The San Antonio Chronicles Episode 6: Marble Falls and Other Tidbits

Yet another San Antonio weekend has come and gone for me, and the more I visit there the more I get the itch to move. Between the much better vibe and it killing me to be apart from my twin soul sister, I’m almost at the end of my rope with regards to shitty ass Crapilene. Mercury Direct Station hits at approximately 11:00 PM Wednesday so then it’ll be time to get busy looking for places to live.

So I got in Friday evening as I always do, this time in a loaner vehicle as Phoenix is in the shop for some major surgery. Apparently she actually has a bad fuel injector (which I have never experienced in any other car I’ve owned) and the fuel system cleaner wasn’t enough to burn all the carbon deposits out. So far, between new plugs, new coils, a fuel injector and a carbon cleaning, we’re at about $1,250 worth of repairs on a car I have only had a month and a half. Needless to say the extended warranty has already paid for itself.

Anyway, I digress. I get in, and shortly after unloading we head out to Sushishima for a totally gluten-free sushi feast and, for me, a side of hot sake. From there, it was to her place for “happy hour” (which usually means a shot or two of Flor de Cana 12 and a nice strong cigar, and just a mixer of rum/soda and her vape for her). The night capped off by hanging out, watching a movie together, and lights out.

After a morning coffee and smoke Saturday, we ventured out for Marble Falls to visit a little hole in the wall diner called Tea Thyme. What makes this place so special is that it is 100% gluten-free. That’s correct. No navigation of the menu, no nothing. I ordered the same as Laina – the “Not Picky Tacos” (if I remember correctly) and they were heavenly, as was their chocolate chip cookie. Followed up the diner with a quick stroll in the park and then back to SA to chill for a bit.

That afternoon, after chilling, we set out to try to find Laina some thrift store jeans to hack up into DD’s (as she’s just been borrowing a pair of mine that had gotten too snug for me). We tried a couple of Goodwills but came up empty, and remembering Mercury is still retrograde, decided to pause that project for now and then ventured back over to The Cove for dinner.

Dinner at The Cove is always great; great burgers (which can be had with a GF bun or just lettuce wrapped), with some great GF sides too. I also ordered a couple of what I was told were gluten-free beers, however on further examination they turned out not to be GF at all. Omission beer says “brewed to remove gluten” and on the bottle it said “made from barley malt, this beer might contain gluten.” I’m glad I read that before I even took a sip. I was left feeling I had thrown money away on nothing but it’s a learning experience. Then it was again back to her place, where we had happy hour, jammed out for a bit, then called it a night.

Sunday morning started off with the usual routine of a nice smoke, after which we geared up for the day. Alas, before we got going, we just had to pause for a little “mirror selfie”…

…and then off to a little coffee shop called Mildfire for a little pick me up. I had the Americana Espresso which was delicious and gave me a good jolt. Just as we were about to take a bathroom break and leave, the barista pulled me aside and told me my shorts were “beautiful” and how she admired my confidence and said that I was the person she wants to be. I of course thanked her dearly, and had her come around front for a big, warm hug.

From the coffee shop, we went and had a delicious lunch at Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill. They were out of GF pita bread but I was still able to get a feast fit for a king even without bread. Leaving feeling satiated, we ventured to the vape shop so I could load up on my vape juice and then went back to her place.

Once we got back, it was time for a movie, and one I needed to see because it’s life-changing. If you’ve not seen it, I fully recommend Defending Your Life. It’s light-hearted but very inspirational. After the movie, which made me both laugh and cry, we flipped it over to the IndyCar race in mid-Ohio and watched a real thriller of a race.

By the time the race was done, my time was about gone so it was then I packed up and we said our teary-eyed goodbyes for now. I departed SA at 5:30 PM and arrived in Abilene right at 9. Luckily Laina was able to accompany me by phone for most of my journey.

Anyway, that’s what went down this time, but a few of interesting things happened on the side. Remember I said earlier that pair of DD’s Laina is borrowing from me were too tight for me now? Well I decided to try them on again for a moment, and lo and behold I can actually button them again! They’re snug, but I can button them easily. Three months ago I couldn’t, which means I’ve dropped a not-so-insignificant amount of weight without even trying. The only thing I’ve done different is being GF part-time and reducing my beer consumption, further adding credence to the gluten reactivity theory.

