty vague. I think they tried to avoid that conversation altogether really. It wasn’t until someone in the class had actually asked, and as much the tutor was reluctant in showing it, we did. It was weird, of course it is. It was a combination of Pixar early days mixed with Inbetweners…and I hate Inbetweners! Most kids at the school probably didn’t get sex education, that kinda makes me icky to be honest. Those people are not going to be challenged on consent and stuff like and that terrifies me.

As a child, the idea of getting married or having kids was not on my to do list. I wanted to be a Power Ranger instead! I had crushes, Adam Copeland and Jason David Frank being the first. But it wasn’t encouraged either. I suppose being brought up in a feminist household made sure that I was worth more then that. I did used to get the adrenaline feeling when kissing someone confused with fear. I had this boyfriend when I was a kid and we would only peck on the lips. My first proper kiss with him I got so scared that I dumped the lad an hour after. I feel so guilty about this, yes I was still a child and didn’t know how feelings worked but even that’s a stupid reason to dump someone. He must have thought I dumped because he was a bad kisser. Oh jeez, I hate myself sometimes. After that I have moments with other boys but my sickly adrenaline confused me got in the way and would run. I was pretty single from my teens after those because I wasn’t interested and was still trying to figure out these feelings. I’ve not had many boyfriends in my life, suffice to say, relationships weren’t and are probably won’t be my strong suit. I was never good at articulating what I needed from them, unless my buttons were pushed and it would come out aggressively. I admit that because of this, it has made me toxic in a relationship. I hate that I’m like this, I’m just not sure if this is something I can easily fix. It’s that mindset of ‘as long as they’re happy then I should be happy?’ Yeah, that doesn’t work. In the end, those relationships never worked because deep down I hated myself. Not that they could have worked if I did but it’s true when RuPaul says;

‘If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna somebody else’

Yes it’s a cliche but it’s straight to the point. I’ve been different versions of myself but have never been able to be me. That’s not good enough for someone else. I do think that I have to be dead sorted before I can even consider finding love again, but with me, I don’t think it’s ever going to be that simple.

I don’t have sexual attraction towards anyone, and I suppose that was what was missing, or what I felt was missing in order to make a relationship work. I do like someone that can make me laugh and that I can have proper deep interesting conversations with, most women do. I’ve also come to the conclusion since I’ve been single for a long time, sex isn’t important to me. I am happy that we live in a world where we have an open world to have conversation of the good and bad things about sex. Yet I do feel somewhat like an outsider because I don’t see as an important part of a relationship. When I was in relationship, sex was important to them. So I agreed and consented to it too because it was something that I wanted to do. The connection you have with someone you trust is amazing…when all is consented of course. I didn’t always enjoy it I don’t think, but that was more of the fact that I didn’t like myself enough to always enjoy the moment, which is why I think the guys would eventually dump me in the end. All of this considered, it has made me think if I am asexual. To where an individual that has a lack of to no interest in sex and/or isn’t sexually attracted to anyone. If I was honest with myself, it’s certainly that makes sense to me. I’m not sure if it makes sense to anyone else, which is why I haven’t talked about it much. I know that many of my friends don’t care too much about those things and take people as they are. Which is lovely way of thinking, but it’s how they might react when it’s something you want to talk about, and it’s certainly something I think is important for the individual themselves. Plus I certainly hope this is something that they may resent me for, there is always that risk. I know I have the backup from people that I have discussed this with which I am happy about.

I don’t think I will ever be sure what I personally identify with in this regard. There is alot of pressure I think to have that figured out, for many it could take years.

Just be you, Sarah x

Dyscalculia…do I have it?!

The one thing that has been a constant struggle my whole life has been numbers and Maths. A while back, my mum told me about an article where there are more diagnosis for what is known as the dyslexia of numbers. Why has it taken thirty years to find this out?!

I don’t know what it is with my brain when it comes to numbers. It’s the major subject that I was terrible at in school and for the longest time it was something that I was often ridiculed by teachers, saying that I need to do better. You ask me to work out a sum and it always take me ages to figure out what it is, or more or less get it wrong. I also hated estimation aswell, I instantly get scared when asked. Maths is my worst enemy and I don’t ever recall a Math lesson that I ever liked. Like seriously, I’m finding a hard time to find a time where I could have done! I do get snippets where we did use cubes as a visual to help us add or subtract. But then you learn divisions and multiplications and my mind explodes. I did used love watching those Sooty videos where you learn about basic English, Maths and Science. If all my lessons were like those videos were, I could have flooded with GCSE’s but nah. I don’t think that even the school could understand why I struggle with Maths but seem to be ok in other subjects. I come across as socially smart so the idea that I’m not academically smart seems really alien to them. As the years go by I think the school realised that this was something that I’m never going to ever improve on, so they just kinda let it be. It’s so funny, GCSE’s were never introduced until I went to sixth-form years so I missed out. Not that I would have done well to be honest. There’s much pressure for kids that age to get the better results for one’s future and I just find that so crumbling. I hate to be a young person aka Gen Z these days, it’s no wonder they’re angry at us millennials!

As I got older the Maths lessons got tougher. There would be so many times where I had to walk out because I couldn’t handle the pressure of trying to work something out in my head. I always get frustrated when I can’t picture the sum. There was one time that I felt so bad about. So the teacher asks me to answer a question and I just couldn’t figure out and just said I didn’t know. My best friend who is an absolute wiz at Maths and got the question right, rightfully so. She slightly got told that she shouldn’t have answered so quickly. So not only did I feel bad that I couldn’t get it right, but I felt worse for my friend getting slightly ‘told off’ even when she answered correctly. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t am I right? One of the things that they got us to do in college was learning how to budget. Every week we were given some money to spend for the whole week. This was presented as an idea that we would learn how to spend and save money. We would bring in a certain amount from home, usually it would be a tenner each week. You’d gather the receipts every time you would spend money, write it down then work out if what you have left matches your sheet. I took ages doing this because I was so scared of messing up. I got so panicked when one I was 10p short and couldn’t figure out where I missed it. Yeah I get anxiety by missing 10p!

To give you an idea what to look for if you feel the same about this, here’s what the symptoms for adults that I got from the Dyscalculia Association website;

  • difficulty counting backwards
  • difficulty remembering ‘basic’ facts
  • slow to perform calculations
  • weak mental arithmetic skills
  • a poor sense of numbers & estimation
  • difficulty in understanding place value
  • addition is often the default operation
  • high levels of mathematics anxiety

Looking at this list I totally believe that this is me. Whether I go down this route of getting myself diagnosed, I’m not so sure. To be honest, it’s become common knowledge anyway, I probably don’t need to. When you enter in the real world you realise that everything you learn in school doesn’t apply at all. It’s so frustrating to me as I believe what we should really learn should be in the curriculum. Like using a bank account, you never learn that. As my mum always says about me, ‘she knows how to spend it but doesn’t know how to use her account…she’s my power of attorney for a reason!

Just be you, Sarah x