Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Undressing My Fears

sonder

n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk

When I was young I used to sit outside in the evening hours with my back to my house as I watched the traffic go by on the road. The headlights would flash by, and I'd watch the taillights as they got smaller, and smaller in the distance. People in their cars with places to go, and people to see. I didn't know them, and they didn't know me. They couldn't even see me from where I was sitting. I wasn't visible from the road. I liked to try to guess where they might be going. Maybe to the store, or to run an errand. Maybe to a party, or to visit friends. The possibilities were endless. The one thing for sure it seemed in that moment to me was that they had a purpose. They had somewhere to be, somewhere to go, and likely someone to connect with. That is where them, and I differed. As I sat there, alone, and isolated as I had so many times before I didn't have anywhere to be, or anyone to connect with. I longed to be someone who did. The isolation that I felt day after day was crushing. It had been that way as long as I could remember until I was 18, and met my husband.

That kind of invisibility distorts a child's view of their self I had always been wonderful at entertaining myself for hours on end, and seldom get bored, if ever. I don't think I ever needed companionship of others to entertain me. I think if anything I needed it to validate my being, my sense of belonging to the human race. Since I rarely got that as a child I tend to view every rejection, or transgression by another as a blow to my ability to belong, to assimilate. I see it as a failure on my part to adequately either avoid the upset, or avoid being upset over a minor issue. Either I am doing something wrong, or I am irrationally expecting the other person to behave differently than they are, thus I shouldn't be upset about whatever it is I'm upset about. Of course, this is not how emotions work. I can't police them that way. If my feelings keep popping up saying they are hurt, or I am feeling angry over a transgression then those feelings are like little red flags. I can keep pushing them down, but they're going to keep coming back, and it's quite likely it could happen in a destructive way if I'm not careful.  I always like to rationalize with my feelings. I like to tell myself that I am overreacting. I want my feelings to listen to me, because it's often not convenient to address them. Addressing them means addressing discomfort, and awkwardness. It's so often that in relationships, especially friendships, I would decide that any transgressions by others toward me could be overlooked, because if I put forth boundaries I might lose all my friends. It has been my contention that so-so friends are better than no friends.

I'm beginning to feel like maybe that's not true.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

CozyPhones- Product Review

It's not a new thing that we're often connected to an electronic device for a good part of the day. Whether it's for work, health, or play we spend spend quite a bit of our day with headphones, or earbuds in our ears. It's just a way of life.

Recently, I had the opportunity to try a new product that could change the way you, and your family connects to your devices. CozyPhones CozyPhones is a soft headband that fits snugly around your head while you enjoy the same sounds you would with earbuds, or headphones. There are many different styles, and materials to choose from, so you will always be able to find one to fit your particular need. I think this is most highlighted with people who have sensory difficulties with earbuds, or headphones. CozyPhones don't go inside the ear, nor squish in any kind of way. They would be tolerable, and even welcomed by those who crave deep pressure sensory wise.

I did try them myself, and found them to be very comfortable. I do like deep pressure around my head, so I found them to be a little calming even. I didn't feel the volume quite went up as much as I would have liked, though.

My husband used them while he worked. He works outdoors with heavy equipment, and a lot of activity. He found the volume to be acceptable, and the headband comfortable.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Feeling Fall

Every Fall I eagerly await the first colors of the leaves to pop out from the trees. I check daily from the first of August for any sign of color changes, even just a little. This year I found that the colors began to turn quite early. I began to see leaves turning olive green, and darkened yellow hues in September! In the region I am from that is really early. We are often still having triple digit temperatures off, and on through out the month of September, so to see the change of colors starting to peek out so soon was a surprise to me. Since then it has been slow progress, however. The changes have come in short bursts.

One thing I know for sure is that every Fall season produces different results when it comes to the trees, and losing leaves.

Last year's colors were rather disappointing. The trees went from an olive green, to a muted yellow, to barren. There was not much in between. The weather snapped rather quickly from hot to cold, and the leaves just went from mid-fall colors, to dead. I missed the golds, and bright oranges as they fell gently from the sky over a couple week's time. The environment dictated what needed to happen for the trees to stay safe, and strong. The trees adapted, and did what they needed to.

They were the same trees that lit up the sky in years past with brilliant displays of reds, and golds, and oranges. I'd take pictures of them. Some years they'd explode with color, and some years not so much. I'm not sure which one this year is going to be. Of course, I am hoping for a colorful year, but I understand the times where energy conservation is also needed.

