the art of the walk

I have been recently asked how I learnt to go for a walk and the more I wrote about it the more I realised the therapeutic benefits of working on that particular issue of mine so I thought I might as well turn it into a blog post. Maybe some other hurt soul finds a way to lessen a bit of the pain. 🙂

I had a flatmate who i was regularly walking with. Her routes tho and on her initiative. But through such things I was aware of the general idea of walking for the purpose of walking. She now moved away and my new flatmates and I do not get along. Through the walks with my exflatmate I had some idea of how my surroundings looked like. In the beginning I would walk our routes, uphill among houses and alleys. I also began to walk to the the city centre instead of taking the bus. Since my sleep rhythm is somewhat more normal I didn’t always need to hurry to barely arrive at the supermarket at closing hour. So I could take my time take in surroundings. When I have been in a hurry I wouldn’t really notice anything, now I’d maybe see that this way extends to some unknown over there asf.

I love dogs so I would sometimes see dogs and their owners who looked friendly to me and I would ask the owner if I could introduce myself to the dog. Only one person has said no so far. Many people even are happy that they meet a dog lover. I really feel connected to non human animals so that kind of socialisation helped as well. Eventually I began to realise the path to the city which I used (pedestrians only, next to a stream) was part of a bigger path alongside one of the cities streams so I followed it up a little more and eventually began to explore the part of it that were less concrete influenced and more about trees and undergrowth. I grew up near forests so I liked that plus people there are normally rather relaxed walking their dogs (or jogging, pushing their toddlers for their nap, but i do not chat these people up. No doggie, no talkie).

I’d say I always felt people would judge me somehow. I had this obsession about always needing to have an answer to the question no one ever asked me where I was going. I felt “justified” in groups but never alone. Neglect teaches you helplessness and nonexistence. The less you are seen and heard the better for you. Going out for a walk FOR NO REASON is a quite obvious violation of that rule about neglect. Part of it is literally about carving your own path, being a person on a basic level. Existing. I still worry about so many pointless things when going for a walk (what if I go to far and I can’t walk back and my battery has died or I have no reception… blabla) but I plan to gradually overcome this and dare I say it might even increase the area I’m covering by using my bicycle, having picnics… you know getting daring 😛

 
Some of this might not help you. Maybe you are afraid of dogs of the idea of talking to anyone gives you nightmares or you don’t like nature the same way and would prefer the houses. But in the end the walk is about exploring. It’s mostly about you personally I guess. Another forbidden concept to explore around neglectful people. So you need to find a way to ease yourself into walking that works FOR YOU. The growth I have written about here took me a year. Each new addition to the walk (even the taking more time while walking anyway) took me weeks of anxiety getting myself convinced that it’s OK to do this and then even more weeks to get used to the idea of actually doing, trying to be less jumpy about it.

The walk starts with accepting the idea that YOU determine what is right and wrong for you. You can decide when you walk, where you walk and how long you walk. Who you talk to and what you say. A very complicated concept for me. I guess the best way to start is to open yourself up for experiments and review them, confront your fears little by little.

(autistic) relationship dynamics

I have recently been asked by a reader about a quote concerning autistic relationships. I feel quite honoured and flattered about being asked about my opinion by a passing acquaintance. 🙂
Also I thought this is an important topic for many of us one way or another so I might as well share it with a wider audience. This is the starting piece:

“Far too many people on the spectrum spend most of their days with people who carry around memories of, and are often too overwhelmed by incidents of, prior misinterpretation. This is no fun. In travel you can start over, and reinvent yourself. If somehow a relationship gets weird, you can leave and go to the next town, the next block, or whatever the case may be, and try again.” — Michael John Carley

First of, I have no idea who Mr. Carley is and am thus not familiar with his work. The reader in question told me he is on the spectrum himself and that’s pretty much all the information I have. Just in case there are ardent Carley fans out there willing to accuse me of slander. I have no reason to personally attack the man, it’s all about what he said and what I think about it. 🙂

For me punctuation and sentence structure in the quote is a little bit confusing. As I understood it it’s about people on the spectrum often being surrounded by people of whom they remember how said people misjudged the autistic person, misinterpreted them and so forth and how this is very painful. A possible way to counteract this is proposed as travelling and starting anew with other people.
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Autism Acceptance 101: What’s The Big Deal?

very good post outlining what is wrong with awareness and light it up blue and suggesting what you could do instead. the only thing id like to add is that i do not feel anyone would need to be “aware” of all the boring nitty gritty unknown disagreeing details about the spectrum to accept me. awareness is work, just accepting i dont like onion is much less energy consuming. 🙂 go read this

Feminist Aspie

The previous post in this series, “Functioning Labels 101: What’s The Big Deal?” can be found here. Once I’ve established that I actually will write a regular series of these posts and not just abandon the idea, I’ll create a tag.

Today, 2nd April, is the UN’s annual World Autism Awareness Day; by extension, the whole of April is Autism Awareness Month – or, as you may have heard it being called by autistic activists and our allies, Autism Acceptance Month. You may also have noticed that many autistic people have reacted against certain “Autism Awareness” campaigns. So, what are the problems with Autism Awareness Month as it currently stands? Why “acceptance”? What can you do this April to help autistic people in a meaningful way? Welcome to Autism Acceptance 101.

Surely more autism awareness can only be a good thing?
Not if the only things being brought to…

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revelations of loneliness

I have not written in a long time. Meanwhile I have contacted 60 hospitals treating traumatised patients, lost another long term friend very suddenly and both came with ugly revelations. But I am a person who has an uncanny ability to see a silver lining in every terrible thing that has happened to me and this ability has not left me.

I think for the first time in my life there is now no one I communicate with on a daily basis. I’m well and truly lonely and it’s given me time to think and understand some things. My biggest lightbulb is that my biggest problem was not that I was abused. Rather I have been emotionally neglected. Pete Walker has linked the pain coming from emotional neglect to a scenario that made me understand A LOT.

He said all (human) children are hard wired to know they should not be alone, they rely on their parents to defend them from predators, nuture them and keep them warm asf. So the fight for the parents attention to a young child (Walker cites the age of six) is a fight for survival. I’m pretty sure the idea that we are safe from my often invoked saber tooth tiger regardless of our elders actions or inactions does not compute yet for our brains.

Emotionally it’s still being left to fend for oneself when young = being in mortal danger.

So the pain I’m dealing with does not come from abusive messages such as I’m not worth the oxygen I breathe or whatever else verbal abusers say. My pain comes from not being acknowledged to exist at all. By the very people who are responsible for my existence. Which in a way is akin to not actually existing. To me it feels more brutal than killing me. But that might be overdramatising things and I’m not a fan of measuring my own pain against other peoples pain. Pain is pain. I just feel a need to verbalise my own, make me realise what happened. I’ve not even been worth my parents time to insult me.

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What is Autism Acceptance?

purpleaspie

As I said in a previous post, I don’t think we need any more autism awareness. One of the things we do need is autism acceptance. What is autism acceptance, though? What does it look like?

Autism acceptance means not trying to make an autistic person act like a typical person. It means allowing us to have our stims, as long as they’re not hurting us or anyone else, and allowing us to avoid making eye contact if it’s difficult.

Autism acceptance means not saying, “I love my child but I hate his/her autism.” It means accepting your child, autism and all.

Autism acceptance means making accommodation for our sensory needs and allowing us to wear earmuffs or headphones in noisy environments, turning off the fluorescent lights, allowing us to wear comfortable clothes instead of expecting us to wear ties or frilly blouses or, heaven forbid, pantyhose.

Autism acceptance means…

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