Well, that plan certainly didn’t work out.
It’s been a whirlwind month, in my defense; I feel like my brain leaked out my ears.
We unofficially/officially/weepingly fired our lawyer just after I wrote in January. Neither of us could stand, in good conscience, to stick with a man who told us he refused to take payment in anything other than a lump sum because we’ll just break up like all his other clients. Charming.
We spent an awful lot of time looking for a second cat to join our little cat family and keep Prosper happy. He’s been bored since we moved here, after getting used to having both my mom’s cats available for play and/or harassment. This has meant a lot of walking around and yowling, which I’m sure you can imagine is charming and not at all likely to get us in trouble with the neighbors. This culminated in a kitten, Madeline, who is the nosiest, bravest little thing I have ever encountered. Nothing disuades her, and she is rather fond of Prosper already. Prosper remains undecided, but he starts yowling again if we separate them because he’s playing too rough. Fairly sure he thinks she is his toy.
I’ve been driving a couple times with our livingsocial flexicar deal. Turns out driving in Australia is fine, except the windsheild wipers and turn signals are reversed. Fuckers.
Last week my temp job unceremoniously ended. I was apparently mean to permanent staff. In my defense, they were terrible at their jobs, made mine harder, and got paid more money than me for it. Also no one told me to tone it down until it was over, which is not exactly helpful–or trust building. I didn’t disclose the autism stuff at that job because I thought it was just a temp position, but I will be doing so in the future. Better to be up front that I am not clear about what I can and can’t say without explicit direction. Lesson learned. However, that was the worst job I’d ever had, so leaving hasn’t hurt too much.
And that is why I haven’t written anything.
It’s almost the end of the year, and I’ve done a rather terrible job writing and updating. I played with the layout a bit, but I’m not sold on it as a permanent fix. The 2012 layouts should be out soon, so I’ll hold out and see what’s coming and how I’d like to play with them.
Melbourne continues to feel strange, home and not-home all jumbled up together. The past month has been harder than the ones before it, as I find myself missing Stina and Dylan badly even as I’m growing into more and more of my own person. I read somewhere recently that it’s not unusual at all for autistic people, but especially autistic women, to lack a strong sense of self and identity–it’s something I definitely identify with (oh, irony). I have been so defined by that friendship for so much of my life, and all of my adult life at that, that I have of course been confused and lonely and unsure of how to go about being me separate from them. I’s been a good thing to mull over, thinking about how to deliberately choose who I am and who I can become.
I know 2011 hasn’t been particularly great for many people in my life, but it’s been positive on the whole, for me. I’m happy to be here. We’re in discussion with our immigration lawyer to begin my trek towards permanent residency. I have a job, albeit a terrible temp one, and make enough money to live comfortably and save for said immigration. I have grown infinitely more comfortable with both my autism and my gender, and my metacognition is much happier than it was a year or even two or three ago. While I am still sad because of Stina and Dylan, I am feeling like I am going to be okay.
Next year is going to be good. There are lawyer appointments and immigration agents to meet. I’m going to have a booth at a local artist’s market in January, and if it goes well I’ll sign up for more times in February, March, and April. I have insurance that will pay for me to get a massage every once in a while. There is a very, very strong chance we will get a second kitten to keep crankypants happy and entertained. I’m going to Port Fairy. Kate Miller-Heidke put us on the guest list to come see her for free, because we’re awesome. I’m considering scraping together the cash to take a course in Auslan (Australian sign). I found a choir I want to join. Maybe we can talk Hez into visiting. I’ll try to write more here, not just reblog on tumblr.
I think it’s going to turn out just fine.
Been in Melbourne for a while, now. I have a temp job lined up to start this week. We have a lease that starts a week from tomorrow. Prosper is starting his trip tomorrow (miss the cat, so much).
This has been an update.
Less than a week in the US. Feels weird. Words are a little hard to come by now that I don’t have to pretend to be fluent and fluid and talkative at work, which maybe says something in favour of faking it or maybe it’s just about regular sleep schedules. I have packed and repacked, abandoned much of the stuff I thought I simply had to have to exist, and decided more hair dye totally beats clothes any day, because awesome hair is awesome even if I only have pajamas and t-shirts, and manic panic is hard to come by there.
We spend a lot of time looking at houses in between my fits of playing the sims and trying to shove more stuff into my over-full suitcases and being sat upon by the cat, who is in a panic, too. I have chai cola. It is delicious. My life is inane.
I am feeling resilient and tired and ready.
Moving is really fucking hard when you have executive function issues.
You know that time suck that happens where you get on the computer and look at something, and then six hours later you haven’t showered or eaten? My whole life is that time suck. My to-do lists consist of one thing per day, usually the most difficult thing I’d like to accomplish. Everything else is a bonus.
I’ve been trying to coax my brain into the right space to work out costs for international moving for about a month. I managed to contact an international moving company, who sent a brochure, and that was great (though I now believe I cannot afford them). More important than moving my table and chairs, though, is moving my cat.
I finally contacted one company yesterday and…$3995. WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN FOUR GRAND TO MOVE MY CAT? THAT DOESN’T EVEN INCLUDE THE QUARANTINE FEES AND PAPERWORK FEES AND WHAT THE FUCKING WHAT. THAT IS MORE THAN ALL OF MY PERSONAL MOVING COSTS PUT TOGETHER (except furniture transport that looks increasingly unlikely as this was the company reccomended by the movers).
So then I spent the past three hours alternately crying and sending out pleas to other moving companies. I think I’m aiming for less than $2000, which is the lowest price I’ve seen advertised so far. This throws off my budget drastically (I’d planned for his cost to be abouit $750, plus vet, import, and quarantine fees, which sounds reasonable given my human ticket is about $1000), and now there’s a panic attack. I don’t know how we’ll afford this–it eats up a lot of money I’d planned to put up for rent and bond while looking for a job.
Thanks to perseveration, I will probably continue having small panic attacks until this is resolved.
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.
I’ve been blogging here for a year, and nearly a hundred posts.
There have been two Kate-lyric exceptions (both for MBT fangirling) and this will make my 97th published post. In this time, I have:
-Used lyrics from “Caught in the Crowd,” “Dreams,” and “The Truth” six times each (fun fact: I don’t like “The Truth”!)
-Used lyrics from “Blah Blah Blah,” “Day After Christmas,” “Our Song,” and “Out and In” five times each
-These seven songs account for 39% of my post titles
-I’ve used 34 songs, 32 of which are part of the official discography (including Elsewhere, Kate’s previous band). Including Elsewhere there are officially 54 songs (not including multiple releases or versions of a song), and I have an additional 32 or so demos. I think I’m going to have to make an effort to use all of the released songs for a title in the coming year. No promises.
In less compulsive, more personal news, I’ve had a bunch of interviews for jobs. The one I like best is for a group home and assistance organization in Chapel Hill who work with kids and adults with intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, and some neurological disorders. In practice this means a lot of people on the autism spectrum, some with Down Syndrome, some with CP, many with more rare disorders and disabilities, and a huge variation in levels of assistance needed. I knew it would be a good fit when the interviewer went off on a long tangent about how their clients are people and have every human right we do (I guess I passed for NT yesterday), even if they also need some help with ADLs or holding down a job. He used some language I only hear in the disability rights movement and stressed that you have to respect everyone as an individual or it would never work. I have a follow up interview tomorrow (after the first yesterday), so hopefully it works out! I’ve also interviewed for an in-home counselling position, and didn’t get a job at a local bookstore–but I did get an interview at a sister store later this week.
AT NO POINT DID I BREAK DOWN INTO SOBS OF FRUSTRATION OVER THE AMOUNT OF MONEY I NEED TO SAVE TO SUCCESSFULLY MOVE TO MELBOURNE.
I credit the cat and his soft, soft tummy for this. Little known fact: sticking your face in a cat’s side and breathing deeply is incredibly good for destressing.
I’m looking for something that will keep my brain occupied. I love anagramming and the last phrase was very successful. I want a two or three word phrase (maybe four, if one is an article) that is easy to remember and has 20-25 letters. The last one was “the very hungry caterpillar” and it worked really well. Suggestions?
Things I have said to my cat today:
“No, Prosper! Prosper! Lettuce is not for cats–oh, you want to try it? Put the whole leaf down. Down. Stop that. Ugh. Prosper! Here. Oh, you like lettuce? You’re a weird fucking cat.”
“Prosper! Stop that! Green beans aren’t for kittens! They are for mamas! Prosper, no, stop it. You don’t like green beans–oh, fuck, you’re weird, cat.”
Damn. I missed Autistic Pride Day, due to the fact that I was driving back from a visit to Staunton and Stina and Dylan, and then there was family and small children here.
So, thanks to stark. raving. mad. mommy‘s post about it, I’ve been inspired to do my own top ten list.
The top ten advantages and disadvantages to my being on the spectrum:
Disadvantage 10 – I’m not always good at communicating clearly and with words other people understand in face-to-face or other spoken conversations, and often miss details because of it.
Advantage 10 – I’m very good at being precise in writing.
Disadvantage 9 – Tiny incongruencies stand out to me, which can be very distracting when reading books with little plot holes or talking with friends.
Advantage 9 – I make a really awesome fact checker and editor.
Disadvantage 8 – My palate is limited by both tastes and textures that I like and dislike, so I end up eating a lot of the same foods over and over.
Advantage 8 – Those foods are often green vegetables, and it makes cooking and grocery shopping low-stress when they could be overwhelming.
Disadvantage 7 – I have trouble picking up on body language that isn’t exaggerated.
Advantage 7 – I can read cats’ body language fluently.
Disadvantage 6 – Large groups of people are overwhelming and likely to make me be very quiet.
Advantage 6 – I make a good listener (when I can hear!).
Disadvantage 5 – When things don’t go exactly how I envisioned them or follow the rules, I quickly progress from annoyed to downright upset.
Advantage 5 – I can plan out how things should go and even plan when I need to be flexible and when I don’t.
Disadvantage 4 – I become obsessed with topics, sometimes quite briefly, to the exclusion of all else.
Advantage 4 – I know a lot about a lot of things.
Disadvantage 3 – My memory can be tricky–I remember things I don’t need to save, and forget why I walked into a room.
Advantage 3 – The semi-photographic quality makes it easy to remember visual information like puzzles, maps, and book layouts.
Disadvantage 2 – I do things the same way over and over, even when it’s not necessarily the best way.
Advantage 2 – I learned to draw by redrawing a picture from a book hundreds of times.
Disadvantage 1 – I have trouble making friends because I’m never quite sure when the right time is to say things or volunteer information.
Advantage 1 – The friends I do make are very close and like me anyway.
In conclusion, here is a slightly blurry picture of my cat wearing a bow tie.
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: