In two and a half weeks, I will get on a plane and cease to live in the US, for permanent as far as we can guess.
When I land, I will be a new person. I will be neatly crafted, all smooth lines and invisible joins, not cobbled together of hurts and fears and sinew like I am now. A clockwork person; a robot made out of human bits of bone.
I will be Eliot, sometimes. I will be trans without being ashamed, or anxious, or both. I will be openly, joyfully queer (and if the immigration stuff goes easily, maybe even poly). I will be proudly autistic, honest about the disabling bits and all the good things. I will be clever and quick and funny and obsessive. I will make friends.
At least, I’m going to try.
What gives me away, in the end, is that I don’t ask questions.
It has something to do with tone. I’m never clear if I’m being given a small fact or invited to discuss something larger, deeper, more complex and personal. With a handful of people I can usually guess correctly, but for the most part I resort to ignoring these maybe-invitations; I’ve gotten that guess wrong far too many times to try it.
I very much want to know, that isn’t the issue. It’s not that I lack curiosity about the lives and inner workings of the people I am close to–far from it, really. I am desperate for a glimpse into how they work, how we are alike and dissimilar, because I like that sort of thing, that sort of science of thought. But I can’t bring myself to ask, waiting to be offered tidbits of information and never able to complete the follow-up that is required for more.
It comes out of a sense of not being owed knowledge, which I actually think would be rather an improvement for everyone if it was the baseline opinion instead of the reverse. No one should tell me anything about themselves, because their lives are private and what they want to disclose may or may not match up with what I want to know–and their comfort should always be prioritized (and mine, in turn). No one should get to ask me about being queer, being some flavour of trans, being autistic without my express permission. No one should be able to make sexual advances without my permission. My body, and the mind it holds, are mine alone to share as I deem fit.
This isn’t the default, though, so my inability to ask at all the right times is pathologized and made into a symptom instead of the polite respect that it is intended to be. I would love to know. I’m just waiting for permission.
HI IT’S BEEN A WHILE.
So it’s been a bit of a while since I updated this, my very realest of all of my blogs. In that time:
1. Kate released a new album under a new name, a technopop collaboration with her husband called Fatty Gets a Stylist. It is amazing.
2. Kit came, we went to Disney World. We hung out. We fought a little. We looked at real estate. We realized it’s only 10 weeks before I move for permanent for real omg omg.
3. Sar and Hez came to visit!
4. I have acquired a few fanblogs. Being that I am the loudest member of the nonexistent fandom for MBT, I have TWO fan tumblrs. Also a Kate one. Also I’m awesome. (The Explicarium, the Branden Rose’s personal tumblr, Just Gristle and Blood) Don’t laugh at the bad graphics on the last one; I’ve taken control of it from a previous mod and don’t know how she’d feel about me making it AWESOME.
And now it is time for pictures!
The rest are available in the main flickr set. YAY!
Hi, Dylan. Google analytics tells me someone in Charlottesville spent a while on here late last week. Then you tried to friend me on facebook. I have a hunch those things are connected.
When you tried to friend me, I responded with a single question: why? I’m not sure yet if I’m interested in your interpretation of that question or your answers to it, but I am interested in a thought-ramble about you. Stina complained I only wrote hurt letters to her, and maybe it’s time to fix that.
To start with, I never wrote hurt letters to you for a few reasons. One is because the pair of you are a collective unit, and I knew whatever I wrote would make its way to you. You were my friend first (Stina intimidated me terribly when we met), and we were so close of course I had to be friends with both of you. We told strangers we were siblings. We told your coworkers we were siblings. And I loved you like the brother I wanted to have. You frustrated me and hurt my feelings and I loved you anyway.The relationship we had could not be quantified in words, could not be described with pen to paper or words on a screen. I didn’t write you letters because I don’t think about you in words.
Not speaking to Christina hurts. Our whole relationship was built around words, around the way we used them and had shared language to draw upon. Not being near you hurts. I miss the physical comfort I had with you–it’s hard to come by, for me, but you made me feel at ease.
