Category Archives: Serious

Trigger Warning


Hunched in the seat in the stains of all who came before to- sex crimes division, glass door, bullet proof, sharp black lettering on the wall behind, locked tight with a bell to ring that only rings if you press it for five, four, three, two, one–  look at the file, the tissue box, the bland bench, the white wall, the Duress Button, red and hemi-circle. Feeling oddly little, well, not oddly, you know this ritual, distance so that you don’t cry. The predictability of that feminine display of emotion is extra humiliation under his blue-eyed stare, blue-eyed like him, like- “You’re a girl, it’s what girls do” when you comment on how many messages you have to scroll through to find the evidence, thick, dripping, distant rage flares and dies and you don’t cry. You don’t say a word. You read the blue bubbles like clockwork for the fourth time, hand the phone over, already violated, privacy is nothing now that you gave them username and password and everything you ever said in the name of evidence, of proof, of please for fuck’s sake someone fucking believe me it was real it was real it was real it was-

He hands the phone back and you exit the screen, flip it closed, flip it open again, flip it closed, and open one more time before clenching it in your fists until they ache. Bite down hard on antipathy the way he bit your thighs before you knew when a chuckle precedes “I hope you’re not into any of that nasty stuff like the cutting, disgusting what we get in cybercrime,” conversational like his revulsion at your being isn’t something you can taste behind your teeth.

Recounting it takes the taste and slips it into narrative, this you know, this you do well. Absence again, watch his face carefully blank as he types what you say, intentionally getting details wrong for later, when he prints it, and you have to read and correct, like critical thought is something anyone can do. Her name doesn’t have an e. That’s the wrong date. Yes, he was naked. No, I slept on the couch. Yes, they knew I was there. No, I didn’t tell them.

He’s typed it all like it’s jealousy. They’re dating again. You try to correct him. They post photos, together on beaches, smiling like he didn’t do it and she didn’t know. He amends some sentences, but the story reads the same. He’s not sorry. You’re exhausted. You don’t try again.

“You have to understand” You have to understand, you do understand, you knew before you made the decision opened the door stepped through and spoke, “That most people on a jury will think like me, they’ll see this-”

Gesture at the file, the statement, flicking through earlier he let slip the photo of her, the closest one, who in one breath said It’s not your fault if he took the bait and in the next said well you brought it on yourself-

“- And they’ll think that you got what you were asking for, it’s what you were talking about after all.”

No it wasn’t no it wasn’t no it wasn’t what about this do you not fucking understand

Sharp smile, practiced, your voice is strained and you hate it. “Well I have to try anyway. Someone else might get hurt.”

He looks at you like you’re lying, and again you feel filthy, and somewhere far away the rage burns in a small glass bottle, growing dimmer.

You go home and have nightmares for the 14th night in a row.


Red Dust Lover


I wrote this in response to this beautiful post by @inkskinned.
It started off as a comparison between ‘seasons’ for the rest of the world and the Australian seasons. It ended up becoming a sort of therapeutic self-love thing. My healthy self writing about my sick self. Shh.

When they say their lovers are like the seasons, it takes me a moment to remember that their seasons are not like mine. I’ve never thought of her as being like the seasons- but then, I have, I have, I’ve thought it to myself on quiet nights when I watch her sleep, her expressive face stilled, body sanguine, naked, uncovered. Sweat-slick at 3 am we do not touch, the overhead fan creaking with exertion. Our seasons are not divided into quarters. There is no clear winter in her, no autumn, no falling golden leaves.

My love, she’s red dust and blooming acacia. She’s a wide sandy grin on the coast at sunset, in September, when it’s warm enough to swim but not hot enough to coax the cicadas into song. Her laughter is the creaking of the gum trees, and her kisses, her whispers, are the susurrus rippling through their leaves. She is soft and precious, like the orchids we find on our evening walks.

By November there’s a cloying stickiness to her love. She grasps for my hands despite the humidity and overhead the clouds rumble. It’s hard enough to breathe and like the flies she clings to me and I slick her from my skin- I love her, yes, I love her, please, enough, enough already, enough!
The sky flashes and over the crashing waves I hear her thunder, a crack in the depths of her that shakes the windows of my soul. Unbeknownst to me, lightning far away strikes bright the first bushfire of the season.

