Hello, my friends! Today’s blog post is brought to you by my poorly made enchiladas. I will be going back to ramen pretty soon, because fuck this shit. My ancestors, none of whom have any Latino or Hispanic blood, weep for the atrocity that is my dinner. It tastes good, but it looks so very very sad. And that’s okay.
I’m trying out a bit of a new routine tonight. Normally, I do studies, dinner, yoga, shower, then blog post. By the time I get to doing the blog, I’m tired and angry and sullen. Mostly sullen because I’m tired. So, tonight I’m doing yoga, blog post and dinner, shower, and then studies. I hope this works out okay.
First off, I want to say that I am anxious about tomorrow. Just a little anxious. I’ve been dragging my feet about how to talk about this thing and I’m half-hoping that Charon will just want to talk about my amazing letter. I also just really want to get this thing off my chest.
Second, I’ve been feeling a bit weird. A little depressed and out of it, but not overly so. I’ve been eating just about 100% junk food the last few weeks, so it could just be my diet. None-the-less, I’m going to try and force myself to do things that I normally enjoy. Hopefully that will kick-start my system.
Third of all, and the main topic of today’s post, is me again talking about my Autism. I can go off of the list of symptoms I have and say that this is what makes me Autistic. I can ask other people’s opinions. I can say it’s my social dyslexia or Executive Dysfunction. Heck, I could probably say it’s my physical appearance and mannerisms. But that’s not what makes me Autistic.
It’s a label, to be sure. It’s one of those things where, if you have X amount of symptoms over the Y and Z ranges, you are diagnosed with it. That’s how you get called Autistic. But what makes me Autistic? What makes me sit down and keep quiet in social situations or to start crying at (seemingly random) times? What makes me Autistic and what makes someone else not?
I don’t know. I could go on and on about all the diagnostic criteria and all that but I don’t know what causes me to operate on a different wave length than others. I couldn’t tell you which gene from my parents contributed to it and I couldn’t tell you which section of the brain is wired wrong. To me, it’s all of me. It’s sort of like being smart. You either are smart or you aren’t smart. There are several different kinds of being smart, to be sure. Just like there are different kinds of being Autistic. But you either are or you aren’t.
I have to sit down and really think about what makes me upset after a meltdown. I’ve recently become aware that most people don’t know that saying that things got to be too much is a perfectly reasonable explanation. Even Okaasan doesn’t understand quite where I’m coming from as she often says I’m just being anxious.
It’s not about being anxious. Sure, anxious is a side-effect. It’s also about the slow building pressure that lives in my chest. I’ve learned to better become aware of any upcoming meltdowns or shutdowns based solely on that pressure. It’s a constant in my life. Some days, the pressure is just tiny, like if I had a loose fist inside of me. Other days, it’s like the Mariana Trench, where everything bothers me. My clothes and the vibrations of the world around me. The smells that envelop me. The noises that bombard me. The tastes. The energy. The sights. Everything. It becomes too much.
The pressure in my chest feels different according to each situation I’m in. It has different tastes and different sensations. If the situation is one where I’m fearful, it pulsates. The rhythm goes with my heart. It’s a boom boom boom. If I’m angry, it just grows, like a bomb. It’s like broooooowooowmm. And if I’m happy, it’s like a light hug on my heart. But if I’m getting bombarded with sights and sounds and sensations, it becomes erratic. I can no longer tell what I’m feeling. The pressure is no longer part of knowing. It is an overwhelming reminder that everything is too loud.
My brain normally processes things in sensations and tastes, rather than words. I actively put words to things to help me communicate with people. It’s a very exhausting thing. I do not normally think in words. If my pressure in my chest is not right, I often get stuck without the words. And without the words, I am nothing.
I guess what I’m saying is, a huge part of what I think makes me Autistic is words, or rather, the difficulty with them. When I was younger, I had huge issues with my ‘r’ sounds. As I got older, I managed to graduate speech therapy because I got really good at saying the ‘r’s. I still had a stutter, but my stutter comes and goes. I’ve been called contemplative and wise, I think, because I tend to pause when I am speaking with someone and I have to really dig for the words. I know a lot of words and I work hard to find the words that taste right to each situation.
But a lot of times, the words aren’t quite right or the other person doesn’t understand the words and I get frustrated and the words start to make less sense. I stutter. I slip into a weird British accent. I struggle with finding more words that could fit the situation so that I can get others to understand.
There’s a huge part of me that gets really sad when I try to talk to people or to communicate something that bothers me or that I’ve thought deeply about. I can’t just say that something is too much. I can’t just say that the pressure is sad or that this thing that bothers me bothers me because the words never taste right. That I can’t say anything because the words are trapped or they don’t exist. That sounds and motion is the best thing you can get from me in terms of communication because it makes sense.
I get frustrated and sad when I get labelled as ‘high functioning’ by people. Because, to me, I’m not. I just happen to have a few more words than others.
And at the end of the day, words are just words. They aren’t me.
-The Sarcastic Autist