Today’s Humor Has Been Brought to You By the “Throat Monster”

So my neuro-sister and twin soul Laina and I have been having a really snotty morning to say the least. Don’t believe me? Check out a snippet of our back and forth:

Yeah, the “Throat Monster” has been kicking both of our asses this morning. Anyway, it reminded me of this, which I just had to share. I guess there is someone for everyone after all.

Hope it brightens someone’s day who needs it.

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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?

No Revolution, Maybe Someone Somewhere Else…

…could show you something new about you and your inner song.

Hmm, I forget who it was that said that. Oh, that’s right, it was the great British philosopher Roland Orzabal! Silly me!

Philosopher, yeah, we’ll go with that…

Anyway, I digress. First things first, glaringly obvious mega fail on my part: I totally forgot Song Lyric Sunday this week. I’m so sorry. I didn’t have hardly any time to think and there wasn’t a glaringly obvious choice for the prompt for me so I’ll just make up for it next week.

Anyway, back to the glaringly obvious song lyric reference in the title of this post (for those who didn’t get it – “Break It Down Again” by TFF). This weekend it really became prophetic. So prophetic in fact, that it’s a direct contrast to an almost complete opposite post I wrote a year ago (which had the preceding lyric in the title – “It’s in the way you’re always hiding from the light”).

So I dropped into my favorite local watering hole last night for some wine and pizza as I always do, and caught up with bartender friend. Well one of her other friends was there in the seat next to me and she introduces us and one of the first things “Friend B” says to me is “I *LOVE* Tears for Fears” (note: I was wearing my concert shirt last night).

So what started off as a conversation about TFF morphed into a general music conversation which then gave way to just general life conversation. I got two certain vibes from her almost straight away but we eventually got around to those topics and I was right – 1) she’s on the autism spectrum and 2) she’s lesbian. We both shared with each other the challenges we’d faced over the years and it led to me pouring my soul out to her. We talked about my tattoos, how and why I got my first tattoo, you name it.

Very rarely do I pour my soul out to someone I just met like that, but she just gave me that vibe and I knew it was going to be the start of something great when we talked each others’ ears off for almost three hours and instead of going our own ways and having tons of leftovers we split a pizza and a dessert. She then asked me if we could be friends, to which I agreed. I looked myself up on FB from her phone and just like that we were FB friends. As I said my teary-eyed “till we meet again” in a long, tight hug, I was hoping I’d see her again soon but I had no idea how soon at the end of the night.

Fast-forward to this morning. Bartender friend and I already had plans to go to lunch and a movie today and Friend B texted bartender friend and wanted to do the same. So what do we do? We go as a trio, of course! I was so excited she wanted to tag along.

So on a nice, serene, rainy Sunday (how appropriate, what comes next after all? – “And all the love, and all the love in the world won’t stop the rain from falling…”) we all set out for Thai food for lunch at a little hole in the wall Thai restaurant, which is always amazing AND hot/spicy!!! Of course, that was just the start of the day. To kill some time between lunch and the screening of the movie we chose to go see, I ran the crew up to the old Episcopal church I used to do change ringing at and showed them the building and gave them a bit of an “education” as it were about the various parts of the building, all while still sitting under a kiss of light rain.

Not wanting to overstay our welcome, and owing to a bathroom emergency, we retired to Friend B’s house just a couple of blocks away. Though I got lost on the way (damn stoplights!!!) I eventually found my way there as Friend B showed us the house, I played a few tunes on her guitar (couldn’t help it!) and we all sat down for a glass of wine and a toast to new friends.

We toasted entirely too long as we all loaded up into Friend B’s car (and I left my car at the house) and headed to the theater hoping we’d be just in time for the start of the movie but done with all the bullshit previews. No such luck, but we only missed about 5 minutes. Our movie choice was The Spy Who Dumped Me, and it was by and large stupid but it was at least hilarious and the fight scenes were very well executed, and the cameo by (a fake, obviously) Edward Snowden just make it that much more epic. The three of us hadn’t laughed so hard in forever. It was so great.

The trek back to Friend B’s house wound up being the scenic route so plenty of fun conversation was had, including a rather long discussion of the soon-to-be-felt after effects of the Thai food we all ate for lunch. You chili heads know what I refer to – the dreaded “firerrhea” of course (let’s just break it down and bring the chorus full circle – “…waste seeping underground”). When you can talk about having lava shits with your friends, you know you’re both awkward, weird and super tight all rolled into one!

The day came to an end as we arrived back at Friend B’s house and bartender friend and I gave our teary-eyed, arm-locked goodbyes to Friend B and I chauffeured bartender friend back to her house where we did the same. Needless to say I didn’t want the day to end but it had to.

Wow. I’m just at a loss for words. I really, really needed this. Going through some personal life bullshit and work isn’t exactly going smoothly right now so meeting someone that I have so much in common with was just amazing. It’s the start of another great friendship for me. What a weekend.

Alas, back to “real life” tomorrow. Don’t make me…

Do You Hear Me? Do You Care?

So I just surpassed 300 followers on The Inked Autist. Compared to a lot of the blogs I follow, dare I say that’s…infinitesimal? Oh well, what started off as a personal diary to catalog tattoo ideas turned into something much bigger than I ever anticipated. Yes, I realize a lot of those followers are bullshit spambots, but I think that’s the same situation for every blogger on this site (seriously WP, you gotta cut a lot of the crap!).

That said, I can’t help but wonder: my followers are at an all-time high but my readership has dropped dramatically in recent months. My stats (both views and comments) are WAY down. Are people just taking blogging breaks? Is this site dying out? Is WordPress going the way of Xanga back in the day (I reflect upon the rise and fall of Xanga, and I was a big-name blogger on Xanga too – I literally had thousands of followers there).

Am I doing something wrong to alienate my core base as well as new readers? If I’m doing something wrong I need to know so I can fix it. I’ve met so many awesome people through this medium and would like to continue doing so.

Have I offended any of you? If I have somehow offended any of you, I need to know. If you don’t want to air your grievances publicly, feel free to send me a private email (address on the side bar of this blog). I normally respond within a day maximum, usually within an hour or two.

I would appreciate any feedback, positive or negative, props or constructive criticism. If no one notices I think I’ll dye my hair blue. After all, what are words for when no one listens? It’s no use talking at all!

 

Two Years of Blogging

So I woke up to this nice little notification:

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 5.36.05 AM

Wow, has it already been two years? How time flies huh?

Anyway, when I started this blog I had little intention of having a small group of loyal friends. I was thinking this would primarily just be a personal diary to catalog tattoo ideas. I think it’s safe to say I got more than what I bargained for: a great group of long-distance friends, meeting a fellow autism spectrumite in person and the list goes on!

For that, I thank all of my followers from the bottom of my heart. It has been such a blessing, but with that I ask you: is there anything you want to see more of? Do you have any suggested content? Be it product reviews, tattoo advice, more half naked pictures (LOL!), what?

Please let me know in the comments, and thanks again for being there. It really does mean a lot.

-Lynn Blair, “The Inked Autist”