As quickly as they came, the storms pass, seemingly overnight. Left in their wake is a dryness that yellows grass and leaves me rasping in her presence. Her eyes are hard. Her voice is something crueller than cold. At least cold is wet, at least ice will soothe the parched lips of the lonely and the lost. I seek her but I am blinded by the brilliant light of her; I reach for her and find only vapour. She is a mirage, far from me, beautiful and devastating. The crispness of her conversation pricks me. Her barbs hook and catch and carry with me through the days.
We fall to silence. It’s too hot, too dry, for me to speak.

She burns.
We are taught in summer to clear a boundary around all we hold dear. We strip the land of life, we soak it with water, we plan our escape. We burn in advance. We pray that this year we will be passed over for the inevitable destruction. I follow the guidelines as closely as I can, careful to maintain control as I lay my boundaries before her. The silence is stifling. Across my lonely distance I watch her tremble in the sunlight.
When finally she does erupt, the flames are devastating. She is summer in full swing: the fire in her obliterates all it touches, and spreads, and devours. She rages without cease. Charred scars remain wherever she sweeps, smoke billowing on the horizon, and when her gaze settles on me I am already choking long before I feel the searing pain.

When January comes, and it does quite suddenly, I find her smouldering in the remains of all we built together. Her face is streaked with ashes. She is dripping, almost extinguished, no longer considered a threat now that there is nothing left for her to burn. She looks about herself like a child. She doesn’t know why she razed so much. She doesn’t even know what sparked the onslaught. All she knows is that it began, and raged, and ended.

More fires spark, here and there, as the months cool, but none of them with anything of the devastation of her summer fury. We sift through the remains of last year’s world, listing the names of those lost, salvaging memories. We lift water to eachother’s lips as the cleansing rains sweep in again. The Doctor, that ocean breeze named for the relief it brings, cools our skin. I hold her as she trembles through the shock of cold nights. I braid white wildflowers in her hair with each new day.
Those who survived the bushfires return. They survey the damage just as we did and a few of them leave, finding little worth saving. Those who do remain, however, band together. They help us rebuild.
In March, when the heat finally breaks, she sobs an apology.
They chuckle gently and murmur, “This is part of loving you.”

You don’t live in Australia and expect safety. You take the suffocating heat and deadly summers with the balmy days and sweet blue beaches. I love her even though she is like the seasons because when April and May roll around, bursts of hardy green break the scorched earth. Seeds released in the flames- seeds that are only released in the flames- sprout and bring new life to the ragged landscape. Our autumn and winter are not seasons of death and stillness. They are rich with new life. They are the salve to the aching wounds of our summers. They are resilient beauty, thriving in the chaos.

And there is nothing more beautiful than my red dust lover after the burn.

Alive – The Glut


I like living, I really do. I’m hopeful. I hope the world learns from history and things are actually getting better and we just can’t see it yet.
I’m hopeful for a future where things are different and good and that humanity is evolving toward a better, kinder existence. I don’t actually believe so, but I hope so, and that’s close enough.

Today is a nice day, it’s sunny and clear and I’m talking to a beautiful woman across the other side of the world who tells me she loves me and has such a big heart and is excited about going to dinner with another beautiful woman

And there are colourful yarns and I’m listening to music, music that is so bountiful I could listen to a new song every three minutes and never ever have to repeat one

And I am healthy, and relatively young, and I have touched and been touched by some of the most brilliant minds ever to be totally unappreciated by the world, and there is art, centuries of art, cataloguing all that the human race has ever done

There is architecture and philosophy and poetry and cooking tv shows and Gordon fucking Ramsay and christmas carols which I hate except for when I don’t and people crying at airports and orgasms and news anchors who burst into tears on live television because they saw a picture of a dusty young boy pulled from the wreckage of his home and

metal rulers and movies about slavery that make me cry at 2 in the morning and memes and stupid articles about Apple headphone jacks and beach breezes and a Cute Pancake Girl who may stay or go but right now she kisses me

And family, blood and found and chosen, and pretzel sticks, and drinking water from rivers and bacteria and very pretty rocks and very plain rocks and wine bottles being recycled into glass walls for glass houses and cruel politicians and the goddamn KKK and whirling planets and songs about Voids and boys with body issues and girls who write porn

And dalmatians and pallas cats and wine and anthrax and
This world is a glut, my loves.