I was thinking that sometimes we are like those trees. Sometimes we explode with color, and excitement, but other times, we need to pull in, and care for ourselves. It's the same tree, and the same place, same season. Nothing changed, but maybe the environment. The tree does what it has to to be healthy. Maybe other people might have judgments about that. The tree might not be as beautiful to the eyes of others while it transforms into energy conservation mode. That's not why the tree changes. It changes to prepare for winter, and others just get the benefit of witnessing the process of this change. Sometimes the change is spectacular, and other times it's a quieter event that seems to takes place in a flash.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Intellectual Disability and Autism

This is a post that I have physically began to compose, but have deleted a couple times over the years. In my head I've written it over, and over thousands of times, each time composing it with a little more understanding, but not enough courage, or possibly enough knowledge yet to feel competent to write about it, maybe? I'm not sure. I am sure to get some of it wrong, but what I am sure about is the time I've spent thinking, and knowing my [autistic] brain, and understanding both of my sons, as well as being around others in the autism community has led me to where I am. I think I will get more right then I will get wrong.

So, what is this tumultuous topic that I tread so delicately to address?

Intellectual disability, and Autism; or rather where they intersect.

It's a very taboo topic to even broach within the autism community. If one were to even hint that their child might have an intellectual disability, plus autism to another parent whether this be in person, or online this is almost akin to saying, "I would like to start a fight with you." Never mind that this other person may never even have met the first person's child. All they heard was the words autistic (or autism), and intellectually disabled used in a sentence together, and that's enough to begin a verbal onslaught of angry facts, as if the other person insulted every autistic person under the sun by what they just said.

That in, and of itself is ableist. Let me explain why.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Do You Time Budget?

Every night before I go to bed I like to take a few minutes to think about how my day went, and how I feel about it. There was a time recently where I felt like there was a lot of nights where I was going to bed feeling like I failed to complete what I had set out to do that day, leaving me feeling frustrated, and unsuccessful. I would sit in the quiet, and draw in an exasperated breath as I blew out my candle, and headed to bed unsure how to go about resolving the issue.

This is likely a familiar scenario with a lot of you reading this whether you're a parent/caregiver of a child with special needs, or are disabled yourself, or are just caught in a busy life with a high level of demands for a multitude of reasons.

I found myself redrawing my schedule, and reworking plans, but not able to make things work. There was simply too much to do, and not enough of me to do it, not to mention the moments I craved of solitude were becoming fewer, and farther between.

One day as I cleaned out some old stuff that my daughter had left behind when she moved out the answer started to become more clear. I grabbed a set of decorative pillows that had a small tear in the seam, and as I took them aside I went to find a bag to put them into so I could set them aside to sew them the tear later, and then likely sell them. Then I thought, but what if i didn't? I reasoned that I would likely never get to it, anyway, which was true. What if I just gave them to someone else who could give them the attention they needed? So, that is what I did.

I began to look at a lot of my belongings this way. Piles of projects that I wanted to get to someday suddenly seemed like they were more in the way, and taking up space than anything.I started getting rid of clutter, and clearing out the clutter in my mind, too. My attitude started shifting from

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Standing Up To Murder Apologists

It happened again. Another mother/caregiver murdered her disabled son. This incident seems to be more disturbing to me than many. His name was Austin Anderson, and he was just 19. You'd think the world would be on fire wanting justice while mourning the untimely, torturous death of this innocent young man at the hands of his mother, right?

Not quite.

For one, I had to go to more than one link to even find the victim's identity, even though the murder's is clear through any, and all articles I have seen thus far. While sometimes I have seen this happen when the detectives are unsure of the identities of the deceased, or when there are other minor siblings involved in the case they may not always release names none of those things are true in this situation. In this situation Austin was an adult. He was an adult that is mostly referred to as "Lightwine's son"  in most of the articles. Way to erase his identity, media! His name was Austin Anderson. He should not be referred to as his killer's son.

I felt like I needed to get that part off my chest, because this next part is where my tone turns a little. Maybe, a lot from what my regular readers are used to. I don't typically write a lot of in your face types of pieces. Today I feel like I am. For me, this is pushy, and more edgy than usual. It might not seem so to others, though.

If you're in the autism community you've probably come across this article several times already by now on social media, right? How has the reaction been? Have you seen a lot of outrage? How about sympathy for the mother? Have you seen a lot of talk about needing more support for parents?

I have. All of the above. Sometimes all in the same post, combined together in a ball of tightly wound contradictions that feel impossible to pull apart. Doesn't mean I haven't tried, but the posters, and those that stand with them hold on tightly to their beliefs.

Such as these comments I came across under the article on FB:


Here we have the all encompassing doublespeak where a parent engages in a discussion about how they aren't excusing a killer's actions while actively looking for every which reason under the sun the person could have been driven to madness , thus postulating it can be understanding that a person under such strain could indeed kill their child, but they shouldn't, but they could, but, I mean she is a monster. I'm just saying if she had more help maybe she'd not have been such a bad person, and would have not been a drug addict with a terrible temper, and not have made terrible, selfish choices, like killing her son, but you know, we need to talk about respite.

That's what I hear when I read those posts, and others like it. I said that there is no separating the two. Either she is wrong, or she isn't. Either you sympathize with a murderer, or you don't, because in this case it really is that simple. When other people are murdered people do not use the space underneath of the story on social media to discuss how bad the killer had it. They don't come up with every excuse the killer may have ever had in their entire life to have made that choice against the deceased. It is so vile. It is so disgusting. It is so inappropriate to me that anyone would use the space underneath any article about a vulnerable person's death to discuss their own needs, or how the killer's needs are not being met. That is the most selfish, unemphatic thing I have ever witnessed, and would not happen if the person that was killed was typical, or non-disabled.

So, here is where I ask all of you to help.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Unpacking Women's Autonomy

At any given part of the day us women know that we are under a tremendous amount of scrutiny from every corner of the earth. It weighs us down, and objectifies us in ways that much of the time we are not even aware of what the next source is going to be. We pass this judgment ourselves to other women, and we receive with defensive scowls, and add it to our ever running insecure commentary that lurks in the back of our darkest subconscious. The whispers of every word we hear, and nonverbal gesture we soak in from our environment that defines what it is to be a woman in our culture sits back in our collective subconscious forming our thoughts, our values, and ultimately shaping our character, and influencing our goals. It's only when we give some of these automatic thoughts real insight do we begin to see the flaws, but we have to first be willing to accept that maybe what we think we know could be wrong. That's the hardest part of any belief system, isn't it? It's challenging a set of beliefs that we have held to be true automatically all of our lives, and accepting it may not be, and if it isn't other beliefs we hold that hinge on that one may not be, as well. It threatens to shake us down to the core of who were are, who we know, and where we come from. Cognitive dissonance is always an easier route, though not always better, or more healthy.

And, so how can this look at times when you might encounter a set a beliefs about women in general that seem so powerful that it overshadows all else?

It can, and does come along in all sorts of forms. But, there is one that stuck out to me the other day in particular due to the heinous nature of the actions involved with the people in the situation. I think that to most this didn't seem like it could be a women's rights issue. It certainly didn't seem like the woman involved could be setting an example that anyone would want to follow, and that part is true. I read this news

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Where I've Been

Some of you that follow my blog are probably surprised to see this entry pop up in your social media feed. You may have wondered where I've been, or even forgotten about me, since it's been 2 months since I've written anything.

Summer has always been a busy time for me, and my family. There's just so much more to do in the summer, and I always need to be outside, and on the go, which means being online has to be done in small intervals. This summer has been no exception to that. We have been trying to get out as much as possible to enjoy the outdoors, and all of the activities that summer brings. They are all of Bean's favorite things to do, so I try to maximize opportunities as much as I can. However, this year has been harder than others to do that due to chronic migraines. Every other day, or two I have one, and it's a struggle for me to keep up with life in general. The swirling nausea, and dizziness slows me down, and the aphasia makes it impossible to write on a lot of days, even if I were to have the time.

Health wise it has been really difficult. Having a chronic illness kind of rearranges your life forcibly in ways you never thought about before, but suddenly have to deal with. I have no choice. It's not heroic, or inspirational, or any of those things. I'm a mother, and a wife, and a human being who has responsibilities. I have to get on with things, even if I have to do so in a different way then I had before. So, things have been prioritized, delegated, rearranged, and done at probably much slower speeds than I used to do them, but they're getting done.

Another reason that I find it hard to find the time to write anymore is that taking care of Beans has really

Monday, May 30, 2016

Reserving Judgment- My thoughts on the Cincinnati Zoo incident

By now, you all have probably heard about the Cincinnati Zoo incident where a child fell into a gorilla enclosure, and the gorilla was fatally shot by zookeepers. If not you can read about it HERE.

I don't often write about current events for a number of reasons. One of them being that when I do it's usually in short, and on one of my FB pages, because it's a fleeting type of content. It's not content that one can look at in a year, two, or even five, and be able to relate to it like you might be able to most of the other entries I make on here. It loses it's appeal after so long, and literally becomes old news.

This story really bothered me for a number of reasons that I wanted to discuss on a wider forum that I feel an emotionally charged comment section just wouldn't suffice.  My facebook wall might do, but is limited in scope. That's why I decided to use my blog, and am unsure as to whether or not to leave the comments open, or whether I should mediate them.

The reason for my hesitancy on the comments section is the level of anger that I am seeing from the public. I get it. I do. An innocent animal lost it's life. It's really an awful thing to think about. We want there to be something, and someone to blame. There has to be. Right?

And, that is where I am not sure.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Tasting Inner Peace

I've always heard that the utmost point of inner peace, and maturity as been achieved when a person can remain calm even in the face of adversity.

I wasn't exactly sure what that meant. I mean, I know what the words mean. I know what the sentence means. But, what I was unsure of, what I halfway admitted to myself was that I was not clear on what that would look like unfolding in real time. How would that feel, and how would I know when I have reached that level?