The second thing is I never knew how addicted I had become to my phone/computer and social media. This time around I did something different at Laina’s request – when we went somewhere I left my phone behind. I didn’t realize how much of our time together I was wasting on my phone, which was causing me to disengage. I did feel like the time we spent together this time around was much better quality and that I maybe should put the phone away more often in everyday life.

Lastly was what happened after I got back to Abilene. Since having been gluten-free since Thursday afternoon, last night I reintroduced gluten. Not long after dinner last night I had stomach cramps and nausea that lasted well into mid-morning today. In my mind that all but cements it for me. As soon as I get by blood drawn for the reactivity panels, I can go GF full-time and I intend to do so. For now, since I have to consume some, I’ll moderate my intake and cut beer entirely. That seems like a good initial step.

Anyway, that’s that for this trip. Stay tuned for more developments as it’s about to be crunch time.

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On Being a Total Fireball

If it is one thing that’s so true of me, I’m a fireball. I have the temper of Satan incarnate. It takes me awhile to get to that point, but when I blow, run for fucking cover. That’s how I’ve always been, and as I now know, how I always will be.

For those curious, here is my True Sidereal Astrology (TSA) birth chart. Pay close attention to my 12th house (about the 9:30 position) to see what’s in there, and also follow the red dotted line to the other symbol it’s paired with:

mynatal

See that? The red male symbol is Mars, follow that along the red dotted line with the square (indicating a “square” aspect – a pi/2 [that’s 90 degrees for you non-mathy types] angle +/- a few) to the green female symbol, representing Venus.

Yep, that’s a total double whammy there. My fireball tendencies? There you have it. Mars in 12th by itself is a dangerous placement, and totally explains why I have the tendency toward intense, and often violent, anger. It can often happen abrputly and without warning, and depending on what else has been going on at that point in time, it can take very little to set me off. When I learned about that placement, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, made sense. How I have never been arrested in my life I have no fucking clue. Truth be told I probably should have been a time or two in my life.

It made even more sense when paired not only with the constellation placement (Aries) but also when squared with Venus. When I do blow up? It’s usually at those who mean the most to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve blown up at close friends, parents, siblings. It also explains why what few of my romantic relationships I’ve had have been highly volatile and never lasted more than a few months.

If it *IS* one thing I can honestly say it’s I’ve never hit anyone or used a weapon against anyone in a fit of rage, even as violent as it gets. I sure have a lot of destroyed personal possessions and property in my wake though! I’ve punched holes through walls, broken various objects, even ones one wouldn’t think would be breakable. I will also say I’ve used pictures of exes for target practice, but who hasn’t?

Anyway, when you combine the astrological aspects with being on the autism spectrum, you can only imagine it’s led to some pretty epic meltdowns over the years. Yeah, I was dealt a bad hand for sure.

Luckily, all is not lost. It’s not like I’m predestined to become a serial killer or some shit like that. It’s one thing I’ll have to learn how to channel and harness, and one thing I knew for sure before I learned about this is that boredom is not my friend. I had always known that, but all this just confirms it. I need to be entertained and active, even as introverted as I am.

This is another thing that solidifies my decision to move. Abilene only has limited opportunities for me to “get out of my head” and do shit. A bigger city such as San Antonio is much more conducive to that, and though Dallas was a bigger city I still felt isolated and idle. That place was not a good fit for me. San Antonio is a better fit, especially when I’ve got my spiritual guide beside me to keep me on the straight and narrow and help me avoid these pitfalls.

So there’s that. If you’re just a casual acquaintance I woudln’t blame you if you ran for cover. If you’re a closer personal friend I only hope I’ve not left some of your shrapnel in my wake. If I have, I’m sorry. Really. I know I’ve not always been a very pleasant person to deal with. Please know if I ever do rip into you, it’s nothing personal. That doesn’t make it right but damn it’s hard sometimes.

Trust me, I wish I didn’t have this placement. If I could choose any other placement I would. My life would be so much easier, as well as the lives of those around me. Alas, we don’t get to choose our placements so I’m stuck. I guess I’ll just deal as best I can.

Foxtrot Mike Lima.

On Being Asexual, Etc.

Since it is LGBTQIA+ pride month, I couldn’t let it go by without mentioning something of my own sexuality and how I deal with it. It’s no secret that I’m very much asexual, which is maybe the least understood sexual orientation of all because we’re all so different. So I figured I’d put to rest how I deal with it personally and quash some misconceptions.

First of all, what is asexuality not? It’s not a number of things, but here are the the big ones in my view:

  1. Asexuality is not “aromantic.” Asexuals can be involved in romantic relationships just the same as those who have sexual attraction. It is different for us, admittedly. Some of us are heteroromantic, others homoromantic and some biromantic. I’m the last one of these. I can be romantically involved with anyone, regardless of biological sex or gender identity. I’m just not right now because I’ve not found anyone with whom I would be romantically compatible. That does not mean all of us are in that situation, but some are indeed aromantic entirely.
  2. Asexuality is not the same as celibacy! Some are in indeed celibate, but that’s not universally true, especially for those married to someone with a sex drive. Asexuals might or might not engage in sexual relations. For some, it’s “optional” – a take or leave kind of thing. For me, sex is a no-go and the thought of it disgusts me, but some can tolerate it or maybe even enjoy it for the sake of a partner. It’s just that it isn’t the “end goal” for us.
  3. Asexuality is not a lack of “libido.” Our bodies function the same as anyone else’s. Just because we don’t take interest in sex in and of itself doesn’t mean our biological programming doesn’t sometimes take hold. Most of us (maybe even all of us – though I hesitate to make that claim) are not aroused by looks alone. I know I’m not (even though I do appreciate attractiveness). It takes some serious stimulation, but even as a male I do have erections. Actually, if I didn’t, that would point to some other health problem.
  4. Asexuality is not depression! For whatever reason, so many seem to think a lack of interest in sex has to be related to some sort of clinical depression. Though they can be correlated among those with a normal sexual appetite, asexuals are not by default clinically depressed.
  5. Asexuality is not an “excuse.” I get so sick of this. Many people think aces claim to be that way because they just can’t “get laid.” Whatever. This is one asexual males especially hear in a patriarchal cis-het dominated world. I’m sick of it. See my previous post on virgin shaming.

So what is asexuality? Simply put, the lack of sexual attraction. Nothing more. For us, sex can be anywere from optional to downright disgusting. As mentioned in a previous post and above, for me, it’s the latter end of the spectrum. I don’t know many 32 year old males who have never had any type of sexual contact, but I am one of the few, and that’s how I will die too because I just can’t bring myself to engage in it. I just can’t get past the thought of it.

I will admit, for me that does complicate romantic relationships a shit ton. That’s largely why I’ve not found anyone with whom I would be romantically compatible, among other reasons. I’d have to have someone who felt the same about sex as I do, but as we seem to be few and far between, that’s unlikely, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m not one who could “put out” for a romantic partner, even though some aces can. I don’t judge either way mind you.

Alas, not all asexuals are the same, and here’s one key way I am personally different. I’ve discussed this before, but you all know I am very physically affectionate even with close friends – something I’ve discussed prior. I can go all the way up to “make out” level with a person who is not a romantic partner and whom I have no romantic interest in! I’ve done it before with more than one such person (and a mix of biological sexes/gender identites). For me, I totally separate physical affection from romantic love. For me, even “making out” isn’t a romantic exchange, though it can be.  To me, it’s an exchange with someone I love, be it that or a friend/familial relationship. Now, that doesn’t mean I do so with just anyone, and I usually wait for the other party to initiate such contact, but I will respond if initiated and I genuinely love that person. Just stay in “safe zones” (i.e. non-private areas) and I’m just fine with that.

Anyway, I’ve just painted with some broad strokes, and the above are solely my opinions on the topic so nobody murder me here. It’s just my personal take, for what it’s worth. I’d love to hear about the experiences of other aces, so please comment with your thoughts. No two of us are alike, so I always like learning more. Please do share your views, even if you disagree with mine. I might just update or follow up with other persepctives.

The Hopeless(ly Deprived) Power Cuddler

Would you make fun of me if I told you I still sleep cuddled up with a teddy bear at night? Yes, you say? Well go ahead and make fun of me because it’s true and I don’t deny it. Yes, I know sleeping with a teddy bear is so 1st grade, but when you have an autistic brain that runs 230 MPH at all times (you know, as fast as an IndyCar runs on the straightaways of Indianapolis Motor Speedway), getting to sleep is hard enough without being even more anxious so you do what you damn well have to in order to make it easier to fall asleep and stay that way.

Anyway, childish personal anecdote aside, time to get a bit serious here. The title of this post describes me to a tee. As I’ve eluded to in prior blog posts, I thoroughly love physical touch. I thrive on it. I’m a hugger, a kisser, a hand-holder, you name it. I’m what my “twin soul” affectionately calls a “power cuddler” – no holding back, all of the aforementioned stuff, playing with each other’s hair, ears, rubbing various (non-intimate) body parts up against one another, all up in your business, whatever. It’s just absolutely sublime to me.

I’m sure to someone on the outside looking in it appears to be totally smutty. To the bystander it might look a little like foreplay, but I assure you I completely separate cuddling from romance, sexual behavior or anything. I never understood why the neurotypical world associates these acts solely with sexual attraction. Love comes in many forms after all, not just romantic. If I cuddle up to you, it’s not anything creepy or sexual. It’s because in some way we share a close common bond (whatever that might entail) and it’s merely an outward expression of that bond, regardless of what type it is or who you are – I’ll “power cuddle” with people of any sex/gender, orientation, whatever.

Now, the descriptor in this post is “hopelessly deprived” for a reason – it seems very few people see this kind of thing as something to be shared between people who are otherwise just friends or family and as such I really don’t have anyone around here to engage in power cuddling with. I, of course, respect others’ boundaries and won’t just go up to and randomly put an arm around someone and pull them into close body contact with me. That’s not acceptable behavior in any way, shape or form. I get that. I also get that some people have various traumas in their past that would make such action conjure up memories of painful or traumatic experiences. I also get that. Alas, where all this does put me is in a place that is not conducive to my mental health – I get more anxious, snappy, irritable, depressed, etc. when I’m lacking that.

Living in a world that frowns upon physical affection, being one who loves it is tough. If only everyone else (and especially neurotypicals) understood the power of a good cuddle. It releases endorphins, dopamine, among other “feel good” hormones. It relieves stress, has a calming effect (especially on someone like me), among other things. In a lot of ways I feel sorry for people who frown upon it. Our lives are so much richer when we openly express our love for each other (again, whatever form that love might be in).

If we learned how to hug, kiss, cuddle, hold hands, etc. each other with no strings attached and completely divorced it from romance, think of how much kinder of a world we’d live in. Maybe we wouldn’t have so much hate, pent up rage, school shootings, among other bullshit that’s the reality of life in the modern world. Baby boomers and older love to complain about social media being the reason for it, but I question the validity of their claims. We were detached long before the invention of Facebook.

Alas, I’ve only met one other person on this planet who sees things the way I do, and seeing as how that person is hundreds of miles away, the best I can do is “virtual cuddling” this person whenever possible and just longing for the real thing. It’s better than nothing for sure, but every time we virtual cuddle, god I can’t help but wish it was the real deal. Hopefully someday soon the universe will bring us closer together, but until then, I remain the hopelessly deprived power cuddler.

Tear, sniffle, tear, sniffle, repeat ad nauseam…

I See the Way I’m Acting Like I’m Somebody Else Gets Me (And You?!) Frustrated

OK, if you don’t get that song reference you must be living under a fucking rock because when that song first came out they overplayed it on the radio, so much I hated the song and screamed every time it would come on the radio.

As such, I never really listened to the words that closely, save for its instantly recognizable catchphrase “Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?” Actually, when you get down to the barebones it’s a very well written and composed song – it’s a lovely use of relative minor/major (and going between the two seamlessly) and the message is very deep and profound, and is why I’ve chosen this song for the 2nd installment of my song lyric inspired posts because again, it hits home and especially during this transitional phase of my life.

Those who knew me even as a kid knew I tried my damnedest to fit the mold, to be “normal” (What the fuck is normal anyway? Who decides that?). This both before and after I was officially diagnosed with ASD (AS at the time, but that diagnosis is gone of course). Shit, even as much as I love my parents, they often wondered why I couldn’t be normal. The only one who accepted me as is was my great-grandmother.

Anyway, the whole point of this is it’s so tempting to try to be someone you’re not in order to fit in, and especially for us neurodivergents. Humans are social animals after all (make no mistake, we ARE animals) and have a need to fit in. Usually that means trying to be how whatever society we live in deems “normal” through either established social norms, laws or whatever the hell else.

Of course, when we ND’s try to act normal and to fit in, what happens? Do we wind up fitting in? Oh hell to the naw. We usually end up looking like total fools, and especially to our loved ones (well, the more open-minded ones anyway). I mean, can you seriously see me wearing cargo shorts and/or full length jeans, still a blank canvas, no piercings, drinking Miller Light and whatever the hell else normal (or, as I prefer to think of them, boring) people do? Yeah, didn’t think so. Would you want me to fit that mold above? Again, if you truly “love” me (in whatever form that love might be), would you want me to? Proabably not because then I’m someone I’m not and why would you love an alternate me?

Nah, I’m not fooling anyone when I become somebody else around everyone else. They all know I (also, anyone else who masks) am not who I am presenting myself to be. And you know what? Not only that it’s fucking tiring to pretend to be someone else around everyone else. It wears on your soul. I didn’t realize that until I started allowing the true me to really shine through.

And who knows? Maybe all the tears I’ve shed this week (and continue to shed) are that unrequited pain exiting my mind, body and soul. That’s OK, because it’s ready to be released, because I had a defective pressure release valve that didn’t allow it to be released. Now that I’ve replaced it with a properly functioning one, it’s working better and it’s working very efficiently too because with each tear I feel a little lighter, a little less heavy, a little less troubled.

So what happens next? Stay tuned to find out tomorrow! In the meantime, enjoy the song and really pay attention to the lyrics if you’ve never done so before. You might just find she’s singing to you too (as it seemed she was me).

I Left My Heart in San Antonio…

It’s been about an hour and a half since I arrived back at my humble abode on the outskirts of good old Crapilene (yeah, I’ll tell you how I really feel!).

I’ve always felt a little bit of sadness after parting ways with a friend when I’m visiting them, but this time it was something much more deep and profound – it was almost a grief-like sadness. I barely held it together while Laina and I said our goodbyes and I pulled out of her driveway, but the four-hour trek back to Abilene was filled with several crying spells (one so intense I almost had to pull over to collect myself as it could have compromised my driving safety).  When I arrived home and walked in, I didn’t feel a “good to be home” feeling. All I felt was a sense of emptiness, a void as it were.

I think the signs are very, very clear – Abilene is not my home. My home is in San Antonio, where I can be close to my neuro-sister (love the term, by the way!) all the time. A place where I can launch Leaf & Barrel (that I’ve talked about before) with my gang and that would be a prime city for it (Abilene would NOT support such a concept).

The past few days were surreal. Some of the best of my life. It was so nice to be able to hang out with someone who does understand me and why I am the way I am. Someone who loves to be hugged and cuddled – even in just a “LYLAB/S” way and nothing romantic or sexual at all. someone who I can cry to for any time and any reason judgment-free. Someone who I can jam with and sing karaoke with in a judgment-free environment. Someone who doesn’t bat an eye at my warped sense of fashion. Someone who I can laugh at weird shit with and get into belching and throat-clearing contests with because we are both easily entertained by such silliness. Someone who is now as passionate about IndyCar racing as I am and who I can actually talk about that with.

I think it’s safe to say a move to San Antonio is definitely in my future. Just when I don’t know, but it’s there. I think this feeling that has overcome me is the universe telling me it’s time for a change, and a big one at that. My life isn’t about being stuck in a 7-4 job, doing dull, mundane tasks with dull, mundane coworkers under the thumb of an asshole of a boss. My life is about doing cool shit with cool people (her words, not mine).

This is of course not an overnight thing. This is going to be at least a months-long process. I have my crew here who I need to get on board with me to make this a reality. We’ve talked about opening a bar together in passing but I think for all of our sakes we need to make this a reality. All of us are not the type of people for Abilene. One of them has a strange attachment to Abilene that is going to be the one I might really have to work over, but the other two might not be so hard (they nearly moved to what Laina and I so (un)affectionately call “DFWTF” due to fatigue of this podunk backwoods hillbilly redneck town).

Now, if after several attempts they don’t come with me, being able to close to them might be a sacrifice I have to make. Sure, I love them to bits, but I’m tired of being held back. If it comes to a point of either you’re with me or you’re not, and they’re not, I might have to leave them behind. I will not stand to be held hostage by anyone, not even my best friends, especially when it’s resulting in me settling for a miserable job and being away from the person who understands me the most. Of course my parents would be somewhat sad to see me go but they’re equally saddened by how miserable I am right now and would rather see me move away and be happy. Same with my tattoo artist, but I’ve become her canvas so I can come back any time to see her and get a new tattoo and see my family in the process. San Antonio to Abilene is only about 250 miles after all.

Well, as the saying goes, “here goes nothing” I guess. Wish me luck as I try to make this a reality. It might be tough, and starting a business is scary as fuck, but it’s clear to me now that it’s a risk I have to take for my own sake. The time has come. And to think none of this would have been possible (meeting someone who feels like a long-lost sibling, placing two kittens in the right home, finding my racing buddy, cuddle buddy, music partner, etc.) without one medical report that led to the start of her blog and nothing more than a small blue mark on my inner right wrist that led to the start of this blog. We’d have never known of each other if not for this wonderful blogging community.

Just goes to show how life-changing one small decision can be, can’t it?

9 Days of Reflection…

Today is a very difficult day for me. I’ve already cried more than I should and that won’t end anytime soon. It’s probably going to be that way for the entire course of the next nine days.

Why now? Well, my great-grandmother would have been 100 years old today (born December 10, 1918 in Japan). She was my rock growing up. Even when my relationship with my parents was strained at best, she was always there for me. I leaned on her hard growing up. My great-grandmother was the only one who seemed to understand me as it were and who knew I was “different” even though my parents refused to entertain the thought.

This nine days of reflection will conclude on the 19th. December 19, 2002 was no doubt the worst day of my life. At the age of 84 years and 9 days, my great-grandmother succumbed to complications from influenza secondary to kidney failure and pneumonia. For years I blamed myself for her death (and so did my parents for that matter), for I am probably the one that gave her the flu (I was sick from it the week prior to her death). In a lot of ways the guilt still sticks with me 16 years later.

I try not to reflect on the circumstances surrounding her death but at times I just can’t help it. Had I not contracted the flu would she still be alive today? Probably not but you never know. Would she have lived a few more years? Maybe, but who knows if they’d have been quality years, for she was active right up until the day she died.

Whatever the case, that day I lost my entire support structure and my home life turned to shit for awhile until my high school counselor finally begged my parents to get me tested. When I finally did get the autism diagnosis it was an “I told you so” moment and not only did I feel vindicated I think there was some vindication for my beloved great-grandmother. She very clearly saw what they did not.

For what I’ll remember most about her? Her kind heart and generous, giving spirit. I’ll remember how she almost raised me herself in the early years when my then single mother was working long hours. I’ll remember how she always stood up for me to my parents, my classmates and my teachers. I’ll remember her love for her flower garden and how meticulously she tended to it, especially her beloved peonies. I’ll remember her amazing cooking and homemade sushi (yes, I was eating sushi before it got trendy).

You can tell what kind of role she played in my life. 16 years of trying to put the pieces of my broken heart back together still hasn’t completely mended it, but taking a huge step to get her memory (in the form of a red and white peony) permanently etched into the dermis of my outer left calf was definitely a healing moment for me.

Rest In Peace, Kimiko Shiho-Holland; December 10th 1918 – December 19th 2002. Gone 16 years, but never, ever forgotten. A life well-lived and a legacy that lives on forever.