None of it matters, and all of it matters. Everything hurts and there is joy all around. We’re all going to die someday. The whole human race will die someday and all of this? Everything? This is all history that we’ll leave behind, and whether we’re alone in the universe or if there’s some kind of life out there, these abstract passing functions of our existence will outlast us.
Is there a word for being simultaneously hopeless and hopeful?

This is what we are. Neither good, nor bad, just… Alive.
For a brief moment. Alive.

Re: Grief and That Painting



(Painting by Matthew Jackson)

There’s this thing in my head that I can’t quite put into words, and I’m not entirely sure I want to.
I originally wrote this in my journal. It’s that kind of personal.

But I feel now that I have to say something, to explain why I can’t accept… I don’t know. I have to speak.

It’s buried too far in, somewhere cool and dark and private. I want to talk about it sometimes but I can’t. It’s too personal, too raw. Just writing about it feels like I’m glorifying or dramatising it and maybe that’s why I keep quiet about it. I don’t want to soil this truly, painfully raw thing with the dressing of the world. I don’t want it to be seen or heard or witnessed by anyone but those who understand and appreciate it.

There’s this painting dad created, of he and I at the candlelight vigil after Rachelle’s death. He shared it on facebook and I feel exposed- not so much in a malicious, malignant way, but like my tragic superhero backstory is just there for anyone to see.

Except they don’t.

Captured in that painting is the precious aching real thing in me and none of them can see it, can understand. I can’t call it beautiful. I see myself in it in clearer detail than I see myself in the mirror.

A sees it, A understands, but she’s like me. It’s this common thread between us, our traumatised childhoods and our terminally ill parents. L has it too. This thing, this quiet, bleeding thing, but because it’s ours we never speak of it. It’s not done. It’s barely even acknowledged.

It’s like it’s secret, but it’s not. Rather, it’s secreted away. Protected. It’s the core of our beings, an integral component to our makeup, and we carry it in our breasts the way Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne carry theirs: In plain sight, where nobody can see it.

And even with this post, it’s still perfectly, silently mine.

Emotional Landscapes

Sometimes I feel as though I am blinded by emotion. As though each feeling is a shaft of light, and I have the brightest torch shining directly at my eyes. I find my way through a world I can’t see, as I am seeing too much of it all at once- I let my hands guide me, I knock my shins and stub my toes and stumble at the edge of the stage. I reach out and I grasp on to others as though their movements through a world I cannot see will keep me from the pain and confusion I am experiencing. It doesn’t, naturally. Most of the time I just end up hurting them as well. I’ll either hold on to them too tightly, or pull them down with me when I fall.
I can’t see. That is, I can’t feel the world through my emotions. I feel altogether too much all at once. I can’t even tell what direction the ‘light’ is coming from, only that I am dazzled and overwhelmed. I could close my eyes and block out the light entirely, but then, that would just be another kind of blindness. It would be more comfortable but also dark, a self-imposed impairment to my senses. I am afraid of the dark. I fear it would leave me cold and helpless. I have been experimenting with closing my eyes but they have been open for so long now that doing so hurts just as much. I am not very good at feeling nothing. It’s a little too much like being nothing, and when you can imagine what the world looks like without you in it… things start to get dangerous.
People like me are landmines for those who can moderate their emotions. I understand why we are to be avoided. When every feeling is like an unexpected camera flash it gets tiresome quickly. You have to be ready to be a stumbling block and a makeshift ladder, simultaneously the thing that trips us up and keeps us from falling. I understand, I truly do.
What I am learning now, however, is that it’s not the effort people are afraid of. It’s the exposure. If we can’t see, we find our way through our other senses. We feel everything or nothing. When I am with someone, I have to learn their thoughts and feelings by touch. I can’t keep my distance, because otherwise you might as well not even be there. You are wiped out, just like the rest of the world. To be emotionally involved with me, you have to be as emotionally exposed as I am. Think of an encounter with someone where instead of just looking at you, they have to touch you to identify you. There is no personal space. You can’t maintain a respectable and respectful distance. If they are to see you, they have to touch you, and that is the way it is with me and those like me. We cannot see you, only feel you. We are contagious raw nerves, live wires, wild hands searching in the bright light or the unfathomable dark.
Who in their right minds could stand to be as exposed as we are? As I am?
Who could handle that kind of intimacy and honesty, when it’s so obvious to those who watch us flailing about in our blindness that we are obviously completely out of control?
I wish I could describe the relief that comes with having a piece of the world take shape when I’ve been stumbling blindly for so long. I wish I could describe what it’s like to feel the world through another person, to run my metaphorical hands over their emotional landscapes. How much trust and wonder and joy and fear there is in touching other human beings. What it’s like to have friends and loved ones who dance close and then away again, so all you experience of them are flickers and flutters and temporary brushes against your extended fingertips. That when you’re not directly connected to them, you can’t tell where they are or if they’re even there at all.
Not to mention finding someone else as blinded as you are, and the emotional overload that comes with two people trying to experience eachother all at once. From nothing to everything, or everything to nothing? It’s madness.
Those of us who don’t break our necks navigating the emotional wilderness learn to live in a world so full of sensory information that we lose our senses. We learn to survive. We learn how to guess where someone is in our world without touching them, even though we crave to know them. I am trying to learn. I’m trying to find that strange thing people call self-respect that to me just seems like loneliness. Maybe one day I’ll stand on my own and not have to grasp the arms of those near to me to be sure of who they are.
I have to admit, I don’t want to. I want to touch the minds and hearts of everyone I meet. I want to learn who they are, to feel them, to feel with them.
I hope one day someone will be brave enough to let me.
In the mean time, I’m trying to be okay being alone.