You hurt my feelings–often, actually. You refused to use the language I asked you to about my sexuality. You were so dismissive of non-binary genders I never made a sound about my own after a single, tentative suggestion. You styled yourself as an expert on the autism spectrum because you work with little boys with social issues. Dylan. I’m not a ten year old, socially awkward boy. I’m me. And I’m autistic. Insisting I was wrong, that I was looking for excuses, that I wanted to be special, it fucking hurt. You never noticed that I hate the Little Prince, hate it with a passion. Instead you got me another, more special, more expensive copy.
I wasn’t a model best friend. I still don’t know the full story about your falling out with your parents. I don’t know if you had lung problems before you started binding. I don’t know why you became a vegetarian. I don’t know a fucking lot of things. I was afraid to ask. Asking feels off-limits, so staunchly rule-breaking I can’t do it–not an excuse, just an explanation.
I don’t know anything about you anymore, and I’m no longer sure you know anything at all about me. I’m not sure I want to be friends with someone who made me feel inferior all the time. So, why? Why ask? Why now?
So, when you get unfriended in facebook, is that the point where I have to stop referencing them as if I have actual friends so people at work think I’m less of a freak? Because my circle of friends is pretty much limited to Hez, Kit, and Sarah right now. I think a huge, huge part of me has been thinking that when I get back in therapy (next week? Might’ve found someone I like finally), I’d work out how to forgive and forget (not skills I currently have) and we could be friends again. I guess not.
Will I ever stop feeling so sad? I can’t even make steps towards making friends here because everyone gets measured against the litmus test of fucking Stina and Dylan. I want best friends. I want my best friends again.
I’m a failure.
Suffice to say, as far as the job goes, that I am officially prohibited from talking about it, as a Big Pharma Shill of the lowliest rank. I’m enjoying it and seem to be learning quickly.
I wish I could say that I learn quickly in the rest of my life.
My Official Autism Eval Thing is scheduled for this February 18th, and I’m feeling sort of numb about the whole thing.
I’ve started to wonder if perhaps feeling neutral or numb is some sort of response to having too much emotion or feeling, at least some of the time. There is absolutely a point where I am so physically uncomfortable that I become unable to experience further discomfort; in the reverse, I’m capable of being pretty physically neutral, neither exceptionally comfortable or uncomfortable. There are times that I really do feel neutrally about a given subject or event or person or any other direct object of my emotions, and this is an appropriate level of shit-giving. But there are times that I probably should feel more intensely than I do, and recentish events have caused me to reflect if that’s not some sort of really terrible coping mechanism.
Bluntly, I feel…okay about Christina (and, by default and/or tacit agreement and not ever talking to me, Dylan) ending our friendship. And I don’t think I’m meant to, quite yet. I spent days and days heartbroken and crying randomly; it was even worse than when everything ended with Alice because there were almost three extra years involved–three years we’d largely spent living together or next door to one another. And then I woke up, and it was all just gone, and that seems really weird to me. It makes much more sense that my brain decided that this level of emotion is just not viable long-term and turned the whole thing off for a while. That, in turn, helps explain a lot of weird emotional things I remember, both recent and not recent.
I think this level of sensation is directly correlated with meltdowns, for me, at least. And I think that this self-control response of total shutdown of emotion probably has the potential for weird neurological effects, like the part where I don’t remember a lot of the particulars of really nasty meltdowns. I think that my brain is trying to insulate me from feeling everything so strongly and acutely that it becomes difficult for me to even remember the events as they actually occured, because my memory is fuzzy to prevent me from feeling those things again. It’s not a perfect system, though, because I do remember some snatches of image or sound, and the further away temporally I get from any event the better my chances of remembering or feeling it properly are.
I spent a little over a month not feeling anything related to Stina and Dylan.
A coworker made a joke about not having any friends, and I responded that my friends had abandoned me. I got home tonight, and started to cry. The only real way to deal with this emotion and hurt and anger is to feel it, and work through it. Apologies in advance for any meltdowns it triggers, but I think I’m ready to do this like an adult. Maybe.
Damn, I need a therapist. As soon as my shiny insurance card arrives (seriously good insurance for cheap, yes please!), I shall have this thing.
Like Hez, I don’t believe in resolutions. I think you can set goals and have dreams, but timelines are invariably off and there are always surprises that change who you thought you were.
I’ve been thinking about how this blog has moved away from blogging my thoughts on autism and feminism and become more of a journal. Neither are really what I imagined when I started writing in this space, and I’m not sure either is what I want to be doing here.
So I don’t believe in resolutions, and I don’t know what I’m doing with this space.
I want to change my life so that it’s designed to make me happy, not to make me feel rotten. I’m starting a new job next week. I’m getting my new name in my passport soon. I’m getting Prosper’s import certs and making plans. I’m making plans. And I think I can learn how to be happy in a way that can be measured beyond moments.
If your response to someone being upset with you for your bad behaviour is along the lines of, “Your feelings are your business. You could choose not to be upset,” then you are in sore need of an empathy lesson. I would also strongly remind you that while you cannot “fix” or change another’s emotions, you are always in charge of your own actions: if another person is hurt in reaction to your actions, it would be thoughtful and kind to consider why.
It’s been a long time since I updated, but I felt it was important to post today. I missed Autistics Speak Day at the start of the month and just seemed to lose a lot of steam (pun intended).
November is a hard month. It contains Kitty’s birthday and the mixed feelings I have about that (glad she has a birthday, not glad I can’t be there with her for it). It is also often a time of year I find myself increasingly depressed; as much as I truly enjoy winter and late fall, I still have a biological reaction to it that is a lot less joyful and a lot more sobbing. I’m also having a weird sense of loss this year, because Greensboro doesn’t get snow. Last winter had a shitton of snow (that’s a precise measurement) and I will be lucky to get a flurry this year. I like snow–except digging my car out.
This November has been especially difficult: I still have a job which I do not like and feel is not ethical; I do not have a replacement job lined up; I have started to come out to coworkers about this autism stuff and that’s led to what feels like bullying, even though I strongly suspect it’s just meant to be friendly teasing (and then I feel crappy about feeling bullied, because I really did have a true bully at my previous job and this is pretty minor in comparison); I had to pass up a last-minute eval appointment with TEACCH because I couldn’t get off work; I’ve been sick twice this month, totalling about 14 of 20 days so far. I think I actually prefer the sporadic and scarily violent times I was hit or kicked at my previous job to my 10+ small kicks, hits, pinches, slobbers, and otherwise “affectionate” violent and upsetting touches every day.
I am sick of being assaulted, sick of being sick, sick of yelling at people to stop doing perfectly reasonable things like stimming because I’m supposed to, sick of feeling like a traitor to all my fellow autistic people because I get so damn frustrated that I understand the autistic line of thinking many of the people I work with follow, but due to a 4-5 standard deviation gap in our verbal and processing speeds I can’t figure out how to help them. How do I explain to someone that, actually, I totally get what it’s like to want to hit yourself or bite your hand and have a meltdown, and this is a good way to defuse that feeling rather than having the meltdown? I understand, but I can’t communicate that meaningfully, so all my insights into how to help are useless. I can see that the autistic man with overwhelming ADHD and difficulty with reading needs to have all information blocked out on the page so he can concentrate on the letters; I can’t figure out how to convince him to use the tool I made. Then we both get frustrated and he hits or kicks me and I have to go have the same meltdown I had to scold someone for an hour earlier.
I am sick of feeling utterly alone. Kitty is there, and lovely, but long distance hurts in a physical sort of way. I thought that I had plans for Thanksgiving, but they weren’t a priority.
So…whining wasn’t actually what I wanted to write about. I wanted to write about how today is Transgender Day of Awareness and how I have come to identify as genderqueer over the past couple of years, and how I’ve never come out except to Kitty before. But now I’m crying instead, so I think this is done.
Oh, and my name has been changed.
My name is Ali, though sometimes it's Eliot.
I have many tumblrs, which you are welcome to also visit:
Fuck Yeah, Kate Miller-Heidke - the only active Kate fan site, which is baffling.
The Branden Rose - the only active Monster Blood Tattoo fansite, which is less baffling.
I also have a semi-successful etsy shop, which you should visit, below.
A brief history: