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Holiday Stress With Past Trauma

Once again, I’m writing hoping it can benefit others who can relate. The holidays have always sucked, in my opinion. I never could fully enjoy Christmas with how much giant corperations drain their employees and the commercial aspects overriding the best parts. I usually will make a donation or a few and go about my business, as I enjoyed giving back and the amount of kindness that flows with this time of year. Now that I’m older, I realize the holidays meant something deeper for me that I hadn’t taken time to process and that’s the direction I’m going with this post.

Every Christmas Eve we’d go to my grandpa’s house (my father’s father) where his siblings and my father’s siblings in state would congregate every Christmas. It was the same thing every year. Leading up to Christmas Eve my father would be overly stressed which would cause him to lash out and be set off at the smallest things. We could get smacked for the smallest things and then expected to smile afterwards because appearances and such. It was dreadful to know that this time of year was going to bring walking on eggshells while everyone you loved was also lashed out at and feeling powerless to stop it or even help (including my clearly stressed out father. I was aware enough to recognize his emotional pain too.)

Covid-19 has brought a different tone this year. I cut off communication with my father last year just before Christmas. It was awkward and the guilt, dread, and options weighing in my head were endless. This year is the opposite. Quarantine and isolation have made a great blanket to not attending this year and I’m more at peace. Would I love to see the others that reside in that house? Absolutely. More than anything. I do miss them BUT I think having a legitimate reason to step back this year and really process everything has helped me so much. I realized I didn’t hate this time of year as much as I thought I did. I hated what came with it. To see the commercial aspects override it and get little peace and comfort from family in my own home growing up and how much it impacted me really opened my heart to the holiday. I’m not religious so I celebrate kindness, the winter season, and giving when I can.

So my husband and I are alone this year. No family, just us and I am so relieved. I know a lot of us are alone this holiday season. Please remember that if you’re feeling alone, you are loved. Please do not hesitate to even reach out to me for someone to talk to. I’m not a therapist and can only offer friendship but I wanted to throw the offer out there. Not everybody has processed their traumas and feelings yet or are working on it and that’s okay. Either way, I’m here for y’all and I’m so thankful to have such an amazing support system and that y’all take the time to even bother reading little ol me’s thoughts and rants. 😊

Happy holidays 🖤

2020

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I’m Autistic and Recently Got Diagnosed With ADHD In My 30’s

This is more of a rambling blog, so I apologize if it’s a bit more scattered and less planned out than my previous blogs. In January 2020, I was also diagnosed with ADHD… 3 years after also being diagnosed with autism as an adult. The process has been drastically different for me with the ADHD diagnosis compared to autism and I’m still internally trying to figure out why.

So the ADHD “test” I took was awful. Not like getting a shot or covid test awful but I had to click the mouse each time a certain pattern, image, or sound appeared… Easy enough, right?? Well, then they start adding obstacles like opening the door so you can easily hear people walking by with their loud shoes or talking amongst each other, having other monitors on next to my computer, etc. Just every day distractions that I didn’t realize I’d learned to tune out through years of school that faded away in adulthood which really had my ADHD flashing like a neon sign. Leg bouncing for stimming. Looking around and memorizing the assigned numbers on all the computer monitors, checking the clock, and getting increasingly frustrated with each wrong answer.

When I was diagnosed as Autistic, I took a few weeks to process and looked into it before disclosing it to my husband. I was so ignorant about autism and so much information available through basic google searches mainly brought up autism perspectives from neurotypical parents/caregivers and only made me feel even worse about my diagnosis. It was when I finally disclosed my diagnosis to friends that I was able to get some sound advice especially from others I didn’t realize were autistic. I didn’t realize they were autistic because what little I knew about autism before the diagnosis was absolutely wrong. I reached out to other Autistics and watched other autistic advocates relay things that were reassuring, beyond helpful, and gave me hope.

Sadly, I have not been able to do the same for ADHD. It’s not that I feel bad about it or see it negatively… But it seems there’s very little information available. (Shout out to the creator “black girl lost keys” for really being a positive anchor in navigating this secondary diagnosis). I feel way more blind and lost and it’s difficult for me to figure out how being autistic and ADHD impacts me and in what ways. Sometimes they overlap but I also feel like they also don’t always and that’s what makes it difficult.

Again, I’m not disappointed but relieved for this diagnosis… But I feel like I’m flying blindfolded trying to navigate this. I also, admittedly am disappointed there wasn’t more available resources when I was growing up or the whole wave of “adhd is fake” and the anti-ritalin rhetoric didn’t help me in school or with friendships… It, in fact, directly negatively impacted me because parents in general were skeptical of adhd diagnosis’ then because they claimed it was “people just drugging their kids instead of letting them be kids. Kids are just hyper in general and need to burn off energy”. (That take on ADHD is so WRONG but a major topic in the mid 90s). I feel like there’s a fraction of the informative resources available for adhd individuals even compared to autism, which again is mainly flooded with perspective from non autistic people.

ADHD does explain why I have the INTENSE special interest aspects of autism but they’re short lived before it’s onto the next thing. For example, I’ll get super hardcore in love with a show or musical artist and usually within a couple of years at most before I’m super into another thing… And not that I hate what I was into it’s just not as intense as before. Things like this always made me feel “less autistic” when talking to other Autistics and to not only have an answer but to speak or listen to others who share these experiences have benefited me so much.

I encourage anybody who is adhd and/or autistic and is considering being an influencer, activist, or advocate to do so. Our voices, our experiences, our point of view from the eyes and minds of the neurodiverse should ALWAYS take priority in educating and information on these conditions because they matter. The internet is our megaphone to be heard and it will benefit others like us and the parents/caregivers of us too. Medical professionals need to start listening to us too because our experiences can educate them and improve the lives of Neurodivergent people and the neurotypical society we are trying to navigate and survive in.

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Things I Experienced During Major Weightloss Nobody Told Me About

Sorry it has been so long in writing again. I’m sure everybody would understand when I say things have been hectic and I’ve been busy. I wanted to dodge political discussion with this post as I believe america needs to have a “come to Jesus” talk with themselves and do some emotional healing.

I never thought I’d lose weight. I was on the edge of 400 lbs and struggled to keep gaining under control despite following a dietitian and had a physical fitness instructor who were left baffled. My only option, according to my primary doctor at the time, was to have a surgery I couldn’t afford. It was soul crushing and I felt defeated after 3 years of actively trying hard to lose weight, enduring 12 miscarriages, and in the final stretch of my 20s and felt my life clock ticking away. I even donated my old “skinny” clothes just before actually losing weight, thinking I’d never fit in them again.

I thought when I lost weight, it’d stop the remarks about being fat. I was surprised to find out that I lied to myself. Once I lost enough weight to not be morbidly obese, the remarks came about how small I was and would question my weightloss in attempts to drag me down. Comments like “I doubt you actually went to the gym or did anything physical to lose the weight” or “you might have cancer losing that much weight that quickly” (it’s been 5 years and I’ve lost over 150 lbs. Not sure how that’s drastic when you’re almost 400 lbs especially since basically the first 50-75 lbs dropped really quickly in comparison to the rest. So don’t expect the insults to fade. You might get more strangers to smile at you or hold the door open for you but the insults don’t go away. People will find ANYTHING to bring you down if it’s in their character or nature to do so… So please make sure you’re losing weight for YOU because you deserve it and not out of praise or pride from others.

Losing weight is incredibly itchy. Areas like my arms, thighs, and stomach have been incredibly itchy since losing weight. Like, Ive clawed myself up bad scratching because the itch is so intense. I noticed this symptom increasing after losing a chunk of weight or dropping water weight during menstruation or ovulation. I had no idea my skin trying to heal from being so far would be so itchy and uncomfortable. It almost became a major deterrent when I hit 75-100 lbs lost because it was so intense… But I used anti itch cream and steamed through that too. So don’t suffer with side effects to better health, it’s okay to use things to help relieve the itching!

The mental work you have to put in is just as intense if not more than the physical work. For me, I had a lot of mental issues and trauma that was severely neglected or ignored and kinda swept under the rug throughout my life. It was easy at one point for me to just ignore bad things and truck on… But I didn’t realize that eventually I would have to face and deal with it anyway… I’d I had known I would’ve dealt with it sooner so it hadn’t been subconsciously tearing me apart for 25 years. I experienced suppressed memories that began to play like an old movie in my head… And they were so disturbing I had to ask my mom if there was any reality to it, which sadly there was. I’ve had to find a counselor I like that listens to me and cares about me and my needs as much as I do or wanna learn to do. It’s okay to change doctors if yours isn’t working for you, that’s not saying they’re a bad doctor, counselor, psychologist, etc .. because you’re needs are based on finding someone emotionally and mentally compatible for you so you’re comfortable opening up and tackling past and current mental health conditions and trauma. Every major thing I tackled emotionally, was in line with my weightloss and I can’t deny that I benefitted from taking care of my mental health as much as the physical aspects.

Lastly, I encourage everybody to take time to learn to appreciate themselves. I had no idea what I’d physically look like losing weight. Im much more hourglass shaped than I had pictured and I’ve had to accept and appreciate my body naturally and not in comparison to bodies I found attractive or thought I could strive for. I’m still learning this aspect myself but I’ve also come a long way and I can recognize that and appreciate it. Almost every single person on this planet wishes they looked different or had different features.. some of them may be features you personally don’t like about yourself. The world is hard enough don’t be another aspect in your life that’s hard on you too. I was a toxic miserable asshole in my early 20s and prior. I cringe anytime old posts of mine show up in the dreaded “memories” section of Facebook but I realize that’s probably a good thing and is something I can easily observe and appreciate.

No matter what weight you are, strive to be and present what you want. Embrace yourself. This post isn’t to degrade plus size people either. I, personally, was incredibly unhealthy and often hospitalized for minor ailments because my weight impacted me so negatively. It was best for me to work on losing weight. I will probably never be a gym rat or have abs but I absolutely want to be healthy and be around as long as possible for my son, husband, dogs, and myself. For the first time in my life, I want to live as long as possible when from childhood until late 20s as I was growing up, I expected to be dead by 30. Don’t let things get in the way of your health and, again, do it for you because you deserve health and happiness.

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We Met In An AOL chatroom in 2003

I’m gifting y’all with 2 blogs to read since the holidays are here and everyone has some free time to read. I’m going to tell you all about how I met my husband and how our relationship beat the ridiculous amount of odds stacked against us at the time. We met in an aol chatroom…

You read that right. I met my husband in early 2002 in an AOL chatroom. It was with a few online friends at the time and their online friends so there was a chunk of us there. I remember someone saying “ohhh you’re cute!” To my now husband. “No I’m not” and my curiosity spiked. I asked if he’d send me a pic and lemme judge, so he sent me a private PM and email. He was the most attractive human being I’d ever laid eyes on. He had brown curly hair just past his eyes, a flannel, and a Nirvana shirt. He had hazel eyes that lit up beautifully in the sun in the pic and his smile was so attractive. how could this person think they were unattractive in anyway?? At the time, web cams weren’t a huge thing and most people didn’t have digital cameras due to expense, so I had no pictures. We hit it off instantly talking about music and other interests at the time and talked extensively about our home lives which lead us to talk every day. My good friend Megan heard about some of our exchanges over the last few days and used her dad’s digital camera to take some pics of me to send. Apparently his feelings towards me were mutual despite my own self esteem issues. We both were in a relationship at the time so we just talked and continued to be friends. Scott’s girlfriend broke up with him after a few months claiming she could do better and I got dumped before a dance for no other reason other than “it’s not you, it’s me”.. my first heartbreak. It sucked and at the time had no idea how Scott fully and truly felt. After hopping on AOL to chat with him after school as I always did, I told him what had happened. He was shocked and couldn’t understand how and why someone would be so cruel. He waited until I was done mourning and opened up about he really felt. What struck me the most was that he never ever stated how he felt, even in my weakest moment freshly single. He respected me enough to give me time to process and grieve before “throwing how he felt” at me and even at 14, I knew this was special.

We lived about 700 miles apart and neither of us were old enough to drive yet we felt about each other as if we saw each other every day. I knew him and he knew me more than some of our closest friends and family. It was almost like we were living 2 separate lives at times. After a couple years we upgraded to being able to call each other (when long distance came with more home phone line plans rather than charging per minute). I remember being SO nervous when I first called him because I had whooping cough for 5 months at that point and had reached to where the coughing fits would last over 2 minutes until I coughed or vomited up blood. To a teenager trying to impress someone they love was hard enough, having something so embarrassing was not a help. However, when the coughing jag started, he patiently waited and when I was done not only asked if I was okay but then started asking me to grab stuff in the kitchen and helped me make something to soothe my throat. I remember being shocked he wasnt disgusted and horrified by the whole thing and thinking “damn, he must really like me to not even bat an eye at that nastiness”. This turned into chatting online and talking every day on the phone.

Our relationship had progressed so much that by the time I was a junior in high school I had to maintain a grade of a C or above in all classes and I’d have my own phone line. Doing this allowed us to talk later at night and before school as well. Our friends knew of each other but some doubted the others legitimacy and existence at points too. I’d 3 way phone call some of my close friends with him to prove he was legit even so that I had backup if anybody doubted. I remember my cousin being a major doubter and showing her his pic and saying “I don’t care. I’m going to marry this man some day”. I even wrote about him in my senior section of the yearbook my senior year.

While our relationship was beyond abnormal, I’d be lying if I said it was perfect. Like every other relationship, we had ups and downs. Due to the distance and rarity of our relationship, we still had doubts we’d ever see each other or it’d truly go anywhere even as it continued to grow and progress. I think there were points where we just assumed life would happen and we’d drift apart because it was “just” an online relationship. This lead to unfaithfulness on both ends at various points earlier in our relationship and it was something we still had to tackle and work through just like anybody else.

As soon as I got my license, I came to visit him. My family had moved and we were only 300 miles away now so the journey was much more possible. I remember feeling like it was a dream come true and reflecting back and remembering all the times I thought I’d never get the chance to ever see him face to face. I visited for a week around Christmas time and it was as if we were old friends seeing each other again after many years. We knew each other on such a personal level that the shyness of getting to know each other physically was a when other experience neither of us were expecting.

During a time of separation, I’d gotten pregnant shortly after my family had moved states. We lost contact during my move and phones/internet getting setup and his number changing due to a move as well and I was already pregnant before we’d found each other and he invited me to live with him. It was a devasting blow and pressure from family left me feeling like I had to try and work things work with the father. They didn’t work out and once again I was left heartbroken and alone with a baby but Scott was there when I needed someone and even called to check on me and my son when I had him in the hospital. By then he had been in the process of moving on and was interested in another girl who didn’t want to give him the time of day but I also waited until he was ready to give up pursuing her before I talked to him about moving our relationship up another level. We’d spent 7 years at that point talking online and on the phone that moving together was an easy option. He spent his tax return coming to see me and my son and meeting my family. A sudden turn of events landed me homeless before we could fully discuss moving in but with 0 hesitation my husband opened the offer up so I didn’t have to go back to my home state.

We’ve lived together since. We spent another 4 years of living together and working on our relationship and ourselves before getting engaged and married and even put our wedding off a year to make sure our relationship kinks were worked out. I’ve lived with him for over 10 years now and it’s weird being away from him when visiting family and stuff. We had to be honest with each other and be willing to put how we felt on the table, no matter what. My husband didn’t want to even mention putting the wedding off a year, he was afraid he’d come off as if he didn’t want to marry me at all but he was brave and honest enough to state his concerns and we mutually came to that decision. I fall more in love with him every single day and every day I can’t imagine how it’s possible to love him any more than I already do.

I really feel like everyone who told us we weren’t going to work out wasn’t wrong. People who lived near each other couldn’t seem to work through a relationship, how could anybody especially teenagers navigate a relationship with limited technology and resources? Realistically we should not be where we are today but our love for each other has lead us both to grow and we’ve grown together. We aren’t even the same people we were when we moved in together but the love is stronger. There’s been a lot of forgiveness, patience, and understanding. We’ve both even kept in mind how different our upbringings were and how those experiences formed us to who we are.

We’re now in our 30’s. Technology has changed so much especially since we met. These days it’s fishy if someone can’t video chat with you but in the early/mid 2000s we were just 2 crazy kids with digital cameras head over heels in love. Any problem we’ve faced we have faced and solved together and isn’t that what any relationship, no matter how it starts, is supposed to be? I don’t know what the future holds but I do know we will get through it together and come out of the other side stronger than before.

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The (Rise And) Fall of a Doormat

I feel like I’ve always been fairly hyper aware of those around me. Just off of saying a couple of words I could tell before finishing my sentence whether to change what I was going to say to something more favorable. I would even play dumb despite knowing an answer even at an extent so that the one who came to me with their info or fact didn’t feel dumb or like they weren’t offering me something valuable knowledge wise. I can’t think of a time where I existed and put myself and/or my needs before someone else or theirs. (I probably have but I cannot recall it)

I know some of the contribution was my siblings. There was much emphasis on how “normal” my parents saw my vs my siblings and their needs always came before mine. It was easier for my mom to get me to give my sister a toy to stop her from throwing a fit than it was to put effort in teaching her patience in that moment. My mom was lead to believe she had to develop more to understand those concepts so those life lessons were thrown on to me despite being younger. (as I’ve always said but feel like I need to say, I’ve grown past my experiences and I’m not angry that it happened, my siblings, or even my parents. They made mistakes but I genuinely believe they thought they were doing the best they could in most aspects but knowing that doesn’t also nullify my right to speak about my experiences in hopes it could make a situation better for someone else). Even my schooling suffered from the various appointments and procedures my siblings have had (it was already suffering though, as mentioned in my education blog). I remember struggling to make and keep friends as a kid and I remember some of the excuses I received then I was “too pretty, too kind, too smart” but these weren’t sound reasons for me as a child. I even got thrown into karate in 5th grade cuz the bullying was so intense for so long without standing up for myself at all. It took til the last day of 5th grade to stand up for myself and the beginning of me no longer being a doormat.

Standing up for myself was just a stepping stone though and once I navigated having people from physically attacking me, I began an almost 20 year journey into emotionally standing up for myself and that has been quite a chore. The way I grew up in my house was parents were in charge, dad works and pays the bills so anything he says, fair or not, goes. There was no time for explaining sides and most explanations were just “excuses”. Being outspoken makes you a trouble maker, a bitch, and rude in my family so falling in line is essential to being accepted and loved (and what I thought was respect). Emotions mean nothing and any reactions based off of emotion are frowned upon and punished and one of the things that lead me into believing crying was weak until I learned that it was a normal human emotional response and nothing to be ashamed of. Even when my son’s biological grandfather was sexually harassing me (and attempting assault), I was forced to apologize to HIM by my father who I called for help and ended up forcing him to move out my home.

Ever since I moved out my parents house a second time (moved out at 20 the 2nd time), I’ve not asked them for anything outside of sending any mail I get there down this way and I’d paid for it. I was the only relative who has and will pay full price on auto repair without asking for a discount. I’ve handled everything on my own and now that I’m in my 30s, I’ve realized a lot. Things like asking me who I voted for and being pissed off when it’s not their candidate, is not respect. (I was over 25 at that point too). Only getting involved in disagreements if my siblings have an issue with me, is not respect. Preaching to me about making sure not to bad mouth my son’s father in front of my son but turning around and talking shit to my son about me is not respect.

For so long there was always a reason for something. “You’re choosing to feel ___ way cuz you took what I meant differently” or “that’s how you interpreted it” or “okay you can be mad but saying something about it is an issue” and constantly being accused of “going to beat someone up” were all used to belittle me and take away the power I had over myself. It’s taken me so long to not only understand but appreciate myself and these emotions. It’s always healthy to make sure you’re expressing yourself in a healthy manner. It is beyond harmful to feel shame for feeling these emotions and it is unproductive and unhealthy to not love yourself enough to let you express and process these emotions. It’s imprisoning and you constantly feel shame and guilt for expressing anything even too much “joy” because you don’t want that joy to make someone else feel bad.

It is okay to want to shield your loved ones from every bad thing you wish you could avoid for them but it is not okay to do it at your expense… Plus, shielding them from too much keeps them from experiences (even the bad) that are sometimes necessary for us to grow. So please, if you are hard on yourself especially emotionally, stop. You’re not going to stop overnight and it takes a lot of work, mistakes, and forgiveness (mostly to yourself). In this journey, I have expressed myself poorly and probably still do at times… But nobody is perfect and as long as I can recognize that and grow from the experience, those that will love me and forgive me too. Being more firm in myself and my beliefs has lead to losing some relationships in my life, some I spent so long do everything I could to avoid ever losing them. I was nice to people who didn’t deserve it in hopes they’d change or id be liked and let me tell you first hand, it won’t work. Anybody who’s got anything negative to say no matter how hard you try to say the right thing are ALWAYS going to have something negative to say so you might as well not emotionally pummel yourself for them. You don’t have to be an asshole either, there’s obviously positive and negative ways to stand up for yourself… But trust and know yourself to keep your intentions in mind and keep your love for the person your speaking to in your heart… Even if you’re mad at them. If they are upset, don’t hesitate to reassure them that you love them and you want to work this out but you need to feel like you’ve been validated and respected too.

I’m still working on being assertive. I’ve spent so much energy on being a peacemaker that I’ve noticed it’s been challenging with my tone when I’m saying something. There’s a lot of frustrations and when I’ve said something 100+ times, it makes it even more so that by the 101st time I’m blunt and more firm than I normally would be. It’s still not wrong but it’s not how I want to handle my loved ones especially those that haven’t done me wrong. My goal is always to work shit out in a healthy and respectful way to involved parties but I’ve also learned what peace is if I don’t… And it’s still new but it’s so freeing.

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My Public Education Experience

The title says at all as I’m a good example of why the United States public education system is a joke. Being autistic and ADHD in the 90s and being undiagnosed was such a weird time mainly because accurate information wasn’t out there and then there was the “Ritalin epidemic” which probably only hindered my opportunities at being diagnosed. I had so much to navigate and little to no support… How did I make it to 31 safely and seemingly turned out okay? How did Autistics before me and/or less privelaged than I manage? It’s a lot to think and worry about especially when you consider things aren’t much better today.

The first day of school. I remember watching kids shows and seeing commercials where kids looked excited to go to school and was excited to go. I had been in preschool but it wasn’t even for 1/2 a day and I was home, which was the schedule I expected and seemed okay with but boy was I wrong. We tackled the letter “A” of the alphebet people the FIRST DAY. I can remember trying to join in on playtime with others like playing house but they didn’t like me playing the dad, tried playing with Dino’s and trains with the boys but my calling out types of dinosaurs lead me to be asked to leave that group too. By the end of the day, I was at my desk drawing by myself and little did I know then that this establishment of where I was going to be socially in school.

A couple years in only got worse. I was sick a lot from ear infections and sinus stuff which sucked but got me out of school. I hated school already by this point and embraced feeling shitty to go home and get away from the hell that was school. Different kids and different teachers never helped which only told me the problem was me. I didn’t do well in school. I can remember being requested to be held back in first grade and My parents refused for reasons I can’t remember. Teachers would say things like “she draws on her work too much. It’s messy. That’s why her grade got knocked down”, “all she wants to do is daydream. She never listens to anything I have to say!”, “She goes to the beat of her own drum.”….. I hated that one. Hated. I didn’t want to go to the beat of a different drum. I wanted my drum beat to not make me so different for adults and other kids to say things. By 2nd grade, I was sitting against the wall just drawing while everybody else played. I had tried to play many times but it resulted in being made fun of until I cried (calling me fat, stupid, and scary) and pushed off of playground equipment until it knocked the wind out of me. After enough times, I’d gotten the message that I was different and not welcome and to avoid that, I did my drawings against the wall during recess. I was always drained and tired and wanted to go home but couldn’t.

I got into comics a little bit. There were a couple of other kids against the wall as well for either in trouble or were just reading. I remember being shown comics like spawn, spiderman, and X-Men. I REALLY gravitated to the X-Men and felt like I looked like mystique to everyone else but when I looked in the mirror I looked normal. How they fought to be included and ACCEPTED and it really set the groundwork for me accepting my undiagnosed young autistic self. Wolverine was one of my favorites and loved the name Logan. Nightcrawler was my all time favorite.

I made my first group of real friends in 5th grade. People that I didn’t have to force myself to play dolls with or be directed by other kids in play. We just genuinely hung out and had similar interests. “This is what friendship should be” I told myself after not having that experience before. Some kids were nice to me in my younger years but I think ditched me to keep their place in kid elementary society. I don’t blame them either. They were just kids like I was and there were times I did the same thing until I figured all of that out.

While socially I was doing better than I had at that point, my grades were worse. I was officially not passing instead of just getting D+’s and at best was getting a D-. I had dragged on through the system for 4 years. My mom got me a tutor and I’d spend HOURS after school doing homework to try and catch up and pass. It was hell for everyone involved but especially me and my mom. It got to a point where she’d end up doing 90% of the assignment because it dragged on and I was already drained from school and didn’t have it in me to continue after school to do more schoolwork. I ended up barely passing that year. A D-. I should’ve been held back but I wasn’t. This same year, I had the worst bully of them all and started having black out spells (ended up being absence seizures but didn’t know until adulthood either). This bully would use my seizures as an excuse to volunteer to be my bathroom partner Incase I had a seizure in the bathroom. She’d copy my work which contributed to my bad grades (either we got caught cheating and both got in trouble, I’d purposely give wrong answers cuz she was cheating, or eventually gave up and didn’t care to do the work because of the above scenarios). When we dissected things she would take the knife and cut my legs under the table with it. My mom was constantly in the office bickering with them about doing something about this girl because she was so brutal to me. Nothing was done by the school system and on the last day of school she was messing with me at lunch and I told the lunch lady and we both got sent to the office… Which was a huge mistake but this time, it wasn’t in her favor. She grabbed the big gymnasium door as I was walking through and pulled it against and on me, squeezing me between the door and the frame. I was DONE. After a whole year of no one protecting me or helping me, instincts kicked in and I leaped onto that girl and started hammer fisting and punching her face. The next thing I remember is being dragged into the office by 3 teachers treating me like a wild animal along the way and scolding me.. until we got to the office with my mom who just so happened to be talking to the principal about this girl AGAIN.. saw me and saw her face and said to the principal “this is what happens when you ignore a child being bullied for an entire school year. And if my child gets in any trouble for this after everything she’s been through this year, we can have at it in court.” And I never heard a word about that scenario or that girl the next year in Jr high or ever again

I don’t remember much about my first year of 6th grade outside of one of my oldest friends. We met because I was drawing a Pikachu in math class. I had caught mono really early on in the year and was really sick that whole school year. Even after 6 months I could only do half days and I think with school being draining for me as it already was while still recovering from mono, I drained super easily. I had missed so much school they weren’t even taking doctors notes. Luckily, my parents were moving and we were getting out of the city and into the country. It was the perfect opportunity to be held back and I’m so glad my parents finally agreed to do it. I shouldn’t have been excited it for it but it had been so long of me falling further and further behind, I knew I needed it.

The next year of 6th grade repeated was the best school year yet at that point in my life. I made sure to be more outgoing in this school system so hopefully kids wouldn’t hate me so much. I also started actually passing classes and getting a couple A’s! Still got some D’s but it was mainly B’s and C’s which REALLY boosted my confidence after having D’s for so long. Due to missing so much school the year prior and moving to a new district, I never learned cursive as they had learned cursive already in 5th grade. Luckily, I’ve never ever used or needed cursive so I’m so glad I didn’t needlessly learn that.

The rest of Junior high was fine. I loved art and my art teacher was probably the best teacher I’ve ever had in my life. Our last year of Jr high, a student had committed suicide and it is an understatement to say it affected the entire school. Unfortunately, due to my home life and being taught emotions are bad, I didn’t handle this properly. I shut down and couldn’t even verbalize half the time. I couldn’t cry despite wanting to. I had my mom was there for me but when my dad calls my friend who’s just passed away a “pussy”, I wasn’t allowed to express my grief at home either and it started to swallow me. I’d always been depressed in my life but this was probably the second biggest pit of my life. I began to bang my head on lockers just to drown out as much as I could. I barely spoke to anybody. My art and science teachers were the ones who not only recognized something was wrong but they gave me safe spaces out of class when I needed them during the mourning process and called my mom on days where I shouldn’t have even been sent to school and needed to go home. My art teacher really encouraged my art when up until that point, I’d just been drawing just to draw. I didn’t have any confidence in anything I was doing or any reason to do it other than I enjoyed it but getting A’s in her class meant a lot to me and my teacher taught me the value of slowing down “just a little bit” and giving my art that little extra love and care it deserves instead of rushing something and completing the assignment the first run through. Id never visually seen patience pay off until this point and it really helped me even more in school in general… I didn’t have to rush on an assignment to get it done by the Bell in art and it was sooooooooooo nice.

Now, in high school, I academically did fine. However, the principal and the assistant principal failed me multiple times and we’re gonna get into that. I’m also going to say that I failed art in 9th grade and it killed my desire for art. I’m sorry but I thought I’d get that out of the way first before we get into the real bad stuff. Also, TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT. I was heavily failed by the heads of my high school on multiple occasions. The first time was on school grounds in 9th grade. My mom got the cops involved for “justice”. I just wanted to be left alone. When it went to court, all I asked for and ever asked for was the boy to get counseling. My mom tried to go to the school about it first to which they told her that “he’s an A-B, student and she’s more of a C-D student” and they weren’t going to do anything plus told the cops that when they interviewed the heads of the school. The incident hit a forum for our county at the time where adults and other students bashed me online. They didn’t even know my side… It was a million reasons why it was my fault and I was a piece of garbage for doing anything about it. I lost all my my friends over it. I was ashamed and because of everything that had transpired with the whole online forum caused me to where I couldn’t come out when someone who claimed to be my friend tried to do more than just assault me 3 years later after inviting me at his house to play video games with him and a bunch of our friends (he lied there were no friends there). I didn’t feel like I could tell anybody and not when it happened 3 days before I was moving to another state and not when this 6’3 football playing freshman used me just turning 18 my senior year (cuz I was held back and such) to silence me. It was a horrible situation to be left in and no child should have to feel like they can’t tell their parents or ANY adult at school in fear of what would happen especially after something like that.

I was also expelled for posting song lyrics on my Myspace page. I got called to the office during lunch like a month before the last day of school my junior year. My parents were already there in the office and as I sat down, the principal and assistant principal smuggly whipped out a 3 page printout of my Myspace page like they’d REALLY caught me being as bad as they thought. They had highlighted random things from my myspace printout and pointed to each one and was told that because of these, I was a threat to the school and was to leave and not come back the rest of the year. What did they highlight? Various lyrics to various metal songs from bands I listened to. I’m not even joking. These clowns even dragged the city police down and the police said there was no threat AND THE PRINCIPAL STILL TOLD ME TO LEAVE THE SCHOOL. My father was furious but because he was so disengaged with aspects of our lives for so long that he didn’t realize that’s how the school systems were and had been for me this whole time. I wasn’t even going to fight them anymore. Had I lied about a few dumb things here and there like students who get caught doing stupid dumb teenage things do? Yes. Id never deny that but they treated me like an animal. A girl bullied my friend and they did nothing so I tried to talk to the girl who decided to punch me in the face instead and I retaliate and who’s in trouble? Me. Guy slings girls books across the hall daily but my friend stands up to them bullying people and this guy and his sack of potato friends circle my 1 friend and I GRAB THIS GUYS SHIRT TO TELL HIM TO LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE and who gets in school suspension? Me. I didn’t look for fights or start them but I didn’t like seeing others getting bullied or ganged up on either and would absolutely finish them. They even called me a liar for saying I try not to judge people based on how they look based on how I’d been treated. I was called a liar daily when I had returned for 2 months my senior year during lunch for not moving. We were supposed to move over the summer and the house didn’t sell so we were stuck for a couple months longer. Every single day it was “I thought you were moving?”, “You’re not really moving”, “stop saying you’re moving”, etc until in October when everything was ready for us to move.