But you don’t look…


I’m borderline, bipolar, and autistic.
You’d think that between those three, there wouldn’t be any common ground. There is, oddly enough, a lot of shared symptoms and triggers- but that’s not my point. The commonality I want to talk about today isn’t what happens in my brain, it’s what happens in other people’s brains.

The most common phrase I hear is, “But you don’t look…”
But you don’t look autistic.
But you don’t look bipolar.
But you don’t look borderline.

The question I always want to ask in return is, “Well, what did you expect me to look like?”

I’ve had people think that I’m too smart to be autistic, too kind to be borderline, and altogether too human (I know, right?) to be bipolar. I’m expected to be completely socially inept, or emotionally manipulative, or downright violent.
These are signs of social stigma, not of who or what I am.

Autism is a spectrum. It varies wildly from person to person, and even then, from situation to situation. Personally, I feel like an alien much of the time, because unspoken rules go right over my head. I’ve had to learn most of them, and I’m still finding many that I don’t know about.
Moving house with another human? How the hell do you navigate that?
Most of my noticeable autistic traits are more to do with sensory differences. I find great pleasure in simple things like fur and water. I struggle immensely with loud crowds, because I can’t differentiate between noises. Sometimes it hurts, and I’ll cry.
I have never been violent.

Borderline personality disorder is a tougher one.
I’ve had many, many people- too many, really- tell me that when they first met me, they kept their distance. Apparently I surprised them by not being a cruel, aggressive, emotional wreck of a person.
Borderline has a terrible reputation for extreme and vicious mood swings, irrational overreaction, and manipulation taken to sociopathic levels.
What it actually is, is a rawness of emotion. We feel everything very intensely, and yes, there are a few of us who explode and take this pain straight to the perceived source: you. The main aspects of BPD are intense fears of abandonment, problems with self-identity, and suicidal ideation.
NOT, as most people have come to think of it, bunny-boiling serial killer women or sad-eyed Winona Ryder having adventures with a psychopath.
I am not an external borderline. I used to be, long before medication and therapy, but much of my borderline traits are and have always been internalised. Rather than hurt other people, I am more inclined to hurt myself- and I haven’t self harmed in a very long time.
I have never been violent.

Finally, bipolar.
Extended periods of mania and depression.
Why does bipolar have such a negative reputation?
You know what I do when I have manic episodes? I spend a lot of money, and then I clean the house at five am. Really, manic me is amazing. Last time I was manic, I studied basic chemistry for three days straight. The only thing I harm when I’m manic is my bank account.
When depressed, I’m just… Well, depressed. Everyone knows the basics of depression.

I’m running out of steam here, but that’s because my brain has been playing with words all day and needs a break. I’ll cut to the chase in a moment.

The point I’m trying to make is maybe I don’t look mental because you don’t know what that looks like. We are just people. We aren’t more dangerous, more hurtful, more self-involved than any other person. If anything, we’re more likely to hurt ourselves.

Apparently yesterday was Bipolar Day, and I figure that something needs to be said. Maybe the reason I don’t look the way you expect is because you’re looking for something that’s not there.

I’m tired of being told I don’t look autistic/borderline/bipolar.
Because I do. This is what it looks like.
Just a person, just like you.

Life Management for the Management Impaired


Hello lovelies!

I thought I’d share some of my time-management stuff. I have a blog about Chittering Acres Studio in the making but it’s not ready yet, and I felt like writing a thing. I don’t know whether it’ll be helpful for anyone else, but my last post (not here) with the simple cross-off-when-done task list was quite unexpectedly popular. So, here’s how I function now that my life has changed considerably. I’m now living at home with family again, and my routine has merged with their routine. Along with that comes my uni work and a need to exert more control over my money and spending habits, since I don’t have the nice cushion of a partner to fall back on.


The first image is my budget. Right now it’s a bit tight because I had to have my beloved cat put down, and vet bills are a pain in the arse. I keep it simple- things I need, things I need to pay off, and things that happen every fortnight like board and putting money aside for food if I’m out of the house. I get paid every two weeks, so I make sure to keep that in mind when working out the numbers- I don’t work out the whole month unless I have something that needs to be worked out specifically, in which case I put that in a sheet to the side. An example of something that spreads out over more than one pay period is the assorted debts. I have their general info in the main section, and then I work out how long it will take me to pay off, and in what increments. If I pay one off before the others (as you can see with the bag) the money I’d have otherwise put towards it goes towards the others instead of slipping back into my spare money pile.


The other two pictures are of the word documents I use to organise my weekly routine and my uni assignments. The weekly routine one is old because I’m neurotic about strangers knowing my movements. Never upload to the internet the times you plan to be out of the house or otherwise vulnerable, predators will take advantage of it.
My weekly routine is full of things I might not necessarily do in green. As you can see, all of my gym and exercise stuff is in green. I was never sure how many spoons I would have on any given day, so I wrote down all the possible things I might like to do should I have the ability. Other necessary tasks that I couldn’t miss out on are highlighted in purple. If I’d had other non-uni-related weekly happenings, they’d be there in blue, but as it is I’m a bit of a shut in, so the only weekly necessity I have is… Well, uni. I worked out what time of day would be best for these by tracking what times of day I spent alert and on the computer most, and what times left me the least disturbed by other people in the house. As you can see, it’s the same time every day thanks to the weekly routines of my family.


The third picture is how I keep track of assignments. When they’re due, what parts to work on when, and when different sections of the semester start and end. I didn’t manage to capture it but I also have “Results Released” elsewhere in the document. Assignments that are yet to be done are in plain text while assignments I’ve completed are scratched out. I also change the colour of the days to grey to show which dates have passed- making it really easy to see any assignments I’ve missed or which are late. I have… More of those than I’d like.

All of these were created in either Microsoft Word or Outlook and are simple enough. I don’t have a great grasp of Outlook and I only use the default settings when making tables in Word.

Try it for yourself, and see how you find it! Good luck. 🙂

Protestation versus Education


The following is simply a comment I posted in response to this video, posted by a friend of mine on Facebook. I say a few things I feel very strongly about and I figure I should probably keep this blog alive, so in the spirit of trying to start living again, here you go.

Small hints of truth wrapped up in a lot of needless sensationalism.
I can see where you are and how you think, sweets, but this video is not something you want to say sums up your view, because then your view is heavily biased, selective of information, and incapable of change or adaptation.
The thing is, most people do understand the great machine we’re a part of. Most people do grasp these things. The problem is that people don’t like change, and they don’t like a lack of security, and they don’t know how to manage without a world that has been hundreds of years in the making.

Also no, a world without pharmacology would not be better. A world without global trade would not be better. A world without global communication and technology would not be better.
Instead of eradication, you must think in terms of adaptation and gentle change. The aggression in this video, the patronising voice of so many of the people who believe in it… It will get you, and them, nowhere.

You’ll find that if you educate people in how to survive outside of ‘the system’ they will tend to move towards doing so. People don’t like being trapped but they do love the safety provided. If you want change, educate. Teach. Teach skills as hobbies. Teach advanced skills for those who want to take it further. Don’t yell about how broken the system is, everyone already knows that and the people who don’t are the people who don’t want it to change.
So teach. Instead of this video, share TED talks about survivalism. Share pop culture like Naked and Afraid. Show people what cool things you can do with a pocket knife, or how you can make ink from mushrooms, or how to make their own soap. Educate them in how penicillin is made, and what plants work best in their climate. SHOW them the world they could be living in and they’ll do all the work themselves….
All you have to do is provide the start for an autodidact and ask them to teach what they know to others.

Change is happening. It’s just slow, and you can’t push hard. A little information, a little hope, and that’s all you need.

I plan to write more on this.

Maybe I’ll explain soap making, or how my gardening is going. Perhaps I’ll post my plans for my ideal home, or what new things I’ve learned. No doubt, mental illness and autism will show up from time to time. I talk a lot about these things, why not here?

I still write. I’m still writing. I just want to add a little variation to this blog, make it more… blog-like.

SO there you go.

Meltdowns and Rages


So after having a particularly bad rage day, complete with a meltdown, my friend Jason decided to ask me about it. I found the conversation good to have, and maybe a good run down for anyone who doesn’t experience these horrible emotional occurrences. What follows is the log of the conversation, in case anyone is interested.

Jason: As a person that doesn’t crazy rage. Is it something you are aware of or is it more like a panic attack? It just picks you up and dumps you somewhere else?

Me: Ummm…. I’m not aware of it when it’s happening. I feel.. Simultaneously in control, and not in control. I feel like the rage is valid, but if I try to back off or drop the argument it just sort of goes crazy, like it did today.

Jason: Like you are sort of aware but you don’t really have control… So there is no “I’m just raging” moment until it’s completely over?

Me: Sort of. I could start off as reasonably angry at a thing that’s worth getting angry at, but the moment I try to turn my attention away from it, my emotions and self-control go completely out of whack and start clinging to anything that requires processing, and my rage transfers there.
And because the rage doesn’t make sense, especially if it’s at a person, any kind of attempt to reason with me just makes me worse and tends to trigger other emotions like panic or intense sadness and then it becomes a meltdown and won’t stop until I self harm, sleep, or Liam sings to me. Which doesn’t happen anymore. So today I fell asleep.

Jason: Can you sit with the feelings with out focusing on the thing?

Me: No. Noooo.
It’s a really uncontrollable experience. I have no control over what I’m doing. Even if I realise I’m raging, I literally can’t stop. I can’t go sit somewhere quietly or I’ll have a sort of really angry panic attack where I feel like I’m going to literally claw myself to shreds.

Jason: Maybe channeling? Like punching bag?

Me: I get urges to tear off my flesh with my nails.

Jason: Ok that’s a little like channeling. Just not positive.

Me: I haven’t tried a punching bag, but walking helps sometimes. I walk around in circles for hours. I used to scare Liam because I’d just get up and leave the house and walk to the park or the beach or Lyn’s place.

Jason: Those are good things

Me: Rages and meltdowns are probably where I look the craziest to other people.

Jason: Yeah, because they’re terrifying. Lucky they can’t see what’s actually happening in your head.

Me: Eh… Maybe if they could they would see I’m no actual threat.
Or would understand.
To them it just looks like I suddenly turn on angry bitch mode and tear them a new one for no reason.

Jason: People have trouble processing stuff. Very few even attempt to do it. No warning? For these rages?

Me: No warning at all. It just happens.

Jason: Fuck.

Me: With meltdowns there’s a warning, because that feels like reaching a limit. It can happen really fast, but I show signs of stress and upset before having a meltdown. Rages just turn on like a switch.

Jason: What about general frequency?

Me: Depends. Sometimes I can go months without either. Sometimes they happen less than an hour apart.

Jason: Are you angry first? Or could you be happy patting Hannibal…?

Me: Sometimes. Usually. Usually rages are just anger that lost its anchor. Sometimes they’re a trigger I don’t know about, or a random thought I don’t notice. They’re definitely triggered when I’m trying to talk to someone and my processing gets all mixed up and I can’t think straight. It’s like an immediate reaction to things being out of place, like my brain has glitched and self control fell through the floor.

Jason: Ah ok I get it now. It’s the anchor. Could you have a backup anchor?

Me: Not really. If I can, I don’t know how yet. I used to run anger past Liam or Lyn, but that usually requires they be there in person. When I’m by myself or if I’m non-verbal at the time, it’s a bit of a lost cause.

Jason: What about an object. Like a stress toy or your chewy thing. Or a photo of xena in your wallet?

Me: Hahahaha
Yeah, they help with meltdowns. Meltdowns will turn into shutdowns if I have my stimming things with me.
They don’t help with rages. Most of the time they make rages worse, because I’ll get angry that they’re not helping. Although, chewing things helps with the clawing urges.

Jason: Packet of gum? Cold shower. That pretty much turns your brain off! But needs to be proper cold.

Me: I haven’t tried that, but I will next time. Hopefully I’ll think of it.
Not with meltdowns though. Meltdowns would be horrible in a cold shower.
Meltdowns require curling up somewhere totally removed from stimulation.

Jason: You seem to have meltdowns covered. At least strategy wise.

Me: Yeah. Just need to work on the rages. 😛

Keeping Up Appearances


I do not understand respect.
As a vague concept, sure, it’s fine, but this dance people do, this strange back and forth of anticipated response and intuitive reaction baffles me. I suppose I’m classically autistic in that way. All of my attempts to learn timing and social cues comes from trial and error. I learn my scripts from films and books, mimicking behaviour, slipping words around my tongue that seem appropriate even though I don’t understand their use.

“Oh but I must leave him!” The actress cries, dramatically turning toward the sunset, hands clasped to her breast. “I love another!”
I watch romance movies with frustration. I don’t see why they can’t just talk to each other.
Their petty secrets don’t make sense.

Sometimes I miss the cues, but most of the time I don’t. I do the expected thing, even though it makes no sense to me. Smile when they smile. Laugh when they joke, even if it’s not funny, even if it hurts. Simply stating you find a thing amusing is not enough; your emotions must be painted on your outsides, flashing signs to prove that A Social Interaction Has Been Had. Never say you’re not actually interested. That is rude, even if it’s true, even if they know it.
The conversations about my lack of reaction are more awkward than applying the correct face and saying my lines. A pantomime wouldn’t be a pantomime if the villain were caught with the first cry of “He’s behind you!”

You absolutely must allow them to tell the story, even if you know the ending.

I say my lines. I rehearsed them when I was young.
I corrected them when scolded, and bolded them when praised.
I remember once confusing a genuine plea for secrecy (over a broken lampshade) with a joke, thinking then that a husband would not fear his wife because the world was simple and I was naïve. I thought it funny. I told the wife the funny, funny joke.
It turned out not to be so funny after all, and they thought me a troublemaker.

I have learned never to state the obvious.

If you can see the truth in someone, why not speak directly to it? Why must the things we know be hidden? We aren’t playing poker. Feelings are not cards, trauma is not a lucky bet.
Your mother hurt you but I’m not her, I am your friend.
You will leave me, and that’s okay.
I know I’m not the ideal mother for your grandchildren. You don’t have to tell me otherwise, I do understand.
Our family member is wasting away because of her abusive husband.
Mental illness runs in the blood. It’s that simple.

For the sake of appearances, say nothing. Say nothing.

Say nothing.

All this posturing and lying and maintaining awkward stories to save face, to show respect.
To continue the dance, even though saying what you mean saves you pain, saves us the complications.
Is this what people do? Is this what comes naturally? Why?

Yet we autistics are the ones with the masks.