Two months into my senior year we moved to the south. My new school in the state we moved to couldn’t figure out which classes I did or didn’t have credits for so they moved me all the way back to a freshman. Yeah. You read that right. I was 2 months in my senior year and reduced to a freshman because they couldn’t figure out how to disperse the credits I earned from my old school into their system. I tried by doing catch-up classes but I had surgery that December that same year which left me 2 months out of school and held back again. I had enough at that point, was old enough to drop out myself, signed myself out of school, and immediately went and started GED classes that same day. I went to those for a month and took my test, graduating my senior year with a GED and scoring within the top 10% of graduating seniors that year. Many people may frown upon a GED but I’m so incredibly proud of mine.

So, that’s my long journey of 13 years in public school. I think getting older and just maturing helped a lot and I was able to focus easier once I realized I learned different ways and how to learn to remember things that worked for me. I had a great group of outcast friends in high school that really helped me out and I came out of my dark depressive pit at around the middle of 10th grade. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids to spend my high school years with! Overall, I think if more teachers were equipped to teach kids who learned in different ways and recognized the worth of every student and shows them what they’re capable of matter how disinterested they seem… We’d be seeing a decline in the dropout rate and we would see kids passionate and excited about school again.

Categories
autism Autistic Blog Neurodivergent

The Introduction.

I wanted to start off by introducing myself. I’m going full steam ahead at being middle aged and I was only diagnosed as autistic 4 years ago. The answer was absolutely life changing but maybe not in the ways most would expect. I was also diagnosed just last week with ADHD on top of it which has given me even more paths to navigate. I opened up this blog mainly to get all these thoughts out of my brain and on turning it into something creative and maybe (hopefully) beneficial… Things that I’m processing now and in my history and things that were impacted in my life due to being undiagnosed for SO LONG. How “severe” could I be if I went undiagnosed for so long? Let’s start diving.

I guess painting a picture of my family would be a good start. I’m the middle offspring of 3. My older sibling has unexplained (to me) intellectual disabilities and my younger sibling was born cleft lip and pallet. My mom cared for the 3 of us and our needs and my dad was the provider. My siblings and I and my father are all autistic (but none of us knew what it was called. I was the first in my family to be diagnosed). I used to think we were as perfect of a family as was depicted in our family pictures… Even now… But we are horribly dysfunctional. Despite my father physically being there, there is 0 emotional connection between my father and I and it’s always been that way. My mother singlehandedly took care of our needs as best as she could but with my other 2 siblings needing very visible needs, I was partially neglected.

School was absolute hell for me from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade. I struggled in school in general but I was also heavily bullied in elementary… So much so that I had the wind knocked out of me multiple times and remember passing out once and waking up with a teacher and students surrounding me on the ground. By 3rd grade I just stood by the wall and lunch ladies and did drawing. I drew a lot. I felt like I could express myself and my brain and thoughts more when I would draw. I could pay attention more when I’d draw too.. sadly, drawing on your school work makes it messy and your grade gets knocked down for it. I was never academically inclined and the strict rules in class rooms and in school systems in general made it even harder for me to succeed. My mom tried tutors to help me get organized and with homework but it still didn’t work. I was FINALLY held back in 6th grade after years of barely passing but it was only due to mono and missing so much school. We moved the following year and did much better in a rural area with smaller classrooms. I can only think of a handful of teachers who saw potential and just had a different way of doing it and helped me and I thrived in their classes. They didn’t complain about me like the other teachers who said I “daydreamed” and “wasn’t interested in school”. These special teachers saw I wanted to learn, saw how defeated I’d been, and showed me I did have potential and that I wasnt stupid and that I could do the work just had a different style in learning and putting what I learned on paper. The world needs more teachers like this. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be.

I have been on a self recovery journey for the last 10 years, figuring out who I am and healing from life long traumas in various forms. I’ve discovered so much about myself and (more importantly) gained a much better understanding of others. I’ve been married for 8 years this year and have been with my husband since we were in our mid teens.

I don’t wanna make this too long so I’ll wrap up with current stuff for now and write another blog in depth on some things more at another time. I’m now 31 and what lead me to my diagnosis was a mental breakdown. A burnout. I had worked and forced myself to act and pass as normal as possible cuz I had no answer or reason not to. I felt like an alien left on Earth and meant to survive amongst people and failing. All I could say at the counter of the mental health facility I went to was “I’m broken please help me”. I first got diagnosed as autistic with PTSD. I’d spent so many years and so much energy and effort trying to pass and be normal that it literally broke me. So I’ve spent the last 4 years relearning EVERYTHING (even speech) and working with my brain instead of against it.. and it’s been wonderfully eye opening.

I dunno if hashtags work for this but I’m going to try anyways and apologize in advance if I’m doing this wrong… which I probably am. #actuallyautistic #autism #adhd #autistic #neurodivergent